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Muslim Occupation al Andalus

In 711 AD an Islamic Berber raiding party, led by Tariq ibn Ziyad, was sent by his commander, Musa bin Nusayr, from Morocco to the Visigothic Kingdom of Hispania, to intervene in a civil war there. Tariq’s army contained about 7,000 Berber horsemen. Tariq won a decisive victory in the summer of 711 when the Visigothic King Roderic was defeated and killed on July 19 at the Battle of Guadalete.

Musa bin Nusayr quickly crossed with Arab reinforcements, and by 718 the Muslims were in control of nearly the whole Iberian Peninsula. The Muslim advance into Western Europe was only stopped in what is now north-central France by the West Germanic Franks under Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours in 732. The events of 711 - 718 AD are often known as the Moorish invasion of Iberia although, strictly speaking, it was a Muslim invasion, the invaders being a mix of Arabs, Berbers and Moors with a common faith, Muslim.

The following 781 years is often hailed as a period of enlightenment, a period when people of all religions and racial ethnicity lived together in harmony, a period that saw the introduction of new and exciting advances in medicine, agriculture, art and other sciences, overseen by a benevolent series of caliphs. As ever, some of that is true, some is propaganda inspired by politicians of the time and later politicians ‘spinning’ for their own ends, and some is just downright wrong. Our journey, from 711 AD to 1492 AD, attempts to give a balanced view.