Muslim Spain, 712-1492

The Umayyad conquest of Hispania (711-718) began as an army of the Umayyad Caliphate consisting largely of Berbers, inhabitants of Northwest Africa recently converted to Islam, invaded the Christian Visigothic Kingdom located on the Iberian peninsula (Hispania). Under the authority of the Umayyad Caliph Al-Walid I of Damascus, and commanded by Tariq ibn Ziyad, they disembarked at Gibraltar on April 30, 711, and campaigned their way northward. Tariq''s forces were reinforced the next year by those of his superior, the Emir Musa ibn Nusair. During the eight-year campaign, most of the Iberian Peninsula was brought under Muslim occupation, save for small areas in the northwest (Galicia and Asturias) and largely Basque regions in the Pyrenees. The conquered territory, under the Arabic name al-Andalus, became part of the expanding Umayyad empire. Spain remained under the direct rule of the Caliphs for only a few decades, since in 756 Abd ar-Rahman I, a survivor of the recently overthrown Umayyad Dynasty, seized power in the province, founding an independent dynasty that survived until the 11th century. Muslim domination lasted longer: until the defeat of the Almohads in the 13th century, after which the Christian Reconquista became irresistible.