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The Humble Beginnings of the Reconquest of Spain

by Raymond Ibrahim, Jun. 23, 2018

Exactly 1,300 years ago, in the year 718, a little-remembered kingdom was born in Spain. It soon led to the liberation of the Iberian Peninsula from Islamic occupation. To appreciate the significance of that development, we must travel back seven years earlier, to 711, when Arabs and Africans, both under the banner of Islam, “godlessly invaded Spain to destroy it,” to quote from the Chronicle of 754. Once on European soil, they “ruined beautiful cities, burning them with fire; condemned lords and powerful men to the cross; and butchered youths and infants with the sword.”

After meeting and beating Spain’s Visigothic nobles at the pivotal Battle of Guadalete — “never was there in the West a more bloody battle than this,” wrote the Muslim chronicler al-Hakam, “for the Muslims did not withdraw their scimitars from them [Christians] for three days” — the invaders continued to penetrate northward into Spain, “not passing a place without reducing it, and getting possession of its wealth, for Allah Almighty had struck with terror the hearts of the infidels.”

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