Moorish and Christian Reconquista battle, taken from the Cantigas de Santa María
Date711–1492 (781 years)
ResultAll Iberian Muslim territories taken by Christian kingdoms
Alhambra Decree
Forced conversions of Muslims in Spain

The Reconquista[note 1] (Portuguese and Spanish for "reconquest") was the period in the history of the Iberian Peninsula of about 780 years between the Umayyad conquest of Hispania in 711 and the fall of the Nasrid kingdom of Granada to the expanding Christian kingdoms in 1492.

The beginning of the Reconquista is traditionally marked with the Battle of Covadonga (718 or 722), the first known victory in Hispania by Christian military forces since the 711 military invasion undertaken by combined Arab-Berber forces. In that small battle, a group led by the nobleman Pelagius defeated a Muslim patrol in the mountains of northern Iberia and established the independent Christian Kingdom of Asturias. In the late 10th century, the Umayyad vizier Almanzor waged military campaigns for 30 years to subjugate the northern Christian kingdoms. His armies, mostly composed of Slavic and African Mamluks (slave soldiers), ravaged the north, even sacking the great shrine of Santiago de Compostela.

When the government of Córdoba disintegrated in the early 11th century, a series of petty successor states known as taifas emerged. The northern kingdoms took advantage of this situation and struck deep into Al-Andalus; they fostered civil war, intimidated the weakened taifas, and made them pay large tributes (parias) for protection. After a Muslim resurgence in the 12th century the great Moorish strongholds in the south fell to Christian forces in the 13th century—Córdoba in 1236 and Seville in 1248—leaving only the Muslim enclave of Granada as a tributary state in the south. After 1491, the entire peninsula was controlled by Christian rulers. The conquest was followed by the Alhambra Decree (1492) which expelled Jews who would not convert to Christianity from Castile and Aragon, and a series of edicts (1499–1526) which forced the conversions of the Muslims in Spain, although later a significant part of them were expelled from the Iberian Peninsula.[3][4]

Traditional historiography uses the term Reconquista starting at 19th century[5] for what was earlier thought as a restoration of the Visigothic Kingdom over conquered territories.[6][7] The concept of Reconquista, consolidated in Spanish historiography in the second half of the 19th century, was associated with the development of a Spanish national identity, emphasizing nationalistic and romantic, and occasionally, colonialist, aspects.[8]

Concept and duration

Since the 19th century traditional historiography has stressed the existence of the Reconquista,[9] a continuous phenomenon by which the Christian Iberian kingdoms opposed and conquered the Muslim kingdoms, understood as a common enemy who had militarily seized territory from native Iberian Christians.[10] The concept of a Christian reconquest of the peninsula first emerged, in tenuous form, at the end of the 9th century.[11] A landmark was set by the Christian Chronica Prophetica (883–884), a document stressing the Christian and Muslim cultural and religious divide in Iberia and the necessity to drive the Muslims out.

The Islamic Almohad dynasty and surrounding states, including the Christian Kingdoms of Portugal, León, Castile, Navarre, and the Crown of Aragon, c. 1200.

Both Christian and Muslim rulers fought amongst themselves. Alliances between Muslims and Christians were not uncommon.[11] Blurring distinctions even further were the mercenaries from both sides who simply fought for whoever paid the most. The period is seen today to have had long episodes of relative religious tolerance.[12]

The Crusades, which started late in the 11th century, bred the religious ideology of a Christian reconquest, confronted at that time with a similarly staunch Muslim Jihad ideology in Al-Andalus by the Almoravids, and to an even greater degree by the Almohads. In fact, previous documents from the 10th and 11th centuries are mute on any idea of "reconquest".[13] Propaganda accounts of Muslim-Christian hostility came into being to support that idea, most notably the Chanson de Roland, a fictitious 11th-century French version of the Battle of Roncevaux Pass (778) dealing with the Iberian Saracens (Moors), and taught as historical fact in the French educational system since 1880.[14][15]

The modern idea of Reconquista is inextricably linked to the foundational myths of Spanish nationalism in the 19th century, and consolidated by the mid-20th century during Franco's National-Catholic dictatorship, based on a strong underlying Castilian ideological element.[16][17][18] The idea of a "liberation war" of reconquest against the Muslims, depicted as foreigners, suited well the anti-Republican rebels during the Spanish Civil War who agitated for the banner of a Spanish fatherland threatened by regional nationalisms and communism.[17] Their rebellious pursuit was thus a crusade for the restoration of the Church's unity, where Franco stood for both Pelagius of Asturias and El Cid.[17] The Reconquista has become a rallying call for right and far-right parties in Spain to expel from office incumbent progressive or peripheral nationalist options, as well as their values, in different political contexts as of 2018.[19][18][20][21][22]

Some contemporary authors[who?] consider it proved that the process of Christian state-building in Iberia was indeed often defined by the reclamation of lands that had been lost to the Moors in generations past. In this way, state-building might be characterised—at least in ideological, if not practical, terms—as a process by which Iberian states were being 'rebuilt'.[23] In turn, other recent historians dispute the whole concept of Reconquista as a concept created a posteriori in the service of later political goals. A few historians point out that Spain and Portugal did not previously exist as nations, and therefore the heirs of the Christian Visigothic Kingdom were not technically reconquering them, as the name suggests.[24][25] One of the first Spanish intellectuals to question the idea of a "reconquest" that lasted for eight centuries was José Ortega y Gasset, writing in the first half of the 20th century.[26] However, the term reconquista is still widely in use.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Reconquista
Alemannisch: Reconquista
العربية: سقوط الأندلس
aragonés: Reconquiesta
azərbaycanca: Rekonkista
Bân-lâm-gú: Reconquista
беларуская: Рэканкіста
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Рэканкіста
български: Реконкиста
bosanski: Rekonkvista
brezhoneg: Reconquista
català: Reconquesta
čeština: Reconquista
Cymraeg: Reconquista
Deutsch: Reconquista
eesti: Rekonkista
Ελληνικά: Ρεκονκίστα
español: Reconquista
Esperanto: Reconquista
euskara: Errekonkista
français: Reconquista
galego: Reconquista
한국어: 레콩키스타
հայերեն: Ռեկոնկիստա
hrvatski: Rekonkvista
Bahasa Indonesia: Reconquista
italiano: Reconquista
עברית: רקונקיסטה
ქართული: რეკონკისტა
Кыргызча: Реконкиста
Ladino: Rekonkista
latviešu: Rekonkista
lietuvių: Rekonkista
Lingua Franca Nova: Reconcista
magyar: Reconquista
македонски: Реконквиста
Bahasa Melayu: Reconquista
Mirandés: Recunquista
occitan: Reconquèsta
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Rekonkista
پنجابی: استرداد
Picard: Reconquista
polski: Rekonkwista
português: Reconquista
română: Reconquista
русский: Реконкиста
Simple English: Reconquista
slovenčina: Reconquista
slovenščina: Rekonkvista
српски / srpski: Реконкиста
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Rekonkvista
svenska: Reconquista
Tagalog: Rekongkista
Türkçe: Reconquista
українська: Реконкіста
اردو: استرداد
Tiếng Việt: Reconquista