Reconquista and the formation of the Spanish kingdom

At the beginning of the VIII century. almost the entire Iberian peninsula – the birthplace of the Spaniards and Portuguese – conquered the Arabs. Conquerors oppressed Christians, but at the same time acquainted them with the high achievements of Eastern culture.

The population of the peninsula soon rebelled against the invaders. This liberation struggle, which was conducted under the slogan of defending Christianity from Islam, was called Reconquista. Knights from many countries of Western Europe took part in the reconquest, it was actively supported by the Catholic Church.

XI century. From the “General Chronicle of Spain” about the liberation from the Arabs of the city of Toledo

This year King Alphonse was assembled by a large army… and began to precipitate the city. The Moors well fortified Toledo, which was ringed with walls and reliably protected by the River Tagus. But there were a lot of people in Toledo, and his supplies were

exhausted, and the Moors had to surrender the city to King Alfonso…

And the Moors turned to the king with a request that he leave them in the city and that they keep their houses… and all that they own. And King Alphonse permitted them to reside in the city… and ordered the Moors to pay the same taxes as the Moorish kings used to charge them, and in addition announced to them that the main mosque could for life be owned by the Moors.

This was the agreement that King Alphonse and the Moors concluded with the conquest of Toledo.

On the lands liberated from the Arabs, Christian states emerged, who waged a common struggle against the conquerors. Among them, the strongest were Castile, Aragon and Portugal. Reconquista contributed to the formation of the Spanish and Portuguese peoples, the emergence of local spiritual and knightly orders.

By the middle of the XV century. The Moors retained only Granada. To finally release the peninsula from them, the Pyrenees needed to unite their forces. In 1479 the heirs of the Castilian and Aragonese Throne, Isabella and Ferdinand, married. Castile

and Aragon formed a single state – the Spanish kingdom. At the end of the XV century. The Spanish kings attached to their possessions the Granada Emirate. Reconquista, thus, was completed, and the territory of Spain became a single state. The religious persecution of the Moors and Jews began, and the Inquisition was established. Many Moors and Jews were forced to leave the country, which damaged its economic life.

In the XII-XIII centuries. In the Pyrenean states, representative bodies of power arose-the Cortes, more influential than the French General States or the British Parliament. They issued laws, forced the king to respect local customs, even made sure that he did not squander public funds. But with the emergence of the Spanish kingdom, the role of the Cortes in government began to decline. Strengthened royal power, the importance of royal officials increased. The king had reliable support from the townspeople, because most of the Spanish cities belonged not to grandees-grandees, but to him.

Moors is the name of all conquerors who came from North Africa to the Iberian Peninsula after the Arab invasion.

Reconquista – the struggle for the liberation of Spain and Portugal from the Arabs.

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Reconquista and the formation of the Spanish kingdom