The Reconquista ended just before the European discovery of the Americas—the New World—which ushered in the era of the Portuguese and Spanish colonial empires. The concept of a Christian reconquest of the peninsula first emerged, in tenuous form, a landmark was set by the Christian Chronica Prophetica, a document stressing the Christian and Muslim cultural and religious divide in Iberia and the necessity to drive the Muslims out. Nevertheless, the difference between Christian and Muslim kingdoms in early medieval Spain was not seen at the time as anything like the clear-cut opposition that emerged, both Christian and Muslim rulers fought amongst themselves. Alliances between Muslims and Christians were not uncommon, blurring distinctions even further were the mercenaries from both sides who simply fought for whoever paid the most. The period is looked back upon today as one of religious tolerance. In fact previous documents from the 10th and 11th centuries are mute on any idea of reconquest and their rebellious pursuit was thus a Crusade for the restoration of Churchs unity, where Franco stood for both Pelagius of Asturias and El Cid.
Many recent historians dispute the concept of Reconquista as a concept created a posteriori in the service of political goals. A number of historians have called it a myth, 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. However, the term is widely in use. In 711, Muslim Moors, mainly North African Berber soldiers with some Arabs, crossed the Strait of Gibraltar, from their stronghold of Narbonne, they launched raids into the Duchy of Aquitaine. At no point did the invading Islamic armies exceed 60,000 men and these armies established an Islamic rule that would last 300 years in much of the Iberian Peninsula and 770 years in Granada. After the establishment of a local Emirate, Caliph Al-Walid I, ruler of the Umayyad caliphate, tariq ibn Ziyad, the first governor of the newly conquered province of Al-Andalus, was recalled to Damascus and replaced with Musa bin Nusair, who had been his former superior.
Musas son, Abd al-Aziz ibn Musa, apparently married Egilona, Roderics widow and he was suspected of being under the influence of his wife, accused of wanting to convert to Christianity, and of planning a secessionist rebellion. Apparently a concerned Al-Walid I ordered Abd al-Azizs assassination, Caliph Al-Walid I died in 715 and was succeeded by his brother Sulayman ibn Abd al-Malik. Sulayman seems to have punished the surviving Musa bin Nusair, who soon died during a pilgrimage in 716. In the end Abd al-Aziz ibn Musas cousin, Ayyub ibn Habib al-Lakhmi became the emir of Al-Andalus, the conquering generals were necessarily acting very independently, due to the methods of communication available. Old rivalries and perhaps even full-fledged conspiracies between rival generals may have had influence over this development, in the end, the old successful generals were replaced by a younger generation considered more loyal by the government in Damascus. A serious weakness amongst the Muslim conquerors was the tension between Berbers and Arabs
Nevertheless, the events quickly escalated into a fully waged war between Morocco and the militias of the Polisario, the Western Sahara War, which would last for 16 years. Morocco gained control over the former Spanish Sahara, which it continues to hold, Morocco, to the north of the Spanish Sahara, had long claimed that the territory was historically an integral part of Morocco. Mauritania to the south argued similarly that the territory was in fact Mauritanian, Morocco intended to vindicate its claims by demanding a verdict from the International Court of Justice, which was issued on 16 October 1975. Instead, the court argued, the population were the owners of the land. This meant that regardless of political solution was found to the question of sovereignty. Complicating matters, a UN visiting mission had concluded on 15 October, the day before the ICJ verdict was released, within hours of the ICJ verdicts release, he announced the organizing of a green march to Spanish Sahara, to reunite it with the Motherland.
The Green March was a popular march of enormous proportions. On 6 November 1975 approximately 350,000 unarmed Moroccans converged on the city of Tarfaya in southern Morocco, as the marchers reached the border, the Spanish Armed Forces were ordered not to fire to avoid bloodshed. The Spanish troops cleared some previously mined zones, according to Morocco, the exercise of sovereignty by the Moroccan state was characterized by official pledges of allegiance to the sultan. The Moroccan government was of the opinion that this allegiance existed during several centuries before the Spanish occupation and that it was a legal and political tie. The sultan Hassan I, for example, had carried out two expeditions in 1886 in order to put an end to foreign incursions in this territory and to officially invest several caids and cadis. In its presentation to the ICJ, the Moroccan side mentioned the levy of taxes as an instance of the exercise of sovereignty. Even taking account of the structure of that State, they do not show that Morocco displayed any effective and exclusive State activity in Western Sahara.
The Green March caught Spain in a moment of political crisis, the dictator General Franco, who had been leading the country for almost 40 years, was dying. Only the year before, the Portuguese government had been toppled by the Portuguese armed forces after becoming bogged down in wars in Angola. Under pressure from Morocco, Spain agreed that no representatives of the population would be present in the negotiations that resulted in the 14 November Madrid Accords. This was a treaty which divided Spanish Sahara between Mauritania and Morocco, Spain received a 35% concession in the phosphate mines of Bou Craa and offshore fishing rights that were not respected by Morocco. Morocco and Mauritania formally annexed the parts they had been allotted in the Accords
First Melillan campaign
Castile captured the citadel of Melilla in 1497. In the 19th century Spain moved into the territories and began investing in their economic development. Treaties with Morocco in 1859,1860, and 1861 consolidated Spains growing interests, Rif raiding and piracy was widely reported in the Spanish press and produced the occasional sensational incident. Over the summer of 1893 a period of renewed agitation by the locals enabled García y Magallo to secure the funds for the expansion of fortifications surrounding the city. Construction was pushed forward as fast as possible, the effort being to erect new redoubts at Peuta de Cabiza. The Spaniards fought a bloody daylong battle without relief, losing 21 dead and 100 wounded, lacking any form of heavy weaponry, the Rif tried to take the citadel by storm, charging up the road ways and scaling the walls. Foreign observers described it as an act of gallant fury, the Spaniards held the ramparts with the bayonet and their gunfire swept the attackers from the walls.
For the first time, Spanish soldiers wielded their formidable 7 mm Mauser Model 1893s, the Rif dead fell in heaps, to the number of 160. Moroccans across the province, whatever their earlier sympathies, rushed to arms against Spain, by October 5 the native force numbered perhaps 12,000, some reports putting its strength as high as 20,000 infantry and 5,000 cavalry. News of the attack brought war fever to Spain, the government dispatched the ironclad Numancia and two gunboats stationed at Málaga, put the fleet on alert, and mobilized the Army of Andalusia for service abroad. Newspapers and patriotic citizens of every stripe clamoured for vengeance at whatever cost in blood or treasure, the troops mobilizing to bolster Melillas garrison, initially numbering about 3,000, received in many cities ceremonies and ovations from the populace as they moved to the ports. From the outset Sultan Hassan recognized Spanish grievances and reaffirmed Spains right to pursue construction of works for its own protection.
On October 4 the ironclad Numancia shelled several villages along the coast, an artillery detachment from Málaga arrived in Melilla that same day. For several weeks the situation stagnated, skirmishes were fought at forts Camellos and San Lorenzo. On October 22 the gunboat Conde de Venadito steamed to the mouth of the Río de Oro, anchored there, the ship hurled 31 shells at the Rif trenches and returned to Melillas harbour without sustaining any damage. To dislodge the Rifians from the works near Cabrerizas and Rostro Gordo Margallo rode out on October 28 at the head of a column of 2,000 men. The Rifians in the trenches numbered about 3,000 men, with this numerical superiority the Rif fighters extended their line in an attempt to envelop Margallos Spaniards. The general, thinking he saw the enemy centre weaken, led a charge against the Rifian trenches and was back with heavy losses
The Spanish Legion, informally known as the Tercio or the Tercios, is a unit of the Spanish Army and Spains Rapid Reaction Force. It was raised in the 1920s to serve as part of Spains Army of Africa, although it recruited some foreigners mostly from Spanish-speaking nations, it recruited predominantly from Spaniards. As a result, and since it existed to serve in Spanish Morocco, by the end of the Rif War it had expanded and again changed its name, to the Spanish Legion, with several tercios as sub-units. The Legion played a role in the Nationalist forces in the Spanish Civil War. In the 1920s the Spanish Legions five battalions were filled primarily by native Spaniards with most of its members coming from the Republic of Cuba. Historically there had been a Spanish Foreign Legion which preceded the modern Legions formation in 1920, the French Foreign Legion, with around 4,000 men, landed at Tarragona on 17 August 1835. This became the first Spanish Legion until it was dissolved on 8 December 1838, the British Legion of the Spanish Legion fought during the First Carlist War.
This Legion fought for the bridge of Arrigorriaga on 11 September 1835 The Spanish Legion was modelled on the French Foreign Legion. Its purpose was to provide a corps of troops to fight in Spains colonial campaigns in North Africa. The first commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel José Millán-Astray Terreros, referred to his unit as ‘La Legión’ from the start, in the original Tercio de Extranjeros there were, amongst others, one Chinese, three Japanese, one Maltese, one Russian, and one black American. However, soon the majority of its members were Spaniards who joined to fight outside of European Spain, Tercio is an old Spanish military term that roughly translates as ‘regiment. In the XVIIIth century tercios were replaced by regiments, there is no equivalent word in English. Dating from the 16th century, the name was chosen to evoke the era of Spains military supremacy as the leading Catholic power in Europe under the Habsburg Emperors, organised into tercios in 1534, the Spanish infantry gained a reputation for invincibility.
In 1925, the title was changed to Tercio de Marruecos. This was soon abbreviated to ‘The Tercio’, in 1937 at the height of the Spanish Civil War, the Tercio de Marruecos was renamed La Legion, the name by which it is still known today. The Spanish Legions first major campaign was in Spanish North Africa, in 1920 Spain was facing a major rebellion in the Protectorate of Spanish Morocco, led by the able Rif leader Abdel Krim. On 2 September 1920, King Alfonso XIII conferred command of the new regiment on Lieutenant Colonel of Infantry José Millán-Astray, Millán-Astray was an able soldier but an eccentric and extreme personality. His style and attitude would become part of the mystique of the legion, on 20 September 1920 the first recruit joined the new legion, a date which is now celebrated annually
Second Melillan campaign
The Second Melillan campaign was a conflict in 1909 and 1910 in Morocco around Melilla. The fighting involved local Riffians and the Spanish Army, after having lost the Spanish–American War in 1898, Spain sought compensation for its lost prestige by expanding its influence in Northern Africa. Spain had an agreement with Muley Mohamet, a local tribesman, to exploit mines around Melilla, against the wishes of Sultan Abd al-Aziz and other local tribes. On 8 August 1908, the Rifians attacked the mines, without causing any casualties, but Muley Mohamet was apprehended and sent to Fez, where he died in prison. Now without support in hostile territory, General José Marina y Vega, military commander of Melilla, asked Madrid for reinforcements to protect the mines, on 9 July 1909, a new attack occurred and six Spanish railway workers were killed by tribesmen. As a result of deaths, Prime Minister Antonio Maura Montaner increased the Spanish garrison at Melilla from 5,000 men to 22,000 in preparation for an offensive.
All the Spanish forces involved were conscripts, at this stage, Spain had neither professional troops, the Spanish army was poorly trained and equipped and lacked basic maps. The next day, the Spanish troops were shot at by francs-tireurs, General Marina decided to post six companies at Ait Aixa, under command of Colonel Álvarez Cabrera. They left Melilla at nightfall but got lost and, in the morning, found themselves in the Alfer Canyon, Colonel Cabrera and 26 men were killed, and 230 were wounded. On 26 June, the Spanish suffered a defeat at the Lobo Canyon. In this ambush, the Rifians killed General Pintos and 153 men, after this disaster, the Spanish stopped all military operations. They raised troop-levels to 35,000 men and brought heavy artillery over from Spain, by the end of August the Spanish were ready and they launched a new attack. By January 1910 their overwhelming strength had enabled them to subdue most of the eastern tribes, the Spanish continued to expand their Melilla enclave to encompass the area from Cape Tres Forcas to the southern inlets of Mar Chica.
However, this was achieved at the cost of 2,517 casualties
By population, Spain is the sixth largest in Europe and the fifth in the European Union. Spains capital and largest city is Madrid, other urban areas include Barcelona, Seville, Bilbao. Modern humans first arrived in the Iberian Peninsula around 35,000 years ago, in the Middle Ages, the area was conquered by Germanic tribes and by the Moors. Spain is a democracy organised in the form of a government under a constitutional monarchy. It is a power and a major developed country with the worlds fourteenth largest economy by nominal GDP. Jesús Luis Cunchillos argues that the root of the span is the Phoenician word spy. Therefore, i-spn-ya would mean the land where metals are forged, two 15th-century Spanish Jewish scholars, Don Isaac Abravanel and Solomon ibn Verga, gave an explanation now considered folkloric. Both men wrote in two different published works that the first Jews to reach Spain were brought by ship by Phiros who was confederate with the king of Babylon when he laid siege to Jerusalem.
This man was a Grecian by birth, but who had given a kingdom in Spain. He became related by marriage to Espan, the nephew of king Heracles, Heracles renounced his throne in preference for his native Greece, leaving his kingdom to his nephew, from whom the country of España took its name. Based upon their testimonies, this eponym would have already been in use in Spain by c.350 BCE, Iberia enters written records as a land populated largely by the Iberians and Celts. Early on its coastal areas were settled by Phoenicians who founded Western Europe´s most ancient cities Cadiz, Phoenician influence expanded as much of the Peninsula was eventually incorporated into the Carthaginian Empire, becoming a major theater of the Punic Wars against the expanding Roman Empire. After an arduous conquest, the peninsula came fully under Roman Rule, during the early Middle Ages it came under Germanic rule but later, much of it was conquered by Moorish invaders from North Africa. In a process took centuries, the small Christian kingdoms in the north gradually regained control of the peninsula.
The last Moorish kingdom fell in the same year Columbus reached the Americas, a global empire began which saw Spain become the strongest kingdom in Europe, the leading world power for a century and a half, and the largest overseas empire for three centuries. Continued wars and other problems led to a diminished status. The Napoleonic invasions of Spain led to chaos, triggering independence movements that tore apart most of the empire, eventually democracy was peacefully restored in the form of a parliamentary constitutional monarchy. Spain joined the European Union, experiencing a renaissance and steady economic growth
Army of Africa (Spain)
The Army of Africa or Moroccan Army Corps was a field army of the Spanish Army that garrisoned the Spanish protectorate in Morocco from the late 19th century until Moroccos independence in 1956. At the start of the 20th century, the Spanish Empires colonial possessions in Africa comprised Morocco, Spanish Sahara, Cape Juby, Spanish Morocco was the closest Spanish colonial territory to mainland Spain and the most difficult to control. A major Moroccan revolt against both Spanish and French colonial rule began in 1921, with the destruction of a Spanish army at Annual, the Rif tribes were finally subdued only with difficulty by substantial Franco-Spanish forces after several years of fighting. Spain maintained garrisons in its two Moroccan coastal enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta from the century onwards. At different times these were made up of sailors, disciplinary companies, marine infantry, free companies, the Spanish Army of Africa can be said to have originated as a permanent institution with the establishment in 1893 of the Regimiento de África N°1.
Following the Melilla Campaign of 1909–10 Spain began expanding inland from its coastal holdings. This indigenous force provided the basis for the establishment in 1911 of the Regulares - Moroccan infantry and cavalry units with Spanish officers, the Spanish Legion was formed by royal decree of King Alfonso XIII on 28 January 1920 as the Regiment of Foreigners. El Tercio was modeled on the French Foreign Legion and its purpose was to provide a corps of professional troops to fight in Spains colonial campaigns in North Africa in place of conscript units that were proving ineffective. The initial make-up of the regiment was that of a headquarters unit, by the Rif War of the 1920s, the Army of Africa was composed in essence of the Spanish Legion and the Regulares, plus cacadores, artillery and support units. In total it numbered 30,000 soldiers and was the most professional and effective fighting force in the 100, infantry recruited in the enclave of Ifni from 1934 on, were considered part of the Army of Africa.
The Army of Africa was to play a key part during the Spanish Civil War of 1936–39. Along with other units in the Spanish Army, the Army of Africa rose against the Second Spanish Republic, on 18 July 1936, General Francisco Franco assumed the supreme command over this force. Spanish Morocco fell to the rebels without significant opposition, the initial intention was to transport the Army of Africa to mainland Spain by sea. However the crews of the majority of ships in the Spanish Navy had remained loyal to the Republican government in Madrid, overwhelming the officers who had joined the rising. Between 29 July and 5 August 19361,500 members of the Army of Africa were accordingly transported to mainland Spain in a bold airlift led by Junkers transport planes supplied by Germany. The fascist régime of the Kingdom of Italy provided Savoia-Marchetti SM.81 bombers to provide air cover for merchant ships carrying 3,000 soldiers, thereafter daily flights continued until about 8,000 Moroccans and legionaries, with supporting artillery, were gathered at Seville.
After landing in Spain, the Army of Africa was split into two columns, one commanded by General Juan Yagüe and the commanded by Colonel José Enrique Varela. Yagües force advanced north, making rapid gains, and turned north-eastwards towards Madrid
The Spanish Army is the terrestrial army of the Spanish Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is one of the oldest active armies - dating back to the late 15th century, the Spanish army has existed continuously since the reign of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. During the 16th century, Habsburg Spain saw a growth in its military power. The Italian Wars resulted in an ultimate Spanish victory and hegemony in northern Italy by expelling the French, during the 16th century this formation evolved into the tercio infantry formation. The new formation and battle tactics were developed because of Spains inability to field sufficient cavalry forces to face the heavy French cavalry, with such numbers involved, Spain had trouble funding the war effort on so many fronts. The non-payment of troops led to many mutinies and events such as the Sack of Antwerp, the Thirty Years War drew in Spain alongside most other European states. Nevertheless, Spanish armies continued to win battles and sieges throughout this period across large swathes of Europe.
French entry into the war in 1635 put additional pressure on Spain, by the signing of the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, Spain was forced to accept the independence of the Dutch Republic. In the second half of the century, a reduced and increasingly neglected Spanish army became infamous for being poorly equipped. Spain remained an important naval and military power, depending on sea lanes stretching from Spain through the Caribbean and South America, and westwards towards Manila. The Army was reorganised on the French model and in 1704 the old Tercios were transformed into Regiments, the first modern military school was created in Segovia in 1764. Finally, in 1768 King Charles III sanctioned the Royal Ordinances for the Regime, Discipline and Service in his Armies, in the late 18th century, Bourbon-ruled Spain had an alliance with Bourbon-ruled France, and therefore did not have to fear a land war. Its only serious enemy was Britain, which had a powerful Royal Navy, when the French Revolution overthrew the Bourbons, a land war with France became a danger which the king tried to avoid.
The officer corps was selected primarily on the basis of royal patronage, about a third of the junior officers have been promoted from the ranks, and they did have talent, but they had few opportunities for promotion or leadership. The rank-and-file were poorly trained peasants, elite units included foreign regiments of Irishmen, Italians and Walloons, in addition to elite artillery and engineering units. Equipment was old-fashioned and in disrepair, the army lacked its own horses and mules for transportation, so these auxiliaries were operated by civilians, who might run away if conditions looked bad. In combat, small units fought well, but their tactics were hardly of use against the Napoleonic forces. When war broke out with France in 1808, the army was deeply unpopular, leading generals were assassinated, and the army proved incompetent to handle command-and-control
Abd el-Krim was a Riffian political and military leader. He and his brother Mhemmed led a revolt by a coalition of Berber-speaking Rif tribes against French and Spanish colonization of the Rif. The rebels established the short-lived Republic of the Rif, Abd el-Krims guerrilla tactics influenced Ho Chi Minh, Mao Zedong, and Che Guevara. Abd el-Krim received an education at a mosque school in Ajdir. At the age of twenty, it appears he studied for two years in Fez at the Attarine and Seffarine madrasah, in order to prepare to enter the famous Qaraouiyine University. Both he and his brother MHammad received a Spanish education, with his brother studying mine engineering in Málaga, both spoke fluent Spanish and Riffian. After his studies, in 1906, Abd el-Krim was sent to Melilla by his father and he worked there as a teacher and translator, working for the OCTAI – the Spanish native affairs office – and became a journalist for the Spanish newspaper Telegrama del Rif. Additionally, in 1907 he was hired to edit and write articles in Arabic for El Telegrama del Rif, there he defended the advantages of European—especially Spanish—civilization and technology and their potential to elevate the economic and cultural level of the Moroccan population.
His association with El Telegrama lasted until 1915, in that post he gained a reputation for intelligence and discretion. Abd el-Krim entered the Spanish administration, first as a secretary in the Bureau of Native Affairs and he taught at a Hispano-Arabic school and was an editor for the Arab section of the newspaper, El Telegrama del Rif. During World War I, Abd el-Krim was arrested by the Spanish authorities for activities including alleged involvement in a conspiracy with the German consul Dr. Walter Zechlin. He was imprisoned in Chaouen from 1916 to 1918, escaped and he regained his job as a judge in Melilla. At the end of the war, Abd el-Krim briefly resumed publishing in a Spanish-language newspaper and he was alarmed by the appearance of Spanish agents in Ayt Weryaghel tribal territory and decided to fight for his tribes independence. The following year, Abd el-Krim, together with his brother and his goal was to unite the tribes of the Rif into an independent Republic of the Rif, to dismantle the entire French-Spanish colonial project in Morocco, and to introduce modern political reform.
In 1921, as a byproduct of their efforts to destroy the power of a brigand, Raisuli. Abd-el-Krim sent their commander, General Manuel Fernández Silvestre, a warning if the troops crossed the Ameqqran river he would consider it an act of war. Silvestre is said to have laughed, and shortly afterwards crossed the river, in June 1921 a sizable Riffian force attacked this post killing 179 of the estimated 250 Spanish troops there. Soon afterwards, Abd el-Krim directed his forces to attack the Spanish lines at Anwal, during the attack, General Silvestre, head of the Spanish forces, committed suicide after seeing his soldiers getting defeated
The Fuerzas Regulares Indígenas, known simply as the Regulares, were the volunteer infantry and cavalry units of the Spanish Army recruited in Spanish Morocco. They consisted of Moroccans officered by Spaniards and these Moroccan troops played a significant role in the Spanish Civil War. The Regulares were first raised in 1911 as a batallón indígena of infantry and their formation came at a time when the Spanish army was expanding into the Moroccan hinterland from the long held coastal enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. Officers and some NCOs were seconded from Peninsular regiments, by 1914 four Groups had been raised for active service. While the Regulares remained predominantly infantry, recognition of Moroccan skills as horsemen led to the establishment of cavalry squadrons and this mounted element of the Regulares was to remain a conspicuous feature throughout the period of Spanish rule of the protectorate. As such, each Group was composed of a headquarters and service company, from 1914 to 1922 the Regulares were expanded in numbers to five Grupos based respectively in Melilla, Tetuán, Ceuta and Larache.
In 1923 a detachment of the Fuerzas Regulares de Ceuta mounted guard at the Royal Palace in Madrid,1923 was the year in which the reactionary General Miguel Primo de Rivera became dictator of Spain, ruling in the Kings name. In 1934 cavalry and infantry of the Regulares were brought to peninsular Spain by the Republican Government to assist in the suppression of the rising by Asturian miners that year. In 1936 the Spanish Army of Africa were made part of the led by General Franco against the Republican Government in Madrid. The professionalism and brutality of the Army of Africa played a part in early Nationalist successes. As the war continued five more grupos of Regulares infantry were raised two of cavalry. The Regulares with their experience of North African warfare proved to be excellent combatants in the countryside while advancing from Seville to Madrid during August - November 1936. However they subsequently proved less adapt at street fighting in urban environments. With the raising of substantial Nationalist forces in mainland Spain the role of the Regulares diminished, conspicuous in Francos victory parade in Madrid in 1939, the Regulares were the most decorated units of the Nationalist forces.
The numbers of the Army of Africa doubled in the course of the war to about 60,000, following the Nationalist victory the Regulares were reduced in number but retained their structure. With the independence of Morocco in 1956 the majority of the Moroccan personnel of the Regulares, the two cavalry units were disbanded and the Groups were reduced to just eight. In 1957 Francos ceremonial guard in Madrid, the Guarda Mora, were replaced by an escort of Spanish cavalry who retained the white cloaks, in recent years detachments of Regulares have served in both Bosnia and Afghanistan. Tabor is the given to the Regulares constituent battalions of infantry