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
Kingdom of Asturias
The Kingdom of Asturias was a kingdom in the Iberian Peninsula founded in 718 by the Visigothic nobleman Pelagius of Asturias. It was the first Christian political entity established after the Umayyad conquest of Visigoth Hispania in 718 or 722 and that year, Pelagius defeated an Umayyad army at the Battle of Covadonga, in what is usually regarded as the beginning of the Reconquista. The Kingdom of Asturias transitioned into the Kingdom of León in 924, the kingdom originated in the western and central territory of the Cantabrian Mountains, part of the Gallaecia, particularly the Picos de Europa and the central area of Asturias. The main political and military events during the first decades of the kingdoms existence took place in the region. Ptolemy says that the Astures extended along the area of current Asturias. The gradual formation of Asturian identity led to the creation of the Kingdom of Asturias after Pelagius coronation, the Chronica Albeldense, in narrating the happenings of Covadonga, stated that Divine providence brings forth the King of Asturias.
The kingdom was established by the nobleman Pelayo, possibly an Asturian noble, Pelayos kingdom was initially little more than a rallying banner for existing guerilla forces. In the progress of the Islamic conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, however, in the northern mountains, urban centers were practically nonexistent and the submission of the country had to be achieved valley by valley. Muslim troops often resorted to the taking of hostages to ensure the pacification of the conquered territory. During the last phase of his campaign, he reached the northwest of the Peninsula. In the latter city he placed a small Berber detachment under a governor, Munuza, as guarantee of the submission of the region, some nobles – some argue that Pelayo was among them, had to surrender hostages from Asturias to Cordoba. The legend says that his sister was asked for, and a marriage alliance sought with the local Berber leader, on, Munuza would try to do the same at another mountain post in the Pyrenees, where he rebelled against his Cordoban Arab superiors.
The Berbers had been converted to Islam barely a generation earlier, the only near contemporary chronicler accounting for the events of the tme, the Christian Chronicle of 754, makes no mention of the incident. The identity of Pelayo, however, is still a subject. The leader of the Astures, whose origin is debated by historians, had at that time his home in Bres, there the locals were able to ambush the Muslim detachment, which was annihilated. The rest of its survivors continued south to the plains of Leon, under Pelayos leadership, the attacks on the Berbers increased. Munuza, feeling isolated in an increasingly hostile, decided to abandon Gijón. However, he was intercepted and killed by Astures at Olalíes and he married his daughter, Ermesinda, to Alfonso, the son of Peter of Cantabria, the leading noble at the still-independent Visigothic dukedom of Cantabria
Battle of Estercuel
The Battle of Estercuel took place on 6 July 975 between the forces of the Kingdom of Viguera, under king Ramiro Garcés, and those of the Caliphate of Córdoba, under the kaid of Zaragoza, al-Tuyibi. The battle, a skirmish of the Christian–Muslim frontier, was a victory for the Caliphate. Several leading Navarrese magnates were killed and Ramiro was injured, the forces of the Kingdom of Pamplona, under Sancho II Garcés Abarca, Ramiros half-brother, were engaged at Gormaz, where they were defeated alongside the Castilians under García Fernández. The kaid was on the road to Zaragoza when he encountered a Christian army under Ramiro Garcés, the chief source for the encounter is the Muqtabis of Ibn Hayyan, whose account of these years is derived directly from the so-called Anales palatinos of Isa ibn Ahmad-Razi. The disorderly Christians crossed the river Ebro at a ford and soon had lost four men, from the captive the kaid learned that the Christian army numbered some 500 cavalrymen who had marched from Sos, Ramiros chief castle, thinking that the governor of Zaragoza was away in Gormaz.
Surprised by the Muslim presence, Ramiro made for the Christian castle of al-Qastil, according to Ibn Hayyan, the Muslims pursued the Christians until the asr, the afternoon prayer. Probably this chase took place over the semiarid Bardenas mountains, terminating in the valley of the river Aragón, in the region of Carcastillo, Murillo el Fruto. The site of Estercuel was to the southeast of Tudela, today uninhabited. Although Ramiro made it to safety, thirty-three of his men were killed, among them Fortún Mahunis, Fortún López, Jimeno Fortún, and the adalides Íñigo Velázquez, Íñigo Galíndez, and García ibn Salit. Another forty-seven were captured and, among Ramiros baggage, were found a silver-plated horn for calling the troops, Ramiros younger brother, appears as a hostage at the court of al-Hakam II in Córdoba in 975. It has been speculated that he may have exchanged for the liberty of Sancho II
Battle of Morella
All surviving sources for the battle are either by a generation or literary in character, and they are confused on the chronology and dating of the event. The encounter was a defeat for Sancho and sparked a brief reversal of fortunes in the Navarro-Aragonese Reconquista, the Castilian hero, Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, the Cid, was a general for al-Mutamin at the time. According to the Aragonese Crónica de San Juan de la Peña, Sancho sought out the Cid, who had defeated his father in the Battle of Graus. In 1084 Sancho attacked the kingdom of Zaragoza, on 5 April he took Arguedas, across the Ebro from Tudela, which he may have attacked but did not take. Moving east he captured Secastilla on 22 June, an important position that offered defence of Graus, according to the Historia Roderici, the Cid and the king of Zaragoza, setting out from Monzón, perpetrated a five-day raid on Aragon. Then the Cid targeted the southeast of the Taifa of Tortosa, ravaging the territory around Morella, even re-fortifying the castle at Olocau.
Sancho, who had avoided confrontation during the raid on his own kingdom, joined with Mundhir al-Hayib, the ruler of the realms of Denia and Tortosa. The Crónica dates it to the Saturday after the capture of Secastilla, the year 1084 was accepted by Ramón Menéndez Pidal, but Antonio Ubieto Arteta suggested 1088, the year under which the Crónica refers to Sancho seeking out the Cid and defeating him. Bernard Reilly argued for a date of 1084 on the grounds that it would best explain the events of 1085, Ubieto Arteta elsewhere places the Battle of Piedra Pisada in 1084, the unsuccessful culmination of Sanchos campaign into Zaragozan territory. The aforementioned Historia adds that the Cid chased his fleeing Christian enemies and he was even greeted by celebrant Zaragozans at Fuentes some distance away
The Umayyad Caliphate, spelled Omayyad, was the second of the four major caliphates established after the death of Muhammad. This caliphate was centred on the Umayyad dynasty, hailing from Mecca, Syria remained the Umayyads main power base thereafter, and Damascus was their capital. The Umayyads continued the Muslim conquests, incorporating the Caucasus, Sindh, the Maghreb and the Iberian Peninsula into the Muslim world. At its greatest extent, the Umayyad Caliphate covered 11,100,000 km2 and 62 million people, the Umayyad Caliphate was secular by nature. At the time, the Umayyad taxation and administrative practice were perceived as unjust by some Muslims, Muhammad had stated explicitly during his lifetime that Abrahamic religious groups, should be allowed to practice their own religion, provided that they paid the jizya taxation. The welfare state of both the Muslim and the poor started by Umar ibn al Khattab had continued, financed by the zakat tax levied only on Muslims. Muawiyas wife Maysum was a Christian, the relations between the Muslims and the Christians in the state were stable in this time.
Prominent positions were held by Christians, some of whom belonged to families that had served in Byzantine governments, the employment of Christians was part of a broader policy of religious assimilation that was necessitated by the presence of large Christian populations in the conquered provinces, as in Syria. This policy boosted Muawiyas popularity and solidified Syria as his power base, the rivalries between the Arab tribes had caused unrest in the provinces outside Syria, most notably in the Second Muslim Civil War of AD 680–692 and the Berber Revolt of 740–743. During the Second Civil War, leadership of the Umayyad clan shifted from the Sufyanid branch of the family to the Marwanid branch. A branch of the family fled across North Africa to Al-Andalus, where they established the Caliphate of Córdoba, according to tradition, the Umayyad family and Muhammad both descended from a common ancestor, Abd Manaf ibn Qusai, and they originally came from the city of Mecca. Muhammad descended from Abd Manāf via his son Hashim, while the Umayyads descended from Abd Manaf via a different son, Abd-Shams, the two families are therefore considered to be different clans of the same tribe.
However Muslim Shia historians suspect that Umayya was a son of Abd Shams so he was not a blood relative of Abd Manaf ibn Qusai. Umayya was discarded from the noble family, Sunni historians disagree with this and view Shia claims as nothing more than outright polemics due to their hostility to the Umayyad family in general. While the Umayyads and the Hashimites may have had bitterness between the two clans before Muhammad, the rivalry turned into a case of tribal animosity after the Battle of Badr. The battle saw three top leaders of the Umayyad clan killed by Hashimites in a three-on-three melee and this fueled the opposition of Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, the grandson of Umayya, to Muhammad and to Islam. Abu Sufyan sought to exterminate the adherents of the new religion by waging another battle with Muslims based in Medina only a year after the Battle of Badr and he did this to avenge the defeat at Badr. The Battle of Uhud is generally believed by scholars to be the first defeat for the Muslims, as they had incurred greater losses than the Meccans
Battle of Alhandic
The Battle of Alhandic, known as Zamoras trench Battle, was a battle that occurred on August 5,939 in the city of Zamora, Spain. The battle occurred when the troops of Abd-ar-Rahman III assaulted the walls of Zamora, the defending troops were those loyal to Ramiro II of León, King of the Kingdom of Leon. The fighting was so bloody that the tide of the battle did not turn until the surrounding the city walls was entirely filled with corpses. The troops of Aberraman III won the day and were able to seize the city of Zamora and this battle should not be confused with the Day of Zamora which took place a few decades before in the year 901. Once Abd-ar-Rahman III came to power, he was quick to assert his power and he wanted to consolidate his power base and reestablish the internal order of the Emirate of Córdoba. He decided to go to the border and attack the cities that acted as a buffer against the Asturian / Leonese lands to the north. It was on this line that he came upon Zamora. The city was important because it was squarely in the path of march typically used by the Leonese troops.
Abderraman attacked the city on August 5,939 and his strategy was to fill the pit, or moat around the city with bodies and debris so that his men could more easily climb the parapets and thus engage the defending soldiers directly. This bloodthirsty strategy lends its name to the battle which is known as the Batalla del Foso de Zamora. The final result was a victory for the troops of Abderramán III who conquered the city of Zamora. The actual occupation of the city however lasted less than one year, Day of Zamora - Celebrates the battle which took place outside the city walls in 901. Zamora, Spain Ramiro II of León Battle of Simancas
Battle of Piedra Pisada
On 25 December 1084, at the Battle of Piedra Pisada, the Taifa of Zaragoza fought and probably defeated the Kingdom of Aragon on the road south from Naval to El Grado. The ruler of Aragon, who led his men in battle at Piedra Pisada, Sancho Ramírez. The battle is recorded in two sources, the Aragonese and Latin versions of the Chronicle of San Juan de la Peña. The former says that in the year of our Lord 1083, did battle in Piedra-pissada with the Moors on Christmas day. The Latin translation reads, And made battle before Petram Pisadam with the Moors, the two texts differ in the year, and neither specifies the winner of the engagement. The location of Petra Pisata was long thought to be Piedratajada, in the thirteenth century, the name of the site had degenerated further to simply Pisa, which has been identified with the coto redondo de Pisa, a collection of farms south of Naval. The Reconquista of what are today the comarcas of Bajo Cinca, Cinca Medio, Sobrarbe, one followed the river Ésera through the important town of Graus south to Monzón and the lower reaches of the river Cinca.
East of the Cinca lay the other route, connecting Boltaña, the Reconquista of the Cinca valley and surrounding territory to its west was rapid. By 1049 Perarrúa was the most advanced position on the Ésera, held by a don Suniero, both faced the formidable city of Graus, which was unsuccessfully besieged as early as 1055 and again in 1063 with disastrous results, finally falling to the Christians on 14 April 1083. By 1083 all lands north of the Sierra de Estada were in Aragonese hands, on the other side of the Cinca the town of Castejón de Sobrarbe fell in 1057 and that of Abizanda in 1059, but further progress was slower. Naval, which was essential to the defence of Barbastro, and Arguedas were not taken until 1084, and shortly lost to the Moors for a decade. Since Piedra Pisada lies on the south from Naval, the Aragonese army would have had to bypass an important enemy fortification in order to fight there. It is most likely therefore that the date of 1084 found in the Latin chronicle is correct, in the aftermath of the defeat at Piedra Pisada, in 1085 Sancho invested his son Peter as king of Ribagorza and Sobrarbe under Aragonese suzerainty.
Estada was conquered in July 1087, and Monzón with the aid of some defecting Muslims in 1089, in 1095 Peter accepted the surrender of the garrison of the castle Naval, and in October 1099 he made an accord with its Christian populators
Battle of Pancorbo (816)
The battle was fought when the Muslim forces attempted to cross the pass at Pancorbo. The battle resulted in a Muslim victory and was instrumental in the Basque revolt and their goal was to coordinate operations to take Al-Tagr al-Ala in the name of Louis the Pious. The Arabs, commanded by Muawiya ibn al-Hàkam, son of Emir Al-Hakam I, attacked Álava and the Kingdom of Castile in 801, crossing the River Ebro and the pass of las Conchas. They were surprised by Velasco, a Basque commander in control of troops all over the Christian kingdoms. By 806, Pamplona and the western Basque territories fell again in the hands of a Frankish vassal, Velasco and he was Charlemagnes man in the Basque territories extending up to the boundaries of Alfonso IIs realm. Meanwhile, in 812 Seguin was appointed dux Wasconum in Bordeaux, but soon after the spread of news of Charlemagnes death, Abd al-Karim ibn Abd al-Wahid ibn Mugit directed the incursion of 816 into the Kingdom of Pamplona. There the Muslim forces pillaged the valley of Orón, balask al-Yalasqi, the lord of Pamplona pleaded for assistance from the Kingdom of Asturias.
On the Basque-Asturian side another two leaders are cited besides Velasco and Alfonso, Alfonsos maternal uncle Garcia ibn Lubb, the best knight of Pamplona, and the pagan warrior Ṣaltān. Finally, the Christian-Basque forces took the offensive and tried to cross the river but the Muslims had sealed off the crossing and massacred them with swords, the major part of the victims died after falling off of the cliffs surrounding the battleground. With the subsequent rains, the Christians were found ill prepared after all their works had been destroyed. The Basque-Asturians vassals of Charlemagne were forced to withdraw, the Muslims were equally in a difficult situation and despite victorious much of their army deserted the field
Siege of Coria (1142)
The second Siege of Coria by the Emperor Alfonso VII of León was begun in early May 1142 and ended with the taking of the town in June. Coria had previously been reconquered in 1079 by Alfonso VI and it was lost to the Almoravids sometime not long after Alfonsos death in 1109. Alfonso VII had vainly besieged it in July 1138, in action his general Rodrigo Martínez was killed. The main source for the siege is the book of the contemporary Chronica Adefonsi imperatoris. Unfortunately for the defenders famine rapidly set in, the siege was still underway on 6 June, from his camp, Alfonso granted the village of Fradejas to the Diocese of Zamora. The charter of this grant attests that Ponce Giraldo de Cabrera, possibly already lord of nearby Salamanca and recently created prince of Zamora, letters were sent to the kings of al-Andalus, but as none could lend any aid, the garrison surrendered peacefully. After the siege a bishop, Íñigo Navarro, was appointed to the refounded Diocese of Coria, Alfonso marched north to Salamanca, where the Abbot Peter the Venerable was awaiting him
Battle of Rueda
The battle ended in a disastrous defeat for the Christian kingdoms and resulted in the rebellion of the Galician nobles and the eventual abdication of King Ramiro III in favor of Bermudo II of León. The battle followed a similar defeat at the Battle of Torrevicente, reconquista Almanzor Sancho II of Pamplona Bermudo II of León Ramiro III of Leon Martínez Díez, Gonzalo. El Condado de Castilla, la historia frente a la leyenda