Muslim Conquest of Spain

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By 700 CE, with famine in the Toledo, strife among the aristocracy and chaos throughout the peninsula, the Visigothic kingdom was falling apart. This paved the way for the Muslim invasion of 711, which set Spainís destiny quite apart from the rest of Europe.

Following the death of the Prophet (saaw) in 632 CE, the Arabs had spread through the Middle East and North Africa, bringing Islam with them. According to myth, they were ushered onto the Iberian Peninsula by the sexual exploits of the last Visigoth king, Roderick. Ballads and chronicles relate how he had seduced the young Florinda, daughter of Julian, Visigothic governor of Ceuta in north Africa: and how Julian sought revenge by approaching the Muslims with a plan to invade Spain. In dull fact, Julian probably just wanted help in a struggle for the Visigoth throne.

In 711 CE Tariq ibn Ziyad, the governor of Tangiers, landed in Gibraltar with around 10,000 men, mostly Berbers (indigenous North Africans). He had some of Roderickís Visigoth rivals as allies. In the same or following year in the Cadiz province, Roderickís army was decimated and he is thought to have drowned as he fled. The Visigothic survivors fled to the north of Spain, and within a few years, the Muslims had taken over the rest of the Iberian Peninsula bar a few areas in the Asturian Mountains bordering France.

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