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The Reconquista was the reconquest by Christians of the Iberian Peninsula (present day Spain and Portugal), which was under Islamic control. The Reconquista lasted from c.722 AD with the success of Pelayo over the Islamic armies at Covadonga, and was completed in 1492, when the Christian Spanish King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella gained control of the only remaining Moorish enclave (the small Kingdom of Granada in southern Spain).

As part of the "Rechristianization" process after the long war which had seen non-Christians work with the Islamic invaders, the Spanish Inquisition was begun, and the Jewish population of Spain was expelled.

Notable military, political and religious leaders



  • Pelagius (or Pelayo, died 737). Victor at the Battle of Covadonga (722) and founder of the Kingdom of Asturias, first Christian state after Islamic invasion.
  • Ramiro II of León (c.898-951), nicknamed "the Devil" by his Islamic opponents because of his energy at war. He defeated Abd-ar-Rahman III at the Battle of Simancas (939).
  • Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar (known as The Cid, c.1040-1099), brilliant military leader. He took the city of Valencia in 1094.
  • Alfonso VIII of Castile (1155-1214), he led a Christian coalition to a decisive victory in Las Navas (1212) against the Almohads.
  • Rodrigo Jiménez de Rada (1170-1247), archbishop of Toledo and historian. Moral leader of the war against the Almohad Empire. He began the building of Toledo's Gothic Cathedral and promoted the city's cultural life.
  • James I of Aragon (1208-1276), nicknamed "the Conqueror". He achieved an important expansion of the Crown of Aragon, that became a major political entity of Christian Iberia.


  • Joseph F. O´Callaghan: Reconquest and crusade in Medieval Spain, Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002, ISBN 0-8122-3696-3

External links