Iberian Peninsula between 711-1492 A.D.by Rit Nosotro
Change Over Time essay
Describe changes of the Iberian Peninsula between 711-1492 A.D.
The Iberian Peninsula makes up what is now Spain and Portugal. The peninsula was north of the only waterway into the Mediterranean Sea. Because of its ideal trading location, many countries tried to take possession of this land, so constant warfare and fighting were common.
The Peninsula was first settled from the east by the descendents of Japeth in about 4000 BC who became known as the Iberians. The Celts, also descendants of Japeth, had colonized the northern third of the peninsula, but still lived in relative peace with the Iberians.
After the Roman Empire split around 500 AD, the western half of the Roman Empire fell to the Goths, namely the Visigoths, who were other Germanic tribes like the Celts. The Muslims of Africa launched an invasion and conquered almost the entire peninsula within a short time after the defeat of the mighty Visigoth king Roderic in 711 AD. Although this marked a decline in European Christianity, it caused a reactionary effort from Christian missions. From the conversion of Constantine, Christianity had spread nominally across Europe but had been compromised with pagan influences. The loss of the peninsula to Islam gave rise to a Christian orthodox "reconquista". The Crusades to the retake the "Holy Land" after the turn of the millennium were another reaction against the aggressions of Islam.
The Muslims were quite content to stay in the peninsula. However the new Christian kingdoms in the north, under King Fernando, slowly pushed the Muslims out until they held only the area of Granada. To push the Muslims out completely, they had to ally together against this common enemy. The marriage of Fernando of Argon to Isabella of Spain brought about the end of Moors on the Iberian Peninsula.
Thus, in the same year that Columbus found America, Granada fell to the Roman
Catholicism. The victory was enforced through the persecutions of the Inquisition.
Those who didn't convert to Christianity were killed, persecuted, or expelled.
The expulsion of the Jews and Muslims was particularly damaging to Europe's
merchant economy that had finally recovered from the Black Plague of the 1350s.
Religious intolerance enriched the lands to which they were forced to flee by
adding merchants, scientists, mathematicians, and philosophers. This demonstrates
the "reconquista" had less to do with land and riches, and more to
do with religion. Outside of the Middle East, the Iberian Peninsula has been
one of the most contentious areas in all history.
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