by Robert Bovington

In 711 an army of 7000 under the command of the Berber Tarik-ibn-Zehad crossed the Straits of Gibraltar and defeated Roderic the Visigothic King of Hispania. The Muslim armies swept through Hispania and conquered Toledo which was then the capital of the Visigothic kingdom. This marked the beginning of Muslim domination of a large chunk of the Iberian Peninsula.

 The Arabs named this vast region Al-Andalus. Initially it comprised five administrative areas roughly corresponding to Andalucía; Galicia and Portugal; Castile and Léon; Aragón and Catalonia; and Septimania which apparently was where the modern French region of Languedoc-Roussillon is located. So Al-Andalus was pretty big! At that juncture, Al-Andalus was merely a province of the Umayyad Caliphate of Damascus.

 Over the centuries, Al-Andalus was ruled by varying Arab dynasties. For example, the Abbasid dynasty assassinated the Umayyads and seized power, and Al-Andalus became a kingdom also known as the Emirate of Córdoba (c. 750-929). Successively it became the Caliphate of Córdoba (929-1031); then a collection of Taifa kingdoms. The last of the Arab kingdoms was the Nasrid kingdom of Granada (1232-1492), which by then was merely the territories of Almería, Málaga, and Granada. This gradual yet massive reduction in the size of this once great kingdom was, of course, due to the Reconquest of Spain by the Christians. Al-Andalus ceased to exist in 1492 when Boabdil surrendered the city of Granada to the Catholic Monarchs.

Córdoba Mezquita

Córdoba Mezquita

Córdoba - statue of Abu al Walid

Córdoba – statue of Abu al Walid

Granada Alhambra - Patio de los Leones

Granada Alhambra – Patio de los Leones

Alhambra detail

Alhambra detail

more blogs by Robert Bovington…

“Photographs of Spain”

“postcards from Spain”

“you couldn’t make it up!”

“a grumpy old man in Spain”

“bits and bobs”

“Spanish Expressions”

“Spanish Art”

“Books About Spain”


About Robert Bovington

Robert Bovington is an English writer of travel books. These include “Spanish Matters” and “Spanish Impressions” Robert Bovington was born in Brighton, East Sussex, the son of Leonard and Audrey Bovington. He is the first-born and has eight siblings – six brothers and two sisters. Having worked for many years in both the telecommunications industry and the teaching profession, Robert wanted to take on new challenges. He and Diane decided to relocate to Spain and, in 2003, the couple moved to Roquetas de Mar in sunny Andalucía. However, lazing on the beach was not Robert's idea of fun - he wanted to explore his new homeland. It didn't stop there! He was so impressed with Spain, its countryside, its historic cities and its culture that it inspired him to write about his experiences. Robert Bovington has been married to Diane for over thirty years. They have no children. However, Robert’s short marriage to Helene resulted in twin daughters Carole and Sheila. The author is also a grandfather and great grandfather. Robert met Diane when both belonged to the Crescent Operatic Society. Music is one of the author’s great passions. At primary school he sang in a choir in a concert of Bach and Handel. Another of his interests is football and for many years he supported Brighton & Hove Albion home and away. His favourite premiership team is Arsenal. Other interests include information technology, writing and ten-pin bowling.
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