History of Portugal
The Reconquista is a historiographical construction of the 781-year period in the history of the Iberian Peninsula between the Umayyad conquest of Hispania in 711 and the fall of the Nasrid kingdom of Granada in 1492, in which the Christian kingdoms expanded through war and conquered al-Andalus, or the territories of Iberia ruled by Muslims.
The beginning of the Reconquista is traditionally marked with the Battle of Covadonga (718 or 722), the first known victory by Christian military forces in Hispania since the 711 military invasion which was undertaken by combined Arab-Berber forces. The rebels who were led by Pelagius defeated a Muslim army in the mountains of northern Hispania and established the independent Christian Kingdom of Asturias.
In the late 10th century, the Umayyad vizier Almanzor waged military campaigns for 30 years to subjugate the northern Christian kingdoms. His armies ravaged the north, even sacking the great Santiago de Compostela Cathedral. When the government of Córdoba disintegrated in the early 11th century, a series of petty successor states known as taifas emerged. The northern kingdoms took advantage of this situation and struck deep into al-Andalus; they fostered civil war, intimidated the weakened taifas, and made them pay large tributes (parias) for "protection".
After a Muslim resurgence under the Almohads in the 12th century, the great Moorish strongholds in the south fell to Christian forces in the 13th century after the decisive battle of Las Navas de Tolosa (1212)—Córdoba in 1236 and Seville in 1248—leaving only the Muslim enclave of Granada as a tributary state in the south. After the surrender of Granada in January 1492, the entire Iberian peninsula was controlled by Christian rulers. On 30 July 1492, as a result of the Alhambra Decree, all the Jewish community—some 200,000 people—were forcibly expelled. The conquest was followed by a series of edicts (1499–1526) which forced the conversions of Muslims in Spain, who were later expelled from the Iberian peninsula by the decrees of King Philip III in 1609.