Tarik’s Crossing into Spain (Chronology of European History)
Article abstract: Tarik’s crossing into Spain begins the Muslim political conquest that allows Muslim influences to pervade all aspects of Spanish life.
Summary of Event
The entire question of the Muslim conquest of Spain is shrouded in mystery and romance. Some historians think it was religious zeal on the part of newly converted Arabs; others maintain that the invasion of Spain was part of a grand strategy planned by the Islamic caliphs and aimed at the subjugation of Europe. The latter school points to the Muslim siege of Constantinople in 717 and to the entry into Spain in 711 as opposing eastern and western pincer movements. Still others see an economic motive only.
Recent scholarship shows that the caliph of Damascus actually had little control over Mūsa ibn Nusair, his governor in North Africa, and that the latter’s push from Egypt was the result of his personal ambition and only incidentally led to independent raiding parties bent on plundering Spain.
The first of these expeditions across the Strait of Gibraltar did little more than report the ease with which booty could be obtained. Mūsa accordingly outfitted a larger raiding party led by his lieutenant, Tarik ibn Ziyad, a Berber and a former slave. With about seven thousand Berber warriors, none from Mūsa’s army, Tarik landed in April or May, 711, on the great rock which has since borne his name, the Jebel Tarik or Gibraltar....
(The entire section is 1265 words.)
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