What was the significance of the Reconquista in Spain?

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Reconquista was a very significant event in Spain. This event began in 718 and ended in 1492. The Reconquista refers to the defeat of the Moors, or Muslims, in Spain in 1492 by the Christians.

The Moors were from North Africa, and they had invaded Europe around 711. They took over most of the Iberian Peninsula when they invaded Europe.

The Reconquista began in 718. At the Battle of Covadonga, the Christians were able to secure their first victory over the Muslim armies. There were many battles that were fought over the next 700 years. Each side had some successes in these battles. For example, in 1085, the Christians captured Toledo. However, in 1086, the Almoravids arrived from North Africa to help the Moors fight and win battles against the Christians.

When King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella ruled Spain, they continued to fight the Moors. The Reconquista was complete, when the last Moorish stronghold, the city of Granada, fell. The Christians were in charge of Spain. They expelled the Moors and the Jews from Spain who refused to convert to Christianity.

poetrymfa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Reconquista (or "reconquest") was a period of Spanish history which lasted for 770 years, beginning with the Battle of Covadonga, which marked the first victory by Christian armed forces since the Islamic conquest of Iberia in 710 A.D.

Thus, this period marked a resurgence in the resistance against Muslim rule, including an effort to expels the Moors from the Iberian Peninsula. What essentially started as a mere war over territory became one that was emblematic of the desire for religious liberation. This movement also included a large Christian repopulation of the Iberian Peninsula, with various Christian rulers seizing the areas that were abandoned by defeated and/or fleeing Muslim populations. 

The Reconquista was considered "done" once the Spanish war--backed by Ferdinand and Isabella--against the Emirate of Granada was won in 1492, leading to the death, immigration, or forced conversion of astronomical numbers of Muslims. 

thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The significance of la Reconquista in Spain was that it was a period marked by Christian re-conquest of Christian territory that had been seized by the Muslim kingdoms. The idea was to expel the Moors (Muslims) from the Iberian Peninsula ending Muslim rule in the region.

The recapture has been claimed to have started with the Battle of Covadonga, between the Christian Asturians against the Moors. After this initial battle, Charlemagne succeeded in capturing Barcelona from the Muslims, presenting further opportunities for the reconquest of the peninsula. This was followed by conquests by different Christian rulers in Navarre, Zaragoza and Valencia. Pope Innocent III of the Holy Roman Empire declared crusades against the Muslims in support of Alfonso VIII. Spain was shaping up to total control by the Christian leaders and their forces. Complete Christian hegemony in Spain was established with the conquest of Granada in 1492.