A Brief History of Spain

First Millenium CE

During the Roman period it is said that the following Roman Emperors were probably of Spanish descent although their parents may themselves have been Italian emigrants living in Spain:
98 /117 CE Emperor Trajan, 117/138 CE Emperor Hadrian and 161/180 CE Emperor Marcus Aurelius.

409 - 700 CE. Visigoth Period Roman Hispania was invaded by Germanic Visigoth tribes and by 419 CE a Visigothic Kingdom had been established. The Visigoth were native tribes from the Danube river area of Germany.

466-484 CE The Visigoth King Euric completed the conquest of Spain, this period saw the height of Visigothic power and they extended their conquests into neighbouring countries.

507 CE King Euric’s successor King Alaric 11 was defeated and killed in a battle at Vouille, France by the Franks, another Germanic tribe lead by King Clovis. Alaric’s forces retreated back into Spain and made Toledo the Visigothic capital and Spain their kingdom, with Theodoric as regent. There followed much warfare with the Franks and the Basques and also Byzantine invasions into Southern Spain. In the late 6th century under Kings Leovigild and Recared (who had converted to Catholicism) an alliance was made with the Hispano-Roman populations of Spain.

654 CE King Recceswinth imposed Visigothic common law on both his Gothic and Roman subjects. The church council of Toledo became the main force in the government, thereby weakening royal power.
King Recceswinth was succeeded by King Wamba whose reign suffered civil war. He was deposed but this lead to even greater civil strife and famine in the Toledo regions.

709 CE King Roderick seized the throne, even greater unrest was caused amongst rival factions.

710 CE A Christian Chieftain, Count Julian, Governor of Ceuta (a town in Spanish North African opposite Gibraltar) approached Musa ibn Nusayr the Muslim governor of North Africa, complaining of King Roderick’s greed and tyranny and asking for aid to place himself on the throne.

711 CE The Muslim Period Musa ibn Nusayr saw this as a great opportunity and sent his famed General Tarik ibn Ziyad to help. A Muslim army lead by Tariq ibn-Ziyad sailed from North Africa into the Iberian Peninsula and defeated Roderick at the Battle of Río Barbate. He was effectively the last of the Visigothic kings of Spain.

714 CE By this time, the Muslim armies had occupied the entire peninsula apart from the mountainous regions of Northern Spain. The Muslim occupation of Southern Spain (which the Spanish called Al-Andalus) was to last almost 800 years. During this period the arts and sciences prospered, new crops and agricultural techniques were introduced and palaces, mosques, schools, gardens and public baths were built.

722 CE There is mention that the first attempt to wrest power from the Muslims was made by the Visigoth King Pelayo who defeated a Muslim Army at Alcama in the region of Covadonga.

732 CE The Moors met their first major set back when they were defeated by Charles Martel, ruler of the Frankish forces, in a battle fought between Tours and Poitiers.

750 CE The Christians, under Alfonso I, occupied Galicia. A victory largely made possible by the revolt of the Moorish garrison troops.

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