The interior of the mosque at Córdoba, famous for its colorful arches
Rule in Spain
Islamic presence on the Iberian Peninsula began with the 711 invasion by Tariq ibnZiyad and his Berber Muslim army. Crossing the Strait of Gibraltar from North Africa, they conquered the Visigoth kingdom and ran north to the Pyrenees Mountains. They established a dependency of the province of North Africa, itself part of the caliphate of Damascus. By 717, the Moors, as the conquerors were pejoratively called, yielded direct rule (or misrule) to officials called emirs, appointed by the caliphs. (Twenty emirs would have to be appointed over the next forty years, they were so inept.) The Muslims held the entire peninsula except for Asturias and the Basque country. Their advance was only stopped in France in 732 by the Frankish king Charles Martel.
A conflict for control of the empire in Spain and North Africa arose between the Umayyad and Abbasid dynasties. Claiming descent from Abbas, the uncle of Muhammad, the Abbasids began ruling Baghdad in 750. (They would continue to do so until 1258.) The last of their Spanish emirs. Yusuf, favored the Abbasids, but powerful local officials supported the Umayyads. The Umayyad faction invited one of their own,” Abd ar-Rahmōn 1 (731788), to become the independent ruler of Spain. In 756, he overrode the feud, captured Córdoba, and founded an independent hereditary emirate.
Viewed from the glory of Baghdad in 912, this emirate was unimportant. There, although the muezzin (crier) called faithful Muslims to prayer from the minarets (tow-
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Publication information: Book title: History of the Ancient and Medieval World. Volume: 9. Contributors: Henk Dijkstra - Editor. Publisher: Marshall Cavendish. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1996. Page number: 1225.
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