Christian Reconquest: Summary
The Muslims had long prospered in Spain, especially in the city of Cordoba. This did begin to diminish as the Christians took over power starting in the 10th century. This was known by many as the Reconquista.
Many minor Christian kingdoms existed in Northern Spain around the 11th century. These small kingdoms began to take action against the Muslims. El Cid, perhaps the best known warrior, fought for both sides at different times, and even established a kingdom in 1094 in Valencia, but it eventually was conquered by Muslims. By the time of the 13th century, the north belonged to the Christian kingdoms of Castile, Navarre, Aragon, and Portugal, and the South belonged to the Muslims. Once the 13th century rolled around, the Christians began to attack the Muslims once again. Castile managed to capture most of Andalusia, and Aragon conquered Valencia. One important battle was that at Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212. The Christians, under the lead of Alfonso VIII of Castile, had managed to beat the Muslim forces, and that meant more and more victories for the Christians until the only thing the Muslims had left to hang on to was Granada. The Christians then moved further down the peninsula, following a repartimiento. They divided up the land between the Christians and new settlers who came to live in the newly conquered land. The nobles, church workers, soldiers with high rank, and royal officials often got better land than the colonists. If a Muslim was not killed, they would work as a farmer or in small jobs, and they were known as mudejares. The new kings wanted people to move into the new land, so they wrote fueros, or written privileges saying that the law that was used in their other kingdoms would be the same throughout the new lands. Later on, the kings had to agree to enforce and follow these laws and civil obligations before they could be elected ruler. The treatment of Muslims stayed the same, with most paying high rent and farming the land. One leader, Alfonso X wanted to have a culture mixed with Christians, Jews, and Muslims alike.