No one would narrate the history of Africa without talking about European rule and colonisation. The same goes to narrating the leadership of Hispania and Gilbraltar that is, modern-day Spain, Portugal, Andorra and some part of France without mentioning the rulership of an African tribe called Moors.
According to Wikipedia, Moors are Muslims of indigenous Northwestern Africans (Maghrebine and Berbers). They make up present-day Mauritania, part of Mali, Algeria, Morocco, Niger, Tunisia and Western Sahara.
It is important to know that the history of the rulership of Moor to the Europeans occurred in two folds
- Between 711AD and 714AD (The Conquest by General Tariq ibn Ziyad)
- Between the 11th century and 12th century (The Conquest by the Almoravid and Almohad Confederations)
Between 711AD and 714AD (The Conquest by General Tariq ibn Ziyad).
According to the New World Encyclopedia, Tariq ibn Ziyad was appointed the governor of Tangier by Musa ibn Nusayr after they conquered the city. In 711AD, General Tariq ibn Ziyad from North Africa lead an army of about 7,000 and disembarked at the Rock of Gibraltar where they fought the Visigothic Hispania and defeated the Christian Visigothic Rule.
Without wasting time, he further conquered the city of Toledo and Cordoba. Musa himself joined Tariq with about 18,000 men. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, they further captured two-third of Iberian peninsula and extended north of the Ebro River as far as the Pyrenees Mountains.
After the war, thousands of Moors flood the Iberian Peninsula and settled. This brought the first Islamic leadership and civilization of Europe by the black Moors from North Africa.
Between the 11th century and 12th century (The Conquest by the Almoravid and Almohad Confederations).
The moors operated two distinct systems of leadership which gave birth to the Almoravid Dynasty and Almohad Caliphate. The Almoravids is a confederation of Muslim Berbers and Magreb who ruled from one family while the Almohads are a confederation of Berbers and Magreb under the leadership of an elected ruler.
The Almoravids was founded by the Abdallah Ibn Yasin and Yahya Ibn Ibrahim in the 11th century. This group of Moors moved to Spain when the Spanish Muslims leaders sent a plea to Yusuf ibn Tashufin, the then Almoravid leader to come and help them in repelling the Christain Kingdoms lead by Alfonso VI of Castile and Leon and Alfonso I of Aragon as they were almost taking over the city of Toledo. Under Yusuf ibn Tashufin, the Almoravids repelled the Castilians, took control of the whole Al-Andalús and enforced the Almoravid Rule on Muslims in Spain. Prior to this, The Almoravids had defeated Morocco by conquest and established their capital at Marrakech.
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, their rule united Spain and Africa but was shortlived when they failed to stop the rebellion of the Almohads. As a result, Marrakech failed and was replaced with the leadership of the Almohads both in Morocco and Spain.
The Almohad movement was founded under the leadership and religious teachings of Ibn Tumart. They formed a Berber state originating from Tinmel in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. After conquering the Almoravids in Morocco, they extended their conquest to the Iberian Peninsula (Al-Andalús), the cities of Sevilla, Córdoba, Badajoz and Almería. According to Andalucia, Marrakech was again retained as their centre of power and, as religious reformation was an integral part of their culture, their courts in that city and also in Sevilla became significant focal points of Islamic learning.
Developments Made By Moors to the European Society
According to Kiaafriqa, these were the notable developments that the moors brought to Europe in their 800 years of leadership.
The Moors introduced astronomical instrument called an astrolabe which was used in measuring the position of the stars and planets.
They introduced paved pedestrian sidewalks, Public baths and the illumination of the streets with lamps.
The Great Mosque of Córdoba (La Mezquita) was built by Moor.
The Moors brought education to Europe. They had 17 universities, 70 libraries all scattered in Almeria, Cordova, Granada, Juen, Malaga, Seville, and Toledo.
With this, they made education to be Universal.
Many Moorish words like alkaline, algebra, influenza etc were absorbed in the Spanish language.
The Moors introduced earliest versions of musical instruments, including the Lute or el oud, the guitar or kithara and the Lyre.
The Moors introduced paper to Europe and Arabic numerals, which replaced the clumsy Roman system.
The Moors introduced many new crops including the orange, lemon, peach, apricot, fig, sugar cane, dates, ginger and pomegranate as well as saffron, sugar cane, cotton, silk and rice which remain some of Spain’s main products today.
The Moorish rulers lived in sumptuous palaces, one of such is ‘Alhambra’ in Granada. Alhambra was the seat of Muslim rulers from the 13th century to the end of the 15th century. The Alhambra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.