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Middle Ages Main Page 

 

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Political Organization In The Early Middle Ages

 

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The Church In The Early Middle Ages

 

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Conclusion to Pages 1, 2 & 3

 

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The Making Of Modern Britain

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Beginnings of the French Nation

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Re-conquest of Spain

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The Crusades

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The Church in the Middle Ages I

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The Intellectual Synthesis Of The High Middle Ages

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Conclusions

 

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Dancing In The Middle Ages

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The Middle Ages

Date:      1992

 

The Christian Reconquista In Spain 

The Christian Reconquista In Spain

 

     The unification of Spain was by a different route than that of either

France or England. The customary rivalry between the feudal aristocracy and

the royal authority was complicated by another significant element - a

religious crusade. National unification required the ejection of the Muslims,

with their foreign religion and culture. Unity also called for the

consolidation of several distinct Christian states.

 

     During the long struggle to drive the Muslims from Spain, a mounting

patriotism blended with a fanatical religious spirit. As early as the ninth

century northern Spain became caught up in a religious zeal centering around

Santiago de Compostela, reputed to be the burial site of the apostle St.

James. His bones were enshrined in a great cathedral visited by thousands of

pilgrims. Banners were consecrated there, and the battle cry of the Christian

soldiers became "Santiago" (a contraction of Sante Iago, St. James' name in

Spanish).

 

     Another symbol of national awakening was an eleventh-century soldier of

fortune, El Cid (Arabic for "lord"). His exploits against the Muslims thrilled

Europe, and he became the hero of the great Spanish epic, Poema de Mio Cid. In

the epic El Cid appears as a perfect Christian knight, although in reality he

was an adventurer seemingly more interested in booty and power than in

religion.

 

     In 1212, at Las Navas de Tolosa, the Christians achieved a decisive

victory over the Muslims. A few years later they captured first Cordova, whose

great mosque was reconsecrated as a cathedral, and then Seville. The conquest

of Seville effectively doubled the territory of the Spanish kingdom. By the

end of the thirteenth century, when the reconquest halted, until the latter

part of the fifteenth century, Moorish political control was confined to

Granada. The Christian victors allowed their new Muslim subjects to enjoy

their own religion and traditions. Muslim traders and artisans were protected

because of their economic value, and Muslim cultureart in particularwas often

adapted by the Christians.

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