By Peter Burton
The Castle Studies Group Journal, No 21 (2007-8)
Introduction: When the invading Muslim army arrived in the Iberian Peninsula (modern day Spain and Portugal) in AD 711 they found a country largely ruled by Visigoths who had themselves occupied the area after the fall of the Roman Empire. It was a Christian land and even today substantial remains of Visigothic churches, monasteries and religious artefacts can still be seen.
Of the military buildings of the pre-Islamic period however, little now survives. What is clear though is that resistance to the invading Muslim army was slight. Largely because of the fragmentation of a central authority in Iberia and the absence of any co-ordinated response to the arrival of the Muslims their initial success quickly spread throughout the peninsula.