Iberian Uniqueness in the Arab Invasion of Spain

Iberian Uniqueness in the Arab Invasion of Spain

By James Tindle

Oklahoma Christian University Journal of Historical Studies, Vol.20 (2012)

Introduction: In the spring of the year AD 711, the Visigothic kingdom of Iberia was invaded and conquered by an army from the nearby Muslim Empire. This invasion and the ensuing conquest of the region the Arabs called Al-Andalus were only small portions of the aggressive Islamic expansion which was taking place across the known world. Although there were obvious similarities between the events of Arab conquest which took place in Iberia and those in other regions, Spain stands out in several dramatic ways. This paper will discuss five specific areas of the eighth century conquest and occupation in which one finds certain facets of Iberian uniqueness: 1) The composition of the Muslim invasion force; 2) Some Arab occupational policies; 3) The rebellion of Abd al-Aziz against the Caliph; 4) The formation of the realm of Asturias; and 5) The transformation of Al-Andalus into the Umayyad Caliphate.

Before beginning a discussion of the events, though, it is important to take a look at the sources from which much of this material comes. The two main sources which this paper references on this subject are the anonymous Chronicle of 754 and the work of the Arab historian, Ahmed ibn Mohammed Al-Makkari. Both of these chronicles, for reasons which will be explained later, can provide very valuable insights and information for a discussion of this topic.

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