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How Spanish Replaced Andalusian?

posted on: Jun 3, 2021



“Muslim Spain had written one of the brightest pages in the history of Medieval Europe. Her influence had passed through Provence into the other countries of Europe, bringing into birth new poetry and a new culture, and it was from here that Christian scholars received what of Greek philosophy and science they had to stimulate their mental activity up to the time of the Renaissance.” Thomas Arnold/ The City of Cordoba


By: Ahmed Abu Sultan/Arab America Contributing Writer    Andalusia is the southern autonomous community in Peninsular Spain. It is the most populous, and the second-largest autonomous community in the country. The Andalusian autonomous community is officially recognized as historical nationality. However, this name stemmed from an Arabic origin centuries before the Christian Crusader kings claimed rule over the Iberian peninsula. During that time, it was called Al-Andalus. It was not just the southern community, but rather the entire Iberian culture and people. Al-Andalus was the name of the Iberian Peninsula during the Muslim rule, it is used by modern historians as an umbrella term for the former Islamic states in Iberia. It was then that the culture of Arabs was forever imprinted into the Iberia and its people. However, that culture was rewritten and transformed into something that suited the Crusader kings, which is why Spanish replaced Andalusian.


Following the Umayyad conquest of Visigoth Hispania, Al-Andalus, then at its greatest extent, was divided into five administrative units, corresponding roughly to modern Andalusia: Portugal and Galicia, Castile and León, Navarre, Aragon, and Catalonia, and the Languedoc-Roussillon area of Occitanie. As a political domain, it successively constituted a province of the Umayyad Caliphate, initiated by the Caliph Al-Walid I, the Emirate of Córdoba, the Caliphate of Córdoba, the Caliphate of Córdoba’s taifa kingdoms, the Sanhaja Amazigh Almoravid Empire, the second taifa period, the Masmuda Amazigh Almohad Caliphate, the third taifa period, and ultimately the Nasrid Emirate of Granada.

Under the Caliphate of Córdoba, al-Andalus was a beacon of learning, and the city of Córdoba, the largest in Europe, became one of the leading cultural and economic centers throughout the Mediterranean Basin, Europe, and the Islamic world. Achievements that advanced Islamic and Western science came from al-Andalus, including major advances in trigonometry, astronomy, surgery, such as Abulcasis Al Zahrawi, pharmacology Avenzoar, and agronomy. Al-Andalus became a major educational center for Europe and the lands around the Mediterranean Sea as well as a conduit for cultural and scientific exchange between the Islamic and Christian worlds. It was one of the founding points that allowed Muslim enlightenment to immigrate from the Arab world into the West. As a result, began lifting the clouds of darkness that covered Europe for over a millennium.

“In the land where science was once supreme, the Spanish doctors became noted for nothing but their ignorance and incapacity. The arts of Toledo and Almeria faded into insignificance.” Stanley Lane-Poole/ This image represents the brutal forced conversions of Muslims before their expulsion.


The Reconquista was a period in the history of the Iberian Peninsula of about 780 years between the Umayyad conquest of Hispania in 711, the expansion of the Christian kingdoms throughout Hispania, and the fall of the Nasrid kingdom of Granada in 1492. The beginning of the Reconquista is traditionally marked with the Battle of Covadonga, the first known victory in Hispania by Christian military forces since the 711 military invasions undertaken by combined Arab forces. In that battle, a group led by Hispano-Roman nobleman Pelagius and consisting of Hispano-Visigoth refugees, the remnants of their Hispano-Gothic aristocracy, and mountain tribes, including mainly Astures, Galicians, Cantabri, and Basques, defeated a Muslim army in the mountains of northern Hispania and established the independent Christian Kingdom of Asturias. For almost eight centuries, the Christian kings waged war to claim Iberia from the Muslims.

When the government of Córdoba disintegrated in the early 11th century, a series of petty successor states known as taifas emerged. The northern kingdoms took advantage of this situation and struck deep into Al-Andalus; they fostered civil war, intimidated the weakened taifas, and made them pay large tributes for protection. After a Muslim resurgence in the 12th century, the great Moorish strongholds in the south fell to Christian forces in the 13th century after the decisive battle of Navas de Tolosa in 1212, Córdoba in 1236, and Seville in 1248, leaving only the Muslim enclave of Granada as a tributary state in the south. After 1491, the entire peninsula was controlled by Christian rulers. The conquest was followed by a series of edicts that forced the conversions of Muslims in Spain, who were later expelled from the Iberian peninsula by the decrees of King Philip III in 1609. 

“After Galileo was convicted (for heresy by the Spanish Inquisition) for his theory that the Earth revolved around the sun, … he replied, `Still, the Earth is moving.”/ An image of the inhumanity of the Spanish Inquisition.


So if the main purpose of this war was to reclaim the Christian land from their Muslim enemies, then why did they expel both Muslims and Jews alike? The name of this period is very politically polar towards extremist Catholic Christianity. It is very misleading to say that you are waging war for authority and profit when everyone who follows you believes they are sacrificing their lives in the name of God. However, this did not matter, because, after the expulsion of the Muslims from their homes and lands, they were entering a new stage of degradations and enslavement. After the Iberian victory over the Moors, the Iberian powers, Spain and Portugal didn’t stop their warring against the Muslims solely in their homelands. In contrast, they extended the conflict against Islam overseas. The Spanish under the Habsburg dynasty soon became the champions of Roman Catholicism in Europe and the Mediterranean against the encroaching threat of the Ottoman Empire.

In a similar vein, the Portuguese also extended the Reconquista, this time against Muslim states overseas. The conquest of Ceuta marked the beginning of Portuguese expansion into Muslim Africa. Soon, the Portuguese also went into conflict with the Ottoman Caliphate in the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean, and Southeast Asia as the Portuguese conquered the Ottomans’ allies: the Sultanate of Adal in East Africa, the Sultanate of Delhi in South Asia, and the Sultanate of Malacca in Southeast Asia. Meanwhile, the Spanish also went to war against the Sultanate of Brunei in Southeast Asia. The Spanish sent expeditions from New Spain to conquer and Christianize the Philippines, then a territory of the Sultanate of Brunei. Brunei itself was assaulted during the Castilian War. Spain also went to war against the Sultanates of Sulu, Maguindanao, and Lanao in the Spanish-Moro Conflict. After all, they did not stop under the casus belli of Colonization. It is interesting how even though it was named the Reconquista which translates into the reconquest even though it was an excuse to Colonize the world and enslave its population.

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Arab America contributor, Ahmed Abu Sultan, reveals how history was written by the victors in the case of Muslim and Jewish expulsion from the Iberian peninsula. Since the 8th century, Arab and Berber cultures immigrated to Iberia during the Muslim conquest of the rapist Visigoth king Roderick due to the mistreatment of his subjects. From that point in time, a new culture was born in Al-Andalus that included people from all different religions and cultures. However, since Al-Andalus’s birth, holy war was waged by the Christian lords of Europe against the presence of Muslims and Jews in the Iberian Peninsula. They had support from all Christians alike who were oblivious to their true motives that unleashed two genocidal empires that resulted in the death of millions of Muslims, Native Americans, and other indigenous populations.