Islam first came to Spain in the early 8th century, when the Muslim Umayyad dynasty conquered the region. Prior to this, the Iberian Peninsula (comprising modern-day Spain and Portugal) had been inhabited by a number of different cultures, including the Romans, Visigoths, and various tribal groups.
The Umayyad conquest of Spain was led by Tariq ibn Ziyad, a general who landed at the southern coast of Spain in 711 with a small force of around 7,000 soldiers. The Visigothic king, Roderic, was quickly defeated, and Tariq's soldiers pushed northwards, conquering much of the peninsula within a few years.
The Umayyads established an Islamic state in Spain, and they brought with them the language, culture, and religion of Islam. They also brought significant technological and cultural innovations, such as irrigation systems and the use of paper.
The Umayyads ruled Spain for several centuries, and during this time, the region experienced a period of prosperity and cultural flourishing known as the "Golden Age of Islam in Spain." This period saw the development of a distinctive Islamic culture in Spain, known as al-Andalus, which was influenced by both Arab and local traditions.
One of the most notable features of al-Andalus was the coexistence of Muslims, Christians, and Jews, who lived and worked together in relative harmony. This period saw significant cultural exchange and the development of a rich and diverse intellectual tradition, with contributions from scholars of all three faiths.
In the 11th century, the Umayyad dynasty in Spain collapsed, and the region was divided into a number of smaller states, known as taifas. During this period, Spain was invaded by the Christian kingdoms of the north, and a series of wars known as the Reconquista (reconquest) took place. These wars lasted for several centuries, and by the late 15th century, the Christian kingdoms had reconquered the entire peninsula, with the exception of the kingdom of Granada, which fell in 1492.
The reconquest of Spain led to the expulsion of many Muslims and Jews, and it marked the end of the "Golden Age of Islam in Spain." However, the legacy of al-Andalus lived on, and many aspects of Islamic culture, such as architecture, literature, and music, continue to influence modern Spain.
Today, Spain is a predominantly Catholic country, but there is a small Muslim minority, and there are also many cultural and historical sites related to the Islamic period in Spain. These include the Alhambra, a palace and fortress in Granada that was built by the Nasrid dynasty in the 14th century, and the Great Mosque of Cordoba, a mosque that was built in the 8th century and later converted into a cathedral.
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