The Arabs Granted Religious Freedom but the Christians Fought On

When the Moors crossed the Strait of Gibraltar and entered Spain in 711 A.D., they became the rulers of Andalusia and much of what we know today as modern Spain. At the time of this invasion, there were Christians and Jews who had built great wealth. The conquering Arabs (rulers of the Moors), were not interested in converting their subjects, they had come for wealth and prosperity so let the Jews and Christians go about their lives speaking their languages and observing their religions. The era of Moorish rule, though it had its infighting, was a time of great cultural growth. The arts and sciences flourished, Arabs and Jews developed friendships and had intellectual debates about math, poetry and religion. Leather working, blacksmithing and the building of spectacular mosques are remnants of this enlightened era.

But not all of Spain was conquered. The defeated Visigoths (Teutonic/Germanic tribes) were able to hold a tiny portion of territory in the far north of Spain. This region became the Christian fighting north and they did not give up. Eventually, through several centuries, the Christians regained all of Spain. And a few hundred years after that, Spain was in full blown religious oppressive mode and with Ferdinand and Isabella in charge, wrought great havoc on the Moors and Jews who lived in the Spanish provinces.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the historic novel The Celtic Prince Available here:

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