Spanish Reconquest Overview (03:38)
Residents of a small town in Spain reenact the struggle between Islam and Christendom. In this film, Simon Sebag Montefiore will examine the 400 year holy war through historic sites in Granada and Seville.
El Cid (02:10)
After three centuries of Muslim domination, the Caliphate disintegrated into warring states. In 1079, Castile knight Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar collected gold and tribute from Emir al-Mutamid in Seville, who recruited him to defeat rival emirate Granada. He fought for Muslims and Christians.
Battle of Cabra (03:23)
Montefiore visits the site where El Cid defeated Granada for Seville. He overreached his position and King Alfonso VI banished him from court. Historian Juan Cobo Avilar explains that Christian propaganda made him a hero to strengthen the Castilian nation.
First Step toward Reconquest (02:38)
There were no true heroes during the holy war. In 1085, Alfonso VI seized Toledo, a seat of Islamic scholarship, and declared himself emperor of Christianity and Islam while planning to reconquer Spain for Christendom.
Battle of Sagrajas (02:46)
Al-Andalus emirs united against Christian forces under the fundamentalist Almoravid Dynasty. Yusuf ibn Tashfin arrived in 1086 with 15,000 warriors and defeated Alfonso VI near the Portuguese border.
Holy War (02:17)
The Almoravids brought Al-Andalus emirs under Marrakesh control. Seville Emir al-Mutamid retired to Morocco, rather than live under Christian rule. El Cid died an independent prince in Valencia in 1099, as Christian armies conquered Jerusalem.
Almohad Caliphate (02:48)
In 1147, a militant Islamic sect invaded Al-Andalus and established a new order in Seville, massacring Jews and Christians and constructing the Giralda Minaret. After a century, a Christian coalition took Seville in 1248.
Nasrid Dynasty (02:08)
By 1250, Granada was the last Islamic kingdom in Western Europe. Montefiore visits a 14th century hammam symbolizing their decadence. They compromised politically to survive, but concealed their weakness behind a facade of grandeur.
Granada's fortress turned palace was built by the Nasrid Dynasty as a swan song of Islamic Spain. They tried to recreate the glory of their predecessors, but used cheap materials. Queen Isabella's crest symbolizes the end of Al-Andalus.
Foundation of Catholic Spain (03:16)
By the 1460s, Christian kings were too weak to take Al-Andalus. Isabella of Castile secretly arranged to marry Ferdinand of Aragon; they shared faith and political ambition. After a decade of capturing the Granada Emirate, they marched on the city in 1491.
Treaty of Granada (02:03)
Muhammad XII resisted Ferdinand and Isabella for eight months. In 1492, Granada fell to Catholic Spain; Christopher Columbus witnessed the royal procession into the city. Hear the legend of the Moor's Last Sigh.
Catholic Kings (02:34)
Ferdinand and Isabella regarded Granada's capture as a crusade victory. Columbus embarked to find a route to conquer Jerusalem from the east while the monarchs planned to purify Spain of Jews and Muslims as part of a divine destiny.
Religious Persecution (03:07)
In March 1492, Ferdinand and Isabella ordered Jews to leave Spain or convert to Catholicism; approximately 150,000 converted and 150,000 migrated. The Toledo Archbishop purged Granada of Muslim culture. Isabella believed Muslims would convert; Moriscos continued some Islamic architectural traditions.
In 1480, Isabella and Ferdinand established a system of forced conversion of Muslims and Jews in Seville. Religious police, called familiars, used ways to identify false converts like testing whether they would eat pork. Inquisitors made fortunes through extortion.
Impurity of Blood (01:45)
Between 1492 and 1530, 15,000 Spaniards were tortured and 2,000 executed; most were Jews. Montefiore visits dungeons where conversos and crypto-Jews were held to extract confessions, incriminate others, or settle personal scores.
Genealogical Links to the Inquisition (05:12)
Some conversos secretly kept the Jewish faith. At the Casa de Sefarad in Cordoba, Montefiore learns the fate of his Sephardic ancestors from twelve generations back; some were betrayed and executed for heresy.
Catholic Kings' Legacy and Succession (04:52)
Montefiore visits Isabella and Ferdinand's tombs in Granada. Their daughter Juana married Phillip I. In 1526, their son Charles V married Isabella of Portugal. Columbus' arrival in the Americas led to colonization, funding Spain's empire and century long military domination.
Credits: The Making of Spain: Reconquest (00:43)
Credits: The Making of Spain: Reconquest
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