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In 711, Muslims began entering the Iberian peninsula. With a mission to end tyrannical rule, King Roderick. Muslims are led by Thariq bin Ziyad’s leadership across the ocean which separates Morocco and the Spanish mainland. Seven years later, most of the Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal now) was successfully occupied by Muslims. And that power continued for more than 700 years.

In the 900s, Islam reached its peak in the land of Andalusia. More than 5 million Muslims live in the area, with a percentage reaching 80% of the population. A strong kingdom at that time, the Umayyad II became the sole ruler in the area and became the most advanced kingdom and the most stable social conditions in mainland Europe. However, this social and political golden age is not eternal. In the year 1000 AD, this work collapsed and split into several small countries called tha-ifah.

These Muslim ta’ifahs are regions that have their own autonomy and are very vulnerable to being attacked by European Christian kingdoms in the North. For two hundred years, one by one thaifah was conquered by European Christian kingdoms (Reconquista). And finally in the 1240s, there was only one Islamic empire in the blue continent, at the southern end of the land of Andalusia, that is the Kingdom of Granada.

This short article will explain how this last Islamic empire in Europe collapsed.

Emirate of Granada

During the reconquista, the Islamic empire one by one fell into the territory of the Christian kingdom which attacked from the North. Starting from the 1000s to the 1200s, the main cities such as Cordoba, Sevilla, Toledo take turns mastered. The al-Murabitun and Muwahidun movements (which later became a daulah pen) in North Africa, also contributed to helping European Christians, although the split of Muslims was the main factor that led to the collapse of Islam in Granada.

In that era, in the year 1200, Granada had managed to avoid the conquest of European empires. After the fall of the City of Cordoba, Granada agreed to an agreement with the Kingdom of Castile, one of the strongest Christian kingdoms in Europe. The agreement contained Granada’s willingness and submission by paying gold tribute to the Kingdom of Castile every year. In return, Castile guarantees Granada’s independence in their internal affairs and is free from the threat of the Castile invasion.

In addition to paying tribute, another factor that helped Granada avoid being assessed was its geographical location. The kingdom is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains which became a natural fortress protecting the kingdom from the invasion of outsiders.

War of the Kingdom of Granada

For more than 250 years, Granada has remained subject to Castile by paying tribute. But being surrounded by unfriendly Christian kingdoms still threatened Granada. They are never safe from the threat of conquest.
Islamic relics in Spain
Islamic relics in Spain

The fate of the fall of Granada began, when King Ferdinand of Aragon married Princess Isabella of Castile. This marriage brings together the two strongest kingdoms on the Iberian peninsula that knit one ideal, conquer Granada and erase the traces of Islam on the blue continent.

In 1482 the battle between the Kingdom of Christian Spain and the emirate of Granada began. Even though in terms of the amount and strength of Granada the material is far behind, but the fighting spirit of the Muslim community of Granada is huge, they fight with courage. The Spanish historian says, “Muslims devote all their souls to war, they are like brave people with a strong determination to defend themselves, their wives, and their children.” Likewise Granada civil society, they participated in wars with brave, defend their homeland and maintain the existence of Islam on European soil.

At that time, Christians were united, no longer divided as they had in the past. Unlike the case with Granada which actually faced political upheaval. Muslim leaders and governors tend to elbow each other, have different ambitions, and try to overthrow each other. Among them are those who act as Christian spies with the lure of rewards for wealth, land and power. Worse than that, in 1483, Sultan Muhammad, the son of the Sultan of Granada, made a rebellion against his father, triggering a civil war.

King Ferdinand really took advantage of this situation to make Granada weaker, he supported Sultan Muhammad’s rebellion against his father and family members. Christian troops were deployed by Ferdinand to join in the war with Sultan Muhammad face family members. Finally Sultan Muhammad succeeded in conquering members of the kingdom and mastering Granada. But this power is only limited to the City of Granada, because Christian forces suppress and take out rural areas.

End of Granada

Not long after mastering Granada, Sultan Muhammad received a letter from Raja Ferdinand to hand Granada to his territory. The sultan was surprised by King Ferdinand’s request, because he thought King Ferdinand would give the territory of Granada to him and let him become king in the region.

Finally Sultan Muhammad realized that he was only used as a pawn by Ferdinand to weaken and facilitate the way Christian forces conquered Granada. Muhammad sought to mobilize power by allying with Islamic warriors in North Africa and the Middle East to fight against European Christian forces. But the help Muhammad expected was not in line with his expectations. The Ottoman Turks only sent a small group of navies that did not have much influence on the strength of European Christians.

In 1491, Granada was surrounded by troops of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. From his palace tower, Muhammad saw a large number of Christian troops surrounded and prepared to attack Granada.

Muhammad was forced to sign a letter of surrender to Granada by the Christian allied forces. This event occurred in November 1491.
end of granada


On January 2, 1492, Christian troops entered the City of Granada. These troops entered the Alhambra palace, they installed flags and symbols of the European Christian kingdom on the palace walls as a sign of victory, and in the highest tower of the Alhambra palace they displayed a cross flag so that the people of Granada knew who their rulers were now. The situation was truly tense, the Muslim people of Granada did not dare to leave their homes and the streets were deserted from the hustle and bustle of humans.

After that, Sultan Muhammad was exiled. While traveling, on the top of the mountain, he turned to his former territory while shedding tears. His mother who saw the situation was unsympathetic to his son, he even scolded him by saying, “Don’t cry like a woman, because you are not able to defend Granada like a man”.

Christians promised tolerance and peace to the Islamic community of Granada, even though they later canceled the agreement themselves. Thousands of Muslims were killed and others fled across the ocean to North Africa.

That is the end of Islamic civilization in Spain that has lasted more than seven centuries. The light of Islam disappeared from the land with the expulsion and death of the Muslims there, then replaced with Christian migrants who occupied the area.

Footsteps of Andalusian Islamic Spain.

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