History Files


European Kingdoms





Umayyad / Omayyid Amirs of Spain
AD 756 - 912

After being conquered from the Visigoths, the main portion of Iberia was part of the Islamic empire between the period 711-756 to the thirteenth century, although there was still some resistance to the invaders in the form of the border counties of Navarre and Barcelona, and the Christian kingdom of Asturias.

After the Abbasid overthrow and massacre of the Umayyads in 749, Spain was one place where Abbasid authority was never asserted. Instead, the Umayyad prince, AburRahman, escaping the massacre, established himself and his line. Eventually, in response to the Fatimid Shiite Caliphate, the Spanish Umayyads proclaimed their own caliphate.

Cadiz (Morrish Qadis) in southern Spain, the former Phoenician city of Gadir, was expanded to become a major naval port.

(Additional information from Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia, 1985 Edition (Revised 1993), from La Ciudadela de Barcelona: Cataluña vindicada, Lluís Cutchet, from Los Condes de Barcelona Vindicados, y Cronología y Genealogía de los Reyes de España considerados como Soberianos Independientes de su Marca. Tomo I: abraza los siete primeros, desde el año 874 al 1035, Prosper de Bofarull, 1836 (reprinted 1990), and from External Links: Encyclopaedia.com, and Lleida Tourism, and Enciclopèdia Catalana, SAU, and Representació de SE Copríncep Francès (in French and Catalan).)

756 - 788

AburRahman I

Grandson of Hisham. Escaped to Spain during the massacre.


The Frankish emperor, Charlemagne, campaigns against the Arabs in Spain. Tradition asserts that he grants the Andorran people a charter in return for their help in fighting the Moors of the Islamic empire, possibly following this campaign. Confirmation seems to come around 785 when the county of Urgel is created as a division of the march (border area) of Toulouse following territorial seizures from the Umayyads by the Franks.

The Battle of Roncevaux Pass
The Song of Roland (La Chanson de Roland) was an eleventh century poem by an anonymous author which covered the events of the Battle of Roncevaux Pass in 778, shown here in an illustration from a fourteenth century manuscript


However, while the Frankish army is returning northwards in 778, Charlemagne's rearguard is cut off and attacked by rebellious Basques at the Battle of Roncevaux Pass. The commander of the Frankish forces is Roland, military governor of the Breton March (referred to by Einhard as Brittannici limitis praefectus (prefect of the borders of Brittany)). He and his men stand their ground, falling in such valiant fashion that the example is later incorporated into the knightly code of chivalry (Roland is immortalised in The Song of Roland).

788 - 799

Hisham I

799 - 822

al-Hakam I

806 - 810

The first of a series of incursions onto Corsica from Moorish Spain takes place. They are defeated by one of Charlemagne's lieutenants, only to return in 807. Burchard, Charlemagne's constable, defeats them this time, but again, in 810, they return. An alliance of local nobles and Franks deals them a decisive defeat this itme, virtually wiping out their forces.

822 - 852

AbdurRahman II


Taking advantage of the chaos in the Frankish empire, the Umayyads invade Barcelona and penetrate Cerdanya as they attack Narbonne. Sunifred, count of Urgel (and master of the Andorrans) and Cerdanya, stops the invasion dead in its tracks.

852 - 886

Muhammad I


The amirs lose control of Leon to the kingdom of Asturias & Galicia.

886 - 888


888 - 912



In response to the Fatimids establishing an independent caliphate in Tunisia, the Omayyads declare their own Caliphate in Spain.

Umayyad / Omayyad Caliphs of Spain (Cordoba)
AD 912 - 1031

Assumed the caliphate in opposition to the Fatimids.

912 - 961

Abdur Rahman III


Sancho I of Leon removes the ruling counts of Portugal from power and seeks support from the Omayyids to protect him from retaliation.

961 - 976

al-Hakam II

976 - 1008

Hisham II


The county of Coimbra is re-conquered by the Omayyids. Portugal again becomes the front line between Moor and Christian in western Iberia.

1008 - 1009

Muhammad II



1010 - 1012

Hisham II


1012 - 1017



1017 - 1021

(Ali ibn Hamud)

1021 - 1022

AbdurRahman IV



1022 - 1023

AbdurRahman V

1023 - 1024

Muhammad III

1024 - 1027

(Yahya ibn Ali)

1027 - 1031

Hisham III


With an expansion of the Almoravid empire that has not been foreseen by anyone, Yusuf ibn Tashufin crosses over into Islamic Spain. Having received an appeal for help from the minor Islamic princes of the fractured kingdom there, he saves them from immediate defeat by the Christians of the north by defeating Alfonso VI of Leon at the Battle of Zallaqa. However, he is appalled by the lack of dedication shown by the Muslim princes to the tenets of their faith.


Yusuf returns to Spain and defeats the minor princes one by one, first at Cordoba, then at Seville, and finally at Zaragoza. Only Zaragoza is not conquered despite the defeat of its ruler. The Almoravids add southern and eastern Spain to their empire, uniting a great area of western Africa and southern Europe under one ruler for the first time since the days of the Roman empire.


Ali ibn Yusuf succeeds as ruler of the Almoravid empire, and he appoints his brother, Tamin ibn Yusuf, as governor of Al-Andalus.

1107 - ?

Tamin ibn Yusuf

Brother of Almoravid sultan. Governor of Al-Andalus.

1112 - 1139

The Moors are pushed ever farther south as the county of Portugal is aggressively expanded by its count who, in 1139, is proclaimed king by his troops after a resounding victory over the Omayyids at the Battle of Ourique.


The future Almoravid ruler, Tashufîn ibn Alî, is appointed by his father, the reigning sultan, as governor of Granada and Almeria.

1129 - 1143

Tashufîn ibn Alî

Son of Almoravid sultan. Governor of Granada & Almeria.


After almost twenty years of laying siege to Marrakech, the Almohads finally break through the city's mighty walls. They begin their reign by tearing down all of the Almoravid mosques in the city, citing that they are not properly aligned with Mecca so they must be rebuilt. All that remains of Almoravid power is in the form of the Banu Ghaniya in the Balearic Islands which they continue to occupy.

1149 - 1229

The collateral line assumes the Fatamid throne in Tunisia and is no longer considered to be Shiite Imams. The Almohads occupy Tunis, stretching the empire farther east than the Almoravids had done before them. They also encroach into modern Libya, keeping mainly nearer the coast.

1170 - 1171

Almohad Caliph Yusuf I abu Yaqub invades Spain, conquering the region of al-Andalus (Andalusia) and attacking both Catalonia and Valencia. In the following year he establishes a capital at Seville, his second after Marrakech.


Marching across the Straits of Gibraltar with an army to besiege Santarem, Almohad Caliph Yusuf I abu Yaqub is wounded by a crossbow bolt fired by the forces of Afonso I of Portugal. He dies soon afterwards, on 29 July 1184. The Christian victory is a major success, and a major blow for the presence of the Almohads in Spain.


Caliph Muhammad suffers a devastating defeat by the Christian Iberians of Aragon, Castile, Navarre, and Portugal at Los Navos de Tolosa. Humiliated, they are forced to give way, and their army never fully recovers from the disaster. In the east, the empire fades as local tribes begin to rebel against Almohad rule. Libya soon falls out of Almohad control. The rebel areas stop paying taxes, so internal expenditure is slowly crippled, and control over more territory is gradually lost, along with domination of the western Mediterranean Sea.

Battle of Los Navos de Tolosa
Ongoing battles between the Almohads and the Iberian Christians would end up in North African defeat at the Battle of Los Navos de Tolosa in 1212

? - 1224

Abdallah Abu Muhammad

Governor of al-Andalus. Became Almohad caliph (1224-1227).


The selection of Abdul-Wahid as caliph of the empire is disputed by various members of the Almohads. Abdallah Abu Muhammad arrives to clear out the group at court that had forged ahead with the selection, and murders the caliph. His usurpation, whatever the legal implications, triggers a lasting period of instability within the empire which eventually contributes to its downfall.

1228 - 1229

Under Caliph Idris, the Almohads effect the abandonment of Spain in order to secure their hold on the rest of the empire. Only the Nasrid kings of Granada remain there in the far south.

Nasrid Kings of Granada
AD 1238 - 1492

Granada was the small Moorish kingdom which survived the fall of Islamic control during the Reconquista of Spain, surviving the expulsion of the Almohads. A client of the increasingly powerful kingdom of Castile, it only survived because it was the gateway to imports of gold from Niger in Africa.

These particular Nasrids should not be confused with the emirs of the same name who governed the territory around Seistan in the eleventh century AD.

1238 - 1273

Mohammad I


The ancient city of Cadiz (formerly Gadir) is conquered by Alfonso X of Castile.

1273 - 1303

Mohammad II

1303 - 1309

Mohammad III

1309 - 1312


1312 - 1325

Ismail I

1325 - 1333

Mohammad IV

1333 - 1354

Yusef I

1354 - 1359

Mohammad V

1359 - 1361

Ismail II



1361 - 1391

Mohammad V


1391 - 1396

Yusef II

1396 - 1408

Mohammad VI

1408 - 1425

Yusef III

1425 - 1427

Mohammad VII


Mohammad VIII

1427 - 1431

Mohammad VII



Ibn Alhamar

1432 - 1445

Mohammad VII


1445 - 1454

Ibn Ostman

1454 - 1456

Ibn Ismail

1456 - 1482

Mulay Hasen

1482 - 1492

Abu Abdullah / Boabdil


The Nasrids are conquered by Castile & Aragon, marking the end of Islamic Spain. One of the leading Spanish soldiers is Juan Ponce de Leon, who becomes the first European to visit Florida, helps conquer Hispaniola, and becomes the first governor of Puerto Rico.