The Iberian Peninsula in the 8th Century

The Iberian Peninsula in the 8th Century

Above is a map which estimates the borders of the Muslim territories in Spain and the kingdom of Asturias at the height of the Islamic conquest of Iberia in 720. The Moors called their new territory Al-Andalus. During their reign, the Moors established rich cultural centers in Cordoba, Lisbon, and Seville. They integrated Jews into their society – as most of the Muslim world did during this time – and the two divergent faiths lived and worked cooperatively together for several centuries. In fact, the Caliphate of Cordoba brought in Jewish families because the Jews were revered as excellent lawyers, theologians, and merchants and were thought to be a beneficial addition to their society. During the years leading up to the Viking raids, hostilities between Asturias and Al-Andalus had escalated, and the Asturians had made significant gains in land. Both communities (Christian and Muslim) were highly militarized which made the Iberian peninsula a particularly dangerous and difficult area for Scandinavian raiders to attack. While some raids were successful, the Iberian peninsula remained relatively untouched by the influence of the Vikings.

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