Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume III: The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries
XII: The Spanish and Portuguese reconquest, 1095-1492, pp. 396-456 PDF (13.3 MB)
398 A HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES III of moving towards national autonomy; the similarly linked monar chies of Aragon and Navarre; and the foremost Catalan counties of Barcelona and Urgel. The Leonese-Castilian sovereigns Ferdinand I (1035/1038—1065) and Alfonso VI (1065/1072—1109) had at tempted to construct a pan-Iberian federation of both Christian and Moslem states based upon the ancient doctrine that the rulers of Leon, as authentic heirs of the Visigothic kings, were both reges and imperatores Hispaniae (or Hispaniarum), entitled to exercise an im perial hegemony over all other peninsular princes. 1 But this thesis met with considerable opposition from the other Christian states, so that in the year of Clermont it was plain that Christian unity would remain a precarious ideal and that the reconquest, conceptually the liberation of the peninsula from Islam but in practice much more a contest for immediate secular prizes, would be fought by indepen dent, often hostile, powers. Nevertheless, despite such disunity, Christian Iberia's increasing population and resources, maturing polit ical, social, and economic institutions, tightening religious, cultural, and commercial ties with trans-Pyrenean Europe, and growing con fidence that the reconquest was no longer a mere struggle for survival—all created strong pressures to gain lands and spoils, power, prestige, and satisfaction of religious ideals, across the open frontier to the south. Under Alfonso VI indeed, especially after Toledo's capitulation (1085), the reconquest had seemed destined to a quick success, with the Moorish principalities of al-Andalus (Moslem Spain) all being reduced to vassalage as the prelude to complete absorption. Instead Iberian Christendom—and this is the second fundamental change affecting the reconquest of the late eleventh century—was to be drawn into a protracted conflict with the three successive North African Berber empires of the Murãbits, the Muwahhids, and the Marinids. From the start, the Murãbit intrusion of Yüsuf ibn-Tashfin (1061—1106), commencing in 1086, set the pattern: replacement of weak, divided Hispano-Moslem "Taifa" (from Arabic mulük at tawã'if) kingdoms by an aggressive imperial power based on the opposite side of the Strait of Gibraltar and possessing abundant manpower reserves in the fighting tribes of the Maghrib and the Sahara. Insofar as this meant Africanization of al-Andalus and of the Islamic counter-reconquest, it rekindled in the peninsula, under Mo roccan leadership incarnating Murãbit reformist fervor, the ideal of the holy war (jihãd) against the Christians; and, to the extent that 1. R. Menendez Pidal, El Imperio hispanico y los Cinco Reinos (Madrid, 1950).
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