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Baldwin, M. W. (ed.) / Volume I: The first hundred years

II: Conflict in the Mediterranean before the First Crusade,   pp. [30]-[79] PDF (10.8 MB)

Page 34

shores of Galicia during this reign, and Alfonso had to over come a revolt
by the Galician nobility. Discovery of what were believed to be the remains
of St. James, and the founding of the shrine at Compostela, had even greater
significance for the future than for Alfonso's own day. Not only was the
possession of the relics a great inspiration to the Christian cause, but
the shrine of Santiago de Compostela became a pilgrimage center of major
importance for the Christian world, and the numerous pilgrims insured a substantial
flow of wealth into Galicia. Alfonso turned to Charlemagne for alliance against
the Moslems, and styled himself a client of the Frankish king. Although the
reign of Alfonso II added little or no territory, its length and vigor and
boldness proved the durability of the Asturian monarchy. 
 During the first decade of the ninth century, the foundation of the Frankish
March of Spain was completed. The forces of Charlemagne had captured Gerona
in 785 and Barcelona in 801, and subsequent campaigns carried the conquest
to the Ebro. Peace was concluded with the Moslems in 810. Among the several
counties established by the Franks Barcelona soon became preeminent. With
the relaxation of monarchical controls in the course of the century, its
counts became in effect in dependent. 
 The Basques of the western Pyrenees had traditionally op posed both Moslem
and Frankish control. The reconquest of Navarre was therefore in the first
instance a conquest from the Frankish counts. The chieftains at Pamplona
found allies in the Banu-Qasi, the semi-independent Moslem princes of Saragossa.
Liberated from the Franks, they were able to find allies in the counts of
Cerdagne and Aragon for protection against the Moslems. 
 Ordoño I (850-866) was a vigorous campaigner. He overran and pillaged
the territory between Salamanca and Saragossa— southern Leon, Castile,
and the southern portion of what was later to become the kingdom of Aragon.
He is particularly significant for rebuilding and repopulating devastated
and de serted places and areas within his borders, among them Tuy on the
northern bank of the lower Minho, Astorga in Leon, and the city of Leon itself.
Orense on the Minho in Galicia was lost and won again. The rebuilding of
Leon, which was to become the new capital of the dynasty, may have symbolized
the emer gence of the monarchy from the narrow limits of Asturias and Cantabria.

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