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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)

Page 402

bank of the Tagus estuary, it ran north toward the Mondego river, struck
east below Coimbra, followed the middle Tagus past Talavera and Toledo almost
to Molina de Aragón, and turned north to flank the Hüdid Taifa
kingdom of Saragossa. This long border of Leon-Castile, reaching halfway
down the peninsula to the approaches to the Guadiana plains and the gates
of Andalusia, stood far in advance of its counterpart in eastern Spain, where
Saragossa and Lerida still penned the Aragonese and Catalans close to the
Pyrenees, barring access to the middle Ebro valley; even on the Mediterranean
coast the county of Barcelona did not yet cross the Llobregat river just
below its capital. 
 What actually did change the post-Zallacan situation drastically in the
Moslems' favor was Yusuf ibn-Tãshfin's decision, following two further
crossings to Spain (1089, 1090), to depose the Taifa kings, annex their territories
to his Maghribin domains, and assume perma nent military responsibility for
throwing back the continuing Chris tian offensives in the Tagus and upper
Ebro valleys and near the Cid's Valencia. The shuttling of African garrisons
across the strait and progressive Murabit occupation of Granada, Seville,
and other Taifa capitals speedily provoked violent reaction all along the
reconquest frontier, with grave setbacks for the Christian cause. In 1093
Alfonso VI's Burgundian son-in-law count Raymond suffered a defeat by which
Santarem, Lisbon, and Sintra were lost and the Leonese-Cas tilian southwest
exposed to imminent invasion, compelling the kingemperor to place all the
Portuguese territory below the Minho in the hands of count Henry, the Burgundian
husband of his illegitimate daughter Teresa (1094/1095). Alfonso himself
lost the battle of Consuegra (1097); the death of the Cid, defeated at Jativa
(1099), forced abandonment of Valencia by 1102; and, to cap these misfor
tunes, an attack upon Moslem-held Uclés in 1108 resulted in the death
of the imperial heir-designate, Sancho (or Sanchuelo), Alfonso VI's half-Moorish
son by Zaida, the widowed daughter-in-law of the late king al-Mu'tamid of
Seville. This last event adversely affected the reconquest for years, since
in 1109 it brought to the Leonese-Castil ian throne the infanta Urraca, count
Raymond's widow, and her second husband king Alfonso I of Aragon-Navarre.
The early break down of this unfortunate marriage was followed by years of
destruc tive war among the partisans of each estranged spouse, of the queen-empress's
young son by count Raymond, Alfonso Raimündez (the future Alfonso VII),
and of count Henry and Teresa of Portugal. Only the failure of the Murãbits
to launch major offensives, and sturdy resistance along the middle Tagus
by veteran border fighters 

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