The Dependent Emirate (716-756)
At first, al-Andalus was ruled by governors appointed by the Caliph of Damascus. However, from 740, a series of civil wars between Muslim groups in Al – Andalus could not be controlled.
The Islamic conquest of Europe stopped when they tried to cross the Pyrenees, and were defeated by the Frank Charles Martel at the Battle of Poitiers in 732.
The Independent Emirate of Córdoba (AD 756-929).
In 750, the Abbasids overthrew the Umayyads. Abbasids killed every member of the Umayyad family, except one of them, who fled from Damascus. This prince, Abd-al-Rahman I (756-788), became the Emir of Córdoba in 756. He refused to submit to the Abbasid caliph and this is the beginning of the Independent Emirate of Al-Andalus.
This was only a break-up in the political unity of Islam, as the caliph of Baghdad was still respected as the only religious leader.
For the next century and a half, his descendants continued as emirs of Córdoba.
After a period of social and political conflicts in Al-Andalus, as well as of continuous advance southwards of the Iberian Christian Kingdoms, Abd-al-Rahman III (912-961) restored Umayyad power throughout al-Andalus,
The Caliphate of Córboba (AD 929-1031).
In 929, Abd-al-Rahman III proclaimed himself Caliph, elevating the emirate to a position competing in prestige with the Abbasid caliph in Baghdad and the caliph in Tunis
This reign opened a splendour time. Hixem II preferred enjoying life in his palace than ruling the country, leaving every political decision to his vizier Al-Mansur. Al- Mansur reorganized the army and led several successful raids into the Christian Kingdoms (Salamanca, Barcelona, León, Astorga, Coimbra, etc).
The area around Córdoba and some other Andalusī cities with an agricultural economic sector by far the most advanced in Western Europe. Among European cities, Córdoba was only smaller than Constantinople and Baghdad in size and prosperity. Within the Islamic world, Córdoba was one of the leading cultural centres. The work of its philosophers and scientists would be a great influence on medieval Western Europe.
Muslims and non-Muslims often came from abroad to study in the famous libraries and universities of al-Andalus. The most noted of these was Michael Scot, who took the works of «Averroes» and «Avicenna» to Italy. This transmission was a great impact on the European Renaissance.
The First Taifa Period (AD 1031-1086).
The Córdoba Caliphate collapsed during a civil war between 1009 and 1013, although it was not finally abolished until AD 1031. Then Al-Andalus broke up into independent states called taifas.
These were militarily too weak to defend themselves against raids and demands for tribute (pariah) from the Christian states. Raids turned into conquests, and in response, the taifa kings requested help from the Almoravids, the fundamentalist-Islamic rulers of the Maghreb. The Almoravids conquered the taifa kingdoms after defeating the Castilian King Alfonso VI at the battle of Sagrajas (AD 1086) and Uclés (AD 1108).
The Caliphate broke up into many taifa states in 1031.
Almoravids (AD 1086 – 1147).
In 1086 the Almoravid ruler of Morocco was invited by the Muslim princes in Iberia to defend them against Alfonso VI, King of Castile and León, who had seized the city of Toledo (AD 1085).
In 1086 , the Almoravid army crossed the strait and defeated the Christians at the battle of Sagrajas (1086). By 1094, all taifa kingdoms, except Zaragoza, were annexed to the Muslim Empire in the North of Africa. This way, Al-Andalus became part of an African-European Muslim Empire with capital in Marrakech.
The Second Taifa Period (ca. 1147-1155).
As the Almoravid Empire was replaced by the Almohad one in Africa, the Andalusi nobility revolted against the Almoravid governors, creating again some taifa kingdoms.
Almohads (1147 / 1155- 1223).
The Almohads, another Berber dynasty, succeeded the Almoravids in In 1147, Almohads took Marrakech, the Almoravid capital city. A few years later, they crossed the strait to conquer Al-Andalus. They annexed again the taifa kingdoms to their Empire and stopped the Christian advance in battles like Alarcos (1195).
However, in 1212 a coalition of Christian kings under the leadership of the Castilian Alfonso VIII defeated the Almohads at the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa .
The Third Taifa Period
The taifas were quickly conquered by Portugal, Castile and Aragon. After the fall of Murcia (1243) and the Algarve (1249), only the Kingdom of Granada survived as a Muslim state.
The Nazari Kingdom of Granada (AD 1232 – 1492)
The last Muslim state in the Iberian Peninsula survived for two centuries and a half, but being a tributary of Castile.
The last Muslim threat to the Christian kingdoms were the Marinids in Morocco during the 14th century, who took Granada into their sphere of influence. The Castilian Army led by Alfonso XI, helped by Portugal and Aragón, defeated the Marinids at the Battle of Salado in 1340.
In 1469 the marriage of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile marked the launching of the final assault on Granada. The King and Queen convinced the Pope to declare their war a crusade. In January 1492, after a long siege, the Moorish king Granada, Boabdil “el Chico”, surrendered city.