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"Invoked by internal turmoil, the Saracens occupied Spain and seized the Kingdom of the Goths." In brief, sober words, the anonymous author of the 9th-century Chronicle of Albelda describes what today's historians call "one of the most important turning points in history of the Iberian Peninsula ": the Muslim occupation of Spain. In April of the year 711, the released slave Tarik ibn Sijad succeeded in crossing over the strait to Europe from Ceuta. The Tarik, standing as a lieutenant in the service of Musa ibn Nusair al-Bakri, the Emir of North Africa, had an army of 7, 000 men in his wake. The rock projecting into the sea, on which the army of Arabs and Berbers went ashore, received the name of the army commander: Djebel al-Tarik (Mountain of the Tarik). From this name originated the name Gibraltar. From this bastion, the Islamic armies conquered almost the entire "al-Andalus", as they called the Iberian Peninsula, in just seven years. With superior military technology, the Moors succeeded in defeating the Visigoths, leaving only the hope of heavenly assistance to the chronicler: "Christians are at war with them day and night ... until Divine Providence orders them to banish them mercilessly." To be sure, the Christian West had to wait 800 years for this divine liberation. For so long did the "Reconquista" attempts to expel the "Gentiles" from Spain last.


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