Reconquest Day is observed every year on January 2. This day commemorates the capture of Spanish and Portuguese territories from the Moors by the Catholic kings of Spain. A series of military campaigns, known as ‘Reconquista,’ occurred between 718 and 1492. The victory that marked the complete reconquest of Spain took place in 1492 when Queen Isabella I and King Ferdinand V captured the city of Granada from the Moors. Following this victory, the Moors were forced to convert to Christianity and later expelled from the Iberian Peninsula.
History of Reconquest Day
Reconquest Day commemorates the reconquest of Spanish and Portuguese territories by Queen Isabella I and King Ferdinand V from the Muslim Moors, who had occupied most of those territories since the 8th century. Known as ‘Reconquista,’ a series of military campaigns took place between 718 and 1492. The five Spanish states involved were Aragon, Castile, Catalonia, León and Navarre, while Portugal became an independent state from the 1140s. Before the 8th century, the Iberian Peninsula had been under the control of the Visigoths, an early Germanic people, before the arrival of the Moors from North Africa.
Though the beginning of the Reconquista is linked to 718 or 722, with the Battle of Covadonga, the first notable success in the campaign was the capture of Toledo in 1085 by King Alfonso VI. During the reign of Alfonso I of Aragon, he offered huge estates to the Knights Hospitaller and Knights Templar, which were military orders of warrior-monks. In turn, both orders committed knights to the cause. In addition, local military orders began forming in Spain during the 1100s. The Order of Calatrava was formed in 1158, the Order of Santiago in 1170, the Order of Mountjoy in Aragon in 1173, and that of Alcantara in 1176.
Another decisive victory which dealt a major blow to the Moors occurred at Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212 when a coalition of three Spanish kings won the battle. Following this victory, more territories were captured, including Cordoba, Valencia and Seville over the next 36 years. The final victory of the Christian forces was the capture of the last stronghold of the Moors, Granada, by King Ferdinand V and Queen Isabella I in 1492. Following this triumph, the Moors were forced to convert to Christianity but were later expelled from the Iberian Peninsula.
Reconquest Day timeline
The Reconquista begins with the Battle of Covadonga.
Toledo is captured by King Alfonso VI of León and Castile.
The Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa deals a major blow to the Moors.
The last stronghold of the Moors, Granada, is captured.
Reconquest Day FAQs
Who is the king of Spain?
The king of Spain is King Felipe VI and his wife, Queen Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano.
What language is spoken in Granada?
The official language of Granada is Castilian Spanish.
What is the population of Granada?
In 2005, the population of Granada was 236,982 people.
How to Observe Reconquest Day
Learn about Granada
Granada is a city in the Andalusia region of Spain, filled with rich architecture that hearkens back to the period of the Reconquista. There, you can find buildings that date back to the Moorish occupation of the region. Learn about Granada and who knows, you might love it enough to visit.
Study Spanish history
There’s a lot to learn about the history and culture of this fascinating European country. Take some time to learn as much as you can about Spain.
Learn a Spanish word
Celebrating by learning a new word in Spanish. You could practice saying ‘hello’ or ‘good morning.’ Learning another language is a great intellectual exercise and helps us communicate better with others.
5 Amazing Facts About Granada
Granada is a tourist city
Every year, Granada welcomes about 2.5 million tourists.
Granada lies high up
Granada lies more than 2,300 feet above sea level, making summer days really hot and winter days very cold.
Granada houses the Alhambra
Granada is home to the famous Alhambra, a palace and fortress complex.
Granada was formerly Muslim
For 800 years, Granada was controlled by Muslim Moors.
Granada holds a special site
The first Renaissance church in Spain, called ‘Plaza de las Pasiegas’ is found in Granada.
Why Reconquest Day is Important
It commemorates an important event
Reconquest Day opens a window into the past for those who are unaware about the region’s history. This holiday is, therefore, a day to learn and be informed.
It teaches valuable lessons
Those who fail to learn from history’s mistakes are doomed to repeat them. Reconquest Day is a day to look back on the past with the intention of learning and not repeating the mistakes.
It reinforces the importance of religious tolerance
There are an estimated 10,000 religions in the world. Imagine what would happen if all co-existed in peace and harmony. This holiday should be a reminder to cultivate peace and religious tolerance, in spite of all our differences.
Reconquest Day dates