Reconquista Timeline: Christian Resurgence 1250 – 1492

By 1250 the Reconquista was in full swing and in 1492 the Christians captured Granda, the last of the Muslim enclaves.


Periodic civil wars in Castile (Nicolle, 1988).


Muslims use some form of incendiary weapon at Niebla (Nicolle, 1988).


Muslim revolt in Andalusia (Nicolle, 1988).


Four Marinid expeditions to Spain (Nicolle, 1988).


Muslim defeat Christrians at Ecija (Nicolle, 1988).


Muslim revolt in Valencia (Nicolle, 1988).


King Peter of Aragon captures most of the Aragonese nobility in a castle where they are plotting against him (Nicolle, 1988). Peter’s army is now based around a professional core of Spanish, English, French, Italian and Hungarian mercenaries.

Muslims use some form of incendiary weapon at Cordoba (Nicolle, 1988).

1282 Sicilian Vespers

Peter III of Aragon conquers Sicily (Nicolle, 1988).


War between France and Aragon-Catalonia (Nicolle, 1988). Nicolle mentions Valencian Muslims in an Aragonese army against a French invasion a few years after 1258, and I presume it is during the conflict of 1285.


Castile captures Tarifa from Marinids (Nicolle, 1988).


Civil wars in Castile (Nicolle, 1988).


Muslims use some form of incendiary weapon at Gibraltar (Nicolle, 1988).


Castile captures Gibraltar (Nicolle, 1988).


Granada defeats Castilian invasion (Nicolle, 1988).


Catalonia occupies Sardinia (Nicolle, 1988).

Cannon probably used by Granadine forces at the siege of Huescar (Nicolle, 1998).


Granada uses iron balls propelled by fire or containing fire against Alicante and Orihuela (Nicolle, 1988).


Granada retakes Gibraltar for Islam (Nicolle, 1988).



The Marinid fleet (Abu Hassan) of 200 ships defeat a Castilian fleet off Algeciras and land (Heath, 1982; Nicolle, 1988).


Granadine forces (Yusuf I) join the Marinids, and the combined force besieges Christian held Tarifa (Heath, 1982; Nicolle, 1988). After some months Alfonso XI of Castile organises a small relief army. The Christian army includes 20,000 Castilians (12,000 infantry and 8,000 men-at-arms), 1,000 Portuguese men-at-arms (under Alfonso IV), and contingents from the orders of Alcantara, Calatrava and Santiago, but it is still only about 1/4 the size of the Muslim army. In the ensuing battle on the Salado river, the Castilians face the Marinids and the Portuguese face the Granadines. The Muslims break at the height of the battle when the Tarifa garison sorties and attacks their rear. Many Muslims are killed in the rout, and subsequently Castile captures Algeciras.

It is possible the Marinids and Granadines used real artillery at Salado and Tarifa (Nicolle, 1988).


Portugal raids Canary Islands (Nicolle, 1988).


Granadines use cannon in the defence of Algerciras (Nicolle, 1998).


Kingdoms of Catalonia-Aragon and Rousillon-Mallorca reunited (Nicolle, 1988).

1349 Lluchmajor

Pedro IV the Ceremonious of Aragon defeated and killed Jaime III the Unfortunate of Majorca at the Battle of Lluchmajor (1349) and annexed his kingdom (Víctor Manuel Manteca Hierro, Private Communication).

1367 Najera (Navarette)

The English and French intervene in a Civil war in Castile (Barber, 1978; Heath, 1982; Nicolle, 1988).

In January 1367 AD, Charles of Navarre breaks with English. Sir Hugh Calveley invades Navarre under orders from Edward of Aquitaine. Charles forced to reaffirm treaty with English and Pedro.

In February Du Guesclin is released by Enrique and undertakes a campaign in Aragon for Pere. Returns to Enrique/Henry de Trastamara when news of English arrives.

English cross at Roncesvalles in last two weeks of February. Possibly with as few as 6000 men, including John of Gaunt with 800 archers + retinue, 14 squadrons of free companies under Chandos. They are joined by 300 Navarese lances under Martin Enriquez de la Carra.

Charles of Navarre has himself captured by French.

Henry holed up in Castle of Zaldiaran near Vitoria by Edward. Edward knights King Pedro. Enrique sends two companies of horse to attack English during night, with considerable success. Over 400 men-at-arms and archers are lost. English retreat to Logrono on 1 April. Henry moves to Najera.

On 3 April the largely English army (the Black Prince, King Pedro the Cruel of Castile) defeats Franco-Castilians (King Henry de Trastamara) at Najera.

Franco-Castilian army:

Vanguard under Du Duesclin, Audrehem with French and Knights of the Sash under Pedro Lopez de Ayala – fought dismounted.

Centre under Enrique was behind vanguard.

Two small wings of Jinetes under Don Tello and the Aragonese count of Denia.

No mention of subtantial bodes of archers or crossbowmen.

English army:

Vanguard under John of Gaunt and Chandos, comprising men-at-arms and archers – fought dismounted.

Main body under Edward comprising Castillian Knights, Navarrese and some Gascons – fought dismounted.

Reserve under Jaime of Majorca, Sir Hugh Calveley and the count of Armagnac – mounted.

Before battle a number of light horse deserted Henry for Pedro. The French of the Franco-Castilian vanguard dismount, as do the entire English army. Whilst the French vanguard slowly push the English vanguard backwards, the English archers on the wings drive off the Castilian Jinetes and supporting infantry, then turn in on the exposed French flanks. Three times Don Henry attempts to rescue the French of the van, but each time the Castilians are driven back with heavy losses. The Castilians break when the English rearguard attacks their flank, and the French are finally forced to surrender. The Franco-Castilians lose 560 men-at-arms including over 400 Frenchmen, and 4,500-5,500 infantry, many of whom are cut down in the rout, and most of the commanders were captured including the Grand Masters of Calatrava and Santiago, the prior of Knights of St John, Du Guesclin and Audrehem. The English lose 40 men-at-arms and 20 archers, nearly all from the vanguard.

English advance to Burgos, then later take Amosco and besiege Medina del Campo in search of provisions.

Anglo-Portuguese treaty signed ‘forever’ (Nicolle, 1988).



A Castilian force of 300 lances under 7 captains raids into Portugal (Heath, 1982). 200 lances of the Trancoso garrison (Joo Fernandes Pacheco) intercept them. The men-at-arms of both sides dismount. The Castilians men-at-arms charge the Portuguese amidst ploughed fields, whist the Castlian Jinetes attack the Portuguese infantry from the rear. Being trapped the Portuguese fight fiercely and after 3 hours the Castlians are driven off with heavy losses – only one of the Castilian Captains survived.


The Anglo-Portuguese (João of Portugal) defeat the Franco-Castilians (Juan I of Castile) at Aljubarrota (14 Aug) (Heath, 1982; Nicolle, 1988). On the day of battle the Portuguese entrench themselves on an orchard covered slope as the Castilians march to face them. After the Portuguese centre destroys the dismounted French vanguard, Juan sends in his mounted Castilians. After less than an hours fighting Juan leaves the field, and the Castilians break. 7,500 Franco-Castlians are lost including 2,000 men-at-arms and many commanders.


Battle of Egea (Nicolle, 1998). Granadine troops become the first troops in Iberia to use handguns.


French adventurers occupy Canaries in name of Castile (Nicolle, 1988).


Castile captures Antequera from Granada (Nicolle, 1988).


Portuguese capture Ceuta (Nicolle, 1988).


Portuguese occupy Madeira (Nicolle, 1988).


Portugal occupies Azores (Nicolle, 1988).


Genoese defeat Aragonese (Nicolle, 1988).

1445 Olmedo

Supporters of John II of Castile (under Baron Alvaro de Luna) defeat Rebel Nobility at Olmedo (Nicolle, 1988).


Portuguese civil war (Nicolle, 1988).


Portugal captures Moroccan Atlantic ports (Nicolle, 1988).


Castile takes Gibraltar again (Nicolle, 1988).


Isabella of Castile marries Ferdinand of Aragon (Nicolle, 1988).


Castilians conquer Canaries (Nicolle, 1988).

1474-1479 Castilian War of Succession

Civil war in Castile; Castilian-Aragonese under Isabella and Ferdinand eventually defeat Castilian-Portuguese (Heath, 1982; Nicolle, 1988).


Portuguese (Alfonso V) besiege and take Toro about mid-year (Heath, 1982). Alfonso refuses to fight the Castilian relief army under Ferdinand of Aragon, and Ferdinand’s army disperses, however the Portuguese are kept cooped up in Toro by other supporters of Isabella.

1476 Toro

A Castlian army (Ferdinand of Aragon) besieges Portuguese held Zamora (Heath, 1982). Alfonso leads 8,500 Portuguese of the Toro garrison to Zamora’s relief (Feb). The Portuguese, being well equipped with artillery and arquebusiers, bombard the Castilian positions for two weeks, before withdrawing toward Toro. Ferdinand pursues and catches the Portuguese at 4 pm 5 miles from Toro as they negotiate a narrow pass beside the River Duero (1 Mar). The Portuguese form up beyond the hills and allow the Castilians through the gap to face them. Most of Ferdinand’s infantry had been left behind in the pursuit, so he is slightly outnumbered. The Castlian right is disordered by the Portuguese arquebusiers facing them and then routed by the Portuguese cavalry. However, reinforced by late arrivals, the routers rally at the pass and return to the battle. Toward evening, after 3 hours of fighting, the Portuguese begin to give, and they finally break when their flank is turned. 2,000 Portuguese are killed, although most of the army escapes in good order in the night.


Truce between Christians and Granadines, although raiding continues (Nicolle, 1998).


The Granadines (Emir Abu Hasan) surprise the Castilian garrison of Zahara on a stormy night (26 Dec) (Nicolle, 1998). The population is enslaved. .

1482-1492 Granada

Castile-Aragon, aka the Spanish, conquers kingdom of Granada (Nicolle, 1988).


Spanish forces (2,500 cavalry and 3,000 infantry under Rodrigo Ponce de Leon, the Marquis of Cadiz) gather at Marchena (25 Feb), march to Antequera, cross the Sierra Alzerifa, and then seize Granadine Alhama on a stormy night before dawn (28 Feb) (Nicolle, 1998). Abu Hasan attempts to retake Alhama by siege (5-19 Mar) but withdraws unsuccessfully back to Grananda. Muslim troops from Ronda raid the Arcos area in an attempt to tempt the Marquiz out of Alhama. In support of his men at Alhama, King Ferdinand marches to Lucena, sends reinforcements in Alhama (30 Apr), withdraws back to Cordoba to organise a major force, and then formally takes over Alhama (14 May).

Siege of Loja (Nicolle, 1998). King Ferdinand of Aragon attacks the Granadine city of Loja (1 Jul). The city is defended by the octogenarian father-in-law of Muhammad XII, one Ibrahim Ali al-Attar. … Ferdinand returns to Cordoba. Abu Hasan marches on Loja and sweeps the Rio Frio (mid Jul).


Battle of Axarquia (Heath, 1982; Nicolle, 1998). A fast moving Castilian force of 3,000 cavalry and 2,000 infantry (Master of Santiago Alonso de Cardenas, Marquis of Cadiz, Don Pedro Henriquez) raids into the mountainous sierra of Axarquia. There plan is to march through the Axarquia mountains and march back via the coast. Granadine horsemen from Malaga (Abd-Allah al-Zagal – the future Muhammad XIII) ambush the Castilian rearguard (Master of Santiago) when the vanguard and main body disperses to plunder (19 Mar). Elements of the Castilian main body (Marquis of Cadiz) rescue the rearguard, but none-the-less the Castilians decide to retreat to safety. For the rest of the day, and throughout the night, the Castilians flounder around looking for a route through the mountains, all the while being attacked by Moorish handgunners and crossbowmen, and by avalanches of stones. The Marquis of Cadiz and 70 lances escape to safety during the night. The remnants try to break out the next day and most of the commanders escape, but 800 men are killed and 1,600 captured.

King Ferdinand ravages the area around Illora (8 Apr) and Tajar (14 Apr), and resupplies the Alhama garrison (16 Apr) (Nicolle, 1998).

Battle of Lucena (Heath, 1982; Nicolle, 1998). About 10,000 Granadines (Muhammad XII Abu Abd Allah) including 1,200-1,500 horse besiege Lucena. A small relief force of about 1,500 (Count of Cabra) marches from Baena across the sierras and surprises the Granadine camp (20 Apr). The Granadine foot flee when the Lucena garrison attacks them from the other side. The Granadine horse put up a strong fight, but start to give ground slowly when the hero of the army, Ali Atar (Muhammad’s father-in-law), is killed. The Granadine horse are disordered when they reach the rain-swollen river Xenil where their own foot are crowded trying to cross. 5,000 Granadines are killed or captured; Ibrahim Ali al-Attar, Muhammad’s father-in-law, is one of the slain. Muhammad becomes the first King of Granada to be captured by the Christians (21 Apr).

A large force of men from Malaga and Ronda (Al-Zagal) raid towards Ubera (early Sep) (Nicolle, 1998). The infantry are left to hold the pass homeward, and a cavalry ambush is stationed on the river Lopera. The remaining cavalry head for Ubera but are driven off by a Christian force. The Christians go on to attack the Moorish infantry, and are in turn ambushed, but manage to defeat both Muslim threats (17 Sep). The Christians go on to take Zahara (Oct).


The Spanish army (King Ferdinand) assembles at Antequera (Spring), marches to Alora, raids Coin, Cazabonela, Almjia, Cartama, Pupiana, Alhendrin and the Vega of Malaga before returning to Antequera (Nicolle, 1998).

Spanish capture Alora (20 Jun) (Nicolle, 1998).

Spanish raid into Vega of Granada (Sep) (Nicolle, 1998). Some Spanish remain to support Muhammad XII of Granada.

Spanish troops capture Senetil (20 Sep) (Nicolle, 1998).


Al-Zagal drives Muhammad XII from Almeria (Feb) (Nicolle, 1998). Muhammad XII flees to Ferdinand at Cordoba. Ferdinand besieges Coin and Cartama. Al-Zagal then attempts to relieve the sieges (Apr), but first Coin falls (27 Apr) then Cartama (28 Apr). The garrison of Ronda raids Medina Sidonia but returns to find its city besieged by King Ferdinand (early-May). Abu Hasan of Granada dies and Al-Zagal assumes title of Emir (late-May); Al-Zagal defeats a Christian foraging party from Alhama on his way to Granada. Three groups of Spanish march toward Moclin (late Aug). Al-Zagal ambushes and defeats the first group, although it is rescued by the second group of Spanish (early Sep). Al-zagal enters Moclin. The third Spanish group (Ferdinand) joins the other two and they take the castles of Cmbil and Albahar (23 Sep). The Spanish of Alhama also take the castle of Zalea (Sep).


Catholic Monarchs finally take Granada, and expel all Jews from Castile-Aragon (Nicolle, 1988).


Spanish Muslims are expelled in violation of 1492 surrender terms (Nicolle, 1988).


Barber, R. (1978). Edward, Prince of Wales and Aquitaine: A biography of the Black Prince. Allen Lane, London.

Heath, I. (1989). Armies of Feudal Europe 1066-1300 (2nd ed.). Wargames Research Group.

Nicolle, D. (1998). The Fall of Granada 1481-1492: The twilight of Moorish Spain (Campaign Series 53). Osprey.

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