Reconquista Timeline: Taifa Kingdoms 1008 – 1086

When Al-Muzaffar – Al-Mansur’s son – died in 1008 the power in Al-Andalus was divided between three factions or parties (Taifas): the old nobility of either Arab or Berber origin, recent Berber mercenaries, and the “Slavs” (slaves, often European, with Military of Civil roles). The factions started taking over long before the last of the Umayyad Caliphs, Hisham III, disappeared in 1031. The period closes when the Taifa kings call upon the Moroccan Al-Murabitun to protect them from the encroaching Christians.

Spain 1030 AD

Spain 1030 AD

Spain 1080 AD

Spain 1080 AD

Spain 1086 AD

Spain 1086 AD


On the death of al-Muzaffar, Sanchuelo Abd al-Rahman another son of Al-Mansur takes over the role of unofficial ruler. In winter he leads his army against the Christians.

Vikings raid Galicia yet again (Livermore, 1966). They kill Count Mendo Gonçalo of Portugal.


Muhammad II – great grandson of Abd al-Rahman III – deposes Hisham II as Caliph and destroys Al-Mansur’s palace complex of al-Madinat al-Zahira near Córdoba (15 Feb) (Fletcher, 1992; Kennedy, 1996). Sanchuelo heads south to confront the rebels, but his army melts away and he himself is arrested and executed.


Muslims lay waste to León (Menéndez, 1934).

The Berbers are expelled from Córdoba (Jun) and set up camp at Calatrava (Kennedy, 1996; Fletcher, 1992; Menéndez, 1934). Their Generals nominate another descendent of Abd al-Rahman III – Sulayman – as a rival Caliph. Sulayman seeks the aid of Count Sancho Garcia of Castile against Muhammad II. The joint Berber-Castilian army defeats the Andalusian militia of Muhammad and sacks Crdoba (Nov). Sulayman proclaimed Caliph.

1010 “The year of the Catalans”

Having fled to Toledo Muhammad II seeks the aid of the counts of Barcelona (Ramón Borrell) and Urgel (Collins, 1983; Fletcher, 1992; Kennedy, 1996). The Catalan army defeats Sulayman’s Berbers at Aqabat al-Baqar (22 May) and again in June near the river Guadiaro near Ronda. Muhammad reclaims Córdoba supported by the Slav General Wadih, but is assassinated in July. Hisham II is restored as Caliph by his followers.


Sulayman and his Berbers encamp at Madinat al-Zahra and commence a siege of Córdoba (Fletcher, 1992; Menéndez, 1934). For 2.5 years they blockade the city, and rampage over the countryside, live off the land and extort money from the cities. In May 1013 Córdoba surrenders to the Berbers. The North Africans sack Córdoba, killing many of the inhabitants. Hisham II disappears soon after.


A Berber reign of terror in Córdoba (Fletcher, 1992). The impotent Sulayman is forced to hand out provincial governorships to the Berber chiefs.


The Berber Chief Zawi ibn Ziri – leader of the Sanhaja confederation, and a member of the Tunisian royal family – makes Granada his capital (Fletcher, 1992; Menéndez, 1934).


The Emir of Denia, Mujahid al-Amiri, sets out from his base in the Balearic Islands with a fleet of 125 ships in an attempt to conquer Sardinia (Fletcher, 1992).


Ali ibn Hammud, Emir of Ceuta, declares himself the rightful Caliph and marches on Córdoba (Kennedy, 1996)

A Berber general deposes and executes Caliph Sulayman (Fletcher, 1992).

The Mujahid al-Amiri is dislodged from Sardinia by a force from Genoa and Pisa (Fletcher, 1992).

Norman invaders ascend the Miño/Minho and destroy Tuy in León (Menéndez, 1934).


Caliph Ali ibn Hammud assassinated in Córdoba (Kennedy, 1996). His brother Al-Qasim replaces him.

The Zirids of Granada defeat an Andalusian army of 4,000 under al-Mutada – the Umayyad claimant.


Yahya, the son of Alí ibn Hammud, rebels in Malaga with the support of the Berbers.


The Caliph Al-Qasim and his berber supporters flee Córdoba (Kennedy, 1996). Muhammad ibn Abbad shuts the gates of Sevile to Al-Qasim, thus effectively declaring independence.


Emir of Seville captures two castles at Alafoens to the north-west of Viseu (Menéndez, 1934).


Alfonso V lays siege to Viseu but is killed by a bolt from the walls (Livermore, 1996).


Hisham III, the last of the Umayyad Caliphs disappears into obscurity (Fletcher, 1992; although Menéndez, 1934, says 1030).


Sancho the Great of Navarre declares war on Vermudo II of León (Menéndez, 1934). Navarre, sometimes assisted by Galician rebels and Normans, ravage the lands around Lugo.


Sancho the Great of Navarre takes León and Astorga and drives the Leónese King (Vermudo III) into the mountains (Menéndez, 1934). Sancho adopts the Imperial title


The Leonese destroy a raiding force under Ismail ibn Abbad of Seville. Ismail ibn Abbad flees to Lisbon.

Gonçalo Trastemires – a Portuguese frontiersman – captures Montemór castle on the Mondego river (Livermore, 1966).


Sancho the Great of Navarre dies (Kennedy, 1996; Menéndez, 1934). Vermudo III reclaims the Leónese crown, and Sancho’s sons inherit his other territories; Garcia IV in Navarre including some territory of Old Castile; Ferdinand I in the new kingdom of Castile; Ramiro I in the new kingdom of Aragon.


Battle of Támara (Collins, 1983; but Menéndez, 1934, calls it Tamarón). The first Castilian king, Ferdinand I, defeats and kills his father-in-law, Vermudo III of León, thus inheriting his kingdom.

1038 – 1056

Granadine armies under the vizier Samuel Ha-Nagid wage almost continuous war against their Muslim neighbours, primarily Seville.

1043 – 1047

Zaragoza and Toledo fight over the border city of Guadalajara (Kennedy, 1996). Toledo pays the Navarrese to raid into Zaragoza; similarly, Zaragoza pays the Leon-Castillians to raid into Toledo. The Christian armies ravage the respective Muslim lands unchecked.

1050 – 1053

Count Mendo Nunes of Portugal is killed in battle sometime during this period (Livermore, 1996).


The Banu Hud Emir of Lerida (Yusuf ibn Hud) is paying the Catalans to protect against his own family in Zaragoza (Kennedy, 1996).


Emir Al-Mutadid of Seville drives Berbers from Arcos, Morón and Ronda (Menéndez, 1934).


Battle of Atapuerca (Menéndez, 1934). The army of Ferdinand I of Castile defeats that of his brother Garca IV of Navarra at Atapuerca 12 miles to the east of Burgos (1 Sep). Several disaffected Navarrese knights join the Castilians before the battle and one of these men is believed to have killed Garcia. Garcia’s son Sancho is proclaimed King on the field of battle and the war continues.


Diego Lainez de Vivar, father of Rodrigo Diaz, captures the castles of Ubierna (5 miles north of Vivar), Urbel (10 miles north-west of Ubierna), and La Piedra (12 miles north-west of Ubierna), then in 1055 defeats the Navarrese in a pitched battle (Menéndez, 1934).


Emir Al-Mutadid of Seville drives Berbers from Algeciras with only 200 horse (Kennedy, 1996; Menéndez, 1934)


Emir Al-Mutadid of Seville drives Berbers from Carmona (Kennedy, 1996; Menéndez, 1934).

King Ferdinand of Leon-Castile attacks Santarem in Badajoz territory, and Lamego is permanently lost (Kennedy, 1996; Livermore, 1966). Ferdinand may have had 10,000 Knights and more than 20,000 foot.


Emir Al-Muzaffar al-Aftas pays the Christians to leave Badajoz but not before Viseu is permanently lost to the Muslims (Kennedy, 1996; Livermore, 1966).


The heretic Barghawata Berbers set up a Taifa state in Ceuta (Kennedy, 1996; Nicolle, 1988). They could field 12,000 horsemen, but are eventually crushed by the Murabitun.


Ferdinand I of Leon-Castile imposes an annual tribute on Muslim Zaragoza (Menéndez, 1934).

Emir Al-Muktadir ibn Hud of Zaragoza drives Slavs from Tortosa when the Tortosans rise against their Slav ruler (Fletcher, 1992; Kennedy, 1996;Menéndez, 1934).


Ferdinand I of Castile and León invades Muslim Toledo with a large army (Menéndez, 1934). Emir Al-Mamun becomes a tributary of Castile.

Ferdinand I of Castile and León invades Muslim Badajoz, and extracts tribute from Emir Al-Mutadid of Seville (Menéndez, 1934).


Battle of Graus (Menéndez, 1934). During the spring Ramiro I of Aragon besieges Muslim Graus in Zaragozan territory. The Emir Al-Muktadir of Zaragoza leads his army north accompanied by a Castilian contingent under Prince Sancho (the future Sancho II). Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar (later known as “El Cid”) is probably in the Castilian contingent. The opposing armies meet and after a protracted struggle Ramiro I is killed and the Aragonese flee (8 May).

Pope Alexander II sends an international force to Spain under his standard bearer William of Montreuil (Menéndez, 1934; but Nicolle, 1988, says 1064). It includes Italian knights, Normans (Robert Crespin, Baron of Lower Normandy), Frenchmen (Wiliam, Count of Poitiers and Duke of Aquitaine), and once in Spain, Spaniards (Bishop of Vic; Count Ermengol II of Urgel). At the start of July the expedition besieges Barbastro in the Muslim Kingdom of Lerida. The Emir of Lerida (the brother of Muktadir of Zaragoza) makes no attempt to relieve the siege and after 40 days the defenders are forced to surrender when a large stone falls from the walls and blocks the only water supply. 50,000 inhabitants are massacred or enslaved. Count Ermengol II of Urgel is left as governor on behalf of Sancho Ramirez of Aragon.

Seville feels obliged to pay Christians tribute (Kennedy, 1996).


Ferdinand I of León-Castile besieges Muslim Coimbra from 20 January until 9 July (Kennedy, 1996; Livermore, 1966; Menéndez, 1934; Nicolle, 1988). The Muslim governor who surrendered is allowed to leave with his family, but 5,000 inhabitants are taken captive, and all Muslims are forced out of Portuguese territory across the Mondego river.


Sometime during this period Ferdinand I of Castile and León retakes the area of Old Castile that had been annexed to Navarre by his father Sancho the Great (Menéndez, 1934).


Civil War in Castile-Leon (Nicolle, 1988).

In April Emir Al-Muqtadir of Zaragoza, aided by 500 Sevillian knights, besieges Barbastro (Menéndez, 1934). The governor, Count Ermengol II of Urgel, is killed in a sortie, and a few days later the city falls, whereupon the Spanish and French garrison is put to the sword thus bringing an end to Pope Alexander II’s prototype crusade.

At around the same time Emir Al-Muqtadir breaks off relationships with Castile, and Ferdinand I leads a punitive expedition into Zaragoza – taking Alquezar (Kennedy, 1996) – and then into Valencia (Menéndez, 1934). Despite him being a Castilian tributary Emir Mamun of Toledo leads to force in support of his son-in-law Emir Abd al-Malik. Mamun subsequently dethrones Abd al-Malik and incorporates Valencia into the Kingdom of Toledo (Nov). Ferdinand falls dangerously ill and retires from the field.

King Ferdinand dies in León on 28 Dec and his empire is divided between his three sons: Sancho II in Castile, Alfonso VI in León, and Garcia in Galicia.


Joseph, son of the Jewish Vizier Samuel HaNaged invites Al-Mutasim of Ameria to come and rule in Granada. The Zirid Sanhaja defeat the attempt and instigate a pogram of the Jews in Granada.


The Castilian army under Sancho II and the Alferez Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar – already known as “El Cid” by this time – besiege Zaragoza (Menéndez, 1934). The siege is lifted after Emir Al-Muqtadir pays a large ransom and promises tribute.

War of the three Sanchos: Castile versus Aragon and Navarre (Menéndez, 1934). Aragon severely mauls the Castilians at Viana, however status quo is restored when the Zaragozan Vali of Huesca invades Aragon from the south.


The Battle of Llantada was arranged to be fought on 19 July by the banks of the Pisuerga River on the boundary between León and Castile (Menéndez, 1934). The Castilians under Sancho II and Rodriego Diaz defeat the Leónese and Alfonso flees.

Alfonso VI of León leads a campaign against Badajoz, but withdraws when Emir Mamun ibn Dhi-I-Nun of Toledo intercedes (Menéndez, 1934). Badajoz becomes tributary to León. Later the Emir of Badajoz dies and his two sons dispute the succession.


Alfonso VI of León overruns Badajoz early in the year (Menéndez, 1934).

Seville takes Cordoba (Kennedy, 1996). The army consists of an advance guard of 300 horse and a main body of 1,000.


Battle of Braga (18 Jan between Braga and the River Cávado) where Garcia of Galicia suppresses the rebellion of his Portuguese subjects under Nuno Mendes (Livermore, 1966; Menéndez, 1934). Nuno Mendes is killed.

Sometime after 18 Jan and before May, Garcia of Galicia is captured by his brother Sancho II of Castile (Menéndez, 1934). (It is unclear if Garcia was captured in open battle at Santarem or by trickery.) Garcia purchases his release and retires to the court of his tributary Al-Mutamid of Seville. Galicia is divided between his brothers Sancho and Alfonso.


Battle of Golpejera (early Jan) (Menéndez, 1934). Sancho II of Castile defeats his brother, Alfonso VI of León over the Carrión River (9 miles south of the city of Santa maria de Carrion – the capital of the Beni-Gomez – Christian counts of Saldaña, Liebana, Carrion, and Zamora). The battle starts at dawn and after a hard fight the Castilians are driven from the field. Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar manages to encourage both King and army, and leads them in a new attack the following morning.

Alfonso is captured and seeks refuge in Toledo (Kennedy, 1996). But Sancho is assassinated when attacking Alfonso’s men in Zamora. Alfonso inherits the joint Kingdom of Leon-Castile.


The Emir of Granada rejects the Castilian demand for tribute, however, the Emir of Seville offers to pay instead (Kennedy, 1996). Consequently a joint Muslim-Castilian force builds the fortress of Belillos, from which the garrison raid into Granada.


Emir Al-Mutamid of Seville drives Berbers from Jaen (Menéndez, 1934).


Toledo takes Córdoba from Seville with the help of Castilian troops (Kennedy, 1996).


Emir Ahmad al-Muqtadir Ibn Hud of Zaragoza drives Slavs from Denia (Fletcher, 1992; Menéndez, 1934).

Ferdinand I of León- Castile besieges and takes Muslim Coria in Badajoz (Kennedy, 1996).

After the Emir of Toledo dies, Seville takes Córdoba back from his son al-Qadir (Kennedy, 1996).


Ibn Ammar acquires Murcia nominally on behalf of Seville but in reality as his own.

Seville takes Valencia from Toledo. As a result Al-Qadir of Toledo is forced from the city by a coup and his opponents acknowledge al-Mutawwakil of Badajoz as their new ruler (Kennedy, 1996).

Al-Murabitun take Tangier (Kennedy, 1996). Ceuta hangs on as the last Zanata outpost because its fleet can supply it from sea.


Battle of Cabra. Rodrigo Díaz, defeats the Emir Abd Allah of Granada, who was helped by the Castilian Count García Ordíñez.

Battle of Coria. Alfonso VI (already king of Castile & León) defeats the Muslim Emir of Badajoz, Al-Mutawwakkil (Kennedy, 1996).

Al-Mutawwakkil renounces control of Toledo and al-Qadir is reinstated (Kennedy, 1996). A Leonese garrison is established at Zorita to the east of Toledo.


Ibn Ammar forced to flee Murcia (??).


Battle of Almenar (Menéndez, 1934). Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, leading the army of Al-Mutamin of Zaragoza, defeats a combined army of the kings of Valencia (Al-Mundhir), Lerida (Al-Hayib), Aragón (Sancho Ramírez) and the Count of Barcelona (Berenguer Ramón II – who is captured).

When Emir Al-Mutamid of Seville pays his tribute in debased coinage, Alfonso of Leon-Castile leads an expedition in Muslim territory (Kennedy, 1996).


In June-July Al-Murabitun take Ceuta – the last outpost of the Zanata – and put to death the ruler, al-Muizz ibn Suqut (Kennedy, 1996). Ships from Seville may have aided the attack.

The same summer Alfonso of Leon-Castile reaches Tarifa overlooking the Straits of Gibraltar (Kennedy, 1996)


The Muslim army of Zaragoza under El Cid defeats the Aragonese.

In autumn the Castilians start a loose siege of Toledo (Kennedy, 1996).


Salamanca conquered by Christians.

Toledo conquered by Castile (25 May) (Nicolle, 1988).


Collins, R. (1983). Early Medieval Spain: Unity in Diversity, 400-1000 [2nd ed.]. NY: St. Martin’s Press.

Fletcher, R. (1990). The Quest for El Cid. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Fletcher, R. (1992). Moorish Spain. New York: Henry Holt.

Heath, I. (1980). Armies of the Dark Ages 600-1066 (2nd ed.). Wargames Research Group.

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.

Kennedy, H. (1996). Muslim Spain and Portugal: A political history of al-Andalus. London: Longman.

Livermore, H. V. (1966). A New History of Portugal. Cambridge University Press.

Menéndez Pidal, R. (1934). The Cid and his Spain [H. Sutherland Trans.]. Frank Cass.

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