Kingdom of Toledo

Kingdom of Toledo

The Kingdom of Toledo was the second, more established and final centre of Visigothic rule in Hispania. It was created as a part of the events involved by the migration period and the fall of the Roman Empire.

Kingdom at Narbonne and Barcelona

After Alaric's death, Visigothic nobles spirited his heir, the child-king Amalaric, first to Narbonne, which was the last Gothic outpost in Gaul, and further across the Pyrenees into Hispania. The center of Visigothic rule shifted first briefly to Barcelona, then inland and south to Toledo.

From 511 to 526, the Visigoths were closely allied to the Ostrogoths under Theodoric the Great.

Supremacy of Toledo

In 554, Granada and southernmost Hispania Baetica were lost to representatives of the Byzantine Empire (to form the province of Spania) who had been invited in to help settle a Visigothic dynastic struggle, but who stayed on, as a hoped-for spearhead to a "Reconquest" of the far west envisaged by emperor Justinian I.

The last Arian Visigothic king, Liuvigild, conquered the Suevic kingdom in 585 and most of the northern regions (Cantabria) in 574 and regained part of the southern areas lost to the Byzantines, which King Suintila reconquered completely in 624.

The Visigothic kingdom of Toledo achieved its greatest splendour during the 7th century A.D.

Muslim conquest

The kingdom survived until 711, when King Roderic (Rodrigo) was killed while opposing an invasion from the south by the Umayyad Muslims in the Battle of Guadalete on July 19. This marked the beginning of the Muslim conquest of Hispania in which most of peninsula came under Islamic rule by 718.

A Visigothic nobleman, Pelayo, is credited with reverting the Muslim invasion when he defeated the Umayyads in Covadonga, which has been regarded as the fundational date of the Kingdom of Asturias in the northern part of the peninsula. Even though the battle of Covadonga is mostly viewed nowadays more as a mitified skirmish rather than a decissive battle, Christian Reconquista of Iberia is still quoted to have its roots in that event.

Other Visigoths, refusing to adopt the Muslim faith or live under their rule, fled north to the kingdom of the Franks, and Visigoths played key roles in the empire of Charlemagne a few generations later.

The Visigothic Code of Law (forum judicum), which had been part of aristocratic oral tradition, was set in writing in the early 7th century— and survives in two separate codices preserved at the Escorial. It goes into more detail than a modern constitution commonly does and reveals a great deal about Visigothic social structure.

The Al Andalus era

The Islamic taifa

Toledo retained its aura of being centre of Visigothic glory, that the Arabs, after conquering it, perpetuated calling madinat al-muluk (meaning:city of the kings). Independence as a taifa kingdom took place due to the Al Andalus civil wars of the early eleventh century, Possibly the Toledians unhappy with disagreements between them, and especially the misrule of the latter, the government decided to offer the lord of the Taifa Santaver, Abd al-Dul Rabman Bin-Nun, who sent them to take over power his son Ismail al-Zafir around 1035.

The Banu Dil-Nun were a family of Berber tribe hawwara, arrived in the peninsula during the Islamic conquest. They settled in the area of Santabariyya or Santaver in the process of Arabization of the eighth to the tenth centuries . Throughout that time Banu Dil-Nun maintained uprising powers against the Emirate and its alternative submissions.

They returned to their autonomy with the decline of the Caliphate during the first decade of the eleventh century: then, possibly, Abd al-Rahman Bin-Nun Dil reached the Caliph Sulaiman al-Mustain (1009 - 10 and 1013 - 16) give him the nomination as lord of Santaver, Huete, Uclés and Cuenca, carrying the title of Nasir al-Dawla. This Abd al-Rahman entrusted in 1018 to his son Ismail's government Uclés and then, as has already been said, sent him to Toledo.

Mamun of Toledo

In April 1065 Emir Al-Muqtadir of Zaragoza besieged Barbastro, aided by 500 Sevillian knights. The governor, Count Ermengol II of Urgel, was killed in a sortie, and a few days later the city fell, whereupon the Iberian and French garrison was put to the sword, thus bringing an end to Pope Alexander II's prototype crusade.

At around the same time Emir Al-Muqtadir broke off relationships with Castile, and Ferdinand I lead a punitive expedition into Zaragoza - taking Alquezar - and then into Valencia. Despite being a tributary of Castile, Emir Mamun of Toledo lead a force in support of his son-in-law Emir Abd al-Malik. Mamun subsequently dethroned Abd al-Malik and incorporated Valencia into the Kingdom of Toledo. Ferdinand fell dangerously ill and retired from the field. King Ferdinand died in León on 28 December 1065, and his empire was divided between his three sons: Sancho II in Castile, Alfonso VI in León, and Garcia in Galicia.

In 1093 Raymond of Burgundy and Henry of Burgundy signed a treaty whereby Henry promises to recognize Raymond as king upon the death of Alfonso VI of Castile, receiving in exchange the Kingdom of Toledo or of Portugal.

Alfonso VIII

In 1174, Alfonso VIII of Castile ceded Uclés to the Order of Santiago and afterwards this became the order's principal seat. From Uclés, he began a campaign which culminated in the reconquest of Cuenca in 1177. The city surrendered on 21 September, the feast of Saint Matthew, ever afterwards celebrated by the citizens of the town.

Alfonso took the initiative to ally all the major Christian kingdoms of the peninsula — Navarre, León, Portugal, and Aragon — against the Almohads. By the Treaty of Cazorla of 1179, the zones of expansion of each kingdom were defined.

After founding Plasencia (Cáceres) in 1186, he embarked on a major initiative to unite the Castilian nobility around the Reconquista. In that year, he recuperated part of La Rioja from the Kingdom of Navarre.

In 1195, after the treaty with the Almohads was broken, he came to the defence of Alarcos on the river Guadiana, then the principal Castilian town in the region. At the subsequent Battle of Alarcos, he was roundly defeated by the caliph Abu Yaqub Yusuf al-Mansur. The reoccupation of the surrounding territory by the Almohads was quickly commenced with Calatrava falling first. For the next seventeen years, the frontier between Moor and Castilian was fixed in the hill country just outside Toledo.

Finally, in 1212, through the mediation of Pope Innocent III, a crusade was called against the Almohads. Castilians under Alfonso, Aragonese and Catalans under Peter II, Navarrese under Sancho VII, and Franks under the archbishop Arnold of Narbonne all flocked to the effort. The military orders also lent their support. Calatrava first, then Alarcos, and finally Benavente were captured before a final battle was fought at Las Navas de Tolosa near Santa Elena on 16 July. The caliph Muhammad an-Nasir was routed and Almohad power broken.

Alfonso was claimed as the King of Toledo and since then the Kingdom of Toledo became part of the Crown of Castile


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