‘Almanzor’ the Victorious

Jan Read describes Al-Mansur, the honorific name for the leader who restored Moorish power in Spain during the late 10th century.

Al-mansur by Francisco de Zurbarán.

In 642 the second of the Umayyad caliphs of Damascus, ‘Umar, set a seal on ten years of campaigning in the Middle East by the conquest of Egypt.

In the cause of the jihad, or holy war, the Arabs then swept the length of the North African coast and, with their Berber auxiliaries, through Spain and across the Pyrenees into France, where almost a century later, in 732, they were finally checked by Charles Martel in a pitched battle near Tours.

The incursion into France was short-lived; but the southern and larger part of present-day Spain and Portugal, al-Andalus, was to be dominated by Islam for some seven hundred years.

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