Alternate History

Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa (Of Lions and Falcons)

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Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa

Battle of Al-Uqab (معركة العقاب)

Part of the Reconquista
A 19th century portrayal of the battle by Francisco de Paula Van Halen
Date 16 July 1212 (15 Safar 609 AH)
Place Near Las Navas de Tolosa, Andalusia,
Result Decisive Almohad victory
Death of Alfonso VIII of Castile
Territorial changes Siege and recapture of Calatrava La Vieja ( Qal'at Rabah) and Malagon by Almohad armies

Border of Al-Andalus pushed to the south of Tagus river

Castilla La Vieja Kingdom of Castile

Royal Banner of Aragón Crown of Aragon
PortugueseFlag1185 Kingdom of Portugal
Bandera de Reino de Navarra.svg Kingdom of Navarre
Cross Santiago Order of Santiago
Cross Calatrava Order of Calatrava
Cross of the Knights Templar Knights Templar
French volunteers
Leon banner.svg Leonese volunteers

Flag of Morocco 1147 1269 Almohad Caliphate
Commanders and leaders
Castilla La Vieja Alfonso VIII of Castile -center
Castilla La Vieja Rodrigo Jiménez de Rada (Archbishop of Toledo)

Bandera de Reino de Navarra.svg Sancho VII of Navarre -right wing
Estandarte de la Corona de Aragon Pedro II of Aragón -left wing

Flag of Morocco 1147 1269 Caliph Muhammad an-Nasir

Flag of Morocco 1147 1269 Abu Adb-Allah al-Husayni
Flag of Morocco 1147 1269 Vizir Abu Sa`id Uthman ibn Jam`i

~12,000–14,000 ~22,000–30,000
Casualties and losses
Very high

The Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa, known in Arab history as the Battle of Al-Uqab (معركة العقاب), took place on 16 July 1212 (15 Safar 609 AH) and was an important turning point in the Reconquista and in the medieval history of Spain.

The Christian forces of King Alfonso VIII of Castile were joined by the armies of his rivals, Sancho VII of Navarre, Peter II of Aragon and Afonso II of Portugal, in battle against the Berber Almohad Muslim rulers of the southern half of the Iberian Peninsula. The Caliph al-Nasir (Miramamolín in the Spanish chronicles) led the Almohad army, made up of people from the whole Almohad empire. Most of the men in the Almohad army came from the African side of the empire.

The crushing defeat of the Christian Kingdoms and the death of Alfonso VIII King of Castile resulted in a sharp reduction of the Christian forces in the Iberian Peninsula. A few days later the Almohad army recaptured the fortress of Calatrava La Vieja ( Qal'at Rabah) and Malagón.

This territory was consolidated years later the Tagus river as the frontier between Moors and Christians with the capitulation of Toledo (see siege of Toledo).

For the Kingdom of Castile, one of the main powers of the Iberian Peninsula, the death of Alfonso VIII meant a serious setback military, politically and dynastically. A regency was established and skirmishes with the Kingdom of León grew becoming a serious of war (The Castilian-Leonese Wars). The Crown of Aragón after the defeat turned back to consolidate its territories in Occitania and help Raimundo VI of Toulouse in the Albigensian Crusade.

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