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The Visigoths were one of two main branches of the Goths, the Ostrogoths being the other. Together these tribes were among the Germanic peoples who disturbed the late Roman Empire in the middle of the first millennium. After the collapse of the Western Empire the Visigoths became a dominant power in Western Europa.
The Visigoths first appeared in history as a distinct people in the year A.D. 268 when they invaded the Roman Empire and swarmed over the Balkan peninsula. This invasion overran the Roman provinces of Pannonia and Illyricum. The Visigoths were defeated however at the Battle of Naissus and over the next three years pushed back across the Danube River by the emperors Claudius II, Gothicus and Aurelian. They maintained a stronghold in Dacia which Emperor Aurelian abandoned in A.D. 271. Bold text
There the Visigoths adopted Arianism as their religion. They remained in Dacia until A.D. 376 when Emperor Valens permitted the Visigoths refuge from the Huns. However the Visigoths were treated harshly and when a famine broke out and the Visigoths were routed into what could be compared to a concentration camp. After pleading for food Emperor Valens permitted the Visigoths food in the city of Marcianople. Their death march across the Balkans saw the deaths of many of their old and sickly. Finally reaching the city they were refused entry and they rioted. At the Battle of Adrianople the Roman forces were slaughtered including Emperor Valens.
Emperor Theodosius I made peace with the Visigoths in A.D. 379, but the peace was broken when Theodosius died in A.D. 395. In the same year King Alaric I took the Visigoth throne. After Theodosius' son Honorius murdered the Visigoth general Stilicho, the Roman armies murdered 30,000 barbarian soldiers and in response Alaric declared war. Even as the Visigoth army was at the gates of Rome Honorius refused to come to terms. And so in the year A.D. 410 Alaric sacked the city of Rome.
In the early fifth century the Vandals, Alans and Suevi invaded Roman Hispania, in response Honorius enlisted the Visigoths to regain control of the territory. In A.D. 418 Honorius rewarded the Visigoths by giving them land in the province of Aquitania. In the year A.D. 475 King Euric the Great forced the Roman government to grant them full independence.
The Visigoth Kingdom continued to flourish for centuries, even as the Western Empire collapsed at the hands of other barbarian tribes. The Visigoths was the dominate power in the West for centuries only to be rivaled by the revival of the Western Empire under the name of the Holy Roman Empire in the eighth century.
The Visigoth Crusade
In the year A.D. 1095 the militaristic Roman Patriarch Urban II succeeded the See of St. Peter. Being the personal spiritual advisor to Emperor Henry IV of the Holy Roman Empire he was able to convince the emperor that the Visigoths were a threat, not just to the Empire, but all of Christendom. Otto became convinced that the Visigoths had to be converted from their Arianism and convert to the Catholic Religion. The armies of the Empire attacked the Visigoth kingdom. Even the capital of Toledo was captured by the crusaders. After the Battle of Toledo King Ardo II surrendered to the Holy Roman Empire and renounced his Arianism.
For a hundred years the puppet Visigoth kingdom was held under the thumb of the the Holy Roman Empire. Finally in the year A.D. 1292 the true Visigoth king, Uldam I, overthrew the puppet ruler and declared the Visigoths free from Roman rule. Another battle broke out and and this time the Visigoths pushed the invaders out.
A second crusade was attempted in A.D. 1303 but failed miserably before the crusaders even made it into Visigoth territory and were all brutally slaughtered.
Patriarch Urban II was excommunicated for his actions in the ordeal by the other patriarchs, most particularly furiated by the Roman patriarch's behavior was that of Alexandria, Patriarch Michael IV who pushed the strongest for Urban's quick abdication of the See and excommunication. He was succeeded by Patriarch Paschal II.
The Visigoths in the next century became close trading partners with the Roman Empire and the Visigoth monarchs along with the Roman emperors became close allies. The Visigoth king Ardo III in the year A.D. 1454 persuaded the mentally unstable Roman Emperor Constantine XI to convert to Arianism. The Visigoths actually received many refugees escaping the terrible persecution that broke out in the Empire against the Orthodox.
The Visigoths were much more tolerant of religious diversity than was Constantine at the time. However the emperor died four years later of disease and was succeeded by his much more tolerant nephew Andronicus IV.
During the 15th century the Visigoth kingdom sought a faster route to the Orient and commissioned a young, bold aristocrat Julian deUfarmar to sail west in search of the Orient. After three months of sailing the crew became restless and rumors of mutiny began to spread. Julius tried to calm his crew down by telling them that an angel had appeared and said that land would appear very soon. He was lying of course, but it calmed his crew.
In the year A.D. 1490 Julius deUfarmar landed on an island and when he first stepped foot on the shore shouted "Dagos!" meaning that his service had been completed. The name stuck and the island became known as Dagos OTL Jamaica. The Visigoths established several early colonies in the Caribbean, such as Dagos, Faur, and Ahwa. Contact with the Aztecs on the mainland however proved disastrous. The Visigoths learned their lesson and never attempted to establish colonies on the mainland again.
Colonial Unrest and Civil War
By the 18th century the Visigoth colonies in the New World became restless and began to speak of independence from the old country. Brief skirmishes broke out, but in the end the Visigoths simply did not have the resources to try and maintain their colonies. Dagos, Faur and Ahwa all gained their independence in the year 1762. Further unrest began to plague the old country, the province of Asturia spoke of seceding from the rest of the country. King Michael IV managed to hold his kingdom together, but the peace was tenuous at best.
In the year A.D. 1805 a bitter civil war broke out and at the end of the bloody conflict the Visigoth kingdom was cut up into six nations Asturia was the first, then Aquitain, and finally Nevarra, Hispania, and Baetica seceded from the rest of the kingdom. However the central kingdom of Visigotha still survives, but the ancient Kingdom of the Visigoths had survived for well over a millennium and its glory had finally passed. There were five different barbarian tribes which include the Huns, Franks, Vandals, Saxons, and the Visigoths. Any of these barbarian tribes might have been the group that finally brought Rome down. They were all attacking various pieces of the Western Roman Empire. In 476 AD, the Visigoths sacked Rome (literally!!) Europe entered the Dark Ages. The eastern half of the Roman Empire received a new name - the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantine Empire did fine. It lasted for another 1,000 years!!