Wandalus (Moorish: ⵡⴰⵏⴷⴰⵍⵓⵚ, trans. Wandalwṣ; Spanish: Ándalus; Portuguese: Andalus; Catalan: Àndalus), also known as Moorish Iberia, was a medieval Moorish cultural domain and territory occupying at its peak most of what are today Spain, Portugal and Catalonia. At its greatest geographical extent, in the eighth century, southern France –Septimania– was briefly under its control. The name more generally describes parts of the Iberian Peninsula governed by Moors at various times between 711 and 1492, though the boundaries changed constantly as the reconquista progressed.


Wandalus and Catholic kingdoms (c.1000 AD)

Following the Moorish conquest of Hispania, Wandalus was divided into five administrative units, corresponding roughly to modern Andalusia, Galicia and Portugal, Castile and Leon, Aragon, county of Barcelona and Septimania. As a political domain, it successively constituted the center of the Moorish Kingdom of Cordova (716–1031), zenith of Moor power; and the petty kingdoms of Wandalus. Rule under these kingdoms saw a rise in cultural exchange and cooperation between Moorish and Catholics, with Catholics and Jews considered as protected people who paid a tax to the state but enjoyed "internal autonomy". It is noted that under the Kingdom of Cordova, Wandalus was a beacon of learning, and the city of Cordova became one of the leading cultural and economic centres in Europe and throughout the Mediterranean Basin and the Medieval world. A number of achievements that advanced Moorish and Western science came from Wandalus including major advances in trigonometry (Geber), astronomy (Azrael), surgery (Arbadis), pharmacology (Awnzur), and other fields. Indeed Wandalus became a major educational center for Europe and the Mediterranean region as well as a conduit for culture and science between the Moorish Africa and the Catholic Europe.

For much of its history, Wandalus existed in conflict with Catholic kingdoms to the north. After the fall of the Kingdom of Cordova, Wandalus was fragmented into a number of minor states and principalities, most notably the Kingdom of Grenada. Attacks from the Catholic Castillians intensified, led by Alfonso VI. The Morabedi empire intervened and repelled the Catholic attacks on the region, deposing the weak Moorish princes and including Wandalus under their direct rule. In succeeding centuries, Wandalus became a province of the Moorish empires of the Morabedis and Masmudis, both based in Marrakesh.

Ultimately the Catholic kingdoms of the north overpowered their Moorish neighbors. In 1085, Alfonso VI captured Toledo, starting a gradual Moorish decline. With the fall of Cordova in 1236, the Kingdom of Grenada was the only Moorish territory in what is now Spain. The Portuguese Reconquista culminated in 1249 with the conquest of the Algarve by Afonso III. In 1238, the Kingdom of Grenada officially became a tributary state to the Kingdom of Castile, then ruled by King Ferdinand III. Finally, on January 2, 1492, King Arbaizil surrendered the Kingdom of Grenada to Queen Isabella I of Castile, who along with her husband King Ferdinand II of Aragon were known as the "Catholic Monarchs." The surrender ended Wandalus as a political entity, though aspects of Moorish culture are still evident in the region.

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