In 711, the Islamic Empire reaches
Spain, a land already rich in Christian Roman, Visigothic
and Jewish cultures. Here, Muslim leaders begin laying the
foundation for a new Islamic kingdom in Europe.
By 732, the Islamic Empire unites most of the peninsula,
calling its new land Al-Andalus. Jews and Christians worship
freely without fear of persecution, though they must pay a
tax in exchange for this protection. Yet, in the decades to
follow, Al-Andalus becomes an often turbulent melting pot of
cultures and allegiances: Berbers, Arab Muslims, Christians,
During this time, a prince named Abd al-Rahman flees a
bloody coup of his royal family in the Islamic capital of
Damascus, eventually to reach Al-Andalus. The son of a
Amazigh (Berber) and an Arab, he is able to quell the tensions between
these Muslim factions.
It is Prince Abd al-Rahman Iís reign that forever shapes the
future of Al-Andalus, with the resurgence of music and the
arts, revival of architecture, construction of a great
mosque, and rebirth of a lively center of trade.