Matthew D. Moss

Publication Date

Spring 2016

Faculty Supervisor

Lisa Baer


By the dawn of the seventh century, the infant Muslim nation stretched from the shores of the African Atlantic, to the dry plains of Hindustan and the mountains of Central Asia and Caucasia. Even Europe was not beyond their reach, with the Iberian Peninsula—modern-day Spain and Portugal—finding itself under the flag of the Islamic empire by the end of the eighth century. The invasion of Iberia was one which came about for three distinct reasons: (1) to spread Islam beyond its traditional basin of Arabia and North Africa, a desire born from the Qur’an and the traditions of the hadiths; (2) to bring more Christians and Jews or dhimmis under its rule so that they may be subject to the jizyah tax, a move made for purely economic reasons; and (3) to placate the large, well-trained, and unengaged army of indigenous North Africans, whom had been conquered and assimilated by the Muslim armies, by directing them to whet their blades on foreign rather than turn them inward toward the caliphate. This thesis holds that if any one of these three motivators were not present, the Islamic invasion of Iberia may not have occurred.


History 101


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