Granada History, History of Granada, Andalucia, Spain

Granada History

History of Granada, Andalucia, Spain

Granada History

The land around Granada was inhabited by early man, of this traces have been found. As time went on populace increased & when the Bronze Age dawned human presence throughout the Costa was widespread. Eventually an Iberian-Celtic tribe settled on or near the site of the current city. As the years passed they began to trade with the Phoenicians, who established several trading ports along the coastline. They were followed by the Carthaginians, & then the ancient Greeks; who ventured inland & formed a colony at the Iberian encampment, under the name Elybirge.

The cities strategic importance was fully realised under Romans rule, as it was they who first fortified the town & renamed it Iliberis. This military tradition was carried on by the Visigoths who further enhanced Granada's importance, using it as a centre for civil administration & authority.

Granada was first conquered by the Moors in 711 AD, & they named it Ilbira. It was to become the capital of a province ruled by the Caliphate of Cordoba; an immensely powerful Muslim state that controlled much of Spain. This caused the country to become the main focus for the defence of the Christian faith, with much capital & military attention devoted to winning back the peninsular. It was Frankish armies that had halted the Moorish advance, & though it took hundreds of years it was they & their descendants who applied the most pressure in pushing them back. Eventually this resulted in the collapse of the caliphate in the 11th century, already severely weakened from a series of internal power struggles. The Moors were pushed farther south resulting in a concentration of their peoples in what was then the Moorish province of Al-Andaluz (modern Andalucia). This caused their southern cities to grow, & in the case of Ilbira the incorporation of a neighborhood called Garnata; which is where Granada got it's name.

From 1232-1492 the Moorish sultanate & kingdom of Granada (in the earlier years incorporating the whole of Al-Andaluz) was ruled by the Nasrid dynasty. They were incredibly successful, maintaining an almost totally Muslim state, & responsible for building a great many important structures; including the Alhambra palatial fortification in which they lived. Part of the reason for their endurance was that they were able to maintain a level of diplomacy with the growing Catholic powers in the rest of Spain (now split into several kingdoms). This only worked for a time & their kingdoms borders were eroded as their neighbours grew in power & stature. Eventually just the city of Granada remained & in 1492 they were expelled from the peninsular completely by Queen Isabella of Castille & King Ferdinand of Aragon; thus ending an 800 year long stay of Islamic power in Europe.

After the expulsion of the Moors Granada's history is relatively synonymous with that of the rest of southern Spain. First & foremost the city's mosques were turned into churches, & over the years many Moorish structures were altered or demolished. However much of the Arab heritage does remain, & it is this which makes Granada unique among European cities.


Granada Tourist Office

Telephone     +34 958 225217

Fax              +34 958 223174


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Granada History, History of Granada, Andalucia, Spain


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