Chapter Four

The Old World – Iberia, Pre-Spain



Much of the information provided here is taken for the Internet


The search for one's family history is a labor of love. With enough research a family picture begins to emerge, almost bringing some ancestors back to life. One begins to see them as real people rather than ancestors whose lives are spoken of in print or just a face found in a faded photo. In time, I learned enough about some to feel as though I know them. The experience has changed my life and perceptions of family. They are now my family, thus my love for my ancestors, the de Riberas of New Mexico.

My family's story begins in the fiercely fought over Iberian Peninsula, which was later to become known as Spain. It was forces beyond the control of any of the Iberian inhabitants that impressed a deep love of God, country, and honor upon their Spanish souls. Thus my mother, Angela Rivera (de Ribera), sprang from a long line of warring peoples that melded together into what are known today as the Spaniards. My mother’s people were of ancient Iberians, Roman, Jewish (Sephardic), and the succession of other tribes that found their way to that beautiful peninsula. There they fought one another for possession of the land and its promise. Each tribe rose to power and gradually lost it to another. Hungry and determined to make the place their own in time they mingled their bloodlines until they became one common stock, today’s Spanish.

Mother's pride in her Spanish heritage, family, and its history was always a topic of discussion at the evening dinner table. That pride and love of family never left me. My genealogical search began with my maternal grandfather, Isidro Rivera (de Ribera) y Quintana. He was born in Pecos, New Mexico in 1870. Soon, the search included my maternal grandmother, María Anna Amalia Ceballes, originally Ceballos. She was also born in Pecos, on August 5, 1878. They were married in Pecos, New Mexico on January 25, 1898.

As Mimi Lozano-Holtzman of Somos Primos fame has taught me, a genealogical project involves a passion for research, data collection, analysis, and documentation. The aforementioned are necessary and, at times, difficult. The result of the research process is a mountain of documents and notes. These records necessitate a filing system. Accessing a poorly developed system can overwhelm the researcher. As a result, an easily retrievable electronic database is suggested. This should be supported by well thought out file folder system or tabbed binders. The research process requires the development of a unique skill-set. These include the ability to review personal and legal documents with an eye toward linking them to one's family lines. It requires patience and sound judgment. Data collection is one of the building blocks of any research project. The documents often have misspelled and/or differently spelled names. The researcher will also find conflicting and incorrect dates for births, deaths, marriages, etc. He/she must integrate into family lines.

Another very important skill is that of, "People Interfacing". Important leads are often found through others. In my case, it was the kindness of Michael Gallegos and Marcus Flores that often removed roadblocks and provided directions around the always-present blind alley. An added bonus is that these two men are newly found, long lost family. These wonderful people saved me countless hours of needless research through their kindness and efforts.

Months into the project, I found a new group of friends. They are "The History Hunters", my fellow researchers, dedicated men and women with a love of family. This is a gift that I can never be too thankful for. They remind me of the tough minded Spanish, New Mexico settlers that are my family lines. Like the Spanish men and women who came to the Southwest and built lives and fortunes in a very unforgiving environment these history hunters never give up.

The name Ribera is Spanish in Origin. It is first found in Castile, where it originally meant "riverbank". In time, it was used as a surname. In earlier times, it was often seen with the prefix "de", to indicate the place of origin of a family. Spelling variations of the name include Rivera, Ribera, Ribeira, Rivero, Ribero, Ribeiro, and others. Don Fernando Rivera of Santa Fe provided a Ribera Coat of Arms. It's depicted by a green shield with three horizontal red stripes.

This chapter will introduce the reader to these hardy peoples, Iberians who melded into what would become the Spanish. These would later settle the Spanish New World. To know who they were and what they were about is important. It provides the reader with an understanding of what motivated them, what drove them to leave the comfort of Europe and its traditions, and to venture outside to the world of the unknown.


What is a Spaniard?



I provided a primer in "Chapter One" in an attempt to ease the reader into some understanding of this complex subject, Spain and its people. Most of us are limited in our knowledge and understanding of the human race, racial groups and types, and geographic migration patterns. We know only what we are taught and what we see with our own eyes. Thus labels are easy to apply while research and study of the area takes time and trouble. Spain is an excellent study in ethnic, tribal, and racial mixing. Modern European states are a result of this mixing. Population migration patterns, conquest, and wars make Spain an excellent case study in this regard. To complicate matters further, Spain became a world-wide empire comprised of regionalized viceroyalties. Politically, it became a geographically extensive group of state-like districts or provinces governed by a viceroy. These territories and different peoples (ethnic groups) were united and ruled by a central authority, a Spanish monarch.

Many people of different European countries intermarried with Spaniards and these too became Spaniards. Later indigenous Americans, Asians, and Africans were introduced into the mix. In this chapter I will attempt to expand upon how Spain was formed and by whom. I will also provide a historic look at the intentions behind the Empire and how this unfolding changed its own ethnic, racial, and cultural composition. Thus the question, what is a modern day Spaniard?

The history of Spain is really a history of a geographic area, a peninsula. Before the Roman Empire, the Iberian Peninsula was never politically unified. It had indigenous groups and colonies established by Eastern Mediterranean civilizations. It is traditional (Only since 19th Century) to start the history of modern Spain with the Visigoth kingdom. To be sure, a discussion of modern Spain would be incomplete without a mention of the Visigoth Kingdom. However, it is debatable whether there is continuity between it and the Kingdom of Castilla and Aragón after the 15th Century. Continuity can however, be established via the tread of Roman Catholic Christianity. Both the Visigoth Kingdom (German Tribes) and Al-Andalus (African Moors) have their own historical significance and must be treated as such.


The Iberians

2000 B.C.

The first people to appear in the Iberian Peninsula were called Iberians. These are accepted by historians as the native people (at a given point in time) of what is now called Spain. Originally they came from the south of Africa (Libya). They had a tribal organizational structure and were therefore split up into various tribal groups. Early on, the Iberians established a pattern of transhumance according to season. Taking their sheep up into the mountains in summer, they spent the time tending to small plots. In the province of València, which is inland from a town called Saguntum, there was excavated a city at La Bastida. In ancient times it was a farming village and many tools were found in the burned ruins. From the tools it is inferred that the farming was done with a light plow, using draught animals, such as oxen. Also, the soil would have been slightly moist, implying the now dry soil must have been irrigated. This in turn implies a cooperative effort, as irrigation requires a community united to a common goal. All this predates Greece, Carthage, and Rome. Therefore, the primitive Iberians accomplished this form of irrigation.

In winter, they brought their flocks down to the Mediterranean where they were sheared and stabled. Then the people wove textiles during the cold months. This life in constant motion gave the Iberians a hearty lifestyle and a love of freedom. They would learn the city life with its gains and losses later with the Romans. The general conclusion is that the Iberians were probably happy with their lot. They had enough to eat and remained tightly knit communities. However, the coming of the metal age was not necessarily to their benefit.

The Iberians had strong contact with the classical world. Both the Greeks and Phoenicians traded with them and eventually established settlements on the peninsula. In addition to trading with the classical world, the Iberians provided mercenaries to various countries around the Mediterranean by the 5th Century B.C.

1100 B.C.: Cadiz was founded in 1100 B.C. and is the capital of the province of the same name in the Spanish region of Andalucía. The city is sited on a long narrow peninsula in the southwest corner of Spain, surrounded on three sides by the Atlantic Ocean.


The Jews: 970 - 928 B.C.

According to the oldest Jewish traditions the first Jews arrived in Spain in one of King Solomon's (970 B.C.-928 B.C.) fleets with Hiram's Phoenicians. Their mission was to conduct business with Tarsus. These appear to be the same boats of Tarsus that the biblical prophet Jonah boarded and which must have arrived at the Tartessos of the Guadalquivir.


The Celts: 900 B.C. - 500 B.C.

Later, the Celts arrived in Spain. They were a typically Aryan people. These moved into Spain during the 8th to 6th centuries B.C. Before the expansions of Ancient Rome and the Germanic tribes, a significant part of Europe was dominated by Celtic culture. The seven territories recognised as Celtic nations are Brittany (Breizh), on the European continent; Cornwall (Kernow), Wales (Cymru), Scotland (Alba), Ireland (Éire), and the Isle of Man (Mannin). Each of these regions has a Celtic language that is either still spoken or was spoken into modern times. Territories in north-western Iberia (Spain) — particularly Galicia, Northern Portugal and Asturias; sometimes referred to as Gallaecia, which includes North-Central Portugal — are sometimes included due to their culture and history. Unlike the others, however, no Celtic language has been spoken there in modern times.

The Celts blended in with the native Iberians to produce the Celtiberians. With the merging of two groups there arose a new people. These then, divided into several tribes Cantabrians, Asturians, and Lusitanians giving their names to their respective homelands. These were Celtic and Proto-Celtic tribes living in the remote northern mountain areas of Spain.

Today, the word Celtic usually denotes people who are descended from one of seven Celtic "fringe" provinces in Western Europe. Only now, is the public at large aware of the Celts of Galicia, Spain. The Celtic peoples’ oldest cultural remnants can be found close to eastern France, Southern Germany and Belgium, and northern Switzerland and Austria. These spread from Galatia, Turkey to Celtiberia, Spain and Ireland in the 1st Century B.C. Today, many descendants of immigrants to North America, South America, Australia, and New Zealand can trace their ancestry from the Celts.

Fortunately, the Celtic culture was situated on the borders of western civilization instead of in the center, where major changes took place. As a result, Celtic civilization offers a window into a world that existed before many of the conventions were brought about in Western society. It has been compared in this respect to the Hindu culture of India, the other "fringe" culture of the Arian expansion in Europe. There are many similarities in their culture and their beliefs, which span back to the formative years of Western civilization.

Celt, also spelled KELT, Latin CELTA, plural Celtae, is a member of an early Indo-European people. These peoples spread over much of Europe from the 2nd millennium B.C. to the 1st Century B.C. Their tribes and groups eventually ranged from the British Isles and northern Spain to as far east as Transylvania, the Black Sea coasts, and Galatia in Anatolia (Turkey). In part, they were absorbed into the Roman Empire as Britons, Gauls, Boii, Galatians, and Celtiberians. Linguistically they survive in the modern Celtic speakers of Ireland, Highland Scotland, the Isle of Man, Wales, and Brittany.


The next to arrive were the Phoenicians. They came from the Eastern Shore of the Mediterranean Sea, modern day Lebanon. Their land was arid and inhospitable for farming. So they turned to the sea for food and eventually commerce. They became the greatest travelers and traders of their time. The Phoenicians invented the alphabet and taught several cultures their advanced system of writing.

They extended their influence across North Africa and settled Carthage in the modern nation of Tunisia. A trading post, the word Carthage means "New City." They selected it because of its location in the center of North Africa. It was a short distance from Sicily and the Italian Peninsula. Then the Assyrians and the Persians conquered the original homeland of the Phoenicians, Carthage became an independent state.

Early on, they were attracted by mining wealth of the Iberian Peninsula. They founded a number of trading posts along the Spanish coast, the most important being that of Cádiz.


The Greeks: 350 B.C.

Then the Greek settlers came to what they called Hesperia (to the west), later Spain. They founded several towns including Rosas, Ampurias and Sagunto. Ancient Greece was one of the largest contributors to present-day civilization. Democracy, philosophy, astrology, biology, mathematics, physics, and theatres are only a few of its contributions to us.   

We marvel at the words and thoughts of those great Greeks Plato, Socrates, Pythagoras, and Aristotle that are still taught in universities to this day.


Magnificent Greek cities have withstood the onslaught of nature’s power for thousands of years. They still stand today for us to view with great wonderment.

The ancient Greeks were very loyal to their city-states (polis). Each had its own personality, goals, laws and customs. But what did it mean to be a citizen of a Greek city-state? Greek citizens took great pride in their individual states, defining themselves as citizens of that city-state, rather than citizens of Greece. This was a great civilization far ahead of its time, whose beauty and knowledge will live on for many generations to come. This is what these Greek explorers and traders brought to the Iberian Peninsula.

Until about 350 B.C., Iberia had few Greek traders. Soon they discovered Saguntum. Saguntum is the Roman name, while Sagunto is the modern Spanish translation. València is the city, which replaced Sagunto, is one of the largest in Spain. The name Murbiter was used during the Arab occupation, then quickly dropped when the Arabs were expelled.

The location of Saguntum is on the Mediterranean coast of Spain, at the southern end of the Balearic Sea, near a peaceful bay. An early Iberian settlement, it lays inland a mile or so supplying farming villages access to the sea. Since there is no river close to it water must be diverted into a channel and led near the city. The city proper was built on a ridge looking down upon a peaceful cove. Today, it is one of the best sand beaches available in Spain. Situated on a plateau, about thirty feet above the beach, the fortress is high on the ridge.


The mountains behind Saguntum are steep, but not high. The Iberians used the higher plateaus for pasturing sheep in the summer and growing wheat and barley where water was plentiful. The winters behind Saguntum were severely cold and summers dry. At the city itself, the climate was a little more temperate, but still hot and dry in the summer.

Historically Saguntum is seen as having been situated in a location that would cause great controversy. The city strived to maintain neutrality and did so for hundreds of years. During these times, the kings of the Iberian tribes looked for ways to create competition. With more traders, their bargaining power rose accordingly.

Until about 350 B.C., Saguntum was an Iberian village with a few Greek traders. Soon, Greeks arrived from their homeland Phocaea, and later, Greece proper. They settled, setting up industries in the "frontier land", plying their trades. To the north, the villages or colonies were also Greek. These settlements extended northward along the coast as far as the Spanish and French border. Nice was the last Greek settlement, where the Alps plunge into the Mediterranean. Its central location made the city a great prize.

Later, along the Roman road Via Augusta, it was two hundred miles south to Cartagena and one hundred miles north to Tortosa on the Ebro River. Two hundred miles further and one arrives at the French border, the edge of the Alps at the Mediterranean. To go inland to Madrid, the center of Spain, it is another 220 miles.

As the Greeks became successful they ran afoul of the Etruscans. Through their main colony, Marseilles, the Greeks traded goods brought overland and down the Rhone River. The main item of trade was tin. Their Etruscan competitors were bringing tin to Italy by crossing the Alps and dealing directly with the Celts. The Greeks began competing heavily with the Etruscans and prospered greatly, angering the Carthaginians and Etruscans.

The Carthaginians had colonies to the south, along the coast all the way to Cádiz. From there, they controlled trade goods coming around the Atlantic coast, especially tin. The tin trade provided the flame that would ignite hostilities. The Greeks saw themselves as under attack from all sides. Pressed, they appealed to the Romans, setting up an alliance. This allowed the Greek colonies to carry on trade without problem from 350 B.C. to 219 B.C. Their workshops manufactured finished products and they traded them to the east.

The Jews: 587 B.C.

Tradition suggests that this second wave arrived as refugees after the destruction of Jerusalem by the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, in 587 B.C., joining their compatriots who had come earlier during the Phoenician trading era. Though all this is possible, there is no documentation to prove it.

The Carthaginians: Before 238 B.C.

Carthage would eventually fight and lose three brutal wars against its rival, the city of Rome, Italy. These wars were known as the Punic Wars because Puncia was the Roman name for Carthage. Once entering Spania, as they called Spain, the Phoenicians struggling against the Greeks. As a result, they called upon their Carthaginian brothers. Earlier these had lost the First Punic War against Rome when the Roman navy surprised that sea trading people in 238B.C. Stripped of its land and rights in Sicily, Carthage sought a place to expand, Iberia was that place.

Under the orders from Carthage, Hamilcar Barca of took possession of most of Spain. It was this act that caused Rome to raise a border dispute to defend the areas of Greek influence. This began the Second Punic War on the Peninsula which was to decide the fate of the world of that time. Earlier, Rome had absorbed the Etruscans and extended their empire along the northerner coast of the Mediterranean to the Greek-held colonies of Gaul and Iberia. In the treaty signed by Hasdrubal in 241 B.C., the Carthaginian general ceded all the lands north and east of the "River" to Rome and its allies.

Celt: 200s B.C.

Celt, also spelled KELT, Latin CELTA, plural Celtae, is a member of an early Indo-European people. These peoples spread over much of Europe from the 2nd millennium B.C.

The Rome Period: 218 B.C.-19 B.C.

The Roman presence in Hispania would last for seven centuries during which the basic frontiers of the Peninsula in relation to other European countries would be shaped. However the Romans did not only bequeath a territorial administration, but also left a legacy of social and cultural characters such as the family, language, religion, law and municipal government, and the assimilation of which definitively placed the Peninsula within the Greco-Latin and later the Judeo-Christian worlds.

The Roman presence in the Peninsula followed the route of the Greek commercial bases; however, it commenced with a struggle between itself and Carthage for the control of the western Mediterranean during the 2nd Century B.C. In any case, it was at that time that the Peninsula would enter as an entity in the international political circuit then in existence, and from then on became a coveted strategic objective due to its singular geographic position between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, and to the agricultural and mineral wealth of its southern part.

228 B.C.: The Romans had been waiting for a reason to begin a new war on Carthage. Soon, they would drive their foes, the Carthaginians, off the continent. After Hasdrubal’s horrible murder in Sicily, Hamilcar was sent to Iberia to exploit the silver mines and help pay off the indemnity Rome had applied to Carthage. For eight years Hamilcar campaigned in Iberia, subdued the native Iberians, and at the same time, put them to work mining silver and making weapons. Most of the activity took place at his headquarters at Carthago Nova (Cartagena), about two hundred miles south of Saguntum.


When Hamilcar Barca of Carthage’s died from accidental drowning in the year 228 B.C., the mantle of authority was passed to his son, Hannibal.

219 B.C.: Hannibal attacked the Greek City, Saguntum in 219 B.C. causing the Second Punic War. The inhabitants of Saguntum greatly feared Hannibal and his men. The city fathers sent regular delegates to the Roman Senate pleading their concern and warning of the preparation for war. The Romans took a position that Saguntum was part of their territory in Spain and sent a delegation to talk with Hannibal. Getting no satisfaction over the claims for Saguntum, the delegation went to Carthage to have Hannibal removed or at least stopped. After much posturing, claiming the Greeks were harassing the native Iberians near Saguntum, and counter-claims that the Iberians were harassing the Greeks colonists, Hannibal attacked Saguntum. Hannibal arrived at the gates of a city beginning its rapid decline into oblivion.

As Hannibal laid siege to Saguntum the inhabitants resisted heroically. Many burning their possessions and themselves rather than be captured. It fell after eight months. The spoils were divided between his men and a large portion went to Carthage to secure its support. With spoils in hand, Carthage declared war on Rome beginning the Second Punic War.

Hannibal was wounded in the leg and the remainder of the assault was left to his brothers. Hannibal later left his brother, Hasdrubal II, in charge of Iberia and supplies to be sent forward later. Unfortunately, his brother was unable to save Saguntum or the supplies.


Suguntum and other newly acquired Carthaginian bases in Spain provided the great military leader Hannibal with excellent position to attack his enemies. He soon led a team of elephants across southern France and into Italy; his great march over the Alps. While Hannibal was crossing the Alps, Scipio, the great Roman general, arrived in Massillia to stop the Carthaginians. But he had arrived too late. Scipio then immediately began to undo all that Hannibal had achieved in Iberia. Apparently the poor treatment of the city’s inhabitants had soured the native Iberians and caused many to go over to the Roman cause. Where before, Hannibal had recruited soldiers from the Iberian population, Hasdrubal drove the Iberians into the enemy camp. Interestingly, the Romans and Carthage fought each other with the aid of Iberians troops. Hannibal had many of their best troops aiding him in his many early victories.

The Roman General with the aid of angry citizens finally recaptured the city. After the Roman victory, Publius Cornelius Scipio, Africanus began his final conquest of Spain. The Romans then took over the Carthaginian territories in Hispania. Over the next couple of centuries they expanded to conquer the rest of the Iberian Peninsula.

218 B.C.-19 B.C.: Rome and her great power inevitably followed as the next conqueror of Iberia. It took them 200 years to conquer all of Spain. Hispania (Spain) was subdued by Rome in the 1st and 2nd centuries B.C. The penetration and the subsequent Roman conquest of the Peninsula covered the prolonged period stretching from 218 19 B.C.


209 B.C.: Decline of Hannibal's army in Italy and beginning of the great Roman conquest of Spain. Rome annexes the country and divides it into two provinces:

  • Hispania Citerior
  • Hispania Ulterior

206 B.C.: For the most part, Iberia was conquered by 206 B.C. After that time, only a few northern Iberian tribes remained free. She would defeat the remaining warrior tribes by the time most of Spain was conquered. The peoples of note left to be defeated were the Proto-Celts and Galicians. History tells us that the Romans had particular difficulty conquering one of these tribes, the Galicians.

153 B.C.: Numantia is famous for its role in the Celtiberian Wars. Numantia or Numancia in Spanish is the name of an ancient Celtiberian settlement, whose remains are located 7 km north of the city of Soria, on a hill known as Cerro de la Muela in the municipality of Garray. In the year 153 B.C., Numantia experienced its first serious conflict with Rome.

146 B.C.: After the siege of Carthage in 146 B.C., the Romans went from house-to-house slaughtering the Carthaginians. The few survivors were sold into slavery after the city and harbor was destroyed. In an act of vengeance the Romans poured salt over the land to ensure its barrenness.

143 B.C. to 139 B.C.: Viriatus and the Lusitanians fought the Roman legions.

138 B.C: By 138 B.C., the Romans moved in and occupied the area of València. Unfortunately, the city of Saguntum had been mostly destroyed. The city center was moved twenty miles south to València. Both cities, the old and the new, lie in the province of València, a land of native Iberians, mixed with the occasional Roman, Punic Arab, or Greek.

133 B.C.: The inhabitants of Numantia prefer to die in the flames of their city rather than surrender to Scipio Aemilianus. After 20 years of hostilities, in the year 133 B.C. the Roman Senate gave Scipio Aemilianus Africanus the task of destroying Numantia. He laid siege to the city, erecting a nine kilometre fence supported by towers, moats, impaling rods and so on. After 13 months of siege, the Numantians decided to burn the city and die free rather than live and be slaves.

The Romans would pacify the Peninsula once and for all and divide it into three provinces:

  • Tarraconense
  • Baetica
  • Lusitania

By 75 B.C.: Pompey the Great destroyed a large part of València during the campaign against Quintus Sertorius. (Livy).


Roman conquest of Hispania, North West corner of Iberia: 19 B.C.

The last part of Iberia to be absorbed was the North West corner in 19 B.C. Hispania or Spain remained under Roman rule for six centuries. During this time the Peninsula was completely subdued and romanized. As the Romans settled Iberia, they expanded the existing irrigation systems and changed the crops to their liking. The Romans often took a great idea and expanded it to its logical greatness.

When the Romans occupied a city they didn’t consider it a proper place to live without a theater, and Saguntum was no exception. The amphitheater was built in the 1st Century A.D., in a natural hillside depression. Even today, it offers exceptional acoustics. It has recently been rehabilitated and events are now held as in ancient times. The Roman circus was built in the 2nd to 3rd centuries, as the lust for amusement swept the Roman Empire. Several of the present-day universities are built on these Roman foundations in València, today a thriving Spanish tourist Mecca.

Roman Circus Gate, one of the gates to the Roman Circus, is located in the Calle de los Huertos (Street of Gardens). It is composed of enormous smooth-cut masonry and has been dated to the 2nd and 3rd Century B.C.

Monuments include the Temple of Diana, built of gigantic limestone blocks in the 5th and 4th Century B.C. The Temple of Diana, or a wall fifty feet long, still remains. The wall is now part of the Church of Santa María and survives because Hannibal would not touch the sacred temple. Later the Christian church rebuilt the temple, but now dedicated to the Virgin Mary instead of the goddess Diana.

The Castle on the Sierra Calderona ridge, above Saguntum, is the remains of the hilltop fortress of the type so common in the ancient world. Greek forums, later paved by the Romans, and now called Plazas can be seen along with columns and capitals carved from the local limestone. Several cisterns carved by the Romans into the native rock and sealed with waterproof cement can be found. One of the famous cisterns, now Plaza de la Conejera, was covered over by a small fortress. The cistern and its many columns formed the "basement".

There used to be a tower called the Tower of Hercules it is now the Plaza de la Ciudadela (City Plaza) the tower was destroyed by French troops in 1811 A.D. It was the highest part of the overall fortress complex. Most of what one sees now was built in medieval times but is impressive. From this natural height there is still a magnificent view of the gardens and orchards running down the hillside to the blue Mediterranean.

Roman thought and culture dominated Hispania. So much so that it produced writers of the stature of Seneca and Lucan. Also the eminent emperors as Trajan and Hadrian came from Iberia. Rome magnificent Rome left Spain four powerful social elements the Latin language, Roman law, the municipality, and the Christian religion.

The Jewish Quarter or section of Saguntum was sectioned off and marked by an arch, or portal. It is an interesting area of narrow winding streets, typical of an ancient past. Jewish traders occupied the quarter, always insisting on their own version of edible food, etc. Typical of the Romans, they tolerated other cultures and their ways, allowing the capable Jewish merchants to bring goods to market.

History was later made there when the Christians massacred the Jews in 1492. The doorway is known today as the Portalet de la Sang or Portal of Blood. Later, the ancient Jewish synagogue was occupied by the "Brotherhood of the Immaculate Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ".

Jews: 70 A.D.

A third and more probable explanation is to assume that the enlargement of the first Jewish settlements in the Iberian Peninsula took place after Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. This could have been mistaken as their first introduction into Iberia. The war against Rome and the complete destruction of the Temple opened up the great Jewish Diaspora (dispersion) throughout the Mediterranean. The Diaspora could have easily reached Roman Hispania (Spain) in the 1st Century. Jewish migration to Iberia appears to have been successive in nature, gradually introducing Jewish culture and religion to the area.

At the invasion of the Huns some Visigoths fled with Athanaric into the mountains of Transylvania. The majority turned to the Roman Emperor Valens for help asking to be taken into the Roman Empire. In 376 A.D., a force of 200,000 Visigoths crossed the Danube. But oppression by the governors led them to revolt. Angry, they crossed the country plundering as they went. Finally, they defeated and killed Valens in 378 A.D., near Adrianople. His successor, Theodosius, made peace with the Visigoths in 382 A.D. Theodosius' policy was to unite the Visigoths with the empire by means of national commanders appointed by the emperor. Wanting to maintain peace, he endeavored to unite the Arians with those who held the Nicene faith.

After the death of Theodosius in 395A.D. the Visigoths elected Alaric of the Baltha family as their king. Alaric then sought to establish a Germanic kingdom on Roman soil. It was Alaric who brought his people into connection with Roman civilization. In 396 A.D., he invaded the Balkan Peninsula as far as the Peloponnesus and was given the Province of Illyria. He then began his war against the Western Roman Empire. By 401 A.D., he entered Italy. Alaric was victorious at Aquileia. But after the battle of Pollentia in 403 A.D., Alaric was forced to retreat. In 408 A.D., he demanded the cession of Noricum, Illyria Pannonia, and Venetia. He plundered Rome in 410 A.D., and soon after died in southern Italy.


Jews Iberian Peninsula Roman times: 100 A.D. to 300 A.D.

Although the first date of Jewish settlement in Spain is unknown, it is believed that Jews lived on the Iberian Peninsula as early as Roman times. Between 100 A.D. and 300 A.D., large Jewish populations had settled in towns in southeastern Spain, and the region south of Córdoba became a region of major Jewish settlement. Jews lived as farmers and landowners under the Visigoths, but they also suffered various persecutions.

98 A.D.: Beginning with the rule of Trajan, he was the first Roman emperor of Spanish origin.

264 A.D.: Franks and Suevi invade the country and temporarily occupy Tarragona.

5th Century

By the 5th Century A.D., the Germanic Visigoths were already a romanized people who considered themselves the heirs of a defunct imperial Roman power. Attacked relentlessly, around the middle of this century, pressures forced the Visigoths to establish their capital in Toledo at the center of the Iberian Peninsula. The Suevi from the west (Galicia), the Cantabrian-Pyrenaic herdsmen from the north, the Byzantines from the south, and the Betica continued to war with the Visigoths.


Crammed on a rocky hilltop, Toledo's cathedral, alcazar, synagogues and churches vie for space, crammed tightly together between its ancient walls, bounded by the swiftly flowing river Tagus below. The city boasts a rich concentration of Arab, Jewish and Christian monuments, a unique celebration of the cultural forces that have forged Spain's identity; it remains one of the most dynamic historic cities in Europe. Narrow, twisting lanes cleave to the hillside, the dusty streets themselves evoking a vibrant history.

The skyline of towers and battlements, ragged against the empty, glaring meseta sky, is as famous as it is dramatic; the powerful landscape, which charged the paintings of El Greco, is as thrilling today as it was when he painted it in the 16th Century. El Greco lived and worked in Toledo for 37 years, and some of his most celebrated works are kept within the churches and galleries of the city.

Whether you want to immerse yourself in great medieval architecture, absorb the intensities of one of the most powerful artists of Spain's Golden Age, or simply stroll through ancient streets, a day at least in Toledo is an absolute must for anyone travelling through central Spain.

Toledo was long prized as a strategic fortified settlement. In Roman times it was sufficiently important to mint its own coins, and had a fine circus and an aqueduct. The Visigoths made it their capital between the 6th and 8th centuries; when the country fell to the Moors, Toledo became part of the Córdoba emirate, and in 1012 A.D. capital of an independent Moorish kingdom. Under the rule of Islam, Moors, Jews and Christians (Mozarabs) lived somewhat peacefully within the city.

Religious tolerance remained a feature of the city even after the Christian takeover of Toledo in 1085 A.D., a key victory in the wars of the Reconquest. It was an atmosphere in marked contrast to the Moorish Christian campaigns bloodily raging further south. The peaceful coexistence of these cultures lasted for a remarkable length of time, and the city became a center of religious, intellectual and artistic excellence, greatly patronized by royalty.

This tolerance was at its most liberal under Christian rule during the 13th Century, and the stability it engendered formed the bedrock of a cultural dynamism unsurpassed in Spain: the wealth of art and architectural treasures that remain today bear witness to the prosperity and creative output of the time. Only in the 14th Century, with increasingly zealous Christian powers determined to homogenize the culture throughout Spain, did this enriching cosmopolitanism come to an end.

In 1355 A.D. there was a pogrom in the city, and in 1391 A.D. Jews worshipping at the synagogue of Santa María la Blanca were massacred. A determined Ferdinand and Isabella, the Catholic Kings, created the Inquisition in 1480 A.D., with specific orders brutally to root out all Jews, and in 1492 A.D., they ordered the mass expulsion of Jews from Spain. It was the end of a great era for Toledo.

Throughout the 15th and early 16th Century Spanish monarchs continued to lavish money on the city: Ferdinand and Isabella built the monastery of San Juan, and Emperor Charles V rebuilt the alcazar. In 1561 A.D., the city's fortunes were overshadowed by the creation of Madrid, some 70 km north, as the nation's capital. Toledo was left as the seat of the primacy of Spain, as it remains today.


Just about everything you will want to see in Toledo is inside the city walls. Its ancient narrow streets will take you up to Plaza Zocodover, a small square high on the east side of town, the best place from which to get your bearings.

              Toledo Cathedral

The plaza is triangular: from one corner Cuesta del Alcazar; from another, Calle de la Cuesta de las Armas heads back down the hillside, eventually leading to the road north out of the city. The mosque of El Cristo de la Luz is the main monument of interest in this part of town, so it is a good idea to visit it as you leave. From Plaza de Zocodover's third comer, Calle del Comercio plunges between dusty, old buildings into the heart of the city, offering the best route for leisurely exploration of some of Toledo's great monuments.

This Toledo decision had implications of great significance. The result was a north to south delineation from Cantabria to the Strait of Gibraltar, instead of an east-west delineation of the Peninsula, pivoting between Lisbon and Cartagena.

Secondly, it was significant because it constituted a first attempt at the Iberian peninsular unity independent of the rest of the Roman Empire. Therefore, the Visigoths are considered the creators of the first peninsular kingdom. This Visigothic kingdom would serve, time and again, as an important source of legitimacy for any power trying to unite Hispania. Thirdly, the Pyrenees and Gibraltar were no longer considered mere places of passage or points within a larger Roman Imperial circuit. They became the limits or frontiers of a state to be defended.


409: Hydatius documents that the crossing into the Iberian Peninsula by the Vandals, Alans, and Suevi took place on either the September 28 or the 12 October 12, 409.


410-415: Visigoth Alaric of the Baltha family’s successor, Athaulf, (410-415) led the Visigoths into Gaul, where King Wallia (415-419) gained the land between the Garonne and the Loire. Under the succeeding rulers the Visigoth kingdom was enlarged.

410: The former Roman provinces of Gallaecia and northern Lusitania were established by the Suebi as a defacto kingdom about 410. During the 6th Century it became a formally declared kingdom identifying with Gallaecia. It maintained its independence until 585 when it was annexed by the Visigoths, and was turned into the sixth province of the Visigothic Kingdom of Hispania.

411: The Barbarian tribes sign an alliance with Rome, which enables them to establish military colonies within the Empire.

411: In 411 the various barbarian groups decided on the establishment of a peace and divided the provinces of Hispania among themselves sorte, "by lot". Many scholars believe that the reference to "lot" may be to the sortes, "allotments," which barbarian federates received by the Roman government, which suggests that the Suevi and the other invaders were under a treaty with Maximus’s government.


414: The Spanish Visigothic Kingdom Period 414

After the fall of the Roman Empire, Germanic tribes invaded the former empire. Several turned sedentary and created successor-kingdoms to the Romans in various parts of Europe. Iberia was taken over by the Visigoths after 410. This began Visigothic Spain.

416: In 416, the Visigoths entered the Iberian Peninsula, sent by the emperor of the West to fight off the barbarians who arrived about 409.

418: By 418, the Visigoths, led by their king Wallia, had devastated both the Siling Vandals and Alans, leaving the Hasding Vandals and the Suevi, who had remained undisturbed by Wallia’s campaign, as the two remaining forces in the Iberian Peninsula.

419: In 419, after the departure of Wallia to their new lands in Aquitania, a conflict arose between the Vandals led by their king Gunderic, and the Suevi led by king Hermeric. Both armies met in the Battle of the Nerbasius Mountains, but the intervention of Roman forces commanded by the Comes Hispaniarum Asterius broke off the conflict, attacking the Vandals and forcing them to move to Baetica, modern Andalucía, leaving the Suevi as virtual possessors of the whole province.


429: In 429, as the Vandals were preparing their departure to Africa, a Suevi warlord named Heremigarius moved to Lusitania to plunder it, but was confronted by the new Vandal king Gaiseric. Heremigarius drowned in the Guadiana River while retreating; this is the first instance of an armed Suebi action outside the provincial limits of Galicia. Then, after the Vandals left for Africa, the Sueves were the only barbarian entity left in Hispania. King Hermeric spent the remainder of his years solidifying Suevic rule over the entire province of Galicia.


430: In 430 he broke the old peace maintained with the locals, sacking central Gallaecia, although the barely romanized Galicians, who were reoccupying old Iron Age hill forts, managed to force a new peace, which was sealed with the interchange of prisoners; yet new hostilities broke out in 431 and 433.

433: In 433 King Hermeric sent a local bishop, Synphosius, as ambassador, this being the first evidence for collaboration between Sueves and locals. It was not until 438 that an enduring peace, which would last for twenty years, was reached in the province.

438: In 438 Hermeric King of the Sueves became ill, having annexed the entirety of the former Roman province of Gallaecia, he made peace with the local population. He then retired leaving his son Rechila as King of the Sueves. Rechila saw an opportunity for expansion and began pushing to other areas of the Iberian Peninsula. This same year he campaigned in Baetica, defeating in open battle the Romanae militiae dux Andevotus by the banks of the Genil River, capturing a large treasure.

439: A year later, in 439, the Sueves invaded Lusitania and entered into its capital, Mérida, which briefly became the new capital of their kingdom. Rechila King of the Sueves continued with the expansion of the kingdom.


440: By 440 Rechila King of the Sueves besieged and forced the surrender of a Roman official, Count Censorius, in the strategic city of Mértola.

441: The next year, in 441, the armies of Rechila King of the Sueves conquered Seville, just months after the death of the old King Hermeric, who had ruled his people for more than thirty years. With the conquest of Seville, capital of Baetica, the Suevi managed to control Baetica and Carthaginensis. It has been said, however, that the Suevi conquest of Baetica and Carthaginensis was limited to raids, and Suevi presence, if any, was minute.

446: In 446, the Romans dispatched to the provinces of Baetica and Carthaginensis the magister utriusque militiae (Master of the Soldiers) Vitus, who assisted by a large number of Goths, attempted to subdue the Suevi and restore imperial administration in Hispania. Rechila King of the Sueves marched to meet the Romans, and after defeating the Goths, Vitus fled in disgrace. There were no more imperial attempts were made to retake Hispania.

448: In 448, Rechila King of the Sueves died as a pagan, leaving the crown to his son, Rechiar.

448: Rechiar King of the Sueves, a Catholic Christian, succeeded his father in 448, being one of the first Catholic Christian kings among the Germanic peoples, and the first one to mint coins in his own name. Some believe minting the coins was a sign of Suevi autonomy, due to the use of minting in the late empire as a declaration of independence. Pretending to follow the successful careers of his father and his grandfather, Rechiar made a series of bold political moves throughout his reign.

448: Rechiar King of the Sueves’ first bold move was his marriage to the daughter of the Gothic King Theodoric I in 448, so improving the relationship between the two peoples. He also led a number of successful plundering campaigns to Vasconia, Saragossa and Lleida, in the Hispania Tarraconensis (Then the northeastern quarter of the peninsula, stretching from the Mediterranean to the Gulf of Biscay, which was still under Roman rule) sometimes acting in coalition with local bagaudae (local Hispano-Roman insurgents). In Lleida he also captured prisoners, who were taken as serfs back to the Sueves' lands in Galicia and Lusitania.


455: Rome then sent ambassador to the Sueves, obtaining some conditions, but in 455 the Sueves plundered lands in the Carthaginensis which had been previously returned to Rome. In response, the new emperor Avitus and the Visigoths sent a conjoint embassy, remembering that the peace established with Rome was also granted by the Goths. But Rechiar launched two new campaigns on the Tarraconensis, in 455 and 456, returning to Galicia with large numbers of prisoners.

456: Emperor Avitus finally responded to Rechiar King of the Sueves' defiance on 456 in autumn, sending the Visigoths king Theodoric II over the Pyrenees and into Galicia, at the head of a large army of foedrati which also included the Burgundians of kings Gundioc and Hilperic. The Suevi mobilized their people and both armies met on October 5, by the Órbigo River near Astorga. The Goths of Theoderic II, fighting from the right, defeated the Suevi. While many Sueves were killed in the battle, and many others were captured, most managed to flee. King Rechiar fled wounded in direction to the coast, prosecuted by the Gothic army, which entered and plundered Braga on October 28. King Rechiar was captured later, in Porto, while trying to embark, being executed in December.

In 456, one Aioulf took over the leadership of the Sueves. The origins behind Aioulf’s ascension are not clear: Hydatius wrote that Aioulf was a Goth deserter, while the historian Jordanes wrote that he was a Warni appointed by Theodoric to govern Galicia, and that he was persuaded by the Suevi into this adventure. Either way, he was killed in Porto in June 457, but his rebellion together with the armed actions of Majorian against the Visigoths eased the pressure on the Suevi.

In 456, the same year as the execution of Rechiar, Hydatius stated that "the Sueves set up Maldras as their king." This statement suggests that the Suevi as a people may have had a voice in the selection of a new ruler. The election of Maldras would lead to a schism among the Suevi, as some followed another king, named Framta, who died just a year later. Both factions then sought peace with the local Galicians.

1458: In 1458 the Goths again sent an army into Hispania, which arrived in Betica in July, thereby depriving the Sueves of this province. This field army stayed in Iberia for several years.

459: After the execution of Rechiar, the Gothic King Theodoric continued his war on the Suevi for three months, but in April 459 he returned to Gaul alarmed by the political and military movements of the new emperor, Majorian, and of the magister militum Ricimer —a half-Sueve, maybe a kinsman of Rechiar — while his allies and the rest of the Goths sacked Astorga, Palencia and other places, in their way back to the Pyrenees. When the Visigoths disposed of Rechiar, the royal bloodline of Hermeric vanished and the conventional mechanism for Suevi leadership died with it.


460: In 460 Maldras King of the Sueves was killed, after a reign of four years during which he plundered Sueves and Romans alike, in Lusitania and in the southern extreme of Gallaecia along de valley of the Douro River. Meanwhile, the Sueves in the north chose another leader. Rechimund became their leader and not King of the Sueves. He plundered Galicia in 459 and 460. This same year they captured the walled city of Lugo, which was still under the authority of a Roman official. As a response, the Goths sent their army to punish the Suevi who dwelt in the outskirts of the city and nearby regions, but their campaign was revealed by some locals, whom Hydatius considered traitors. From that very moment Lugo became an important center for the Sueves, and was used as capital by Rechimund.

464: In 464, Remismund was an ambassador and travelled between Galicia and Gaul on several occasions. He became King of the Suevi and was able to unite the various factions of Suevi under his rule and at the same time restore peace. He was also recognized and perhaps even approved of by Theodoric the Goth King, who sent him gifts and weapons along with a wife. Under the leadership of Remismund the Suevi again raided the nearby countries, plundering the lands of Lusitania and the Conventus Asturicense, while at the same time fighting Galician tribes like the Aunonenses, who refused to submit to Remismund.

464: In the south Frumar succeeded Maldras King of the Sueves and his faction.

464: 464 closed a period of internal dissent of the Sueves and the permanent conflict with the native population.

466: The Suevi probably remained mostly pagan until an Arian missionary named Ajax, sent by the Visigothic King Theodoric II at the request of the Suebic unifier Remismund, converted them in 466 and established a lasting Arian church which dominated the people until their conversion to Catholicism in the 560s.

466: During the reign of Euric in 466 the Visigothic Kingdom of Toulouse, named after its capital Toulouse, included the southern part of Gaul and a large portion of Spain.

468: In 468 the Suevi managed to destroy part of the walls of Conimbriga, in Lusitania, which was sacked and then mostly abandoned after the inhabitants fled or were taken back to the north as slaves. Next year they even managed to capture Lisbon, which was surrendered by its leader, Lusidio. He later became ambassador of the Suevi to the Emperor. The end of the chronicle of Hydatius in 468 doesn't let us know the later fate of Remismund.


470: Little is known of the Suevi period between 470 and 550, beyond the testimony of Isidore of Seville, who in the 7th Century wrote that many kings reign during this time, all of them Arians. A medieval document named Divisio Wambae mentions one king named Theodemund, otherwise unknown. Other less reliable and very posterior chronicles mentions the reign of several kings under the names of Hermeneric II, Rechila II and Rechiar II.


6th Century

6th Century authors identified the Sueves of Galicia with the Alamanni, or simply with Germans, while the 4th Century Laterculus Veronensis mentions some Suevi side-by-side with Alamanni, Quadi, Marcomanni and other Germanic peoples.

The Visigoths defended themselves well against the Suevi tribe in Galicia and subdued them in the 6th Century. In the north, the Basques, Cantabrians, and Asturians were more successful in resisting the Visigoth onslaught. These northern peoples had been less able to resist the Romans and would later resist the Moors.

From the 6th to the 11th centuries, the Visigoths constituted an exception within Western Europe. It faced a continental Europe that was increasingly closed and fragmented. Visigoth’s urban culture remained its strength. It maintained its commercial and cultural connections within the Mediterranean world, first with the Eastern Roman Empire at Byzantium and later, with the Muslim Caliphate.

Once in Spain, the Arian kings found the Catholic Church firmly established in the country. The Catholics enjoyed toleration until the reign of Euric. In fact, Catholics who fled from Africa found asylum among the Visigoths and Euric's minister, Leo, was a Catholic. The conflicts that later arose have been described by Gregory of Tours as bloody persecutions, this is an exaggeration. Euric was generally just towards his Catholic subjects. He did, however, take steps against individual bishops and clerics that encouraged religious quarrels and were political opponents of the kingdom.

Beginning of the 6th Century: Theodemar's son and successor, King Miro, called for the Second Council of Braga, which was attended by all the bishops of the Kingdom of Galicia, from the Briton bishopric of Britonia in the Bay of Biscay, to Astorga in the east, and Coimbra and Idanha in the south. Five of the attendant bishops used Germanic names, showing the integration of the different communities of the country. King Miro also promoted contention with the Arian Visigoths, who under the leadership of King Leovigild were rebuilding their fragmented kingdom which had been ruled mostly by Ostrogoths since the beginning of the 6th Century, following the defeat and expulsion of Aquitania by the Franks. After clashing in frontier lands, Miro and Leovigild agreed upon a temporary peace.


507: When King Clovis and his Frankish followers accepted Catholicism, he undertook to drive the "heretics" out of Gaul. Many Catholic clergy made common cause with the Franks. As a result, Alaric II (485-507) took severe measures against them, but was not otherwise a persecutor of the Church. In 507, Alaric was defeated and slain by Clovis.

507: By 507, almost all of Visigothic Gaul now fell to the Franks, the last remnant during the reign of Amalaric (526-31). As a result, the Visigoth seat of government was transferred to Spain where Toledo became the capital.

The ensuing era was fairly peaceful. The Catholics received unlimited tolerance, so that the Church constantly increased in strength while the Visigothic nation and kingdom grew steadily weaker. The nobility enthroned and deposed kings at pleasure; of thirty-five kings, seventeen were murdered or deposed. Arianism isolated after the destruction of the Ostrogothic and Vandalic kingdoms steadily declined. But it was revived during the reign of Leovigild (568-86). His son, Hermenigild, revolted against him but was defeated and beheaded. Later narratives represent Hermenigild as a martyr for Catholicism. His wife, a Frankish princess, is said to have converted him. However, contemporary authorities say nothing of it.


535: Little is known of the Suevi period. More trustworthy is a stone inscription found in Portugal, recording the foundation of a church by a nun, in 535, under the rule of one Veremund who is addressed as the most serene king Veremund, although this inscription has also been attributed to King Bermudo II of León.


540: Thanks to a letter sent by Pope Vigilius to the bishop Profuturus of Braga circa 540, it is known that a certain number of Suevi Catholics had converted into Arianism, and that some Catholic churches had been demolished in the past in unspecified circumstances.


Second half of 6th Century: After a period of obscurity there is very little remaining information on the history of this area or in fact Western Europe in general. The Suebi Kingdom does reappear in the politics and history of Europe during the second half of the 6th Century. This follows the arrival of Saint Martin of Braga, a Pannonian monk, dedicated to converting the Suebi to Nicene Christianity and consequently into allegiance with the other Nicene Christian regional powers, the Franks and the Eastern Roman Empire.

Under King Ariamir, who called for the First Council of Braga, the conversion of the Suebi to Nicene Christianity was apparent; while this same council condemned Priscillianism, it made no similar statement on Arianism. Later, King Theodemar ordered an administrative and ecclesiastical division of his kingdom, with the creation of new bishoprics and the promotion of Lugo, which possessed a large Suebi community, to the level of Metropolitan Bishop along with Braga.

556: In 556 Saint Fructuosus of Braga was appointed bishop of Braga and metropolitan of Galicia, ostensibly against his own will. During his later years the Visigothic monarchy suffered a pronounced decline. This was due in large part to a decrease in trade and therefore a sharp reduction in monetary circulation. It would appear that this was largely a result of early 8th Century Muslim occupation in the in the south Mediterranean. Gallaecia was also affected and Fructuosus of Braga denounced the general cultural decline and loss of the momentum from previous periods, causing some discontent in the Galician high clergy.

556: At the Tenth Council of Toledo in 556, Saint Fructuosus of Braga was appointed to the Metropolitan seat of Potamio after the renunciation of its previous occupier. At the same time the Will of the Bishop of Dume Recimiro was declared void after he donated the wealth of the diocese convent to the poor.


561: The conversion of the Suebi to Catholicism is presented very differently in the primary sources. Threr is a contemporary record, "the minutes of the First Council of Braga". It met on May 1, 561. These state explicitly that the synod was held at the orders of a king named Ariamir. The first Catholic Council held in the Kingdom was almost entirely devoted to the condemnation of Priscillianism, making no mention at all of Arianism, and only once reproving clerics for adorning his clothes and for wearing granos, a Germanic word implying either pigtails, long beard, moustache, or a Suebian knot, custom declared pagan. Of the eight assistant bishops, only one bore a Germanic name, bishop Ilderic.

His Catholicism is not in doubt. That fact that he was the first Catholic monarch of the Suebes since Rechiar is however contested on the grounds that he was not explicitly stated to have been a Catholic. He was the first to hold a Catholic synod. On the other hand, the Historia Suevorum of Isidore of Seville states that it was Theodemar who brought about the conversion of his people from Arianism with the help of the missionary Martin of Braga. And finally, there is the Frankish historian Gregory of Tours. An otherwise unknown sovereign named Chararic, having heard of Martin of Tours, promised to accept the beliefs of the saint if only his son were cured of leprosy. Through the relics and intercession of Saint Martin the son was healed; Chararic and the entire royal household converted to the Nicene faith. As the coming of the relics of Saint Martin of Tours and the conversion of Chararic are made to coincide in the narration with the arrival of Martin of Braga, circa 550, this legend has been interpreted as an allegory of the pastoral work of Saint Martin of Braga, and of his devotion to Saint Martin of Tours.

We find King Ariamir with the bishops Lucrecio, Andrew, and Martin, during the First Council of Braga. Codex Vigilanus or Albeldensis, Escurial library Dahn equated Chararic with Theodemar, even saying that the latter was the name he took upon baptism. It has also been suggested that Theodemar and Ariamir were the same person and the son of Chararic. In the opinion of some historians, Chararic is nothing more than an error on the part of Gregory of Tours and never existed. If, as Gregory relates, Martin of Braga died about the year 580 and had been bishop for about thirty years, then the conversion of Chararic must have occurred around 550 at the latest. Finally, Ferreiro believes the conversion of the Suevi was progressive and stepwise and that Chararic's public conversion was only followed by the lifting of a ban on Catholic synods in the reign of his successor, which would have been Ariamir; while Theodemar would have been responsible for beginning a persecution of the Arians in his kingdom, to root out their heresy.

Finally, the Suebic conversion is ascribed not to a Suebe, but to a Visigoth, by the chronicler John of Biclarum. He put their conversion alongside that of the Goths, occurring under Reccared I in 587-589. However, as such, this corresponds to a later time, when the kingdom was undergoing its integration with the Visigoths' Kingdom.

569: Later in January 1 of 569 Ariamir's successor, Theodemar, held a council in Lugo, which dealt with the administrative and ecclesiastical organization of the Kingdom. At his request, the Kingdom of Galicia was divided in two provinces or synods, under the obedience of the metropolitans Braga and Lugo, and thirteen episcopal sees, some of them new, for which new bishops were ordered, others old: Iria Flavia, Britonia, Astorga, Ourense and Tui, in the north, under the obedience of Lugo; and Dume, Porto, Viseu, Lamengo, Coimbra and Idanha-a-Velha in the south, dependent of Braga. Each see was then further divided into smaller territories, named ecclesiae and pagi. The election of Lugo as metropolitan of the north was due to its central situation in relation to its dependant sees, as well as because of the large number of Sueves dwelling in and meeting at the city.


570: According to John of Biclaro, in 570 Miro succeeded Theodemar as king of the Sueves. During his time, the Suevic kingdom was challenged again by the Visigoths who, under their King Leovigild, were reconstituting their kingdom, reduced and mostly ruled by foreigners since their defeat by the Franks in the Battle of Vouillé.

572: In 572 Miro King of the Sueves ordered the celebration of the Second Council of Braga, which was presided by the Pannonian Saint Martin of Braga, as archbishop of the capital, thought Nitigis, himself a Suevi and Catholic archbishop of Lugo, had also a voice in the acts as metropolitan of the north. Martin was a cultivated man, praised by Isidore of Seville, Venantius Fortunatus and Gregory of Tours, who led the Sueves to Catholicism and who promoted the cultural and political renaissance of the kingdom. In the acts of the Council, Martin declared the unity and purity of the Catholic faith in Galicia and, for the first time, Arius was discredited. Notably, of the twelve assistant bishops, five were Sueves (Nitigius of Lugo, Wittimer of Ourense, Anila of Tui, Remisol of Viseu, Adoric of Idanha-a-Velha), and one was a Briton, Mailoc.

572: This same year of 572 King Miro of the Sueves led an expedition against the Runcones. This movement took place at a moment when the Visigoth King Leovigild was maintaining a successful military activity in the south: he had recovered for the Visigoths the cities of Cordova and Medina-Sidonia, and had led a successful assault on the region around the city of Malaga.

572: Sometime, late in the 5th Century or early in the 6th Century, a group of Romano-Britons escaping the Anglo-Saxons settled in the north of the Suebic Kingdom of Gallaecia, in lands which subsequently acquired the name Britonia. Most of what is known about the settlement comes from ecclesiastical sources; records from the 572 Second Council of Braga refers to a diocese called the Britonensis ecclesia ("British church") and an episcopal see called the sedes Britonarum ("See of the Britons"), while the administrative and ecclesiastical document usually known as Divisio Theodemiri or Parochiale suevorum, attribute to them their own churches and the monastery Maximi, likely the monastery of Santa María de Bretoña. The bishop representing this diocese at the II Council of Braga bore the Brythonic name Mailoc. The see continued to be represented at several councils through the 7th Century.

573: From 573 on, King of the Sueves, Miro’s, campaigns moved closer to Suevic lands, first occupying Sabaria, later the Aregenses Mountains and Cantabria, where he expelled some invaders.

576: Finally, in 576, King Miro of the Sueves entered in Galicia itself disturbing the boundaries of the kingdom, but Miro sent ambassadors and obtained of Leovigild King of the Visigoths a temporal peace. It was probably during this period that the Suevi also sent some ambassadors to the Frankish King Gontram. As recorded by Gregory of Tours, these were intercepted by Chilperic I near Poitiers and later imprisoned for a year.

579: Later, in 579, Leovigild's son, Prince Hermenegild of the Visigoths, rebelled against his father, proclaiming himself king. While residing in Seville, he had converted to Catholicism in open opposition to the Arianism of his father. T is claimed that he did this under the influence of his wife, the Frankish Princess Ingundis, and of Leander of Seville.

It was not until 582 that Leovigild King of the Visigoths gathered his armies to attack his son. First, he took Mérida; then, in 583, he marched to Seville. Under siege, Hermenegild's rebellion became dependent on the support offered by the Eastern Roman Empire. It controlled much of the southern coastal regions of Hispania since Justinian I, and by the Sueves.

This same year Miro, King of the Gallicians (Sueves), marched south with his army, with the intention of breaking on through the blockade. While camped, he was besieged by Leovigild King of the Visigoths and forced to sign a treaty of fidelity with the Visigoth king. After exchanging presents, Miro King of the Sueves returned to Galicia. There he lay in bed for days, dying soon after. According to Gregory of Tours, his death was due to "the bad waters of Spain". Leovigild later bribed the Byzantines with 30,000 Solidi, depriving his son of their support and ending the rebellion in 584.

579: On the death of Miro, in 579, his son Eburic was made King of the Gallicians (Sueves), but not before sending tokens of appreciation and of friendship to Leovigild. Less than a year later, his brother-in-law, named Audeca, accompanied by the army seized power. He placed Eburic in a monastery and ordered him a priest. This prevented him from regaining the throne. Next, Audeca married Siseguntia, King Miro's widow, and made himself king. This usurpation and the friendship granted by Eboric gave Leovigild King of the Visigoths the opportunity to seize the neighboring kingdom.


585: During the 6th Century the Kingdom of Hispania became a formally declared kingdom identifying with Gallaecia when it was annexed by the Visigoths, and was turned into the sixth province of the Visigothic Kingdom of Hispania in 585.

585-711: The Kingdom of Galicia (Galician: Reino de Galicia, or Galiza; Spanish: Reino de Galicia; Portuguese: Reino da Galiza; Latin: Galliciense Regnum) was a political entity located in southwestern Europe. At its territorial zenith it occupied the entire northwest of the Iberian Peninsula. Founded by the Suebic King Hermeric in 409, the Galician capital was established in Braga.

It was the first kingdom which adopted Catholicism officially and minted its own currency (year 449). The origin of the kingdom lies in the 5th Century, when the Suebi settled permanently in the former Roman province of Gallaecia. Their king, Hermeric, probably signed a foedus, or pact, with the Roman Emperor Honorius, which conceded them lands in Galicia. The Suebi set their capital in the former Bracara Augusta, setting the foundations of a kingdom which was first acknowledged as Regnum Suevorum (Kingdom of the Suebi), but later as Regnum Galliciense (Kingdom of Galicia).

585: The Suebi maintained their independence until 585, when Leovigild, on the pretext of conflict over the succession, invaded the Suebic kingdom and finally defeated it. Audeca, the last king of the Suebi, who had deposed his brother-in-law Eboric, held out for a year before being captured in 585. This same year a nobleman named Malaric rebelled against the Goths, but he was defeated.

After the temporal rule of the Visigothic monarchs (585-711), Galicia became a part of the newly founded Christian kingdoms of the Northwest of the peninsula, Asturias and León, while occasionally achieving independence under the authority of its own kings.

585: In 585 Leovigild King of the Visigoths moved war on the Sueves, invading Galicia. In words of John of Biclaro: "King Leovigild devastates Galicia and deprives Audeca of the totality of the Kingdom; the nation of the Sueves, their treasure and fatherland are conduced to his own power and turned into a province of the Goths." During the campaign, the Franks of King Guntram attacked the Septimania, possibly attempting to assist the Sueves. At the same time, he sent ships to Galicia. These were intercepted by King Leovigild's troops who took away their cargo and killed or enslaved most of their crews. The kingdom was then transferred to the Goths as one of their three administrative regions, Gallaecia, Hispania and Galia Narboniensis. Audeca was captured, tonsured, and ordered a priest. He was then sent into exile in Beja, in Southern Lusitania.

In 585, Liuvigild, the Visigothic king of Hispania and Septimania, annexed the Kingdom of Galicia, after defeating King Audeca. Later, a pretender to the throne, Malaric, rebelled against the Goths and reclaimed the throne. He was finally defeated and captured by the generals of King Leovigild. They took him chained to the Visigothic king. Thus the kingdom of the Suebi, which incorporated large territories of the ancient Roman provinces of Gallaecia and Lusitania, became the sixth province of the Visigothic Kingdom of Toledo.

568-586.: King Leovigild of the Visigoth expelled the imperial civil servants and attempts to unify the Peninsula. This marked the end of the Roman Empire in Spain.

586: After the conquest, King Leovigild of the Visigoths reintroduced the Arian Church among the Sueves, but this was a short-lived. After his death in 586, his son Reccared openly promoted the mass conversion of Visigoths and Sueves to Catholicism. King Reccared's plans were then contested and confronted by a group of Arian conspirators. Its leader was, Segga. He was sent into exile to Galicia, after the amputation of his hands. The conversion culminated during the Third Council of Toledo, which counted with the assistance of seventy-two bishops from Hispania, Gaul, and Galicia. There 8 bishops abjured of their Arianism, among them four Suevi: Beccila of Lugo, Gardingus of Tui, Argiovittus of Porto, and Sunnila of Viseu. The mass conversion was celebrated by King Reccared: "Not only the conversion of the Goths is found among the favors that we have received, but also the infinite multitude of the Sueves, whom with divine assistance we have subjected to our realm. Although led into heresy by external fault, with our diligence we have brought them to the origins of truth". He was styled as "King of the Visigoths and of the Suevi" in a letter sent to him by Pope Gregory the Great soon thereafter.

With this began the amalgamation of Roman and German elements in Spain. In law and politics the Romans became Gothic; the Goths in social life and religion became Roman. Soon the Catholic Church became the national church. Yet the connection with Rome ceased almost entirely. The court of highest instance was the national council at Toledo. The king appointed the bishops and convoked the council. But the constant struggles of the royal house with the secular and spiritual aristocracy would cause the downfall of the nation.

589: The government of the Visigoths in Galicia did not totally disrupt the society, and the Suevi Catholic dioceses of Bracara, Dumio, Portus Cale or Magneto, Tude, Iria, Britonia, Lucus, Auria, Asturica, Conimbria, Lameco, Viseu, and Egitania continued to operate normally. During the reign of Liuvigild, new Arian bishops were raised among the Suebi in cities such as Lugo, Porto, Tui, and Viseu, alongside the cities' Catholic bishops. These Arian bishops returned to Catholicism in 589, when King Reccared converted to Catholicism, along with the Goths and Suebi, at the Third Council of Toledo.

The territorial and administrative organization inherited from the Suevi was incorporated into the new Provincial status, although Lugo was reduced again to the category of bishopric, and subjected to Braga. Meanwhile the Suevi, Roman, and Galician cultural, religious, and aristocratic elite accepted new monarchs. The peasants maintained a collective formed mostly by freemen and serfs of Celtic, Roman and Suebi extraction, as no major Visigoth immigration occurred during the 6th and 7th centuries.

This continuity led to the persistence of Galicia as a differentiated province within the realm, as indicated by the acts of several Councils of Toledo, chronicles such as that of John of Biclar, and in military laws such as the one extolled by Wamba which was incorporated into the Liber Iudicum, the Visigothic legal code. It was not until the administrative reformation produced during the reign of Recceswinth that the Lusitanian dioceses annexed by the Suevi to Galicia (Coimbra, Idanha, Lamego, Viseu, and parts of Salamanca) were restored to Lusitania. This same reform reduced the number of mints in Galicia from a few dozen to just three, those in the cities of Lugo, Braga, and Tui.


End 6th Century: The Suevi, Vandals, and Alans entered Spain, but were defeated by the Visigoths. These virtually occupied the whole of the Peninsula by the end of the 6th Century. They were one of the two principal branches of the Goths. Until 375, their history had been combined with that of the Ostrogoths. Ulfilas (Wulfila) labored among the Visigoths, translated the Bible into their language and preached Arianism with great success until Prince Athanaric obliged him to withdraw by 348.

7th Century:

7th Century: A century later, the differences between Gallaeci and Suebi people had faded, leading to the systematic use of terms like Galliciense Regnum (Galician Kingdom), Regem Galliciae (King of Galicia), Rege Suevorum (King of Suebi), and Galleciae totius provinciae rex (king of all Galician provinces), while bishops, such as Martin of Braga, were recognized as episcopi Gallaecia (Bishop of Galicia).

The most notable person of 7th Century Galicia was Saint Fructuosus of Braga. Fructuosus was the son of a provincial Visigoth dux (military provincial governor), and was known for the many foundations he established throughout the west of the Iberian Peninsula, generally in places with difficult access, such as mountain valleys or islands. The saint wrote two monastic rulebooks, characterized by their pact-like nature, with the monastic communities ruled by an abbot, under the remote authority of a bishop (episcopus sub regula), and each integrant of the congregation having signed a written pact with him. Fructuosus was later consecrated as abbot-bishop of Dumio, the most important monastery of Gallaecia—founded by Martin of Braga in the 6th Century—under Suebi rule.


600: Around the year 600, the political map of southwestern Europe referred to three different areas under Visigothic government – Hispania, Gallaecia, and Septimania


610: Visigoth King Gundemar became King of the Visigoths.

612: Visigoth King Sisebur became King of the Visigoths.


621: Visigoth King Suintila became King of the Visigoths.

624: Visigothic Iberia – By 624, the Visigothic King Suintila conquered the last Byzantine domains and the Basque Country and was in control of all of the Iberian Peninsula.


631: Visigoth King Sisenand became King of the Visigoths.

636: Visigoth King Chintila became King of the Visigoths.


640: Visigoth King Tulga became King of the Visigoths.

642: Visigoth King Chindasvinth - This seems to be a period of conflict. Nelson (1991) gives these rulers between 642 and 672:

    • Chindasvinth (642-653)
    • Suniefred (?)
    • Recceswinth (642-653)
    • Wamba (649-672)

A much simpler progression:

    • Chindasvinth (642-649)
    • Recceswinth (649-672)
    • Wamba (672-680)

649: Visigoth King Recceswinth became King of the Visigoths.


Mid-7th Century: Under the Goths, the administrative apparatus of the Suevi Kingdom was initially maintained — many of the Suevi districts established during the reign of Theodemar are also known as later Visigothic mints — but during the middle years of the 7th Century an administrative an ecclesiastical reform led to the disappearance of most of these mints, with the exception of that of the cities of Lugo, Tui, and Braga. Also the northern Lusitanian bishoprics of Lamego, Viseu, Coimbra and Idanha-a-Velha, in lands which had been annexed to Galicia in the 5th Century, were returned to the obedience of Mérida. It has been also pointed out that no visible Gothic immigration took place during the 6th and the 7th Century into Galicia.

Last mention of the Sueves as a separate people dated to a 10th Century gloss in a Spanish codex: "hanc arbor romani pruni vocant, spani nixum, uuandali et goti et suebi et celtiberi ceruleum dicunt" ("This tree is called plum-tree by the Romans; nixum by the Spaniards; the Vandals, the Sueves, the Goths, and the Celtiberians call it ceruleum"), but in this context Suebi probably meant simply Galicians.

Mid- 7th Century: From the middle of the 7th Century the Arabs (Moors) were masters of North Africa. A nomadic people from North Africa; the Moors were originally inhabitants of Mauretania


672: Visigoth King Wamba became King of the Visigoths


689: In 689, Jews living on the Iberian Peninsula were reduced to the status of slaves.


8th Century

8th Century: During the Al-Andalus period of Spain, in what is also known as Moorish Iberia, there was significant Muslim control over much of the Iberian Peninsula or what is now considered Spain.

It was the Witiza family at the beginning of the 8th Century that caused the decline of the Visigoth kingdom. They appealed for aid to Muslim and Berbers warriors from across the Strait of Gibraltar to fight the royal usurper. King Witiza died in 710, leaving two young sons, for whom Witiza’s widow and family tried to secure the succession. But a faction of the Visigothic nobles elected Roderick and drove the Witizans from Toledo. The Visigothic state apparatus' disintegration allowed the Muslims to make isolated pacts with an aristocracy that was semi-independent and opposed to the Crown.

Al-Andalus was a medieval Muslim cultural domain and territory occupying at its peak most of what are today Spain and Portugal (At its greatest geographical extent, in the 8th Century, southern France -- Septimania—was briefly under its control.). The name more generally describes parts of the Iberian Peninsula governed by Muslims (Given the generic name of Moors) at various times between 711 and 1492, though the boundaries changed constantly as the Reconquista progressed.

Following the Muslim conquest of Hispania, Al-Andalus was at its greatest extent. It was divided into five administrative units, corresponding roughly to modern Andalucía, Portugal and Galicia, Castile and León, Aragón, county of Barcelona and Septimania. As a political domain, it successively constituted a province of the Umayyad Caliphate, initiated by the Caliph Al-Walid I (711-750); the Emirate of Córdoba (c. 750-929); the Caliphate of Córdoba (929-1031); and the Caliphate of Córdoba's taifa (successor) kingdoms. Rule under these kingdoms saw a rise in cultural exchange and cooperation between Muslims and Christians, with Christians and Jews considered as protected people as long as they paid a tax to the state. With this they enjoyed limited "internal autonomy".

The Moors (Iberian and North African Muslims) imported white Christian slaves into Muslim Spain in varying degrees from the 8th Century until the Reconquista in the late 15th Century. The slaves were exported from the Christian section of Spain, as well as Eastern Europe by slave traders, sparking significant reaction from many in Christian Spain and many Christians still living in Muslim Spain.


700: The crisis at the end of the Visigoth era dates to the reign of Egica. On 15th or 24th of November, 700 A.D., Wittiza was anointed king; this forms the last entry in the Chronica Regum Visigothorum, a Visigothic regnal list. The monarch appointed his son Wittiza as his heir, and despite the fact that the Visigothic monarchy had been traditionally elective rather than hereditary Egica associated Wittiza during his lifetime to the throne (for example, Egica and Wittiza are known to have issued coinage with the confronted effigies of both monarchs).

701: In 701 an outbreak of plague spread westward from Greece to Spain, reaching Toledo, the Visigothic capital, in the same year, and having such impact that the royal family, including Egica and Wittiza, fled. It has been suggested that this provided the occasion for sending Wittiza to rule the Kingdom of the Suevi from Tui, which is recorded as his capital. The possibility has also been raised that the 13th Century chronicler, Lucas of Tuy, when he records that Wittiza relieved the oppression of the Jews (a fact unknown from his reign at Toledo after his father), may in fact refer to his reign at Lucas' hometown of Tui, where an oral tradition may have been preserved of the events of his Galician reign.

702: In 702, Egica died. His successor, Wittiza, as sole king moved his capital to Toledo.


710: In 710, part of the Visigothic aristocracy violently raised Roderic King of the Visigoths to the throne. This triggered a civil war with the supporters of King Wittiza and his sons.

711: In 711, the enemies of King Roderic invited a Muslim army to cross the Straits of Gibraltar and face him at the Battle of Guadalete. With his defeat came and end to Roderic and Visigothic rule. This was to have profound consequences for the whole of the Iberian Peninsula.

711: The Rise of Moors and Islam on the Iberian Peninsula began.

711: After the Christian Visigoths were defeated by the Moslem peoples of North Africa, the Arab and Berber invaders slowly pushed the Christians back toward the mountains of the north and northwest Spain.


The Emirate: (711 to 756)

Forcing their way into Spain under Tarik, the Moors quickly defeated and overran the weaker Visigoths. Once King Roderick was defeated at Jerez de la Frontera, at the Battle of Guadalete, the Arabs spread northward across the Pyrenees into France. However, they were driven back by Charles Martel and his Frankish knights in 732.


Many historical events shaped the psyche of the Spanish people, but none more than the invasion of Iberia (Spain) by the African Moors who had crossed the Strait of Gibraltar from Morocco. The creation of an Arab run Al-Andalus in Iberia was a major milestone in Iberian history. In 711, Arabs and Berbers converted to Islam, a religion founded in the 7th Century by their prophet Muhammad. After dominating all the north of Africa they took advantage of a civil war in the Visigothic kingdoms in Iberia.


To clarify, the Berbers are Aboriginal Caucasoid peoples of Northern Africa. They inhabit the lands lying between the Sahara and the Mediterranean Sea and between Egypt and the Atlantic Ocean. Berbers today form a substantial part of the populations of Libya, Algeria, and Morocco. Except for the nomadic Tuareg, the Berbers are small farmers, living under a loose tribal organization in independent villages. They have developed local industries (iron, copper, lead, pottery, weaving, and embroidery).


The origin of the Berbers is uncertain. Many theories have been advanced relating them to the Canaanites, the Phoenicians, the Celts, the Basques, and Caucasians. In classical times the Berbers formed such states as Mauretania and Numidia.

Berbers are Sunni Muslims. Their native languages are of the Hamitic group, but most literate Berbers also speak Arabic, the language of their religion. About 12 million people, not all of who are considered ethnic Berbers, speak Berber languages. Despite a history of conquests the Berbers have retained a remarkably homogeneous culture, which on the evidence of Egyptian tomb paintings, derives from earlier than 2400 B.C. The alphabet of the only partly deciphered ancient Libyan inscriptions is close to the script still used by the Tuareg.

Until their conquest in the 7th Century by Muslim Arabs, most of the Berbers were Christian and a sizable minority had accepted Judaism. Many heresies of the early African church, particularly Donatism, were essentially Berber protests against Roman rule. Under the Arabs, the Berbers became Islamized and soon formed the backbone of the Arab armies that conquered Spain. However, the Berbers repeatedly rose against the Arabs. In the 9th Century they supported the Fatimid dynasty in its conquest of North Africa.

After the Fatimids withdrew to Egypt, North Africa was plunged into anarchy. The warring of the Berber tribes ended only when the Berber dynasties, the Almoravids and the Almohads, were born. Each of these dynasties succeeded in pushing back Christian kingdoms, after they had pushed south against the fragmented Moors. With the disintegration of these dynasties, the Arabs gradually absorbed the Berbers of the plains, while those who lived in inaccessible mountain regions, such as the Aurès, the Kabylia, the Rif, and the Atlas retained their culture and warlike traditions.

When the French and the Spanish occupied much of North Africa, it was the Berbers of these mountainous regions who offered the fiercest resistance. In more recent times, the Berbers, especially those of the Kabylia, assisted in driving the French from Algeria.

In 711, African and Arab Muslims conquered the Iberian Peninsula and granted Jews Religious, though not complete economic or political, freedom. This began the period described as the "golden age" of Spanish Jewry which lasted roughly to near the end of the 14th Century. It saw the advancement of many Jews in instrumental roles as political advisers and physicians and the development of Sephardic Jewish traditions in poetry, Literature, philosophy, and biblical interpretation. Jews were active participants in Spanish society, and many felt that they were Spanish as well as Jewish.

711: In the 8th Century, the Kingdom of the Suebi or the Kingdom of Gallaecia in the mountains of Asturias (The old Suevian Kingdom) was a post-Roman Germanic kingdom. It was one of the first to separate from the Roman Empire. Based in the former Roman provinces of Gallaecia and northern Lusitania, the defacto kingdom was established by the Suebi about 410. During the 6th Century it became a formally declared kingdom identifying with Gallaecia, maintaining its independence until 585. It was then annexed by the Visigoths and was turned into the sixth province of the Visigothic Kingdom of Hispania.

Resistance to the African Muslim invasion of the 8th Century was limited to small groups of Visigoth warriors who had taken refuge in the mountains of Asturias in the old Suevian kingdom, the least romanized and least Christianized region in Spain. Only there in the northern independent Christian kingdom of Asturias had Visigothic power survived. The Asturias is a land Area 10,565 square kilometers (4,079 square miles). Separated from its surroundings by the Cantabrian Mountains, the autonomous region of Asturias has traditionally managed to remain somewhat isolated and independent from the rest of Spain. The kingdom flourished until the 10th Century and later became the base for the Christian Reconquest of Spain.

Reconquista: 711-1492 (8th-15th centuries)

It is important to remember that once the Islamic hordes swept out of North Africa from across the Gibraltar straits, within seven years they had conquered all but the northwest Spanish coastal region. After the Christian Visigoths were defeated the African Arab and Berber invaders slowly pushed the Christians back toward the mountains of the north and northwest Spain. These same invaders marched across the Pyrenees into France until finally being halted by Christian warriors. Spain and all Christianity found itself under siege and warring with a fierce and well-trained army of religious fanatics bent on the complete destruction of Christian Europe. These Moors were a determined lot, who had entered Spain to stay and make vassals of the Iberian peoples of that day.

Many believe that the Reconquista of the 8th-15th centuries, a sporadic and epic struggle between two religions and cultures, greatly impacted the Spanish Psyche. The commonly held idea of the Reconquista of Iberia by the Christian Kingdoms against the African Muslims as one single process spanning eight centuries is historically inaccurate. During the period the Christian realms in northern Spain and France warred against each other for the purpose of consolidation of power as much as against the Muslims for dominance and expulsion from the Iberian Peninsula (Spain).

It should be noted that as modern citizens of nation-states, we find it difficult to understand such religious fervor. We view conflicts as disagreements between nations not personalities or religions. The fact remains that how we view a conflict and what actually underpins it are not necessarily based upon our understanding or logic. Religion can be a very powerful force and at times overshadows all other aspects of normal human disagreement. In fact, it can become the embodiment of those disagreements to the extent that it is the disagreement. This became the case on the Iberian Peninsula. African Islam made its way to European Iberia to dominate and replace Christianity. The Christian kingdoms rallied against overwhelming odds, fought for almost eight centuries, and were finally victorious over the African Moors.

These Moorish invaders after conquering in the name of their prophet caused great bloodshed and brought their Middle Eastern culture to Spain. With their scientific knowledge of irrigation systems and methods, the Moors opened up once arid lands to agriculture and increased the food supply. They introduced new plants and new methods of agriculture. They also brought education, mathematics, science, and the arts that flourished in their newly founded kingdoms throughout Iberia. The Moors arrived with translations of the Greek masters (Archimedes, Pythagoras and the philosopher Ptolemy). They introduced a much better system of numbers derived from India via the Middle East and Alexandria, called the Hindu-Arabic number system. Algebra, originating in Babylonia and Egypt and later perfected by the Greeks where it was needed for constructing huge monuments was also re-introduced into Iberia by the Moors.

Under the African Moors culture and architecture reached new heights; two of the greatest examples of these are the Alhambra in Granada and the Escorial in Córdoba. Their architecture and construction boasted magnificent mosques and palaces surrounded by beautiful gardens. The Moors valued learning. Spain under Moorish dominance was known for its literature, and science. They brought techniques of leather working, silk culture, and glass manufacture. But in return, they enslaved the Iberians. That slaves alone were used to build their monuments can only be answered with uncertainty.

Trade ties between the Moorish kingdoms and the North African Moorish state led to a greater flow of trade within those geographical areas. The Iberian Peninsula served as a base for the export of slaves into other Muslim regions in Northern Africa. In addition, the Christian Iberians who lived within Arab and Moorish-ruled territories were not only subject to discriminatory laws and taxes, but were also coerced into Islamic faith.

The Moors also engaged large sections of Spaniards and Portuguese Christians as slave labor. It should be remembered that at this time less than one percent of the Iberian population was Moor. More than ninety-nine percent were native Iberians. And yet one twelfth of the Iberian population was composed of European slaves. Yes, the Moors utilized ethnic European slaves. This was a result of periodic Arab and Moorish raiding expeditions sent from Islamic Iberia to ravage the remaining Christian Iberian kingdoms, bringing back stolen goods and slaves.

Now stronger, the wars of reconquest by the Northern Christian Kingdoms would not be halted. While the rest of Europe fervently marched on Papal crusades and fought to regain the Holy Land, the Spaniards fought a religious crusade against Moorish infidels. The Spanish would know no rest until the wars for their land and faith were won. This sacred duty left an indelible mark on the Spanish soul. No man of breeding regarded himself as other than a soldier for the Christian Northern kingdoms against the unholy Moors. They became conquistadors dedicated to the destruction and expulsion of the hated African Moors and their "Moon-God", Allah, from Iberian soil. Over time, the Moorish strongholds in Spain surrendered to the Christian kingdoms. 

There would be over seven hundred years (711-1492) of Moorish dominance and it would leave an unmistakable mark on Spain. The African Moorish occupation of Spain and the great struggle for liberation lasted until 1492, and influenced Spanish life deeply. The process of the nation of Spain began with the County of Portugal asserting its independence. Later, as the rest of the Iberian Peninsula began to consolidate into a unified nation during the 15th century, they would become known as Spanish. This was obviously with the exception of Portuguese, who continued to resist the consolidating by Castile, the dominant Iberian Christian kingdom that was absorbing other kingdoms. This separation and consolidation resulted in a distinction between Spanish and Portuguese peoples.

This mixture of Iberian peoples who would over the course of time become Spaniards loved freedom from their earliest arrival on the peninsula. Each group had resisted domination. Those Christians who had refused to submit to the African Moors slowly built up their small kingdoms in the north. As they grew steadily stronger, the Christian Iberians (Soon to become Spaniards) began the long struggle for independence from the Moors. The enslaved Iberians would face several turbulent centuries.

711: The Kingdom of Oviedo -According to tradition, Pelayo (718-37), a king of Oviedo, first rallied the natives to defend themselves, then urged them to take the offensive, beginning the 800-year Reconquest (Spanish, Reconquista), which became the dominant theme in medieval Spanish history. What began as a matter of survival in Asturias became a crusade to rid Spain of the African Muslims and an imperial mission to reconstruct a united Non-Moorish monarchy in Spain.

In 712, Muza ben-Nosair completed the African Muslim conquest of Iberia. By 718 it dominated most of the peninsula. The rulers of Al-Andalus were granted the rank of Emir by the Umayyad Caliph in Damascus. After the Umayyad were overthrown by the Abbasids, Abd-ar-Rahman I declared Córdoba an independent emirate. Al-Andalus was rife with internal conflict between the Arab Umayyad rulers, the Berber (North African) commoners and the Visigoth-Roman Christian population.

718-737: Mountains of Covadonga - The expulsion of the African Muslims was started by a noble Visigoth the first elected King of Asturias, named Pelayo (718-737), who defeated the Muslim Army in Alcama in the neighborhood of Covadonga. This began the Christian Reconquest of Spain. Later, his sons and descendants continued with his work until all of the African Muslims were expelled.

The kingdom of León-Pelayo's successors, known as the kings of León, extended Christian control southward from Asturias, tore away bits of territory, depopulated and fortified them against the Muslims, and then resettled these areas as the frontier was pushed forward. The kingdom's political center moved in the direction of the military frontier.


722: The origin of the Spanish Empire and the process leading to the formation of the Spanish Empire is rooted in the Reconquista (Reconquest). These Crusades were undertaken in 722 by the Christian Kingdoms in the north of the Iberian Peninsula against the African Muslims who had invaded from North Africa.


732: In 732, the Moorish (African Muslim) conquest of France and advance into Europe was halted by Charles Martel at Poitiers (France).


Mid-8th Century: By the middle of the 8th Century, the African Muslims had completed their occupation and the Umayyad prince Abd al-Rahman, who had fled from the Abbasid slaughter of 750, took refuge among the Berbers.


750: The Christians, under Alfonso I recaptured and occupied Galicia, which had been abandoned by revolting Berber troops.

755: Finally, supported by one of the Peninsular Muslims tribes (The Yemenies), Umayyad prince Abd al-Rahman managed to defeat, in 755, the Abbasid governor of Al-Andalus and have himself proclaimed in Córdoba Emir, independent of Damascus.


The Caliphate: (756 - 1031)

At the beginning of the 8th Century the African Arabs (Moors) entered from the south rapidly acquiring almost the whole of Spain. They conquered the peninsula swiftly except for a small Iberian Christian bulwark in the North. In southern Iberia, the African Moors established the Umayyad caliphate in Córdoba. The court grew wealthy, powerful, and its culture flourished. Other Iberian cities where Moorish culture flourished were Toledo, Granada, and Seville. However, the African Moors were never able to establish a stable central government.


777-778: Charlemagne tried to capture Aragón in 777 and then in 778, but had to withdraw due to Basque harassment in his rear and by the stiff Amirate defense of the city.

777: In 777 Charlemagne’s troops destroyed Pamplona’s defensive walls. Pamplona was situated on the site of a Roman camp built by Pompey and was the chief town of the Vascones and capital city of the province of Navarra. Navarra during Roman times was inhabited by the fierce Vascones (Basques), a pre-Roman tribe who populated the southern slopes of the Pyrenees. They later remained independent from the Visigoths.

778: In 778 the Basques (Vascons) defeated Charlemagne’s retreating Franks in the battle of Roncevaux Pass (Orreaga in Basque). It was actually more of a raid than a battle; the Franks lost because they could not counter the Basque style of fighting. They fought ferociously, attacking the horse not the man. At nightfall the Basques melted into the night, taking with them all the loot from the baggage train. It was in this battle that Roland, the famous Prefect of the March of Brittany was killed.


Note: The Basques (The Romans called them Vascones) of the 9th Century lived in the mountains and were ruled by chieftains. Their country (Euskal Herria) was spread along the Pyrenees on both sides and a little into the lowlands. At the time there were few Christians among the Vascones as the Basques were Pagans, probably worshipping natural phenomena, the sun, the sky, etc.

It’s difficult to obtain information on the Basques of this period. The Saxon Poet, writing in later times describes the Basque spears, for which they were known. This concurs with later Basque traditions, especially among the Almogavar tribe. The Vascones warriors were armed with two short heavy throwing spears, a knife or short sword, and did not wear armor. The Almogavars were from the mountains of Aragón and part of Navarre. According to one account they were unarmored foot soldiers who were dressed in skins and carried arms similar to the ancient Romans (two heavy throwing spears, atzagaia in Catalan, and a short sword). In later years, they served as mercenaries with such sponsors as the Catholic Church, Nobles, and even the Byzantines.

The minimal Christian missionary activity in the Basque mountains came from Asturias and later the Franks began sending missionaries in the 9th Century.


781: Pallars, in western Catalonia with its neighbor Ribagorza were taken from the Moors by the Franks in 781. They became part of the Marca Hispanica and formed part of the province of Toulouse.

785-801: While in the east of the peninsula, the Frankish emperors established the Marca Hispanica across the Pyrenees in part of what today is Catalonia, reconquering:

    • Girona in 785
    • Barcelona in 801


791-842: The Reconquista had begun under Alfonso II (791-842), and would last nearly 700 years as Christians began to suppress and push African Muslims from the Iberian Peninsula. Alfonso II and his knights conquered a number of strongholds and settled the lands south of the Duero River.

Note: As of yet, instatement of chivalric knightly orders and the chivalric ideals and codes of conduct weren’t present on the Iberian Peninsula until almost the 2nd Century of the Reconquista. The geographically close proximity of Christian and African Muslim populations made the atmosphere for the development of knightly orders ripe and in the subsequent centuries chivalry flourished in Spain to a greater extent than it did in other Christian states.

Note: In the context of the Reconquista, Frankish knights (French) were willing to fight the "infidel" prior to the Crusades. They appeared to protect pilgrims flocking to the tomb of apostle James of Compostela in Galicia. Saint James was known and celebrated in Christianity as "the slayer of the Moors". The discovery of his body by Christians has been considered a possible igniting factor of the Reconquista.

795: The Franks took the outlying regions of Catalonia from the Córdoba Amirate in 795 but did not conquer Barcelona.

797: At what should have been a critical stage of defense, the Amirate governor (Wali) of Barcelona, Sa'dun al Ruayni, rebelled in 797.

799: Charlemagne created the Spanish Marches (The Marca Hispanica), as a buffer zone between the African Moors and his kingdom.

799: The Amirate governor (Wali) of Barcelona, Sa'dun al Ruayni retook the city in 799.

                Late-700s: In the late 700s the Muslims reconquered defenseless Pamplona

9th Century

9th Century: Throughout the 9th Century Aragón’s (present day) northern kingdoms were fiefs of the Count of Barcelona and were often part of the then French controlled Spanish Marches. The capital city of the remaining territory was Zaragoza which was controlled by the Amirate of Córdoba.

Portugal (Portucalensis County) began the 9th Century as part of the Caliphate of Córdoba.


801: Charlemagne’s son, Louis, captured Barcelona from the Amirate in 801, making it the seat of the Spanish Marches. The Spanish Marches eventually included the northern parts of Navarra, Aragón, and Catalonia. The regions of the Spanish Marches and their nobles were subjects of the Duke of Toulouse. They were ruled by the Count of Barcelona who was appointed by the Frankish kings. Catalonian nobles were vassals of the Count throughout the 9th Century.

                802: Pamplona regained its independence until 802.

               806: In 806, the French (The Franks) returned and conquered Pamplona.


812: The French (The Franks) had lost Pamplona again and returned to retake it in 812. 

812: In that year there was a second battle of Roncevaux in the same pass. It ended in a stalemate because the Franks were more prepared this time. But the Franks could not hold the city of Roncevaux (A village in North Spain, in the Pyrenees) and soon withdrew.

816: The Battle of Pancorbo took place in the year 816. It was a contest between a Moorish army from the Emirate of Córdoba sent by Al-Hakam I. The Moors were under the control of Abd al-Karim ibn Abd al-Wahid ibn Mugit. The forces loyal to Francia (Francia or Frankia, also called the Kingdom of the Franks or Frankish Kingdom) were under the control of Balask al-Yalasqi, lord of Pamplona. The battle was fought when the Muslim forces attempted to cross the pass at Pancorbo (Pancorbo is now a municipality and town located in the province of Burgos, Castile and León, Spain.). The battle resulted in a Muslim victory and was instrumental in the Basque revolt and the establishment of Íñigo Arista of Pamplona as a major player in the contemporary Iberian political scene.

817: In 817, Pallars (In western Catalonia) with its neighbor Ribagorza was bestowed to Pepin (Second son of Louis the Pious) as part of the Kingdom of Aquitaine.


824: In 824, there was a third battle of Roncevaux. Iñigo Arista, the commander of the troops of Pamplona, assisted by the troops of Banu Qasi (Heirs of Cassius) and routed the Franks (French). Iñigo’s half-brother, Musa ibn Musa, was the leader of Banu Qasi, a small Muslim Basque province to the south of Pamplona.

Note: As a consequence, Arista was crowned King of Pamplona and the kingdom began to strengthen its independence from both, the Frankish Empire and the Emirate of Córdoba. Eventually, Pamplona became the Kingdom of Navarre (Navarra). However, during the 9th Century Pamplona was more of a fortress than a city and the region was often unstable due to internal Basque conflicts.

The Battle of Roncevaux Pass was a battle in which a Basque army defeated a French, Frankish, Carolingian military expedition in 824. The battle took place only 46 years after the first Battle of Roncevaux Pass (778) in a confrontation showing similar features. A Basque force from the mountains engaged a northbound expedition led by the Franks at the same geographical setting (the Roncevaux Pass or a spot near-by). The battle resulted in the defeat of the Carolingian military expedition and the capture of its commanders Aeblus and Aznar Sánchez in 824. The clash was to have further reaching consequences than those of the 778 engagement. It resulted in the immediate establishment of the independent Kingdom of Pamplona.


833: In 833, the Pallars in western Catalonia with its neighbor Ribagorza were usurped by Aznar Galindez, Count of Urgel and Cerdagne.

838: By 838, Aznar Galindez, Count of Urgel and Cerdagne lost his original counties. He held Pallars and Ribagorza until 838 when Sunifred I, Count of Barcelona, expelled him.


840s: In the 840s, a Viking fleet of 150 ships plundered the Garonne region of France and then sailed down to Spain. Some of the invaders settled in Biarritz, France, on the coast, just north of the Pyrenees.

842: In 842, the Vikings set up a base at the mouth of the Loire River in France from which they could raid further south.

844: By 844, the Vikings raided Santiago de Compostela. They also harried Lisbon (Lisboa) and looted Seville (Sevilla), attacked Córdoba, and then retreated with their loot to an island at the mouth of the Guadalquivir River, from which they raided the neighboring countryside. When the Moorish navy arrived they blockaded the Vikings on their island. Viking raiding parties were captured and several ships were destroyed by Greek fire. The Vikings also lost thirty ships in a naval battle. The Moors took so many prisoners that there weren’t enough gallows in Seville and many were hanged from palm trees. The Amir of Córdoba sent 200 severed heads to his allies in Tangier as proof of his victory. Finally the surviving Vikings exchanged their Moorish prisoners for the right to sail away. Others were allowed to stay and live in the Guadalquivir valley, but they were only known for cattle-raising and making cheese. They never contributed any military presence. Few Vikings ever successfully raided the Amirate.

846: After the African Moorish invasion of León it served as a Muslim outpost. In 846, a group of Mozarabs (Christians who lived under the Moors) tried to take León as their own but the Moors resisted.


850: In 850, Diego Rodriguez "Porcelos," became Count of the territory of Castile with orders to promote the increase of the Christian population. By 860, he had gathered the inhabitants of the surrounding country, Cantabri, Astur, and Vascon, into one fortified village, whose Visigothic name meant fortified place (Gothic bauros). The city began to be called Caput Castellae ("Cabeza de Castilla" or "Head of Castile"), but its common name in Spanish was Burgos. Subject to the King of León, the region continued to be governed by counts and gradually extended its borders.

Burgos, Spain, a city of northern Spain on a high plateau south-southwest of Bilbao. Founded c. 884, it was the capital of the kingdom of Castile in the 11th Century. It was one of the ancient capitals of Castile but is chiefly known for its outstanding architecture and great historic tradition. Founded 855, it was the seat of the county of Castile under the kings of León and became the capital of the kingdom of Castile under Ferdinand I (1035). The royal residence was moved (1087) to Toledo, and Burgos lost some of its cultural importance.

Castilian nobleman, military leader, and diplomat El Cid Campeador is a significant historical figure in the city, as he was born a couple of miles north of Burgos and was raised and educated here.

Burgos was founded in 884 as an outpost of this expanding Christian frontier, when Diego Rodríguez "Porcelos", count of Castile, governed this territory with orders to promote the increase of the Christian population; with this end in view he gathered the inhabitants of the surrounding country into one fortified village. The city began to be called Caput Castellae ("Cabeza de Castilla" or "Head of Castile"). The county (condado) of Burgos, subject to the Kings of León, continued to be governed by counts and was gradually extended; one of these counts, Fernán González, established his independence.

In the 11th Century, the city became the holy see of a Catholic bishop and the capital of the Kingdom of Castile. Burgos was a major stop for pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela and a centre of trade between the Bay of Biscay and the south, which attracted an unusually large foreign merchant population, who became part of the city oligarchy and excluded other foreigners. Throughout the 13th and 14th centuries, Burgos was a favorite seat of the kings of León and Castile and a favored burial site.

851: The first Battle of Albelda took place near Albelda (Albelda is a municipality located in the province of Huesca, Aragon, Spain.) in 851. It was between the African Muslim forces of Musa ibn Musa, chief of the Banu Qasi and governor of Tudela on behalf of the Emirate of Córdoba, and an army of the Franks and Gascons (Gascony, France) from France. These were probably allies of the Christian Kingdom of Asturias, inveterate enemy of Musa. The Muslims, the probable aggressors, were victorious.

852: The Battle of Guadalacete, which took place in the year 852. It was fought between a coalition of troops from the Kingdom of Asturias and the Kingdom of Navarre against a force of troops from the Emirate of Córdoba under the command of Muhammad I of Córdoba. The battle resulted in a Muslim victory.

Note: The people of Toledo had asked for the help of the King of Galicia and the King of the Basques, who came to free them with the help of the city's men. The Toledo army formed by the union of the people of Toledo and the Christian kings saw that of the Emir and went to the banks of the Rio de Guadalacete and fought with fervor, routing the Emir. He retreated to the lands to the south, followed by the army of Toledo which fell into an ambush, as the bulk of the African Moorish army had anticipated this movement. This resulted in the massacre of more than 8,000 Christians, giving victory to the Muslim empire and crushing the rebellion of Toledo.

856: In 856, the Christian King Ordoño I of Asturias successfully began reoccupation of the City of León. Later in 910, León became an independent kingdom when the court of Alfonso III was moved there from Oviedo.

According to the chronicles of Alfonso III of Asturias, the first reference to the name "Castile" (Castilla) can be found in a document written in 800. Alfonso III, King of León, reconquered Burgos, the main city of Castile in the Mid-9th Century.

859: In 859, Vikings ravaged the southern coast of France. Many people were killed and whole towns were razed to the ground. Raiders also struck along the coast of Africa.

859: The Battle of Monte Laturce, also known as the second Battle of Albelda, was a victory for the forces of Ordoño I of the Kingdom of Asturias and his ally García Íñiguez of Pamplona. They defeated the latter's uncle and former ally, the Banu Qasi lord of Borja,Tarazona, Terrer, and Tudela, Musa ibn Musa, a "Marcher" baron so powerful and independent that he was called by a Muslim chronicler "The Third King of Spain". The battle took place during the Asturian siege of a new fortress under construction by Musa at Albelda. The fortress was taken a few days after the battle. After Monte Laturce, Musa was forced to fully submit to the Emir of Córdoba, who took advantage of Musa's weakness to remove him as wali of the Upper March, initiating a decade-long eclipse of the Banu Qasi.


865: The Battle of the Morcuera was a battle of the Spanish Reconquista that took place in the Hoz de la Morcuera between the municipalities of Foncea and Bugedo nearby the city of Miranda de Ebro on August 9, 865. It was fought between the combined Christian troops of the Kingdom of Castile and the Kingdom of Asturias under Rodrigo of Castile and the African Muslim forces of the Emirate of Córdoba under Muhammad I of Córdoba. The battle resulted in a victory for the Cordobans and a general retreat in the overall Reconquista process.

868: The County of Portucalensis (Portugal) was founded 868 by Count Vimara Peres.


872: In 872 Toulouse was thrown into turmoil by an assassination and the men of the counties took the opportunity to gain their independence. At this time a man named Raymond (A Basque) became count of the territories. This was the first step in tearing the Spanish Marches away from the Franks (French). Raymond I tried to maintain peace with the African Moors, but failed. He then constructed defensive fortifications in both counties. He established an alliance with the new Jimenez Dynasty in Navarra.

873 to 898: Wilfredo the Hairy, Count of Barcelona, set-up a Christian kingdom with a certain degree of independence from the Frankish kings.


884: In 884, Diego Rodriguez, son of Count Rodriguez, died and Castilla devolved into many smaller counties.



10th Century

10th Century: After two centuries of ongoing fighting between the Christians and Moors, both sides had become battle hardened veterans of war. Codes of conduct for the Christian warriors slowly began to evolve. Iberian Spanish chivalric codes of manners and proper military engagement had begun, in the context of the Reconquista. The Frankish knights which arrived in Spain to protect pilgrims flocking to the tomb of Apostle James of Compostela in Galicia may have influenced this change.

Abd-ar-Rahman III declared the Caliphate of Córdoba, effectively breaking all ties with the Egyptian and Syrian Caliphs. The Caliphate reached its peak around the year 1000, under Al-Mansur (a.k.a. Almanzor).

In the area that became known as Castile (Land of castles) strongholds were built as a buffer for the Kingdom of León along the upper Rio Ebro. The region was then repopulated by border warriors and free peasants willing to defend it. These were granted fueros (special privileges and immunities) by the kings of León that made them virtually autonomous. Castile developed a distinct society with its own dialect, values, and customs shaped by the hard conditions of the frontier. Castile also produced a caste of hereditary warriors whom the frontier "democratized"; all warriors were equals, and all men were warriors.

10th and 11th centuries: Mass Christian conversions in the Basque mountains did not begin until the 10th and 11th centuries. In many cases, a Christian veneer was laid over the old religion. The African Moors often referred to them as Magus (Wizards, Pagans).

The Reconquista had begun under Alfonso II (791-842) and would last nearly 700 years as Christians attempted to suppress and push Muslims from the Iberian Peninsula. The instatement of chivalric knightly orders, chivalric ideals, and codes of conduct were only just beginning on the Iberian Peninsula.

Notes: In the context of the Reconquista, and the geographically close proximity of Christian and African Muslim populations, the atmosphere for the development of Knightly Orders was ripe and in the subsequent century’s chivalry flourished in Spain to a greater extent than it did in other Christian states.

Chivalry in Medieval Spain cannot be understood outside of the context of the Military Orders of Knighthood. Historians seem to be conflicted as to whether Knights in Spain were directed more by Castilian and Catalan-Aragonese royalty or by the Papacy. But there seems to be a consensus that the knights had obligations to both and an overarching allegiance to the Church, as both were in direct contact with knights (and often royalty were themselves knights and Crusaders). Some scholars have suggested that the later Spanish Military Orders, like that at the fortress of Calatrava, pledged their loyalty primarily to their kingdom, in this case Castile, but orders like the Templars or Hospitaller were more independent and not necessarily loyal to any kingdom consistently.

The uniqueness of Spanish chivalry on the Iberian Peninsula had multiple factors contributing to the strong chivalric ethos exemplified by Spanish Knights. One determinate factor to the strong adoption of chivalric Orders, in Spain, is the Reconquista in which Christian Kingdoms attempted to expel Muslims from the peninsula. The greatest foes of the Spanish Christian knight were, above all, African Muslims; who were not an imagined enemy, but one deeply entrenched in reality and not as distant as the infidel, or enemy, was for the knights of France or Germany. In other Christian kingdoms the fighting was at least initially waged between Christians of different kingdoms, and as such was more debated and contested within Christian circles. However, in Spain the Christian knights and kingdoms were engaged with what was almost universally acknowledged as a foe to Christianity, and this common enemy had some role in uniting Christian kingdoms in the cause of the Crusades and Reconquista.

In the 12th-13th Century, most of the prominent Spanish Knightly orders were formed. The early formation of the Orders of the peninsula was dangerous and unstable. In Calatrava, during the middle of the 12th Century Castilian Knights established a fortress, which would later be abandoned due to the threat of African Muslim attack, then again within fifty years a fort of the Order of Calatrava was then rebuilt and became a fortified monastic community.

Castillo de Calatrava la Nueva

The prominence of knightly orders in the political and military realms of the Christian kingdoms of the peninsula fluctuated with the crusader zeal of the kingdoms’ rulers; however, their power was not exclusively tied to the Crusader Kings. For instance, Ferdinand III of Castile’s reign facilitated the rise of more Spanish Orders because of the desire in the kingdom led by the king to crusade against the African Moors.

However, the years that followed the death of Ferdinand III were relatively peaceful in Castile and the morale of the Orders was undermined. In this period of peace between the Orders and the African Muslims of the peninsula: mercenaries were hired to replace and assist Knights in their fighting, Masters of the Orders were no longer religiously appointed, and civil war was waged between Christian Knights with conflicting loyalties.

The decline of knightly Orders in Spain is the subject of much debate. Some historians have attributed the fall of Chivalry and Knightly Orders to the expulsion of the African Muslims with the fall of Granada in 1492, or the centralization of political power under the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella. Once the mission of driving the African Moors from Spain was accomplished, the four Orders, like the great crusader Orders elsewhere in Europe, were perceived as over-mighty subjects and it became a priority for the Crown to gain control over them – particularly as the not infrequent quarrels between the rival bodies was a source of dissension at a time when the Crown was struggling to establish its central authority. If one subscribes to this latter view (the earlier fall of Chivalry and Knightly Orders at the end of the 15th Century), then clearly Cervantes did not so much contribute to that event, as to document (at the beginning of the 17th Century) its prior occurrence, a point that is central to Don Quixote, that this decline had already occurred at the time of Quixote's adventures.

The Spanish kings had frequently obtained the election of close connections of their families as Masters of the Orders and at Calatrava in 1489, Santiago in 1494 and Alcántara in 1495 the administration of the three Magisteries were ultimately granted to King Ferdinand of Aragón, as Sovereign of Aragón and King-Consort of Castille. Finally, by the Bull Dum intra of Pope Adrian VI dated May 4, 1523, the "perpetual administration" of the three Orders was transferred to "Charles I (the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V), King of Spain", and his heirs and successors.

Later incarnations of Spanish chivalry and after the Reconquista and the loss of their prominence in the peninsula, Spanish Orders then found a new role as an elite corps of the nobility, maintaining their castles and estates as commanderies to provide incomes for those who had distinguished themselves in the service of the Monarch. The succeeding centuries however saw the rise of the Spanish Empire and the chivalric ideals of the knights transcended and reappeared in the guise of the conquistadors in the New World. The rewards for the conquistador were similar to those of his medieval predecessor, the reconquistador: land to conquer, people to convert to Christianity, and glory or fame". The one major difference was that the conquistadors and reconquistadores were real people who also sought wealth whereas the knight-errant of the romances was a fictional creature indifferent to material gain. Bernal Díaz de Castillo, a soldier who took part in the conquest of Mexico, put the conquistador’s objective succinctly: "we came here to serve God and the king and also to get rich".


First Third of the 10th Century: In the first third of the 10th Century, one of the Spanish Umayyads, Abd al- Rahman III, restored and extended the Al-Andalus emirate and became the first Iberian Caliph. The proclamation of the Caliphate had a double purpose. In the interior, the Umayyads wanted to strengthen the peninsular kingdom. Outside the country, they wanted to consolidate the commercial routes of the Mediterranean, guarantee an economic relationship with the east-Byzantium, and assure the supply of gold.

905 to 926: Sancho I Garcés creates a Basque Kingdom centered on Navarre.

               907: In 907 Raymond I lost most of Ribagorza to Huesca.


920: Raymond I died in 920 and his sons inherited Pallars. The rest of the 10th Century is somewhat obscure.

927: Melilla was occupied in 927 (Located on the north coast of Africa it is a Spanish exclave and permanently inhabited Spanish territory.).


930 to 950: Ramiro II, king of León, defeated Abd al - Rahman III at Simancas, Osma and Talavera.


Prior to 950: A few years prior, Hugo of Arles (Arles, Bouches du Rheine, and Francia) appealed to the powerful Spanish Caliphate for safe conduct for his merchant ships in the Mediterranean. The small Christian strongholds in the north of the Peninsula became modest feudal holdings of the Caliphate, recognizing its superiority and arbitrage.

Note:  The foundations of Andalucían hegemony rested on a considerable economic capacity based on important trade, a developed craft industry and an agriculture know-how which was much more efficient than anything else in the rest of Europe. The Cordoban caliphate had a currency-based economy, and the injection of coinage played a central role in its financial splendor. The gold Cordobes coin became the principal currency of the period and was probably imitated by the Carolingian Empire. Therefore, the Cordoban caliphate was the first urban and commercial economy that had flourished in Europe since the disappearance of the Roman Empire. The capital and most important city of the Caliphate, Córdoba, had some 100,000 inhabitants, making it Europe's principal urban concentration during that epoch.


Mid-10th Century: In the middle of the 10th Century, the Umayyad controlled the triangle formed by Algeria, Siyimasa and the Atlantic. The power of the Andalucían Caliphate also extended to Western Europe.

950: By 950, the Germano-Roman Empire, the complex of European territories under the rule of the Frankish or German king who bore the title of Roman emperor, beginning with the coronation of Charlemagne in 800 A.D., was exchanging ambassadors with the Cordoban Caliphate.

950 to 951: Count Fernán González laid the foundations for the independence of Castile.


961-976: African Muslim Iberia produced a flourishing culture after the Caliph Al-Hakam II (961-976) came to power. He is credited with founding a library of hundreds of thousands of volumes, which was new in Europe at that time. The most distinctive feature of this culture was the early re-adoption of classical philosophy by Ibn Masarra, Abentofain, Averroes and the Jewish Sephardi Maimonides. But the African Muslim thinkers of Iberia stood out in medicine, mathematics, and astronomy.


981: The Christian king Ramiro III was defeated in 981 by Almansur at Rueda (Rueda is a village and municipality in the province of Valladolid, part of the autonomous community of Castile-Leon, Spain. It is located 30 km southwest of the provincial capital, the city of Valladolid.) and was forced to pay tribute to the Caliph of Cordova.

981: In 981, the kingdom of Castile became an independent county, and later in 1004 it was raised to the dignity of a kingdom. Castile and León were reunited periodically through royal marriages, but ultimately their kings divided their lands again among their heirs.

985: Al-Mansur (a.k.a. Almanzor) sacked Barcelona (985) and other Christian cities. After Almanzor's death the Caliphate plunged into a civil war and collapsed into the so-called "Taifa Kingdoms". A Taifa was usually an emirate or petty kingdom. Taifa kings competed against each other not only in war, but also in the protection of the arts.


999 to 1018: Alfonso V of León reconstructed his kingdoms.


11th Century

In the 11th Century the Muslim realms asked for help from the North African Almoravides, who then took control of all of Al-Andalus and some Christian land.

The Reconquest of Spain by the Christians who had refused to submit to the Moors began in Castile (The land of castles). Situated in the central plateau, they took the lead over the other Spanish noble families in the 11th Century. The powerful Castilians forced the now weakened African Moors toward the south.

The fragmentation of the Cordoban Caliphate took place at the end of the first decade of the 11th Century. This came about as a result of the enormous war efforts by the last Cordoban leaders and the accompanying suffocating fiscal pressures.

Note: During the 11th Century, heraldry began to appear in Spain. Its origin was the same as other European countries, the fact that knights wore armor from head to toe and were often in a leadership position they and the nobles needed to distinguish themselves from one another on the battlefield, in jousts and tournaments. However, for Spain there was a more pressing reason, possibly due to the Moors and their continued occupation of Spanish lands. The Spanish were desperate to remove them and reclaim their sacred Christian land.

Chivalry in Medieval Spain cannot be understood outside of the context of the "Military Orders of Knighthood". The uniqueness of Spanish chivalry on the Iberian Peninsula had multiple factors contributing to the strong chivalric ethos exemplified by Spanish knights. One determinate factor to the strong adoption of chivalric Orders in Spain is the Reconquista in which Christian kingdoms attempted to expel Muslims from the peninsula.

The design of the arms themselves, excepting for the rules of Heraldry, were the choice of the owner. Each design often had a specific meaning or symbolism but often it didn't. Originally, anyone could bear (display) arms. Later, it became more of an enforced practice only for nobility. In Spain, however, it was not difficult to be ennobled (made a member of the nobility). She sought out the best to defend her people and their faith against the Muslims. Spanish nobility, unlike their European counterparts, was based almost entirely on military service. Few families of eminence came from the law, commerce or the church. The great families of Spain and Portugal fought their way to their rank. This may sound primitive, but it was actually quite fair as it allowed commoners to join the ranks of the nobility through loyal and successful military service. Indeed, many poor families came to prominence and wealth quickly as a result of their successful military exploits. In the end, it was these that freed Spain.

Until the end of the Middle Ages only the paternal arms were used (those of the father) but later, both paternal and maternal arms were displayed. The arms of the maternal and paternal grandfathers were impaled (shield cut in half vertically, showing the respective arms on each half). During the 18th and 19th centuries, the use of four quarterings came into use by the nobility (the shield was cut into four parts and the design of the arms of each grandparent was placed in each quarter). There was an order of display as follows:

1. Paternal grandfather
2. Maternal grandfather
3. Paternal grandmother
4. Maternal grandmother

To this very day, the ideal proof of Spanish nobility (Hidalguia) is still the four quarterings.

Spanish/Hispanic Heraldry Arms are a symbol of one’s lineage and a symbol of the family as well. Spanish arms are inheritable as any other form of property.

In Chapter Two I’ve included the family coat of arms for as many of my lines that I could find. To assist the reader to better understand, I’ve provided an Internet example tutorial "English Heraldry College of Arms: Purpose (Essentials, Medium) (Coat of arms, Heraldry, Regulation)" in Chapter Thirteen.


1000 to 1033: Sancho III of Navarre subdued the counties of Aragón, Sobrarbe, and Ribagorza. He took possession of the County of Castile and made an arrangement with Bermudo III of León with the idea of taking away his dominions from him and proclaiming himself as emperor. On his death, he left Navarre to his son García III, Castile to Fernando I, and Aragón, Sobrarbe and Ribagorza to Ramiro I.


Navarre, officially the Chartered Community of Navarre (Spanish: Comunidad Foral de Navarra; Basque: Nafarroako Foru Komunitatea), is an autonomous community in northern Spain, bordering the Basque Country, La Rioja, and Aragón in Spain and Aquitaine in France. The capital city is Pamplona (or Iruña in Basque).

During the Roman Empire, the Vascones, a pre-Roman tribe who populated the southern slopes of the Pyrenees occupied the area which would ultimately become Navarre. In the mountainous north, the Vascones escaped large-scale Roman settlement, but not so in the flatter areas to the south, which were amenable to large-scale Roman farming.

Neither the Visigoths nor the Moors ever completely subjugated the area. In 778, the Basques defeated a Frankish army in the Battle of Roncevaux Pass. Two generations later, in 824, the chieftain Iñigo Arista was elected King of Pamplona, laying a foundation for the later Kingdom of Navarre. That kingdom reached its zenith during the reign of Sancho III of Navarre and covered the area of the present-day Navarre, Basque country, and La Rioja, together with parts of modern Cantabria, Castile and León, and Aragón.

After Sancho III died, the Kingdom of Navarre was divided between his sons. It never fully recovered its political power, although its commercial importance increased as the traders and pilgrims traversed the Camino de Santiago, which crossed the kingdom. Navarre fought beside other Christian Spanish kingdoms in the decisive battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212, after which the Muslim conquests in the Iberian Peninsula were slowly reduced to the small territory of Granada in 1252. Because of its strategic location, Navarre often fought to maintain its integrity against the stronger kingdoms to its east (Aragón) and west (Castille). Its royal family intermarried with French nobles, but the Navarrese kept their strong town-based democratic traditions, which not only kept the roads maintained, but also limited aristocratic power. In 1469, the marriage of Queen Isabella of Castile-León and King Ferdinand of Aragón-Catalonia unified those kingdoms into what became the kingdom of Spain. While their military attentions remained focused on the remaining Muslim kingdom in the south, Navarre's days too seemed numbered. Efforts to merge the mountain kingdom into the newly formed Kingdom of Spain by marriage ultimately failed.

In 1515, after the War of the League of Cambrai, the bulk of Navarre south of the Pyrenees (Upper Navarre) was at last absorbed into Spain, but retained some autonomy. Navarre's royal family fled into the small portion of Navarre lying north of the Pyrenees (Lower Navarre), and their military attempts to regain their kingdom failed. Queen Jeanne d'Albret became a famous Huguenot and her son became King Henry IV of France, founder of the House of Bourbon dynasty, a branch of which much later came to rule Spain. With the declaration of the French Republic and execution of Louis XVI, the last King of France and Navarre, the kingdom was merged into a unitary French state.

1009-1090: The thirty-nine successors of the united Caliphate became known as the first (1009-1090) Ta'ifas (petty kingdoms), a name which has passed into the Spanish language as a synonym for the ruin generated by the fragmentation and disunity of the Peninsula. This division occurred twice again, thereby creating second and third Ta'ifas and producing a series of new invasions from the north of Africa.


1018-1110: Zaragoza was a Taifa kingdom from 1018 to 1110, when it was captured by the Almoravids.

Note: The Almoravids were a Berber dynasty of Morocco, who formed an empire in the 11th century that stretched over the western Maghreb and Al-Andalus. Founded by Abdallah ibn Yasin, their capital was Marrakesh, a city they founded in 1062. The dynasty originated among the Lamtuna and the Gudala, nomadic Berber tribes of the Sahara, traversing the territory between the Draa, the Niger, and the Senegal rivers. The Almoravids were crucial in preventing the fall of Al-Andalus to the Iberian Christian kingdoms, when they decisively defeated a coalition of the Castilian and Aragonese armies at the Battle of Sagrajas in 1086. This enabled them to control an empire that stretched 3,000 kilometers north to south. However, the rule of the dynasty was relatively short-lived. The Almoravids fell - at the height of their power - when they failed to quell the Masmuda-led rebellion initiated by Ibn Tumart. As a result, their last king Ishaq ibn Ali was killed in Marrakesh in April 1147 by the Almohads, who replaced them as a ruling dynasty both in Morocco and Al-Andalus.

The last Taifa king, forced from the city, became allied with Basque, Alfonso the Battler, and his Muslim Troops became regulars in Aragón’s army.


The Reinos de Taifas (Small independent kingdoms)

1031 to 1492

After their initial defeats the Christian Romans and Goths gradually coalesced forming the Spanish nation.


Iberia’s original inhabitants were of homogenous European stock, before developing into distinct ethnic groups. These inhabitants of the Iberian Peninsula (modern Spain and Portugal) later became known as Iberians.

The Celts intermixed with original Iberians during Celtic migration (About 500-250 B.C.) forming the majority of the genetic composition of modern Spanish people. The Celts were descendents of original inhabitants of Central Europe which developed the Celt language and Celt culture. These became the Celtiberians or Celts of Iberia.

There was a very minor genetic contribution in the south of the Peninsula from Greeks and Phoenicians (Carthaginians) who settled their colonies along the Mediterranean coast in ancient times.

The Roman conquest of Hispania (roughly modern Spain and Portugal) began mainly due to the actions of Carthage. At the end of the First Punic War (264-241 BCE) Rome defeated Carthage and claimed Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica. This placed an increased emphasis on Roman Hispania.

Rome's control of Hispania however was not uncontested. After the war Rome divided Spain into two provinces, known as Hispania Citerior (Near) and Hispania Ulterior (Far). During the second Punic war the native tribes of the region eventually they turned fully against the Romans in a series of revolts.

Along with the following tribes, the people of Hispania had a great deal of influence from Phoenician (Carthaginian), Greek and Roman settlements.

In Roman times the Celtiberians were composed of the Arevaci, Belli, Titti, and Lusones. The Arevaci dominated the neighboring Celtiberian tribes from the powerful strongholds at Okilis (modern Medinaceli) and Numantia. The Belli and the Titti were settled in the Jalon Valley, the Sierra del Solorio separating them from the Lusones to the northeast.

The Lusitani were a group of warlike tribes who, despite defeats, resisted Roman domination until their great leader, Viriatus, was killed (139 B.C.). In the 1st Century B.C. they joined in supporting Sertorius, against the government in Rome. The Lusitani lived in what is now Portugal.

Hispania was significantly "Romanized" throughout the imperial period and it came to be one of the most important territories of the Roman Empire. Emperors Trajan and Hadrian were both born there and most all of the people of Hispania were granted Roman citizen status.

The Romans also left their genetic imprint on the regions they settled.

The Germanic invasions of the 5th Century brought Germanic peoples (Visigoths in particular) who conquered almost the entire Peninsula and became the ruling class. They gradually intermixed with the local Celtiberian population, providing a minor contribution to the Iberian genetic composition.

Forced to the north of Spain, their small kingdoms would become the initial springboard for the Reconquest. It was these who succeeded later in driving the Arabs out of the peninsula. But this would not be completed until many centuries later. During this period, Christian rulers continued efforts in northern Spain to recapture the south. In 1085, Alfonso VI of León and Castile recaptured Toledo. As a result, in the 11th Century the caliphate fell.

1035: Before Aragón came into being as a self-proclaimed kingdom in 1035, the northern counties of Jaca, Sobrarbe, and Ribagorza were counties and appanages suzerain to the Kingdom of Navarre. King Sancho set out on his will the primacy of Pamplona over all appanages (domains for the personal management of his offspring) including Castile, but his younger children set off on separate paths instead, establishing their own kingdoms. Ramiro I was for the first time named king of Aragón in 1035.

Note: Under the tutelage of the neighboring Franks (French) a barrier of pocket states was formed along the range of the Pyrenees and on the coast of Catalonia. These were to hold the frontier of France against Islamic Iberia. Out of this region, called the Spanish March, emerged the kingdom of Aragón and the counties of Catalonia, all of which expanded, as did León-Castile. Expansion was done at the expense of the African Muslims (Andorra was the last independent survivor of the March states.).

1035 to 1063: Fernando I conquered Coimbra and forced the Muslims of Toledo, Seville, and Badajoz to pay him tribute. Before his death, he shared out his territories between his sons. Castile went to Sancho II and León to Alfonso VI.


1043-1099: 11th Century: El Cid, the 11th Century hero of Spain's epic poem was banished by King Alfonso VI and found refuge with the Muslim king of Zaragoza. With the collapse of the Caliphate of Córdoba Al-Andalus broke apart into a number of small, warring domains, which contributed to the success of the southward expansionist drive of the Christian kingdoms.

El Cid: 1043-1099

One cannot speak of Spain and its fabled knights without touching upon its greatest knight, "El Cid (1043-1099) Rodrigo Diáz de Vivar".

He was born in Medieval Spain near Burgos, in 1043, and was made Champion Knight in the year 1073. El Cid is considered a famous Spanish national folk hero and the embodiment of chivalry and virtue. Growing up in the household of the future King, Sancho II of Castile, El Cid was very close to Prince Sancho, the eldest son of King Ferdinand I. He was later made Campeador or the Lord Champion. El Cid led a warrior’s life, fighting for the Spanish kings against all those who would resist them. He finally died in València in the year 1099.

When King Sancho II of Castile died, his kingdom was divided among his five children. Sancho retained Castile, Alfonso was given León, García received Galicia, Urraca was assigned Zamora, and Elvira took Toro.

When Prince Sancho became King Sancho II in 1065, he gave Rodrigo the highest position at court, the Standard Bearer or Head of Royal Armies. It was King Sancho's belief that the kingdom should remain united and Rodrigo stood by him in this cause. His daughter, Urraca, and the other siblings resisted the reuniting of the kingdom.

After King Sancho was assassinated in 1072, the Castilians proclaimed Alfonso to be their king. El Cid accused Alfonso of taking part in the murder of his brother, Sancho. 

16th Century, El Cid sword with bronze finish and overall length 41"

As King of Castile and of León, Alfonso was powerful and dangerous. Never the less, Rodrigo Diáz de Vivar challenged Alfonso's right to the throne. During the dispute, El Cid forced Alfonso to swear that he had taken no part in the assassination of Sancho. Once Alfonso swore his innocence, the Cid accepted that oath and remained in royal service.

Later Vivar married Alfonso's niece, Jimena. In 1074, he was sent to Sevilla as ambassador. While at that post, the Cid was accused of keeping money and treasures meant for King Alfonso. The charges ultimately led to his disinheritance and exile. Despite the King's refusal to forgive him, he remained loyal to King Alfonso.

His first decade of exile was spent fighting for the causes of various Christian and Moslem rulers. Accepting challenge after challenge, his fame as a great warrior grew.  The decorative wall hanging to the left is designed after a shield used by Spanish hero, El Cid, during his 11th Century exploits. Crafted from 20-gauge steel, this shield has a burnished metal finish and solid brass trim and fittings. The piece is 24 3/4 inches by 18 1/4 inches.

By 1090, the Cid, with both the kings of Saragossa and Aragón, resisted the advance of the Berber Almoravids in eastern Spain. Two years later, during November of 1092, he began a siege of València. By 1094, El Cid had conquered the region of València offering the region to King Alfonso. Alfonso accepted his offer and El Cid was made Lord of València. There the Cid maintained a Christian presence in the largely Moslem town, ruling until his death on July 10, 1099. His widow Jimena continued to rule, but in 1102, she was forced to abandon València to the advancing Almoravids.

To this day, Rodrigo Diáz de Vivar, El Cid, has remained one of the greatest heroes of Christian Spain. Why? I feel it is due to the Moorish imprint on the Spanish Psyche. He will always provide the assurance that a great hero will always arise in Spain, if need be.

1044: Later, after his brother Gonzalo's death, King Sancho was also named king of Sobrarbe and Ribagorza in 1044. The new kingdom grew quickly, conquering territories from the Moorish kingdoms to the south. During this period, Christian rulers continued efforts in northern Spain to recapture the south.


1065 to 1109: Alfonso VI united the two kingdoms of León and Castile under his scepter and took Toledo.


1085: In 1085, Alfonso VI of León and Castile recaptured Toledo. As a result, in the 11th Century the caliphate fell.

1085: Toledo became weakened by their disunity. In the 11th Century, the Taifas fell piecemeal to Alfonso VI of León and Castile and his Castilians, who then anticipated the completion of the Christian "Reconquest" of Iberia. Toledo was lost in 1085

Note: When Toledo feel the alarmed amirs (Muslim kings of Granada, Seville, and Badajoz) appealed for aid to the Almoravids, a militant Berber party of strict Muslims, who in a few years had won control of the Maghreb (northwest Africa). The Almoravids incorporated all of Al Andalus, except Zaragoza, into their North African empire. They attempted to stimulate a religious revival based on their own evangelical brand of Islam. In Spain, however, their movement soon lost its missionary fervor. The Almoravid state later fell apart by the Mid-12th Century under pressure from another religious group, the Almohads, who extended their control from Morocco to Spain and made Seville their capital.

1086: The Christian advance made the Muslim kings of Granada, Seville, and Badajoz call to their aid the Almoravides.

1086: Obra de Ribera: During the battle of La Sagra, in 1086, Afonso VI of Castile was lightly wounded, but his horse was killed. The Spanish Knight Tellez (Possibly Don Rodrigo Gonçalves de Cisneros), with the king in great peril, dismounted and offered the sovereign his horse. The king mounted and continued the fight. The Knight Tellez in remembrance of his act, cut off a Girão is a piece of King Afonso VI of Castile’s clothing, which after the battle was Don Rodrigo's proof of what he had done. It became known as "the Girão" (in Spanish, "Giron"). His son, Don Gonçalo Rodrigues Girón de Cisneros, was the first to adopt it as a name and in this was followed by his descendants.

The coat of arms of the Portuguese Girão family reflects this: a castle and a lion (Castile and Leon, or Spain), and three red "girões" [Google translates this as "turns"] in the field of gold.

The knight had cut a small piece of the royal mantle. After the victory, the king asked his men:  — "Who was it among you that gave me their horse?"

— "It was I, Sire" answered the knight Téllez. (The knight whose family would thenceforth be called Jirón ... 1086)

— "Do you have proof?"

— "Yes, this piece of your mantle, which I cut with my sword."

—  "What reward can I offer?"

— "Nothing but the right to use the name Jirón [meaning "shred" or "tatter"], which identifies this piece of cloth and will remind me of the service it was my honor to render unto Your Majesty."


Thus came into being one (Girón) of the 86 names of the Dukes of Osuna. The knight whose family would thenceforth be called Jirón gives his horse to King Afonso VI of Castile.



1090: The first time the Almoravides (1090), invaded the petty kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula.

1094: In 1094, Sancho Ramírez built the nearby Montearagón Castle with the intention of laying siege to Huesca (Wasqah) but was killed by a stray arrow as he was reconnoitering the city's walls.

1096: Huesca a city in north-eastern Spain, within the autonomous community of Aragón was taken in 1096. In the mid-10th Century, Wasqah had been given to the Banu Tujibi, who governed the Upper March from Zaragoza, and it became part of their Taifa of Zaragoza in 1018 when they successfully freed themselves from the disintegrating Caliphate. It was finally conquered in 1096, by Peter I of Aragón.

12th Century

12th Century: In the 12th Century the Almoravide Empire broke up again, only to be taken over by the Almohade invasion.

Note: The Almohad Caliphate ("the monotheists" or "the unifiers") was a Moroccan Berber Muslim movement founded in the 12th Century. This Almohad movement was started by Ibn Tumart among the Masmuda tribes of southern Morocco. The Almohads first established a Berber state in Tinmel in the Atlas Mountains in roughly 1120. The Almohads succeeded in overthrowing the ruling Almoravids in governing Morocco by 1147, when Abd al-Mu'min al-Gumi (1130-1163) conquered Marrakech and declared himself Caliph. By 1159, they had extended their power over all of the Maghreb in Africa. The Al-Andalus followed when all Islamic Iberia came under Almohad rule by 1172.

12th-13th Centuries: In the 12th-13th centuries, most of the prominent Spanish knightly orders were formed. The early formation of the Orders of the peninsula was dangerous and unstable. In Calatrava, during the middle of the 12th Century Castilian knights established a fortress, which would later be abandoned due to the threat of African Muslim attack, then again within fifty years a fort of the Order of Calatrava was then rebuilt and became a fortified monastic community.

The prominence of knightly orders in the political and military realms of the Christian kingdoms of the peninsula fluctuated with the crusader zeal of the kingdoms’ rulers; however, their power was not exclusively tied to the Crusader Kings. For instance, Ferdinand III of Castile’s reign facilitated the rise of more Spanish Orders because of the desire in the kingdom led by the king to crusade against the African Moors. However the years that followed the death of Ferdinand III were relatively peaceful in Castile and the morale of the Orders was undermined. During this period of peace between the Orders and the African Muslims of the peninsula mercenaries were hired to replace and assist knights in their fighting, Masters of the Orders were no longer religiously appointed, and civil war was waged between Christian knights with conflicting loyalties.


1102: The followers of the Cid left València and the African Muslims occupied the Peninsula as far as Saragossa (Zaragoza).


1118: Alfonso I of Aragón conquered Saragossa.

1118: Zaragoza was taken in 1118.

Note:  Like other Pyrenean and Basque realms (Unlike Castile), the Aragonese justice and decision making system was based on Pyrenean consuetudinary law, the King was considered primus inter pares ('first among equals') within the nobility. A nobleman with the title "Justicia" acted as ombudsman and was responsible for ensuring that the King obeyed the Aragonese laws. An old saying goes, "en Aragón antes de Rey hubo Ley" ("in Aragón Law came before King"), similar to the saying in Navarre, "antes fueron Leyes que Reyes", with much the same meaning. According to Aragonese law, the monarch had to swear allegiance to the Kingdom's laws before being accepted as king.


               1118: The Aragonese finally took the City of Aragón in 1118.


1135: Alfonso VII of León restored the prestige of the Leonese Monarchy and was proclaimed emperor.

1136: In 1136, the practice of Judaism was prohibited and Jews began to suffer from increased persecution. However, the community continued to thrive in the Christian north where there were fewer restrictions.

1137: 1137 Federated Counties of Aragón and Catalonia-Aragón and the Catalan counties were federated in 1137.

Note: Aragón and the Catalan counties were federated in 1137 through the marriage of Ramon Berenguer IV, count of Barcelona, and Petronilla, heiress to the Aragonese throne. Berenguer assumed the title of King of Aragón, but he continued to rule as count in Catalonia. Berenguer and his successors thus ruled over the two realms, each with its own government, legal code, currency, and political orientation.

The most significant of the counties in Catalonia was that held by the counts of Barcelona. By 1100, Barcelona had dominion over all of Catalonia and the Balearic Islands (Spanish, Islas Baleares). They were descendants of Wilfrid the Hairy (874-98), who at the end of the 9th Century declared his fief free of the French crown, monopolized lay and ecclesiastical offices on both sides of the Pyrenees, and divided them among members of the family according to Frankish custom.

1139: The County of Portucalensis (Portugal) was then known as Portucale (i.e., Portugal). It remained a fief of Galicia and later, León, until 1139, when Count Alfonso Enriques (Enríquez) declared independence.


1143: The County of Portucalensis’ (Portugal) independence was disputed until the Battle of Ourique in 1143. It was then recognized by Alfonso VII of León and Castile. Aided by military monastic Orders it gradually gained territory southward during the Reconquista until it became the modern country of Portugal, though it was often under Spanish control.

1146: For a second time, the Almohades invaded the petty kingdoms of the Peninsula.


1151: The Almohades, another African dynasty, displaced the Almoravides, retaking AlMaría.

Note: Almería (AlMaría) is a city situated in the southeast of the Iberian Peninsula on the Mediterranean Sea in Andalusia, Spain. It is the capital of the province of the same name. Almería was founded by Abd-al-Rahman III of Córdoba due to the need for a better defense system for the regional Arab towns. He founded the Citadel of Alcazaba, which gave this city its name Al-Mari'yah, the Watchtower in 955 A.D.


1160: Order of Santiago, Spanish Orden de Santiago, Christian military-religious order of knights founded about 1160 in Spain for the purpose of fighting Spanish Muslims and of protecting pilgrims on their way to the shrine of Santiago de Compostela. Originally called the Order of Cáceres, after the city in which it was founded, the order assumed the Santiago name in 1171.

1162: Alfonso II, son of Petronila and Ramon Berenguer IV, united in his person the kingdom of Aragón and the County of Barcelona.


1174: With the coming of the Almohads in 1174, a weakened Almoravid Moorish Spain was captured.

1174: In 1174 King Alfonso VIII of Castile gave the Order of Santiago, Spanish Orden de Santiago, Christian military-religious order of knights the town of Uclés, where their central monastery was established. By 1493 the Order of Santiago would have nearly 700,000 members and an annual income of 60,000 ducats, and in that year the Catholic Monarchs (Ferdinand II and Isabella I) took possession of the order in an effort to consolidate their own power.

The Escorial of La Mancha Monastery was chosen in 1174 to house the headquarters of the Saint-Jacques order. This fortified monastery has a shape that reminds one of the Escorial Mountains. Pedro de Ribera later built the south façade, Baroque style of the Escorial of La Mancha Monastery (Monasterio de Uclés) in 1735. The monastery is located in the vast Uclés fortress (12th century). The monastery is located within the fortress of Uclés (12th Century) which was built on a vast swathe of land: one square kilometre surrounded by walls, bastions, buttresses. The new building was raised in the 16th Century in the Renaissance style although the south façade, the best known of the monastery, is Baroque and was built by Pedro de Ribera.

The new building was raised in the 16th Century in the Renaissance style although the south façade, the best known of the monastery, is Baroque and was built by Pedro de Ribera. It has two large doors decorated with scallop shells on crosses of Saint James. The decoration on the façade consists of suits of armor, helmets, pennants and a half-body sculpture of the Apostle. Across the entrance way there is a courtyard with a double cloister. There is a water cistern with a Baroque stone well with the coat of arms of the Order of Saint James. The refectory has a coffered ceiling worked in pine wood with 36 coffers representing the knights of the Order, presided by the emperor Charles V. The sacristy has two right-angled naves. The two windows are decorated with sculptures. In the church, built by Francisco de Mora, there is a nave with a transept and several side chapels dating from the 16th Century, interconnected by means of small semicircular arches. The main altarpiece is particularly worth noting, with a painting by Francisco Ricci, and tombs with the remains of the nobleman Don Rodrigo and his son Jorge Manrique, author of 'Stanzas on the death of his father'. There is a regal and elegant main stairway which leads from the courtyard to the second floor.


1189: After the Moors raid against Lisbon in 1189, the Almohad caliph Yaqub al-Mansur held 3,000 Christian females and children as captives (Slaves).


1191: Almohad caliph Yaqub al-Mansur’s governor of Córdoba attacked Silves and held 3,000 Christian slaves in 1191.

Note: Silves was once the capital of the whole district of Algarve and was still referred to in the beginning of the 19th Century as the "Kingdom of the Algarve". It became an important place during its occupation in the early 11th Century by the African Moors. They gave it the name of Xelb. It is recorded that in 1189 there were over 15,000 inhabitants when the Knights of Santiago sacked the city with the assistance of the Anglo-Norman Crusaders. Two years later it was retaken by the Caliph Ben Yussef.

1195: The Almohades defeated the Castilians at Alarcos.

Notes:  In the 1190s, Alfonso VIII of Castile (1158-1214) undertook a raid into the region around Seville, the Almohad capital of Spain. The Almohad ruler, Ya'qub (1184-99) went on his own campaign against Alfonso, leading to his victory at Alarcos on July 19, 1195. Al-Arak (Alarcos) was an impregnable fortress near Qal'at Rabah (Calatrava), the first of Alfonso's strongholds in al-Andalus. It is here that the disaster of Alarcos was suffered by the ruler of Castile and the Christian forces, at the hands of al-Mansur Ya'qub b. Yusuf b. `Abd al-Mu'min b. 'Ali, ruler of the Maghreb, in 591 (1195). The two sides met at the bridge of Alarcos and battle was joined. About 30,000 Christians were killed. Fewer than 500 African Muslims died. The Muslims besieged the remnants of their army, 5,000 men, in the fortress of Alarcos; terms were arranged for the release of the same number of Muslim prisoners.

1197: Knights of St. Julian de Pereiro were first acknowledged as a military order by a privilege of Pope Celestine III in 1197 at a time in the Middle Ages when there were neither standing armies nor garrisons. This was a deficiency which the military orders supplied, as they combined military training with monastic stability. They later made a compact with the Knights of Calatrava, they accepted the Cistercian rule and costume, a white mantle with the scarlet overcross, and they submitted to the right of introspection and correction from the Master of Calatrava.

The genesis of the Knights of St. Julian de Pereiro is obscure. But according to a somewhat questionable tradition, St. Julian de Pereiro was a hermit of the country of Salamanca, where by his counsel some knights built a castle on the river Tagus to oppose the Moslems. They are mentioned in 1176, in a grant of King Fernando of León, but without allusion to their military character.

This union did not last long. Under their new name "the Knights of Alcántara", they acquired many castles and estates, for the most part at the expense of the Moslems. They amassed great wealth from booty during the war and from pious donations. It was a turning point in their career. However, ambitions and dissensions increased among them.

Notes:  Alonzo of León wished to found at Alcántara as a special branch of this celebrated order the Castilian Knights of Calatrava for his realm. But four years later these Knights felt that the post was too far from their Castilian quarters. They give up the scheme and transferred the castle, with the permission of the king, to a peculiar Leonese order still in a formative stage, known as "Knights of St. Julian de Pereiro".

Alcántara (Alcántara is a municipality in the province of Cáceres, Extremadura, Spain) was first committed (1214) to the care of the Castilian Knights of Calatrava who had proved their gallantry in the famous battle of Las Navas de Tolosas against the Almohades (1212). Alcántara, a town on the Tagus (Here crossed by a bridge--cantara, whence the name), is situated in the plain of Estremadura, a great field of conflict for the Moslems and Christians of Spain in the 12th Century.

Alcántara was first taken in 1167 by the King of León, Fernando II. It fell again (1172) into the hands of the fierce Jussuf, the third of the African Almohades; nor was it recovered until 1214, when it was taken by Alonzo of León, the son of Fernando. In order to defend this conquest, on a border exposed to many assaults, the king resorted to military orders.

The post of grand master became the aim of rival aspirants. They employed against one another swords which had been vowed only to warfare against the infidels. In 1318, the castle of Alcántara presented the lamentable spectacle of the Grand Master, Ruy Vaz, besieged by his own Knights, sustained in this by the Grand Master of Calatrava. This rent in their body showed no less than three grand masters in contention, supported severally by the Knights, by the Cistercians, and by the king. Such instances show sufficiently to what a pass the monastic spirit had come.

All that can be said in extenuation of such a scandal is that military orders lost the chief object of their vocation when the African Moors were driven from their last foothold in Spain. Some authors assign as causes of their disintegration the decimation of the cloisters by the Black Death in the 14th Century, and the laxity which recruited them from the most poorly qualified subjects. Lastly, there was the revolution in warfare, when the growth of modern artillery and infantry overpowered the armed cavalry of feudal times, the orders still holding to their obsolete mode of fighting. The orders, nevertheless, by their wealth and numerous vassals, remained a tremendous power in the kingdom, and before long were involved deeply in political agitations. During the fatal schism between Peter the Cruel and his brother, Henry the Bastard, which divided half Europe, the Knights of Alcántara were also split into two factions who warred upon each other.

The kings, on their side, did not fail to take an active part in the election of the grand master, who could bring such valuable support to the royal authority. In 1409, the regent of Castile succeeded in having his son, Sancho, a boy of eight years, made Grand Master of Alcántara. These intrigues went on till 1492, when Pope Alexander VI invested the Catholic King, Ferdinand of Aragón, with the grand mastership of Alcántara for life. Adrian VI went farther, in favor of his pupil, Charles V, for in 1522 he bestowed the three masterships of Spain upon the Crown, even permitting their inheritance through the female line. The Knights of Alcántara were released from the vow of celibacy by the Holy See in 1540, and the ties of common life were sundered. The order was reduced to a system of endowments at the disposal of the king, of which he availed to himself to reward his nobles. There were no less than thirty-seven "Commanderies", with fifty-three castles or villages. Under the French domination the revenues of Alcántara were confiscated, in 1808, and they were only partly given back in 1814, after the restoration of Ferdinand VII. They disappeared finally during the subsequent Spanish revolutions, and since 1875 the Order of Alcántara is only a personal decoration, conferred by the king for military services.

13th Century

At the turn of the 13th Century, the reconquest of Spain was declared a crusade. During the period of the 13th and the 15th centuries, internal strife among the Christian kingdoms was an ongoing problem.


1200s: Gonzalo López de Ribera (Rivera), Lord of the Castle of Ribera in Galicia in the 1200's. Source: Instituto Genealógico e Histórico Latinoamericano.


Galicia or Galiza is an autonomous community in northwest Spain, with the official status of a historic nationality. It comprises the provinces of A Coruña, Lugo, Ourense and Pontevedra, being bordered by Portugal to the south, the Spanish autonomous communities of Castile and León and Asturias to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the north. It has a total area of 29,574 km2 (11,419 sq mi). Galicia has over 1,660 km (1,030 mi) of coastline, including its offshore islands and islets, among them Cíes Islands, Ons, Sálvora, Cortegada, and—the largest and most populated—A Illa de Arousa.

The area now called Galicia was first inhabited by humans during the Middle Paleolithic period, and it takes its name from the Gallaeci, the Celtic peoples living north of the Douro River during the last millennium B.C., in a region largely coincidental with that of the Iron Age local Castro culture. Galicia was incorporated into the Roman Empire at the end of the Cantabrian Wars in 19 B.C., being turned into a Roman province in the 3rd century A.D. In 410 A.D. the Germanic Suebi established a kingdom with its capital in Braga (Portugal) which was incorporated into that of the Visigoths in 585 A.D. In 711, the Arabs invaded the Iberian Peninsula, taking the Visigoth kingdom, but soon in 740 A.D. Galicia was incorporated into the Christian Kingdom of Asturias.

Sources claim that the Ribera’s are direct descendants of Sancho Belloso, natural-born son of the King of León, Ramiro III.

Ramiro III (961-June 26, 985 A.D.), king of León (966-984 A.D.), was the son of Sancho the Fat and his successor at the age of only five. Among his acts as king during his minority, he ratified a peace treaty with Caliph al-Hakam II and he confronted Vikings who had invaded Galicia. With the conclusion of the peace treaty, the vizier Almanzor invaded his realm.

Upon reaching his majority and after his wedding to Sancha Gómez de Saldaña y Liébana (Died after 983 A.D.), perhaps daughter of Gómez Díaz, Count of Saldaña, Ramiro tried to institute an absolutist monarchy which resulted in the alienation of the already separatist Galicia and Castile. This, together with the constant routs experienced at the hands of the Muslims, such as the Battle of Rueda, the Battle of Torrevicente and the worst of which took place at San Esteban de Gormaz under the regency of his aunt in 975 A.D., led the Galician nobility in 982 A.D. to proclaim Bermudo II, son of Ordoño III, king of Galicia. He lost his throne to Bermudo two years later, in 984 A.D. He had at least one child with his wife, Sancha Gómez, Ordoño Ramírez, who married Cristina Bermúdez, daughter of his rival.

Others believe that the name dates back to ancient Roman times. The name Ribera is also a Northern Italian variation of the Southern (Sicily) topographic name Ribera (From Late Latin riparia).

The surname Ribera originates in the medieval Kingdom of Castile, in the northern part of Spain. Ribera comes from the Castilian word for "riverbank." There is a strong possibility that the ancestors of the Ribera’s lived along the banks of a river. It is a Spanish habitational name from any of the places named Ribera, a variant of Rivera.

Kingdom of Castile

The Kingdom of Castile or Reino de Castilla, in Latin: Regnum Castellae was one of the medieval kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula. It emerged as a politically autonomous entity in the 9th Century. It was called County of Castile and was held in vassalage from the Kingdom of León. Its name comes from the host of castles constructed in the region. It was one of the kingdoms that founded the Crown of Castile, and the Kingdom of Spain.

There is a Ribera, Italy. Ribera (Sicilian: Rivela) is a commune in the province of Agrigento, Region of Sicily, southern Italy, between the Verdura and Magazzolo valleys in the so-called Plain of San Nicola.

Ribera, Italy

The town is connected by the SS115 state road, leading from Trapani to Syracuse. The Platani River, a third Sicilian river, flows nearby. It has enormously contributed to developing both farming and tourism in the area. Its mouth has been designated as a natural reserve. Ribera is a community in the province of Agrigento, Sicily, Italy) is 51 km. from Agrigento, alt. 223 m., between the Rivers Magazzolo and Verdura, area 118.7 sq. km. The town probably rose on the site of the ancient "Allava", to which the Byzantine necropolis near the modern town may possibly be attributed.

In 1627, Luigi Guglielmo Moncada, Prince of Paterno, founded a new center named after his wife, María Alfan di Ribera. The new center developed rapidly, thanks to the fertility of the soil and the accessibility of the area. The town is still very prosperous both economically and demographically.

The name is also Catalan in some cases and a variant of Catalan Ribera.

Catalan is a Romance language named for its origins in Catalonia, in what is northeastern Spain and adjoining parts of France. It is the national and only official language of Andorra, and a co-official language of the Spanish autonomous communities of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands, and the Valencian Community (where the language is known as Valencian, and there exist regional standards).

Ribera is a Spanish term which roughly translates as "the basin of a river". However, keep in mind that it can take on a number of other meanings. Accordingly "ribera" is the shoreline of a body of water and therefore the correct word to be used here at Lakeside, as in Riberas del Pilar and Auditorio de la Ribera. "Rivera" is a stream or small river, which does not seem to be the intention of the word here. Confusion may come from the pronunciation of b and v and it appears that many native speakers do not know the difference between the two words given all of the misspellings. Rivera first came from Ribera on a Spanish surname origin site. The masculine versions like Ribeiro and Ribero apparently also come from this surname later on. The name was found in Queen Isabel’s records was more properly Rodrigo de Ribero, not Rivera. It is not listed as a Jewish name and is at the turn of the century.

Ribera or Rivera, My family Coat of Arms


Sinopia or Sinople is a dark reddish earth pigment, whose color comes from hematite, or dehydrated iron oxide. It was produced during classical antiquity at a Greek colony on the Black Sea, where the modern Turkish city of Sinop is located. During the Renaissance it was often used to make the underpainting of a fresco.

It can also refer to: Sinopie (the plural of the Italian word for the pigment) are the under paintings, made with dark red sinopia pigment or other dark colors, which guided Renaissance artists as they painted a fresco. A sinople, also sinoper, is a term for "red" and later "green" in heraldry.

The Asturias bring: In field gules, a stone castle on waves of water of Azur and silver, in the fleet that the head of a Moro; leaving his tribute, half lion pardo, carrying two flags of silver, one in high with a cross of azur, and another fall with a crescent also of Azur.

The Catalonia bring: Shield impeccably sashed in waves of silver and gules.


Catalonia is an autonomous community of Spain, and designated a "nationality" by its Statute of Autonomy. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. The capital and largest city is Barcelona, the second largest city in Spain, and the centre of one of the largest metropolitan areas in Europe, and it comprises most of the territory of the former Principality of Catalonia, with the remainder now part of France. Catalonia is bordered by France and Andorra to the north, the Mediterranean Sea to the east, and the Spanish regions of Aragon and the Valencian Community to west and south respectively.

In the 10th Century the eastern counties of the March of Gothia and the Marca Hispanica became independent from the Frankish kingdom, uniting as vassals of Barcelona. In 1137, Barcelona and Aragon formed the Crown of Aragon, and Catalonia became a maritime power and the main base for the Crown of Aragon's naval power and expansionism in the Mediterranean. Medieval Catalan literature flourished. Between 1469 and 1516, the King of Aragon and the Queen of Castille married and ruled their kingdoms together, retaining all their distinct institutions, courts, and the Constitution. During the Reapers' War (1640-52), Catalonia rebelled against the presence of the Castillian army in its territory, becoming a republic under French protection. Under the terms of the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659, which ended the wider Franco-Spanish war, Castille agreed with France to cede it the northern parts of Catalonia, mostly incorporated in the county of Roussillon. During the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-14), the Crown of Aragon sided against Philip V of Spain, whose subsequent victory led to the abolition of Catalan institutions and the replacement of Latin or Catalan with the Spanish language in legal documents.

The coat of arms of the members of this Ribera lineage is composed by: a field of silver, which is the symbol of purity, sensitivity, temperance, mercy, kindness, desire for victory and eloquence.

The three strips of gules (red), symbolize the strength, power, fervent love to God and to others, such is the meaning of this enamel, to which should be added the eagerness of domain, courage, boldness, strength and magnanimity, qualities that characterized the Knights of this family.

Galician, a branch passed to Seville.


Seville; Spanish: Sevilla, the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of Andalucía and the province of Seville, Spain. It is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir. The inhabitants of the city are known as sevillanos (feminine form: sevillanas) or hispalenses, after the Roman name of the city, Hispalis. It’s Old Town, the third largest in Europe with an area of 4 square kilometres (2 sq. mls.) with the Alcázar palace complex, the Cathedral and the General Archive of the Indies. The Seville harbor is located about 80 kilometres (50 mls.) from the Atlantic Ocean, is the only river port in Spain.

The mythological founder of the city is Hercules (Heracles), commonly identified with the Phoenician god Melqart, who the myth says sailed through the Strait of Gibraltar to the Atlantic, and founded trading posts at the current sites of Cádiz and of Seville.

Seville was founded as the Roman city of Hispalis, and was known as Ishbiliya after the Muslim conquest in 712. During the Muslim rule in Spain, Seville came under the jurisdiction of the Caliphate of Córdoba before becoming the independent Taifa of Seville; later it was ruled by the Muslim Almoravids and the Almohads until finally being incorporated into the Christian Kingdom of Castile under Ferdinand III in 1248. After the discovery of the Americas, Seville became one of the economic centers of the Spanish Empire as its port monopolized the trans-oceanic trade and the Casa de Contratación (House of Trade) wielded its power, opening a Golden Age of arts and literature. In 1519, Ferdinand Magellan departed from Seville for the first circumnavigation of the Earth. Coinciding with the Baroque period of European history, the 17th Century in Seville represented the most brilliant flowering of the city's culture; then began a gradual economic and demographic decline as silting in the Guadalquivir forced the trade monopoly to relocate to the nearby port of Cádiz.

The 20th Century in Seville saw the horrors of the Spanish Civil War, decisive cultural milestones such as the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929 and Expo'92, and the city's election as the capital of the Autonomous Community of Andalucía.

View of the Giralda from the Patio de Banderas (Courtyard of Flags), historic square with remains of Roman, Moorish and Castilian periods.

The city was known from Roman times as Hispalis. Important archaeological remains also exist in the nearby towns of Santiponce (Italica) and Carmona.

Existing Roman features in Seville include the remnants of an aqueduct, a temple in Mármoles Street, the columns of La Alameda de Hércules, the remains exposed in situ in the underground Antiquarium of the Metropol Parasol building and the remains in the Patio de Banderas square near of the Seville Cathedral. The walls surrounding the city were originally built during the rule of Julius Caesar, but their current course and design were the result of Moorish reconstructions.

Following Roman rule, there were successive conquests of the Roman province of Hispania Baetica by the Vandals, the Suebi and the Visigoths during the 5th and 6th centuries.

Seville was taken by the Moors, Muslims from North of Africa, during the conquest of Hispalis in 712. It was the capital for the kings of the Umayyad Caliphate, the Almoravid dynasty first and after the Almohad dynasty (from Arabic al-Muwahhidun, i.e., "the monotheists" or "the Unitarians"), from the 8th to 13th centuries.

The Moorish urban influences continued and are present in contemporary Seville, for instance in the custom of decorating with herbaje and small fountains the courtyards of the houses. However, most buildings of the Moorish aesthetic actually belong to the Mudéjar style of Islamic art, developed under Christian rule and inspired by the Arabic style. Original Moorish buildings are the Patio del Yeso in the Alcázar, the city walls, and the main section of the Giralda, bell tower of the Seville Cathedral.

In 1247, the Christian King Ferdinand III of Castile and León began the conquest of Andalucía. After conquering Jaén and Córdoba, he seized the villages surrounding the city, Carmona Lora del Rio and Alcalá del Rio, and kept a standing army in the vicinity, the siege lasting for fifteen months. 

Courtyard of the Maidens in the Alcázar of Seville

The decisive action took place in May 1248 when Ramon Bonifaz sailed up the Guadalquivir and severed the Triana Bridge that made the provisioning of the city from the farms of the Aljarafe possible. The city surrendered on November 23, 1248.

The city's development continued after the Castilian conquest in 1248. Public buildings constructed including churches, many of which were built in the Mudéjar style, and the Seville Cathedral, built during the 15th Century with Gothic architecture.

The Moors' Palace became the Castilian royal residence, and during Pedro I's rule it was replaced by the Alcázar.

In 1391, Archdeacon Ferrant Martinez closed all the synagogues in Seville, converting them to churches as in the case of Santa María la Blanca, and also appropriated the Jewish quarter's land and shops (sited in modern-day 'Barrio Santa Cruz'). Thousands were killed during the pogrom, while others were forced to convert. The Plaza de San Francisco was the site of the 'autos de fé'. At first, the activity of the Inquisition was limited to the dioceses of Seville and Córdoba, where Alonso de Hojeda had detected converso activity. The first Auto de Fé took place in Seville on February 6, 1481, when six people were burned alive. Alonso de Hojeda himself gave the sermon. The Inquisition then grew rapidly. By 1492, tribunals existed in eight Castilian cities: Ávila, Córdoba, Jaén, Medina del Campo, Segovia, Sigüenza, Toledo and Valladolid.

Following the 1492 Christopher Columbus expedition to the New World (from Palos de la Frontera's port), the results from his claiming territory and trade for the Crown of Castile (incipient Spain) in the West Indies began to profit the city, as all goods imported from the New World had to pass through the Casa de Contratacion before being distributed throughout the rest of Spain. A golden age of development commenced in Seville, due to its being the only port awarded the royal monopoly for trade with the growing Spanish colonies in the Americas and the influx of riches from them.

Since only sailing ships leaving from and returning to the inland port of Seville could engage in trade with the Spanish Americas, merchants from Europe and other trade centers needed to go to Seville to acquire New World trade goods.
Seville in the 16th Century

The city's population grew to nearly a million people.

In the late 16th Century the monopoly was broken, with the port of Cádiz also authorized as a port of trade. The Great Plague of Seville in 1649 reduced the population by almost half, and it would not recover until the early 19th Century. Royal Tobacco Factory, today rectorate of  University of Seville 

By the 18th Century its international importance was in decline. After the silting 
up of the harbor by the Guadalquivir (river), upriver shipping ceased and the city went into relative economic decline. 
The Isabel II Bridge, better known as the Triana Bridge

During the 18th Century Charles III of Spain promoted Seville's industries. Construction of the Real Fábrica de Tabacos (Royal Tobacco Factory) began in 1728, with additions to it over the next 30 years. It was the second largest building in Spain, after the royal residence El Escorial.

Since the 1950s it has been the seat of the rectorate of the University of Seville, together with the Schools of Law, Philology, Geography and History.

It proved its nobility time and again in the Order of Santiago, and in those of Calatrava (1669, 1677 and 1701), Alcántara (1636, 1642 and 1683), Wild (1758) and Saint John of Jerusalem (1568, 1572, 1583, 1595, 1615, 1691, 1697, 1702 and 1728), and numerous times also in the Real(Royal) Chancery of Valladolid, in the Real(Royal) Hearing of Oviedo (1807 and 1824) and in the Real(Royal) Company of Marine Guards (1754, 1775, 1787, 1793 and 1800).

Don José de Rivera Tamariz y Mendieta was created Marquess of Aguiar in 1689;


Aguiar was taken in the 8th Century by the Muslim emirate of Córdoba and given the name of Bulay (also Pulay). By the 9th Century it became the headquarters of the rebel Umar ibn Hafsun, who built extensive fortifications and reinforced the castle. However, in 891, Umar ibn Hafsun lost the town to Emir Abdallah ibn Muhammad of Córdoba. Due to its strategic position, it was contested and, after the dissolution of the caliphate of Córdoba, it became part of the Cora of Cabra. In 1240 it was conquered by the Christians, although numerous Muslims were allowed to remain. King Peter I of Castile assigned its seigniory to Alfonso Fernandez Coronel, but later re-annexed it to the crown. The town was renamed Aguilar of the Frontier due to its position on the border with the Moorish Kingdom of Granada.

    • Don Diego de Rivera and Coteas, Count of Quintanilla in 1709:


Quintanilla de Onsoña is a municipality in the province of Palencia, in the autonomous community of Castile-Leon, Spain. The village is located on the banks of the Carrión River. The municipal, Quintanilla, is located at 888 m altitude, 58 km far from the city of Palencia.

    • Don Marcos de Rivera in 1715

They bring for weapons: In golden field, three strips of sinople.

The Ribera are a very noble and qualified lineage from Galicia (Gállego), on whose remote origins there is interesting information in various works by some of the most ancient historians and genealogists, yet sometimes contradictory.

The Bishop of Orense, don Pedro Seguino, who lived by the years 1150 A.D., added to the writings of his predecessor Bishop Don Servando long ago. This "family of the marine" descended, according to him, from the Roman Cayo Mario (Gaius Marius), Governor of Galicia.

Don Mauro Castilla Ferrer, in his history of James the Apostle, Patron of Spain, writes that the founder was Don Rudisendo, Lord of the solar house of Galicia Rivera, "Noble". He says that the Ribera’s descend by a straight male line from Count Sancho Belloso, natural son of King Don Ramiro III of León and Lord of the House of Cabrera y Ribera (Rivera).

Juan Bautista Labana, in his notes on the Peerage of the Count Don Pedro, commented that they were called Ribera, Lords of the Torre de Ribera in Galicia. This tower, other authors say rising in the so-called "land of Ribera", to be strapping on the banks of the Limia Rivera.

Molina, in his Antiquities of Galicia, writes: "Here the sailors took Rivera’s who’s solar had been in Galicia".

So says Don Juan Tamayo in his Martivologio. And as the Bishop of Orense mentioned before, it supports the Roman origin of "the marine and shore", using inscriptions preserved in rocks.

All these views have, however, very weak fundamentals, being that only says that the primitive site of this lineage, settled in Galicia, the positively certain and proven.

As mentioned previously, its origin is from Galicia. Later a branch created a Manor House in Asturias, another went to Andalucía, founding new solar in Seville.


Asturias, officially the Principality of Asturias is an autonomous community in north-west Spain. It is coextensive with the province of Asturias, and contains most of the territory that was part of the Kingdom of Asturias in the Middle Ages. Divided into eight comarcas (counties), the autonomous community of Asturias is bordered by Cantabria to the east, by Castile and León to the south, by Galicia to the west, and by the Bay of Biscay to the north. The most important cities are the communal capital, Oviedo (Uviéu or Uvieo), the seaport and largest city Gijón (Xixón), and the industrial town of Avilés. Other municipalities in Asturias include Cangas de Onís (Cangues d'Onís), Cangas del Narcea, Gozón, Grado (Grau or Grao), Langreo (Llangréu), Llanera, Laviana (Llaviana), Lena (Ḷḷena), Llanes, Mieres, Siero, Valdés, Vegadeo (A Veiga) and Villaviciosa.



Andalusia or Andalucía is the most populous and the second largest in area of the autonomous communities in Spain. The Andalusian autonomous community is officially recognized as a nationality of Spain. The territory is divided into eight provinces: Almería, Cádiz, Córdoba, Granada, Huelva, Jaén, Málaga and Seville. Its capital is the city of Seville (Spanish: Sevilla). Andalusia is in the south of the Iberian Peninsula, immediately south of the autonomous communities of Extremadura and Castile-La Mancha; west of the autonomous community of Murcia and the Mediterranean Sea; east of Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean; and north of the Mediterranean Sea and the Strait of Gibraltar. Andalusia is the only European region with both Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines. The small British overseas territory of Gibraltar shares a three-quarter-mile land border with the Andalusian province of Cádiz at the eastern end of the Strait of Gibraltar.


1212: The Almohades were defeated in the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212.

1212: Culmination of the Reconquest. Alfonso VIII of Castile, helped by Sancho VIII of Navarre, Pedro II of Aragón and some troops from Portugal and León, was victorious in the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa.

1212: After the decisive battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212, only the Moorish kingdom of Granada remained, until 1492.

1217 to 1252: Fernando III King of Castile and León conquered Cordova, Murcia, Jaen and Seville. Granada remained as the sole independent Muslim kingdom.


1224: For a third time, the Banu Marins invaded the petty kingdoms of the Peninsula (1224).

1229: Jaime I of Aragón reconquered Majorca (Marllorca).


1230: Kingdom of Castile and León-Castile and León kingdoms were permanently joined as a single state in 1230 by Ferdinand III of Castile (d. 1252).

1230: Alfonso IX of León advanced along the Guadiana River and took Mérida and Badajoz opening up the way for the conquest of Seville.

1236: Within sixty-two more years, the great Córdoba fell to the Spaniards in 1236.

1238: Federated Counties of Aragón, Catalonia, València:

València, seized from its Muslim amir, became federated with Aragón and Catalonia in 1238. With the union of the three crowns, Aragón (the term most commonly used to describe the federation) rivaled Venice and Genoa for control of Mediterranean trade. Aragonese commercial interests extended to the Black Sea, and the ports of Barcelona and València prospered from traffic in textiles, drugs, spices, and slaves.


1248: Seville Became a Dependency of Castile - The Almohads shared the crusading instincts of the Almoravids and posed an even greater military threat to the Christian states, but their expansion was stopped decisively in the epic battle of Las Navas de Tolosa (1212), a watershed in the history of the Reconquest. Muslim strength ebbed thereafter. Ferdinand III took Seville in 1248, reducing Al Andalus to the Amirate of Granada, which had bought its safety by betraying the Almohads' Spanish capital. Granada remained a Muslim state, but as a dependency of Castile.


Mid-13th Century: This progressive weakening meant that by the Mid-13th Century, Islamic Spain was reduced to the Nasrid Kingdom in Granada. Located between the Strait of Gibraltar and Cape Gata, this historical relic did not capitulate until January 2, 1492, at the end of the Reconquest.

Mid-13th Century: By the Mid-13th Century Granada was the only independent Muslim realm in Spain

                1250-1492: Reconquista Timeline: Christian Resurgence

1250: By 1250, the Reconquista was in full swing and in 1492 the Christians captured Granada, the last of the Muslim enclaves.

1252 to 1284: Alfonso X the Wise continued the reconquest and is obliged to face the "Mudejar" revolts of Andalucía and Murcia. He sought election as emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in 1257. Alfonso X drafted the "Fuero de las Leyes", the forerunner of the "Siete Partidas".

1252-1310: Periodic civil wars in Castile (Nicolle, 1988).

1257: Muslims used some form of incendiary weapon at Niebla (Nicolle, 1988).


1264-1267: There was a Muslim revolt in Andalucía (Nicolle, 1988).


1275-1285: Four Marinid expeditions went to Spain (Nicolle, 1988).  

1275: The Muslim defeated the Christians at Ecija (Nicolle, 1988).

1276-1280: The Muslim revolt in València (Nicolle, 1988).


1280: King Peter of Aragón captured most of the Aragonese nobility in a castle where they were plotting against him (Nicolle, 1988). Peter’s army was by then based around a professional core of Spanish, English, French, Italian and Hungarian mercenaries.

1280: Muslims used some form of incendiary weapon at Córdoba (Nicolle, 1988).

1282: Sicilian Vespers - Peter III of Aragón conquered Sicily (Nicolle, 1988).

Peter III of Aragón assaulted Charles of Anjou. They were contesting the possession of Naples and Sicily. The Almogavars formed the most effective element of his army. Extremely disciplined and fierce they defeated the heavy Angevin cavalry. They fought by attacking the horse instead of the knight. Once a knight was on the ground it was easy to finish him off. It’s possible that the name Almogavar comes from the Moors, al-mughawwar, meaning "the ones wreaking havoc," or "raiders" or "devastators."

1282 The throne of Sicily became part of Aragón-Aragón fulfilling its territorial aims in the 13th Century when it annexed València. The Catalans, however, looked for further expansion abroad, and their economic views prevailed over those of the parochial Aragonese nobility, who were not enthusiastic about foreign entanglements. Peter III, king of Aragón from 1276 until 1285, had been elected to the throne of Sicily when the French Angevins (House of Anjou) were expelled from the island kingdom during an uprising in 1282. Sicily, and later Naples, became part of the federation of Spanish crowns, and Aragón became embroiled in Italian politics, which continued to affect Spain into the 18th Century.

Castile, which had traditionally turned away from intervention in European affairs, developed a merchant marine in the Atlantic that successfully challenged the Hanseatic League (a peaceful league of merchants of various free German cities) for dominance in the coastal trade with France, England, and the Netherlands. The economic climate necessary for sustained economic development was notably lacking, however, in Castile. The reasons for this situation appear to have been rooted both in the structure of the economy and in the attitude of the Castilians. Restrictive corporations closely regulated all aspects of the economy--production, trade, and even transport. The most powerful of these corporations, the Mesta, controlled the production of wool, Castile's chief export.

Perhaps a greater obstacle for economic development was that commercial activity enjoyed little social esteem. Noblemen saw business as beneath their station and derived their incomes and prestige from landownership. Successful bourgeois entrepreneurs, who aspired to the petty nobility, invested in land rather than in other sectors of the economy because of the social status attached to owning land. This attitude deprived the economy of needed investments and engendered stagnation rather than growth.

Feudalism, which bound nobles to the king-counts both economically and socially, as tenants to landlords, had been introduced into Aragón and Catalonia from France. It produced a more clearly stratified social structure than that found in Castile, and consequently it generated greater tension among classes. Castilian society was less competitive, more cohesive, and more egalitarian.

Castile attempted to compensate through political means, however, for the binding feudal arrangements between crown and nobility that it lacked. The guiding theory behind the Castilian Monarchy was that political centralism could be won at the expense of local fueros, but the kings of Castile never succeeded in creating a unitary state. Aragón-Catalonia accepted and developed--not without conflict--the federal principle, and it made no concerted attempt to establish a political union of the Spanish and Italian principalities outside of their personal union under the Aragonese crown. The principal regions of Spain were divided not only by conflicting local loyalties, but also by their political, economic, and social orientations. Catalonia particularly stood apart from the rest of the country.

1284: An assembly of nobles, prelates and citizens deposed Alfonso X and handed over power to his son Sancho IV.

1285: There was a war between France and Aragón-Catalonia (Nicolle, 1988). Nicolle mentions that Valèncian Muslims were part of an Aragonese army against a French invasion a few years after 1258, and I presume it is during the conflict of 1285.


1292: Castile captured Tarifa from Marinids (Nicolle, 1988).

1292: In 1292 the King of Castile granted the Field Marshal Payo de Ribera a vast area of land "Dominio de Valdepusa", located in the Toledo municipality of Malpica de Tajo, next to the Montes de Toledo, which since the conquest of Toledo had been a hunting ground for bears, deer and boars for their kings, particularly Alfonso XI.

In 1350, Peter the Cruel ratified it via privilege surrounding the property and created the Señorío de Valdepusa. In the 14th Century the lords of Valdepusa acquired the Señorío de Griñón (Griñón Estate), which at the beginning of the 19th Century became a marquessate.

Pedro Suárez de Toledo y Ayala, II Señor de Casarrubios
Birthdate: 1356
Birthplace: Toledo, Castilla La Nueva, España
Death: Died 1385 in Portugal

Immediate Family: Son of D. Diego Gómez de Toledo, I Señor de Casarrubios y Valdepusa and Inés Alfonza Alfonso de Ayala, Señora de Malpica

Husband of Mencia Téllez de Meneses and Juana Meléndez de Orozco, Señora de Pinto.

Father of Inés de Ayala y Toledo, III Señora de Casarrubios; Teresa Ayala Toledo, Señora de Pinto and Juana de Horozco, Toledo

Brother of Fernando de Ayala; Sancha Blount, Lady de Ayala; Teresa Gómez de Ayala; Aldonza de Ayala; Mencia de Ayala and 1 other; and Mayor de Ayala.

During the Mid-16th Century, the Ribera family joined the Fernández de Córdoba Dynasty through marriage. Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, or simply Gonzalo de Córdoba (September 1, 1453-December 2, 1515), (Italian: Gonsalvo or Consalvo Ernandes di Cordova), Duke of Terranova and Santangelo, Andria, Montalto and Sessa, was a Spanish general who fought in the Conquest of Granada and the Italian Wars. He reorganized the emerging Spanish army and its tactics, and was regarded as the "father of trench warfare". He was also called "The Great Captain" (Spanish: El Gran Capitán). Many influential men fought under him (including Francisco Pizarro's father), and he was admired by the generation of conquistadors which followed. Gonzalo the Great Captain, General of the Castilian troops, conquered the city of Granada in 1492 for the Catholic Monarchs, achieving the unity of Spain for the first time.

The Ribera family derived from the King Ramiro III of León in Navarra (Spain, 8th Century A.D.). During the "Reconquista" (the process of conquering again from the Moors all the Iberian Peninsula), they became "Adelantados" (governors) of Andalucía, the Southern part of Spain, and Viceroys of Cataluna, in the North.

The family broke into five branches, one of them moved to Naples (16th Century), and they became viceroys of Naples, Sicily, and also of Venice. This Italian Branch of the family also includes a saint, his name was Giovanni Afan de Rivera, and though he lived in the 16th Century he was canonized by Pope John XXIII in 1960.


Naples or Napoli, Neapolis; Ancient Greek: meaning "new city" is the capital of the Italian region Campania and the third-largest municipality in Italy, after Rome and Milan. Naples is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Bronze Age Greek settlements were established in the Naples area in the second millennium B.C. A larger colony – initially known as Parthenope developed on the Island of Megaride around the 9th Century B.C., at the end of the Greek Dark Ages. The city was re-founded as Neápolis in the 6th Century B.C. and became a lynchpin of Magna Graecia, playing a key role in the merging of Greek culture into Roman society and eventually becoming a cultural centre of the Roman Republic. Naples remained influential after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, serving as the capital city of the Kingdom of Naples between 1282 and 1816. Thereafter, in union with Sicily, it became the capital of the Two Sicilies until the unification of Italy in 1861. During the Neapolitan War of 1815, Naples strongly promoted Italian unification.

Naples' historic city centre is the largest in Europe, covering 1,700 hectares (4,200 acres) and enclosing 27 centuries of history. Naples has long been a major cultural centre with a global sphere of influence, particularly during the Renaissance and Enlightenment eras. In the immediate vicinity of Naples are numerous culturally and historically significant sites, including the Palace of Caserta and the Roman ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Neapolitan music has furthermore been highly influential, credited with the invention of the romantic guitar and the mandolin, as well as notable contributions to opera and folk standards. Popular characters and historical figures that have come to symbolize the city include Januarius, the patron saint of Naples, the comic figure Pulcinella, and the Sirens from the Greek epic poem the Odyssey.

As Viceroy, Afán de Ribera blocked the promulgation of the decrees of the Ecumenical Council of Trent and also Philip II of Spain's wish to introduce the Spanish Inquisition into the Kingdom of Naples. He also continued his predecessors' patronage of the Renaissance composer Diego Ortiz. He fought criminal organizations such as the Calabrian pirates and thieves, exterminating the Marco Berardi gang.

In 1565, Afán de Ribera dispelled the naval blockade by the Turks of Malta. The following year the Turks attacked Naples. In 1570, Afán de Ribera sent a naval fleet to relieve Cyprus from naval attacks.

He died in Naples in 1571 without legitimate issue. Therefore, the title of Duke of Alcalá de los Gazules passed to his brother Fernando Afán de Rivera.

He married Leonor Ponce de León, but did not father any legitimate children with her but fathered at two known illegitimate children:



Ribera (Sicilian: Rivela) is a comune in the province of Agrigento, Region of Sicily, southern Italy, between the Verdura and Magazzolo valleys in the so-called Plain of San Nicola. The town is connected by the SS115 state road, leading from Trapani to Syracuse. The Platani River, the third Sicilian River, flows nearby. The comune probably rose on the site of the ancient Allava, to which the Byzantine necropolis near the modern town may possibly be attributed. In 1627, Luigi Guglielmo Moncada, Prince of Paternò, founded a new center named after his wife, Maria Alfan di Ribera; the new centre developed rapidly, thanks to the fertility of the soil and the accessibility of the area.



Venice or in Italian Venezia is a city in northeastern Italy sited on a group of 117 small islands separated by canals and linked by bridges. It is located in the marshy Venetian Lagoon which stretches along the shoreline, between the mouths of the Po and the Piave Rivers. Venice is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture, its artworks, along with its lagoon.

Venice is the capital of the Veneto region. Together with Padua and Treviso, the city is included in the Padua-Treviso-Venice Metropolitan Area (Patreve).

The name is derived from the ancient Veneti people who inhabited the region by the 10th Century B.C. The city historically was the capital of the Republic of Venice. Venice has been known as the "La Dominante", "Serenissima", "Queen of the Adriatic", "City of Water", "City of Masks", "City of Bridges", "The Floating City", and "City of Canals".

The Republic of Venice was a major maritime power during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and a staging area for the Crusades and the Battle of Lepanto, as well as a very important center of commerce (especially silk, grain, and spice) and art in the 13th Century up to the end of the 17th Century. This made Venice a wealthy city throughout most of its history. It is also known for its several important artistic movements, especially the Renaissance period. Venice has played an important role in the history of symphonic and operatic music, and it is the birthplace of Antonio Vivaldi.


Pedro Afán de Ribera, 1st Duke of Alcalá de los Gazules, Virrey y Capitán General de Cataluña y Nápoles (died 1571), also known as Pedro Enriquez Afan de Ribera or Per Afán de Ribera y Portocarrero or Perafán de Ribera y Portocarrero, was a Spanish nobleman most notable for his twelve-year-long service as Viceroy of Naples, Viceroy of Cataluña and 1st Duke of Alcalá de los Gazules.

Pedro Afán de Ribera was born in Tarifa, Cádiz, the son of Fernando Enriquez, a member of the Enriquez family, which descended from royal bastards living in the 14th Century. His mother's family the Afan de Ribera was located in Sevilla and Cádiz and was involved in the slave trade and the settlement of the Canary Islands.



Cádiz is a city and port in southwestern Spain. It is the capital of Cádiz province, one of eight which make up the autonomous community of Andalucía. Cádiz is the oldest continuously-inhabited city in Spain and one of the oldest in Western Europe. It has been a principal home port of the Spanish Navy since the accession of the Spanish Bourbons in the 18th Century.

Despite its unique site — on a narrow slice of land surrounded by the sea — Cádiz is, in most respects, a typically Andalusian city. The older part of Cádiz within the remnants of the city walls is commonly referred to as the Old Town (Spanish: Casco Antiguo). It is characterized by the antiquity of its various quarters (barrios), among them El Pópulo, La Viña, and Santa María, which present a marked contrast to the newer areas of town. While the Old City's street plan consists of narrow winding alleys connecting large plazas, newer areas of Cádiz typically have wide avenues and more modern buildings. In addition, the city is dotted with numerous parks where exotic plants flourish, including giant trees supposedly brought to Spain by Columbus from the New World.

Under Moorish rule between 711 and 1262, the city was called Qādis, whence the modern Spanish name was derived. A famous Muslim legend developed concerning an "idol" (sanam Qādis) over 100 cubits tall on the outskirts of Cádiz whose magic blocked the strait of Gibraltar with contrary winds and currents; its destruction by Abd-al-Mumin c. 1145 supposedly permitted ships to sail through the strait once more. It also appeared (as Salamcadis) in the 12th Century Pseudo-Turpin's history of Charlemagne, where it was considered a statue of Muhammad and thought to warn the Muslims of Christian invasion. Classical sources are entirely silent on such a structure, but it has been conjectured that the origin of the legend was the ruins of a navigational aid constructed in late antiquity. Abd-al-Mumin (or Admiral Ali ibn-Isa ibn-Maymun) found that the idol was gilded bronze rather than pure gold, but coined what there was to help fund his revolt. The Moors were finally ousted by Alphonso X of Castile in 1262.

During the Age of Exploration, the city experienced a renaissance. Christopher Columbus sailed from Cádiz on his second and fourth voyages and the city later became the home port of the Spanish treasure fleet. Consequently, it became a major target of Spain's enemies. The 16th Century saw a series of failed raids by Barbary corsairs; the greater part of the old town was consumed in a major fire in 1569; and in April, 1587, a raid by the Englishman Francis Drake occupied the harbor for three days, captured six ships, and destroyed 31 others (an event which became known in England as 'The Singeing of the King of Spain's Beard'). The attack delayed the sailing of the Spanish Armada by a year. year.                                                                                     Inside view of Castillo de Santa Catalina

The city suffered a still more serious attack in 1596, when it was captured by another English fleet, this time under the Earls of Essex and Nottingham. Spanish ships were destroyed and the city was captured, looted and occupied for almost a month. Finally, when the royal authorities refused to pay a ransom demanded by the English for returning the city intact, they burned much of it before leaving with their booty. A third English raid was mounted against the city in 1625 by the Duke of Buckingham and Edward Cecil, but the attempt was unsuccessful. During the Anglo-Spanish War, Admiral Robert Blake blockaded Cádiz from 1655 to 1657. In the 1702 Battle of Cádiz, the English attacked again under George Rooke and the Duke of Ormonde but they were repelled after a costly siege.

In the 18th Century, the sand bars of the Guadalquivir forced the Spanish government to transfer its American trade from Seville to Cádiz, which now commanded better access to the Atlantic. Although the empire itself was declining, Cádiz now experienced another golden age from its new importance. It became one of Spain's greatest and most cosmopolitan cities and home to trading communities from many countries, the richest of which were the Irishmen. Many of today's historic buildings in the Old City date from this era.

During the Napoleonic Wars, Cádiz was blockaded by the British from 1797 until the Peace of Amiens in 1802 and again from 1803 until the outbreak of the Peninsular War in 1808. In that war, it was one of the few Spanish cities to hold out against the invading French and their candidate Joseph Bonaparte. Cádiz then became the seat of Spain's military high command and Cortés (parliament) for the duration of the war. It was here that the liberal Spanish Constitution of 1812 was proclaimed. The citizens revolted in 1820 to secure a renewal of this constitution and the revolution spread successfully until Ferdinand VII was imprisoned in Cádiz. French forces secured the release of Ferdinand in the 1823 Battle of Trocadero and suppressed liberalism for a time. In 1868, Cádiz was once again the seat of a revolution, resulting in the eventual abdication and exile of Queen Isabella II. The Cádiz Cortés decided to reinstate the monarchy under King Amadeo just two years later.


1554: Afán de Ribera was the 2nd Marquis of Tarifa, 4th Count of Los Molares and Adelantado of Andalucía. He served as Viceroy of Catalonia from 1554 to 1558.

1558 Afán de Ribera was elevated Duke of Alcalá de los Gazules in 1558.

In 1559, Afán de Ribera was appointed Viceroy of Naples and held on to this position until his death.

Saint Juan de Ribera (1532–1611), Archbishop o f València, who was beatified in 1796 and canonized in 1960.



València is the capital of the autonomous community of València. Its urban area extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of around 1.5 million people. The Port of València is the 5th busiest container port in Europe and busiest container port on the Mediterranean Sea.

València was founded as a Roman colony in 138 B.C. The city is situated on the banks of the Turia, on the east coast of the Iberian Peninsula, fronting the Gulf of València on the Mediterranean Sea. Major monuments include València Cathedral, the Torres de Serranos, the Torres de Quart, the Llotja de la Seda, and the Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències (City of Arts  and Sciences. The Museu de Belles Arts de València houses a large collection of paintings from the 14th to the 18th centuries, including works by Velázquez, El Greco, and Goya, as well as an important series of engravings by Piranesi. The Institut Valencià d'Art Modern (Valèncian Institute of Modern Art) houses both permanent collections and temporary exhibitions of contemporary art and photography.

The original Latin name of the city was Valentia, meaning "strength", or "velour", the city being named according to the Roman practice of recognizing the velour of former Roman soldiers after a war. The Roman historian Livy explains that the founding of Valentia in the 2nd Century B.C. was due to the settling of the Roman soldiers who fought against an Iberian rebel, Viriato.

During the rule of the Muslim kingdoms in Spain, it had the nickname Medina bu-Tarab ('City of Joy') according to a transliteration, or Medina at-Turab, 'City of Sands') according to another, since it was located on the banks of the River Turia. It is not clear if the term Balansiyya was reserved for the entire Taifa of València or also designated the city.

València stands on the banks of the Turia River, located on the eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula and the western part of the Mediterranean Sea, fronting the Gulf of València. At its founding by the Romans, it stood on a river island in the Turia, 6.4 km (4 mi) from the sea. The Albufera, a freshwater lagoon and estuary about 11 km (7 mi) south of the city, is one of the largest lakes in Spain. The City Council bought the lake from the Crown of Spain for 1,072,980 pesetas in 1911, and today it forms the main portion of the Parc Natural de l'Albufera (Albufera Nature Reserve), with a surface area of 21,120 hectares (52,200 acres). In 1986, because of its cultural, historical, and ecological value, the Generalitat Valènciana declared it a natural park.


Fernando Afán de Rivera. Catalina de Rivera y Mosquera, who married Pedro Barroso, marquis of Malpica.

Most family members on the contrary were generals or high officers of the Borbone Artillery during the Kingdom of Southern Italy, called "Kingdom of the Two Sicilies". Later, they were high officers in the Italian Army. Many historical documents attest their heroic acts during the 19th and 20th Century.

Consistent to their heritage, the Afan de Rivera Costaguti family is kind and hospitable, and they are true to one of their mottos: "Humilitas" (Humility), especially the landlord of the "Turtles' Dream" apartment.

De Córdoba was born at Montilla in what is now the province of Córdoba, the son of Pedro Fernández de Córdoba (Count of Aguilar) and his wife Elvira de Herrera. He and his older brother, Alonso, were orphaned when they were young. As the younger brother Gonzalo could not expect much in the way of inherited wealth or titles, and of his two options – the church or the military – he chose the latter. He was first attached to the household of Alfonso, Prince of Asturias, and the half-brother of King Henry IV of Castile. After Alfonso's death in 1468, Córdoba devoted himself to Alfonso's sister, Isabella of Castile.

When King Henry IV died in 1474 Isabella proclaimed herself successor queen, disputing the right of Juana la Beltraneja (the king's 13-year-old daughter and her niece) to ascend the throne. During the ensuing civil war between the followers of Isabella and Juana, there was also conflict with Portugal since King Alfonso V of Portugal sided with his niece Juana. Córdoba fought for Isabella under Alonso de Cárdenas, grand master of the Order of Santiago. After the battle of Albuera, Cárdenas praised him for his service.

Widowed at age 36, de Córdoba married Luisa Manrique de Lara (a lady-in-waiting to Queen Isabella I of Castile) on 14 February 1489. His only surviving daughter, Elvira Fernández de Córdoba y Manrique, would inherit all their titles upon his death in 1515. To keep her father's name, she married within her family.

During the ten-year-long conquest of Granada under the Catholic monarchs, de Córdoba completed his apprenticeship under his brother Alonso, grand master of Santiago Alonso de Cárdenas and the counts of Aguilar and of Tendilla (who he called his masters). It was a war of sieges, defending castles and towns, of skirmishes and ambushes in mountain defiles. The skills of a military engineer and a guerilla fighter were equally useful. Córdoba's most distinguished feat was the defence of the advance post of Íllora. Able to speak Berber (the language of the emirate), he was chosen as one of the officers to arrange the surrender; with the peace of 1492 he was rewarded with land in the town of Loja, near Granada.


Italian campaigns

De Córdoba was an important military commander during the Italian Wars, holding command twice and earning the name "The Great Captain".

First Italian War

Italy in 1494, when Frederick IV of Naples took power as the second inheriting son of Ferdinand I of Naples. 

The Italian Wars began when Charles VIII of France marched into Italy with 25,000 men to make good an Angevin dynastic claim to the Neapolitan throne. When the Catholic monarchs supported King Ferrandino against Charles VIII of France in 1495, de Córdoba (then in his mid-forties) was chosen by the Queen to command the Spanish force of a little more than five thousand men.

Ordered to pit his light infantry and cavalry against heavy French forces, his first major battle in Italy (the 1495 Battle of Seminara) ended in defeat at the hands of Bernard Stewart d'Aubigny. The following year, de Córdoba captured the rebel county of Alvito for the king; avoiding a pitched battle, he used his mobile forces to drive the French back to Calabria.

During de Córdoba's first command he was primarily in Calabrian mountain warfare, which resembled his former experience in Granada. There was, however, a material difference in the enemy. The French forces under d'Aubigny consisted largely of Swiss mercenary pikemen, and their own men-at-arms, the heavily-armored professional cavalry gendarmes. With his veterans of the Granadine war (foot soldiers armed with sword and buckler—or arquebuses and crossbows—and light cavalry), with endurance unparalleled among soldiers of the time, he could conduct guerrilla warfare which wore down his opponents (who suffered more than the Spaniards from the heat).

His experience at Seminara taught him that more was required on the battlefield. The battle was lost primarily because Ferdinand, ignoring de Córdoba's advice, persisted in fighting a pitched battle with their more lightly-equipped troops. In the open field, the loose formation and short swords of the Spanish infantry put them at a disadvantage against a charge of heavy cavalry and pikemen. De Córdoba introduced a closer formation, dividing the Spanish infantry among the central body of pikemen and shooting wings. Known as a colunella, it was the original pike and shot formation. The French were expelled by 1498 without another battle, and he returned home.


Second Italian War

When de Córdoba returned to Italy, he and condottieri such as Pedro Navarro had to drive out the Turks from Kefalonia. Helping the Venetian navy reconquer the Castle of Saint George on 25 December 1500, they killed over 300 people (including the Albanian leader of the Gisdar garrison) in the campaign against Frederick IV of Naples.

Córdoba was again on Italian soil in 1501. Ferdinand II of Aragón had entered into a compact with Louis XII of France to divide the kingdom of Naples. Córdoba was chosen to command the Spanish portion of the coalition.

After Frederick IV of Naples abdicated, the French and Spanish fought a guerilla war while negotiating the partition of the kingdom. De Córdoba had an outnumbered army, besieged in Barletta by the French. The war was divided into two similar phases. In late 1502 and early 1503 the Spaniards were besieged in Barletta, near the Ofanto on the Adriatic. De Córdoba refused to be tempted into battle by French taunts or his soldiers' discontent. He used Aragonese partisans and his men to disrupt French communications, diverting his men with a tournament between Italian knights (under Ettore Fieramosca) and French prisoners.

When de Córdoba was reinforced, and the French spread out their forces to forage for supplies, he pounced on their supply depot in the Battle of Cerignola. He took up a strong defensive position (outnumbered three-to-one) and hastily erected field works strengthened with wires. The French unsuccessfully attacked from the front, were assailed in the flank and routed in a half-hour by a combination of firepower and defensive measures. Later operations on the Garigliano against Ludovico II of Saluzzo were similar, leading to a French retreat from the Kingdom of Naples.

De Córdoba was appointed Viceroy of Naples in 1504. Jealous of him, Ferdinand II of Aragón accused him of profligately spending the public treasury to reward his captains and soldiers; the 1504 death of Queen Isabel I of Castile deprived him of a protector, and he was recalled in 1507. Although Ferdinand praised Córdoba, he gave him nothing else to do until his death.

1295-1302: Civil wars in Castile (Nicolle, 1988).

14th Century



1306: Muslims used some a form of incendiary weapon at Gibraltar (Nicolle, 1988).

               1309: Fernando IV took Gibraltar.


1310: Castile captured Gibraltar (Nicolle, 1988).

1312 to 1350: Alfonso XI fought the Kingdom of Granada for 25 years and in 1340 wins the battle of Rio Salado.

1319: Granada defeated by Castilian invasion (Nicolle, 1988).


1324: Catalonia occupied Sardinia (Nicolle, 1988).

1324: Cannon was probably used by Granadine forces at the siege of Huescar (Nicolle, 1998).


1331: Granada used iron balls propelled by fire or containing fire against Alicante and Orihuela (Nicolle, 1988).

1333: Granada retook Gibraltar for Islam (Nicolle, 1988).


1340: Algeciras - The Marinid fleet (Abu Hassan) of 200 ships defeated a Castilian fleet off Algeciras and land (Heath, 1982; Nicolle, 1988).

1340: The last invasion of Spain by Moslem forces from North Africa was in 1340. This was destroyed by the Christian forces sent against it. The Moslem threat was thereafter confined to Granada. The war against Granada was more or less a series of raids of different sizes until the final conflict of 1481-1492 A.D. that resulted in its conquest by Christian Spain.

Salado - Granadine forces (Yusuf I) joined the Marinids, and the combined force besieged Christian held Tarifa (Heath, 1982; Nicolle, 1988). After some months Alfonso XI of Castile organized a small relief army. The Christian army included 20,000 Castilians (12,000 infantry and 8,000 men-at-arms), 1,000 Portuguese men-at-arms (under Alfonso IV), and contingents from the orders of Alcántara, Calatrava and Santiago, but it was still only about one fourth the size of the Muslim army. In the ensuing battle on the Salado River, the Castilians faced the Marinids and the Portuguese faced the Granadines. The Muslims broke at the height of the battle when the Tarifa garrison sortied and attacked their rear. Many Muslims were killed in the rout, and subsequently Castile captured Algeciras.

It is possible the Marinids and Granadines used real artillery at Salado and Tarifa (Nicolle, 1988).

1341: Portugal raided Canary Islands (Nicolle, 1988).

1343: Granadines used cannon in the defence of Algerciras (Nicolle, 1998).

1344: Knight Ruy López de Ribera  
(birth date unknown-Death 1344) 
in his tomb in the monastery of Santa María de las Cuevas.




1345: Kingdoms of Catalonia-Aragón and Rousillon-Mallorca reunited (Nicolle, 1988).

1349: Lluchmajor - Pedro IV the Ceremonious of Aragón defeated and killed Jaime III the Unfortunate of Majorca at the Battle of Lluchmajor (1349) and annexed his kingdom (Víctor Manuel Manteca Hierro, Private Communication).


1350: Inez (Dona) de RIBERA or Agnes; Senora de Montemayor

Sepulcro de Lope de Ribera e Doña Inés de Sotomayor Panteón de la Casa de Alcalá (Monasterio de la Cartuja de Santa María de las Cuevas)

Husband: Juan de SILVA (1st Conde de CIFUENTES)
Francesca da SILVA & Ribera

_________ _________ _________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ______ _____ _____  

/ -- Lope Lopes RIBERA

/ -- Ruy Lopez de RIBERA (? - 1344?)

/\ -- María AFAN   +

/-- Pedro (Per) Afan de RIBERA (1338? - 1423?)

/\ -- Ines de SOTOMAYOR

/ -- Diego Gomez de RIBERA (? - 1434)

|\/-- Gomez Perez de Toledo VAZQUEZ   +

|| /-- Diego GOMEZ (de GUZMAN) (1334? - 1374??)

||/\-- Teresa García de TOLEDO   +

|\-- Aldonca de TOLEDO

|\ /-- Fernan PEREZ (13th Lord) de AYALA   +

|\-- Inez (Ines) Alfonso de AYALA (1337? - 1418?)

/\ -- Elvira Alvarez de ZAVALLOS (CAVALLOS)   +

- Inez (Doña) de RIBERA

\  / -- Martin Fernan PORTOCARRERO   +

|  / -- Alonso (Martim?) Fernandez PORTOCARRERO

|  /   \ -- María Jufre de TENORIO   +

|  / -- Martin Fernandez PORTOCARRERO

|  |  \  | (skip this generation and next?)

|  |  |  / -- Diego Perez SARMIENTO (? - 1408?)

|  |  |  /   | or: another of same name and date?

|  |  \ -- Francisca (Dona) SARMIENTO

|  /   \ -- Mencia Lopez de ZUNIGA   +

\ -- Beatriz de PORTOCARRERO

\  / -- Pedro CABEZA de VACA

\ -- Leonor CABEZA de VACA   (skip?)

\ -- Teresa de GUEVARA


HRH Charles's 14-Great Grandmother.

HM Juan Carlos' 14-Great Grandmother.

Philippe of Belgium's 15-Great Grandmother.

HM Manuel II's 13-Great Grandmother.

Grand Duke Henri's 15-Great Grandmother.

HM Margrethe II's 14-Great Grandmother.

HM Beatrix's 13-Great Grandmother.

HM Constantine II's 14-Great Grandmother.

HM Carl XVI Gustaf's 15-Great Grandmother.

HM Harald V's 14-Great Grandmother.

Ksr Wilhelm II's 12-Great Grandmother.

"We have not inherited the Earth from our ancestors. We only borrowed it from our children."


1367: Najera (Navarette) - The English and French intervened in a Civil war in Castile (Barber, 1978; Heath, 1982; Nicolle, 1988).

In January 1367 Charles of Navarre broke with the English. Sir Hugh Calveley invaded Navarre under orders from Edward of Aquitaine. Charles was forced to reaffirm treaty with English and Pedro.

In February Du Guesclin was released by Enrique and undertook a campaign in Aragón for Pere. He returned to Enrique (Henry) de Trastamara when news of English arrived.

English cross at Roncesvalles in the last two weeks of February. Possibly with as few as 6000 men, including John of Gaunt with 800 archers and retinue, 14 squadrons of free companies under Chandos. They were joined by 300 Navarese lances under Martin Enriquez de la Carra.

Charles of Navarre has himself captured by French.

Henry retreated to the Castle of Zaldiaran near Vitoria by Edward. Edward knights King Pedro. Enrique sent two companies of horse to attack English during night, with considerable success. Over 400 men-at-arms and archers were lost. The English retreated to Logrono on April 1st Henry moved to Najera.

On April 3rd, the largely English army (the Black Prince, King Pedro the Cruel of Castile) defeated the Franco-Castilians (King Henry de Trastamara) at Najera. The Franco-Castilian army: Vanguard under Du Duesclin, Audrehem with French and Knights of the Sash under Pedro Lopez de Ayala – fought dismounted. The Center under Enrique was behind the vanguard. There were two small wings of Jinetes under Don Tello and the Aragonese count of Denia. No mention of substantial bodes of archers or crossbowmen.

English army: The Vanguard under John of Gaunt and Chandos, comprising men-at-arms and archers – fought dismounted. The main body under Edward comprising Castilian Knights, Navarrese and some Gascons – fought dismounted. The reserve under Jaime of Majorca, Sir Hugh Calveley and the count of Armagnacremained mounted.

Before battle a number of Light Horse deserted Henry for Pedro. The French of the Franco-Castilian vanguard dismounted, as did the entire English army. While the French vanguard slowly pushed the English vanguard backwards, the English archers on the wings drove off the Castilian Jinetes and the supporting infantry then they turned in on the exposed French flanks. Three times Don Henry attempted to rescue the French of the van, but each time the Castilians were driven back with heavy losses. The Castilians broke when the English rearguard attacked their flank, and the French were finally forced to surrender.

The Franco-Castilians lost 560 men-at-arms including over 400 Frenchmen, and 4,500-5,500 infantry, many of whom were cut down in the rout, and most of the commanders were captured including the Grand Masters of Calatrava and Santiago, the prior of Knights of St John, Du Guesclin and Audrehem. The English lost 40 men-at-arms and 20 archers, nearly all from the vanguard.

The English advanced to Burgos, then later took Amosco and besieged Medina del Campo in search of provisions.

Anglo-Portuguese treaty signed ‘forever’ (Nicolle, 1988).

1369: In 1369, the House of Trastamara acquired the Castilian Throne - Both Castile and Aragón suffered from political instability in the 14th and the 15th centuries. The House of Trastamara created a new aristocracy to which it granted significant authority. Court favorites or validos (sing., valido), often dominated their Castilian kings, and, because the kings were weak, nobles competed for control of the government. Important government offices, formerly held by members of the professional class of civil servants who had urban and frequently Jewish backgrounds, came into the possession of aristocratic families who eventually held them by hereditary right.

1369: Pedro I the Cruel was murdered in Montiel by his half-brother Enrique de Trastamara, who then governed as Enrique II.


1385: Transcoso – In 1385, a Castilian force of 300 lances under seven captains raided inside Portugal (Heath, 1982). 200 lances of the Transcoso garrison (Joo Fernandes Pacheco) intercept them. The men-at-arms of both sides dismounted. The Castilians men-at-arms charged the Portuguese amidst ploughed fields, while the Castilian Jinetes attacked the Portuguese infantry from the rear. Being trapped, the Portuguese fought fiercely and after 3 hours the Castilians were driven off with heavy losses – only one of the Castilian Captains survived.

1385: The Portuguese defeated the Castilians in Aljubarrota - The Anglo-Portuguese (João of Portugal) defeated the Franco-Castilians (Juan I of Castile) at Aljubarrota (14 Aug) (Heath, 1982; Nicolle, 1988). On the day of battle the Portuguese entrench themselves on an orchard covered slope as the Castilians marched to face them. After the Portuguese center destroyed the dismounted French vanguard, Juan sent in his mounted Castilians. After less than an hour’s fighting Juan left the field, and the Castilians broke. 7,500 Franco-Castilians were lost including 2,000 men-at-arms and many commanders.


1388: Rodrigo Alvarez OSORIO de CABRERA y Ribera

Lady Diana's 16-Great Grandfather.

Louis XVII's 10-Great Grandfather.

HM Juan Carlos' 15-Great Grandfather.

Philippe of Belgium's 16-Great Grandfather.

HM Manuel II's 14-Great Grandfather.

Grand Duke Henri's 15-Great Grandfather.

HM Umberto II's 14-Great Grandfather.

Wife/Partner: Aldonza ENRIQUEZ (MENDOZA)

Child: Pedro Alvarez OSORIO (4th Conde) de LEMOS

____ ______ _____  

/ -- Alvaro Ruiz OSORIA  (? - 1388?)


- Rodrigo Alvarez OSORIO de CABRERA y Ribera


\ -- María de VALCARCEL

His 2-Great Grandchildren:

Ana Alvarez de TOLEDO y PIMENTEL; Eleonora ALVAREZ de TOLEDO; Rodrigo Jeronimo PORTOCARRERO; Beatriz de CASTRO OSORIO

1389: Aguilar de Campos is a municipality located in the province of Valladolid, Castile and León, Spain. In the year 1200, Aguilar de Campos passed from the Kingdom of León to the admirals of Castile, who exercised his jurisdiction in the municipality until the 17th Century. In 1389, Juan I of Castile gave the town of Aguilar de Campos to Don Alfonso Enríquez.

This is where the Castle once stood. Its construction was funded by the Admiral Fadrique Enríquez.

Valladolid is a province of central/northwest Spain, in the central part of the autonomous community of Castile and León. It has a population of 534,874 people in a total of 225 municipalities, an area of 8,110 km2 and a population density of 65.80 people per km2.

The capital is the city of Valladolid. It is bordered by the provinces of Zamora, León, Palencia, Burgos, Segovia, Ávila, and Salamanca. It is, therefore, the only Spanish province surrounded only - and entirely - by other provinces of the same autonomous community. It's the only peninsular's province which doesn't have mountains.

The province once served as the capital of the Castilian court and the former capital of the Empire during the reigns of Emperor Carlos I, Philip II and Philip III, which explains why to this day it remains pregnant with castles and strongholds. The capital has an important historical - artistic heritage and one of the more important museums of sculpture of Europe. The province of Valladolid is especially famous for his processions of Holy Week, as much in the capital as in the localities of Medina de Rioseco and Medina del Campo.


1390: Rodrigo Alvárez de Osorio, Señor de Cabrera y Ribera
Birth: - 1390
Died 1430: Obra de Ribera
Father: Pedro Alvarez "el Bueno" Osorio, Ricohombre, Señor of Cabrera and Ribera
Died: 1405
Mother: Costanza de Valcarcel, Señora of Balboa
Died: After 1417
Wife: Aldonza Enriquez, Born: About 1398, of Valladolid, Spain,
Died: Around1410
Son: Pedro Alvarez Osorio, Ricohombre, Count of Lemos
Born: Unknown 
Died: 19 Feb 1483, Cornatelo

1391: By 1391, religion was part of the motivation of the Spanish kingdoms bent on removing the Moors and anyone suspected of assisting them. This unfortunately included the Sephardic Jews. By 1391, the Jewish community of Iberia came under increasing pressure. Entire Jewish communities disappeared and the Jewish golden age ended. From that point on, the Spanish Jewish community was regularly persecuted. Restrictions were placed on participation in public life, many were forced to convert to Christianity, Jews and their property was attacked, and they were finally expulsed from Spain in 1492. Estimates place the number of Jews who left Spain at anywhere from 50,000 to 250,000. Most went to lands in what was then the Ottoman Empire (modern-day Turkey, Greece, and the Balkans, Portugal, and Italy (especially northern Italy).

Comments: What I find interesting is the fact that attacks on the Jews had begun long before those in Spain. There had been the Jewish expulsion edict of the Middle Ages. The first Jewish communities of significant size went to England with William the Conqueror in 1066. On the conquest of England, William instituted a feudal system in the country, whereby all estates formally belonged to the Crown; the king then appointed lords over these vast estates, but they were subject to duties and obligations (financial and military) to the king. Under the lords were further subjects such as serfs, who were bound and obliged to their lords, and their lord's obligations. However, Merchants had a special status in the system as did Jews.

Jews were declared to be direct subjects of the King, unlike the rest of the population. This was an ambivalent legal position for the Jewish population, in that they were not tied to any particular lord, but were subject to the whims of the king. Every successive King formally reviewed a royal charter granting Jews the right to remain in England. Jews did not enjoy any of the guarantees of Magna Carta of 1215. The English Monarchy appears to have ensured that its Jews belonged to the Crown and could be used as they saw fit. This included the right to Jewish money!

Economically, Jews played a key role in the country. The church at the time strictly forbade the lending of money for profit. This created a vacuum in the economy of Europe that Jews filled due to extreme discrimination in every other economic area. In what other area or industry could a Jew find to work? What endeavor was left for them to support themselves?

Canon law was not considered applicable to Jews, and Judaism permitted loans with interest between Jews and non-Jews. This interesting dilemma provided an avenue for Jewish banking. As a consequence, some Jews made large amounts of money. Taking advantage of their unique status as his direct subjects, the King could appropriate Jewish assets in the form of taxation. So he levied heavy taxes on Jews at will, this without having to summon Parliament. The Jewish community acted as a large monetary filter and Monarchy fund. The Jews collected interest on money lent to the people which the King could take at his pleasure. This suggest a profitable arrangement for the King and somewhat less agreeable for the Jews. As loan makers, Jews acquired a reputation as extortionate moneylenders. This made them extremely unpopular with both the church and the general public.

While an anti-Jewish attitude was widespread in Europe of the period, medieval England was particularly anti-Jewish. Why this is not more understood and written about, one can only assume that the English play the game of public relations very well. Their writers seem to place anti-Semitism at the feet of the Spanish Catholics and their Inquisition while painting themselves as enlightened Protestant Christians.

An image of the Jew as a diabolical figure who hated Christ started to become widespread, and anti-Semitic myths such as the tale of the Wandering Jew and allegations of ritual murders originated and spread throughout England, as well as Scotland and Wales. In frequent cases of blood libel, Jews were said to hunt for children to murder before Passover so they could use their blood to make matzah. An anti-Jewish attitude on a number of occasions sparked riots where many Jews were murdered, most notably in 1190 when over a hundred Jews were massacred in the City of York. One must question how many Jews died at York Vs those of the Spanish Inquisition?

In 1290, King Edward I issued an edict expelling all Jews from England, so much for the idea of an enlightened English Protestant monarchy. The expulsion edict remained in force for the rest of the Middle Ages. The edict was not an isolated incident, but the culmination of over 200 years of increased persecution. Oliver Cromwell permitted Jews to return to England in 1657, over 350 years since their banishment by Edward I, in exchange for finance. What can one say? Was English greed so much better than the greed of the Spanish Monarchs?

Then there were the expulsions of Jews in Europe from 1100 to 1600. The situation only got worse for Jews as the 13th Century progressed. In 1218, England became the first European nation to require Jews to wear a marking badge. Later, Spain had its Jewish clothing badges. In the 20th Century the Nazis had their special Jewish clothing badges.

Taxation grew increasingly intense. Between 1219 and 1272, 49 levies were imposed on Jews for a total of 200,000 marks, a vast sum of money. The first major step towards expulsion took place in 1275, with the Statute of Jewry. The statute outlawed all lending at interest and gave Jews fifteen years to readjust. How were the Jews to readjust? Where were they likely to obtain work or make a living? It would appear that the Jews were being presented with a zero sum game! In game theory and economic theory, a zero-sum game is a mathematical representation of a situation in which a participant's gain (or loss) of utility is exactly balanced by the losses (or gains) of the utility of the other participant(s). If the total gains of the participants are added up and the total losses are subtracted, they will sum to zero. How were the Jews to sustain themselves?

In the duchy of Gascony in 1287, King Edward I ordered the local Jews expelled. All their property was seized by the crown and all outstanding debts payable to Jews were transferred to the King’s name. By the time he returned to England in 1289 King Edward I was deeply in debt. The next summer he summoned his knights to impose a steep tax. To make the tax more palatable, King Edward I in exchange essentially offered to expel all Jews. The heavy tax was passed, and three days later, on July 18, the Edict of Expulsion was issued. One official reason for the expulsion was that Jews had neglected to follow the Statute of Jewry. The edict of expulsion was widely popular and met with little resistance, and the expulsion was quickly carried out. Were the English any more kind than the terrible Spanish Monarchs, I think not!

The Jewish population in England at the time was relatively small, perhaps 2,000 people, though estimates vary. The expulsion process appears to have been relatively non-violent, although there were some accounts to the contrary. One perhaps apocryphal story told of a captain taking a ship full of Jews to the Thames while the tide was going out and convincing them to go out for a walk with him. He then lost them and made it back to his ship before the tide came back in, leaving them all to drown. Were the English so much more enlightened than the Spanish Inquisition?

Many Jews immigrated to countries such as Poland, which at that time protected them. Between the expulsion of Jews in 1290 and their formal return in 1655, there is no official trace of Jews as such on English soil except in connection with the Domus Conversorum, which kept a number of them within its precincts up to 1551 and even later. An attempt was made to obtain a revocation of the edict of expulsion as early as 1310, but in vain. Notwithstanding, a certain number of Jews appeared to have returned; for complaints were made to the king in 1376 that some of those trading as Lombards were Jews ("Rot. Parl." ii. 332a).

It was not until the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 and Portugal in 1497 that a considerable number of Sephardic Jews found refuge in England. One of these as early as 1493 attempted to recover no less a sum than 428,000 maravedis which the refugees from Spain had entrusted to Diego de Soria. In 1542 many were arrested on the suspicion of being Jews, and throughout the 16th Century a number of persons named Lopez, possibly all of the same family, took refuge in England, the best known of them being Rodrigo López, physician to Queen Elizabeth I, and who is said to have been the origin of Shylock.

What does this say of the Spanish? The Monarchs were no different than other European sovereigns. The persecution and abuse of Jews was commonplace and accepted as a part of Protestant religious practice. Other European monarchies practiced the same hatred and discrimination. Some have just been better at hiding it. How better to hide your own anti-Semitism than to create Spain as the end-all be-all of Jewish haters.


1394: Battle of Egea (Nicolle, 1998). Granadine troops became the first troops in Iberia to use handguns.

1398: The Borsno Castle and a Domain were purchased 
in 1398 by Per Afán de Ribera
el Viejo (1338-1421), first Great Adelantado of Andalucía (Adelantado Mayor de Andalucía, aka Great Adelantado of the Border, Adelantado Mayor de la Frontera).



Bornos Castle and a Domain

The Borsno Castle and a domain, located in the municipality of Bornos is located in the north of the Cádiz Province, 80 km north-east of Cádiz

Bornos is, therefore, the proud cradle of the family, whose members often stayed at Bornos rather than somewhere else and built several monuments in the town. The former Moorish castle was transformed in a palace of Plateresque style (Spanish Renaissance) in the 16th Century.

The palace's garden was designed on the model of Bramante's Belvedere Garden in Vatican (1501) for Fadrique Enríquez de Ribera, who had travelled to the Holy Land and Italy. The Dame of the castle was said to bathe in the garden's basin to purify her body after having purified her soul in the neighboring chapel. Restored and transformed by Spanish and Italian artists in the 16th-17th centuries, the castle was purchased by the municipality from the Ducal House of Medinaceli in 1953. The Palace loggia was built as an open-air private museum by architect Benvenuto Tortello, is unique in Andalucía.

Note 1: Per Afán de Ribera’s hereditary title was created in 1396 by King Henry III to protect the border with the Kingdom of Granada. It was kept by the Ribera family, of Galician origin and established in Seville in the 14th Century.

Note 2: The title was superseded by the title of Duke of Alcalá de los Gazules, granted by Philip II in 1558 to Per Enríquez-Afán de Ribera (1509-1571),

Note 3: aka Perafán de Ribera, 2nd Marquis of Tarifa, 5th Count of Los Molares, Viceroy of Catalonia and Naples.

Note 4: Pedro Afán de Ribera, 1st Duke of Alcalá de los Gazules, Virrey y Capitán General de Cataluña y Nápoles (died 1571),

Note 5: aka Pedro Enriquez Afan de Ribera or Per Afán de Ribera y Portocarrero or Perafán de Ribera y Portocarrero, was a Spanish nobleman most notable for his twelve-year-long service as Viceroy of Naples, Viceroy of Cataluña and 1st Duke of Alcalá de los Gazules.

Note 6: Pedro Afán de Ribera was born in Tarifa, Cádiz, the son of Fernando Enriquez, a member of the Enriquez family, which descended from royal bastards living in the 14th Century.

Note 7: Pedro Afán de Ribera’s mother's family, the Afan de Ribera were located in Sevilla and Cádiz and were involved in the slave trade and the settlement of the Canary Islands.

Note 8: He was the 2nd Marquis of Tarifa, 4th Count of Los Molares and Adelantado of Andalucía. He served as Viceroy of Catalonia from 1554 to 1558 and was elevated Duke of Alcalá de los Gazules in 1558.

Note 9: In 1559, he was appointed Viceroy of Naples and held on to this position until his death. As Viceroy, he blocked the promulgation of the decrees of the Ecumenical Council of Trent and also Philip II of Spain's wish to introduce the Spanish Inquisition into the Kingdom of Naples. He also continued his predecessors' patronage of the Renaissance composer Diego Ortiz. He fought criminal organizations such as the Calabrian pirates and thieves, exterminating the Marco Berardi gang.

Note 10: In 1565, Afán de Ribera dispelled the naval blockade by the Turks of Malta. The following year the Turks attacked Naples. In 1570, Afán de Ribera sent a naval fleet to relieve Cyprus from naval attacks.

Note 11: He died in Naples in 1571 without legitimate issue. Therefore, the title of Duke of Alcalá de los Gazules passed to his brother Fernando Afán de Rivera.

Family Notes 12:

Note 12.1: Afán de Ribera married Leonor Ponce de Leon, but did not father any legitimate children with her but did father at least two known illegitimate children:

Note 12.1.1: This illegitimate son of Perafán de Ribera known as Saint Juan de Ribera (1532–1611) was beatified in 1796 and canonized in 1960. He was canonized despite of his role in the expelling of the Moriscos from València. Ribera was appointed Archbishop and Viceroy of València and Patriarch of Antioch.

Note 12.1.2: Catalina de Ribera y Mosquera, who married Pedro Barroso, Marquis of Malpica

Note 13: Perafán de Ribera, in his testament, commissioned his son (Saint Juan) to build the Colegio de la Sangre (College of the Blood) to house the Duke's squires and other nobles of low rank but good blood, which was achieved in 1597. Perafán also willed that the building of the Corpus Christi Convent. It was allowed by Pope Clement VII in 1593 and inaugurated in 1597 by Cistercian nuns, subsequently succeeded by Franciscan Clarisses.

Note 14: The ancestor of the Ribera's family in Cáceres was Alfón de Ribera, el Doncel, son of the Adelantado of Andalucía, Don Perafrán de Ribera. In the time of Banderías (Disputes between nobility factions in 15th Century) he was Governor of the Castles of Azagala and Alburquerque, and he met his death when he left Seville in 1443, and a group of supporters of Infantes de Aragón killed him.

Note 15: The current Ribera's Mansion is a house from 16th Century fully denatured after a refurbishment suffered in 19th Century, from which probably no more than the round-arched portal with voussoirs (a wedge-shaped or tapered stone used to construct an arch) and the family's coat of arms are still in existence. Later refurbishment completely altered both its interior, adapting it to the needs of an office building, as well as its façade. The courtyard was down to a small garden in which the well still remains.

From its primitive construction of the 15th Century, we can assume that in those times it was one of the most magnificent palaces that were in the old town. Unfortunately, absolutely nothing remains of the early 15th Century building. As the years went by, it became known as the home of the sump, the same name which was used for the Plazoleta (Small square) that opens in front of its façade. Later, it was called a place for the woodturners (Boilermakers). Of its original extended or encompassed land, today, it is occupied by the nearby Palacio de Mayoralgo, other neighboring houses, and adjacent gardens.

Today, the Secretariat of the cultural activities of the University is in the same building (edifice) as the Presidency as well as and the Rector's Office (Known as home of de Ribera or House of the Bank) in the monument quarter Cáceres. It would not be considered one of the most attractive palaces of old and not of current artistic interest.


15th Century:

What the Spaniards lacked for many hundreds of years was national unity. Despite the infighting among the Spanish Christian kingdoms, the Spanish continued the drive to remove the Moors from their lands.

Religious purity in Spain, which was capitalized on by the "Catholic monarchs" (Reyes Católicos in Spanish) Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragón in order to justify their invasion of Granada, the expulsion of the Jews and the later forceful conversion of the Moors.

Following the marriage of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragón at the end of the 15th Century saw the Kingdoms of Castile and Aragón united under Isabella and Ferdinand. These two able rulers ruled jointly and worked to consolidate the power of the monarchy at the expense of the nobility. During their reign, the castles of many nobles (symbols of aristocratic independence from the monarchy) were demolished, and a system of regular taxation was established. Ferdinand and Isabella established the basis for the unification of Spain religiously as well as politically and economically. Under their rule the Jews and Muslims would be expelled from the Iberian Peninsula. Aragón was at that time already an important maritime power in the Mediterranean, and Castile was in competition with Portugal for domination of the Atlantic Ocean.

However, Aragón lasted as a separate kingdom with its own laws and institutions until 1707. Aragón as a separate kingdom ended when Philip V, the first Bourbon king of Spain invaded Aragón with his army and forced the signature of the Nueva Planta decrees, making Spain into a more centralized state and forcing the use of Castilian language. Most former kingdoms in Spain had been progressively consolidated during the 16th and 17th centuries.

Portugal had gained some advantage by embracing maritime exploration from the start of the 15th Century and by establishing strongholds in Atlantic islands and along the western coast of Africa, then practically unknown to Europeans. Thus, the need was felt to compete with the neighboring kingdom of Portugal for new territory and for the chance at easier trade with the Far East.

15th Century Spanish Empire designates the whole of territories that were conquered and ruled by Spain as a result of exploration and colonial expansion initiated in the 15th Century.

15th Century, there were five kingdoms in the Iberian Peninsula:

    1. Castile

    2. Aragón which included:

      1. Catalonia

      2. València

      3. Kingdom of Naples

      4. Sardinia

      5. Sicily

    3. Navarre

    4. Portugal

    5. Granada (Muslim kingdom/emirate)


By early in the 16th Century they had been reduced to two:  

  1. Castile/Aragón

  2. Portugal

Portugal had been an independent kingdom since the 12th Century; Castile and Aragón were united in the late 15th Century through the marriage of Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragón, and tiny Navarre was swallowed by Aragón in 1513. Insofar as Castile and Aragón were concerned, Castile was more densely populated and more powerful than its neighbor, and it was Castile that took the initiative in subsequent political developments both in and beyond the peninsula.


1402: French adventurers occupied Canaries in name of Castile (Nicolle, 1988).

1405: Alonso Enriquez de Castilla (Guadalcanal, 1354 - Guadalupe, Cáceres, 1429). Frederic was the son of Fadrique Alfonso and progenitor of Afàn de Ribera, 25th Master of the Order of Santiago, and an unnamed lady. His father was murdered on May 29, 1358 in the Alcázar of Seville, on the orders of his brother Peter.

He was the founder of the lineage of Enriquez, and is the first Admiral of Castile of his family since 1405, and first lord of Medina de Rio Seco. By paternal grandparents were King Alfonso XI and Leonor de Guzman. He was a brother of Pedro Enriquez de Castilla, Count of Trastámara, Lemos, Sarria, Constable of Castile and beadle greater Santiago. His other sister was Eleanor of Castile and Angulo Enriquez of Cordova, who married the Marshal of Castile Diego Gomez Sarmiento. He was the paternal grandson of King Alfonso XI the Just, a nephew of King Henry II and cousin of King Juan I.

Alonso Enriquez remained hidden while living with his uncle Pedro I of Castile, who ordered to kill his father in 1358 in the Alcazar of Seville. Although contemporary Castilian chroniclers wrapped the figure of his mother in mystery and later genealogists do not mention her, other authors, for example, the Portuguese Fernando Lopez wrote in connection with events that occurred in 1384, that the Admiral was the son of a Jewess. The "Memorial of old things" attributed to the dean of Toledo, Diego de Castilla, who said Frederic had Alonso from a Jewess from Guadalcanal called Paloma.

In 1389, John I of Castile gave him the area around Aguilar de Campos. In later years, he managed to extend his territory. Until 1402, he served the King as a commander and administered the castle of Medina de Rioseco. In 1387, Alonso married Juana de Mendoza y de Orozco (Of Jewish origins). By 1395 his wife returned with the construction of the Monastery of Santa Clara de Palencia, who had been begun by Henry II of Castile and his wife Queen Juana Manuel, projecting the church and cemetery of the Admirals of Castilla. It is conjectured that it must have been at the behest of his wife, which, upon the death of his brother, Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, who held the post of Admiral of Castile, won the title passed to her husband. Office, and transmitted to the female of Mendoza, in addition to military action in the sea, involved civil and criminal jurisdiction over all ports of the kingdom of Granada, culminating three years with the taking of Antequera. In 1405, Enrique Alonso received the title of Admiral of Castile from Henry III. The Enríquez family held this post from 1405 to 1705. Alonso was the most famous admiral in the family, winning many sea battles.
               The monastery in Guadalupe where Alonso Enríquez died in 1429


In 1407, he defeated the combined fleet of Tunis (Hafsid), Granada (Nasrid) and Tlemcen (Capital city of the Zianid Kingdom of Tlemcen). This was his last major sea battle. Afterward, he inspected the fleet and led military actions on land, such as the capture of Antequera in 1410. He was involved in the court's political undertakings and in its feasts.

In 1421, John II of Castile granted the lordship of Medina de Rio Seco "and for the many good and loyal and outstanding and distinguished services to the King Don Juan fecisteis my grandfather and to King Henry my father and my lord, and I date abed and fazes me," instead he chose to settle and establish primogeniture in favor of their children. The city is since known as the City of the admirals. At the end of his life, he retired to the monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe, where he died in 1429 at the age of 75. He was buried with his wife and several children in the monastery of Santa Clara de Palencia, which had been fundadores.

In his will, he left the monastery 11,000 maravedís (The maravedí was the name of various Iberian coins of gold and then silver between the 11th and 14th centuries and the name of different Iberian accounting units between the 11th and 19th centuries. The word maravedí comes from marabet or marabotin, a variety of the gold dinar struck in Spain by, and named after, the Moorish Almoravids.) for the construction of four chapels. His widow donated another 10,000 maravedís.

The poet and biographer Fernán Pérez de Guzmán, a contemporary of Alonso's, described him as medium sized, chubby, red-haired, discrete, and not a talker. The historian Esteban de Garibay (1533–1600) described him as hot-tempered and quickly irritated.


1410: Afan de Ribera Capita "Old" was appointed Patron of the Monastery of la Cartuja, Seville 1410. This was granted by the Carthusian Order, Church (Luxurious gothic-Mudéjar Chapel) for family burials. Pedro Enríquez de Quiñones obtained the award of the Chapel.

1410: Castile captured Antequera from Granada (Nicolle, 1988).

1415: Portuguese captured Ceuta (Nicolle, 1988).

1416: In 1416, the House of Trastamara Acquired the Throne of Aragón. The social disruption and the decay of institutions common too much of Europe in the late Middle Ages also affected Aragón, where another branch of the Trastamaras succeeded to the throne in 1416. For long periods, the overextended Aragonese kings resided in Naples, leaving their Spanish realms with weak, vulnerable governments. Economic dislocation, caused by recurring plagues and by the commercial decline of Catalonia (Cataluña), was the occasion for repeated revolts by regional nobility, town corporations, peasants, and, in Barcelona, by the urban proletariat.


1420: Portuguese occupied Madeira (Nicolle, 1988).

1421: In 1421, Per Afán de Ribera was the first Great Adelantado of Andalusia died. The position of Great Adelantado (aka Great Adelantado of the Border) was created for him in 1396 by King Henry III to protect the border with the Kingdom of Granada and granted to Per Afan de Ribera (1338-1421). This hereditary position remained kept by the Ribera family, of Galician origin and established in Seville in the 14th Century, until superseded by the title of Duke of Alcalá de los Gazules, granted by Philip II in 1558.


Per Afán de Ribera I Adelantado de Andalucía, Capita in his grave at the monastery of Santa Maria de las Cuevas


1430: Pedro Álvarez de Osorio, I Conde de Lemos
Birth date: Circa 1430
Birthplace: Villafranca, Spain
Death: 1480
Immediate Family:
Son of: Alvar Rodríguez Osorio and Maria Fernández de Sandoval
Husband of: Beatriz de Castilla; María Bazán de Toledo and Constanza de Valcarcel

Father of:

    • Afonso de Castro Alvarez Osorio

    • Isabel de Castro Osorio

    • Señora de Samaniego, Valmayor, Pedrafita, etc.

    • Juana Marquesa Osorio

    • María Alvarez Osorio, Marquesa de Villanueva

    • Constanza de Bazán Osorio, Marquesa de Távara and

    • 2 others:

    • Mencia Osorio de Bazán, de Castro and

    • Rodrigo Álvarez de Osorio, II

Occupation: 1er. Conde de Lemos., 1er. Señor de Cabrera. Apodado "El Bueno", 4th Conde de Lemos

1430: Ordre de la Toison d'Or - Order of the Golden Fleece - The Grand armorial équestre de la Toison d'or, one of the finest late medieval manuscripts available today. Written and drawn between 1430-1461, it shows the arms as well as the knights of the Order of the Golden Fleece. Its founding members (membres fondateurs, miembros fundadores):

The 18th Chapter recommended to increase the number of Knights by 20 (from 31 to 51), to accommodate the expansion of the territories under the sovereign. This would require a papal authorization, but the Brussels Chapter already elected the first 10 new members. The latter 10 were elected at an exceptional meeting in Spain, in January 1519.

Fadrique Álvarez de Toledo y Enríquez, II. duque de Alba (c1460-1531)

Diego Hurtado de Mendoza y Luna, III. duque del Infantado (1461-1531)

Íñigo Fernández de Velasco y Mendoza, II. duque de Frias (c1460-1528)

Fernando Folch de Cardona y Enríquez (1469-1553)

Fadrique Enríquez de Velasco, conde de Melgar, IV Almirante de Castilla (c1465-1538)


Chapter 21 (1546) - Utrecht, Sint Maarten

Íñigo López de Mendoza y Pimentel, IV. duque de Infantado (1493-1566)

Luis Enríquez y Téllez-Girón, II. duque de Medina de Rioseco (1542-1567)


Chapter 23 (1559) - Gent, Sint Baafs


Many Knights of the Order have recently died, and political troubles impede the organization of chapters where new Knights can be elected. Grand Master Felipe II de Habsburgo thus obtains a papal dispensation in 1578 from the Order's statutes, allowing him to directly select new knights, without elections. The following list gives the knights selected by the Grand Master until his death in 1598.

Alonso Fernández de Córdoba y Enríquez de Ribera, duque de Feria (1588-1645)

1431-1445: Portugal occupied Azores (Nicolle, 1988).

1434: In 1434, Diego Gómez de Ribera died, the second Great Adelantado of Andalucía, commanded the Christian troops besieging Álora a main target for the Catholic Monarchs. The fortress was besieged several times but could not seize it until June 22, 1484, in the last years of the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada. In 1434, the Christian troops were commanded by Diego Gómez de Ribera, the second Great Adelantado of Andalucía.

The position of Great Adelantado (aka Great Adelantado of the Border) was created in 1396 by King Henry III to protect the border with the Kingdom of Granada and granted to Per Afan de Ribera (1338-1421). This hereditary position remained kept by the Ribera family, of Galician origin and established in Seville in the 14th Century, until superseded by the title of Duke of Alcalá de los Gazules, granted by Philip II in 1558.

Diego Gómez de Ribera succeeded his father in 1423 and was killed during the aforementioned siege of Álora. This event is recalled by the poem known as Álora la bien cercada (Álora the Well-besieged); the poem is a typical border's romancero, orally transmitted from the 14th Century until compiled in several anthologies in the 19th-20th centuries. Independent from 1484 to 1487, Álora was subsequently incorporated to the reconquered town of Málaga. In 1628, Álora eventually seceded from Málaga, "forever".



The municipality of Álora (13,436 inhabitants in 2008; 16,904 ha; municipal website) is located on a spur, 90 m above river Guadalhorce and 195 m above sea level, 40 km north of Málaga. The town is the cradle of the flamenco style known as Malagueña, recalled in the town by a monument funded by the municipality and the Malagueña Province.

Symbols of Álora are described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular panel, red, in proportions 2:3, with the smaller side placed along the hoist. On the flag panel, at 1/3 of its length - from the hoist - are placed the charges shown on the heraldic coat of arms, yellow with the port and windows of the castle blue, with proportions 3/4 of the flag's hoist.
Coat of arms: Gules a castle or masoned and port and windows azure flanked dexter by a lion contourned or crowned langued and armed of the same leaning against the wall. The shield surmounted with a Royal Spanish crown closed [detailed description of the crown omitted].

The elements of the coat of arms refer to the seizure of the town in 1484 by the Catholic Monarchs, who appointed Luis Fernández Portocarerro, lord of La Palma, Captain and Governor, until 1487, when Álora was placed under the jurisdiction of the reconquered town of Málaga.


1435: Genoese defeat Aragonese (Nicolle, 1988).


1443: The Ribera family in Cáceres

The Ribera family in Cáceres ancestor was Alfón de Ribera "el Doncel", son of the Adelantado of Andalucía, Don Perafrán de Ribera.

In time of Banderías (Disputes between nobility factions in 15th Century) he was governor of the castles of Azagala and Alburquerque, and he met death when he left Seville in 1443, and a group of supporters of Infantes de Aragón killed him.



Cáceres a walled city is the capital of Cáceres province, in the autonomous community of Extremadura, Spain. The Muncipio has a land area of 675.81 sq m and is the largest geographically in Spain. Cáceres had as a key stronghold to access to the Guadiana basin. With the final Christian Reconquest of the place, which occurred in 1127 or 1129 after many years of fighting, Cáceres became a free borough, maintaining that status until 1882, when Alfonso XII granted it the status of city. During the 13th and 14th centuries, several noble families coming from the northern territories began building their manor houses within the city walls, over the Muslim substratum, resulting in the characteristic architecture of the old town of Cáceres: austere buildings of defensive nature, with plain walls made with both ruble and ashlar masonry. The majority of the religious and civil buildings belonging the Old Town of Cáceres date back to late 14th Century, specially from refurbishments, extensions and newly constructed buildings made between 15th and 16th Centuries. Its numerous towers – many of them clipped in mid 15th Century according to the order by the Catholic Monarchs as shameful punishment to the aristocratic factions for opposing their cause – are a silent witness to the nobility conflicts that plagued Extremadura in the late Middle Age.

Ribera's Mansion is a house from 16th Century fully denatured after a refurbishment suffered in 19th Century, from which probably no more than the round-arched portal with voussoirs and the family's coat of arms are still in existence. Later refurbishment completely altered both its interior, adapting it to the needs of an office building, as well as its façade. The courtyard was down to a small garden in which the well still remains.

There is a wonderful Renaissance doorway that was constructed in the church at La Cartuja in 1571, by Andres de Ribera. The doorway is just that, a big architectural doorway made of marble and embellished with four big marble columns. The door itself is made of wood. This doorway is very impressive and really beautiful. This leads to the garden, where you can see the main facade of the church. The facade is also very impressive and is a mixture of styles, the main style being Baroque. The facade is all marble and stone and has three different levels, with many columns and statues of saints set in niches. It is said that the church was rich with paintings of Zurbaran, but these were all taken away in 1835 during the secularization of the churches, and these paintings are now in the Bellas Artes Museum in Cadiz.

It’s on the west bank of the Guadalquivir, a few minutes' walk from the railway bridge. It was founded in the first decade of the 15th Century by Archbishop de Mena, and was the burial-place of the Riberas, till their remains were transferred to the University Church. There is little to see except some stalls carved, if I remember aright, by Duque Cornejo, in the little chapel.

At the Church of the University here repose the members of the illustrious Ribera family, which looms very large in the history of Seville. Their remains were brought hither on the suppression of the Cartuja, outside the town.

The oldest tomb is that of the eldest Ribera, who died in 1423, aged 105. He thus lived through the reigns of Alfonso XI., Pedro the Cruel, Enrique II., Juan I., Enrique III., and Juan II., yet, as is usually the case with centenarians, he failed to engrave his name as deeply on history as did some of his shorter lived descendants.

The famous Duke of Alcalá, the owner of the Casa de Pilatos, is commemorated by a fine bronze effigy—one of the few sepulchral monuments of this kind in Spain.

At the feet of Don Lorenzo Figueroa a dog is sculptured, most probably the symbol of fidelity, but some say, his favorite. Over the altar are three good pictures by Roelas, one of the ablest interpreters of the Andalusian spirit. Here, too, are a couple of works by Alonso Cano, "St. John the Baptist" and "St. John the Divine." The statue of St. Ignatius Loyola by Montañez is said to be a faithful likeness of the saint. It was colored by Pacheco the Inquisitor.

The adjacent University was originally a Jesuit college, and was built in the middle of the 16th Century, after designs by Herrera. It is not very well attended to-day, and from the outside would be taken for an inconsiderable college. It seems to have been much more flourishing a hundred years ago, when our countryman Blanco White attended its courses. The original university was founded by Canon Rodrigo de Santuella in 1472, in the Colegio Maese Rodrigo, near the Cathedral.

From the last resting-place of the Riberas in the centre of the town it is not far to their old home, the Casa de Pilatos. Casa de Pilatos in Seville is an emblematic building that was built in Seville by Fadrique Enríquez de Ribera on his return from Jerusalem in 1519. Many of the architectural features of this impressive house were imported from Genoa, including the entrance portico and the columns and fountain in the main courtyard built by Antonio María Aprile de Carona and Pace Gazini.

Gonzalo Lopes Ribera
Birth date: Abt. 1286
Death: (Date and location unknown)
Immediate Family:
Husband of:
Teresa Fernandez Meira

Father of: Lope Lopes Ribera
Lope Lopes Ribera
Birth date: Abt. 1302
Death: (Date and location unknown)
Immediate Family:
Husband of: María Afán

Father of Ruy López de Ribera
Ruy López de Ribera
Birth date: Abt. 1320
Death: (Date and location unknown)
Immediate Family:
Son of: Lope Lopes Ribera and María Afán
Husband of: Inés de Sotomayor
Father of: Per Afán de Ribera

Per Afán de Ribera
Birth date: 1338
Birthplace: Toledo, Spain
Death: Died 1423
Immediate Family:

Son of: Ruy López de Ribera and Inés de Sotomayor
Husband of: Maria Rodrigues Marinho and Aldonza de Ayala
Father of: Diego Gómez de Ribera

Diego Gómez de Ribera
Birth date: Abt. 1402
Death: (Date and location unknown)
Immediate Family:

Son of: Per Afán de Ribera and Aldonza de Ayala
Husband of:
Beatriz Portocarrero
Father of:
Per Afán de Ribera, III Adelantado Mayor de Andalucía

Per Afán de Ribera, III Adelantado Mayor de Andalucía
Birth date: 1421
Death: Died 1454
Immediate Family:

Son of: Diego Gómez de Ribera and Beatriz Portocarrero
Husband of:
Maria de Mendoza y Figueroa 1
Teresa de Córdova y de Arellan 2
Father of:
Catalina de Ribera y Mendoza, IV condesa de los Molares
Birth date: Circa 1420
Death: January 13, 1505 (Date and location unknown)
Immediate Family:

Daughter of:
Per Afán de Ribera, III Adelantado Mayor de Andalucía and Maria de Mendoza y Figueroa
Wife of:
Pedro Enríquez de Quiñones, Señor de Tarifa, Adelantado Mayor de Andalucía
Mother of: Don Fernando Enríquez
Sister of: Leonor de Ribera, señora de Olivares
Beatriz de Ribera y Mendoza
Inés de Ribera
Half sister of: Alfonso Ruiz de Temiño, Alcalde de Pedrasa
Leonor de Ribera, señora de Olivares
Birth date:
Death: (Date and location unknown)
Immediate Family:
Daughter of:
Per Afán de Ribera, III Adelantado Mayor de Andalucía and Maria de Mendoza y  Figueroa
Wife of: Enrique de Guzmán, II Duque de Medina Sidonia
Mother of: Juan Alonso de Guzmán, III Duque de Medina Sidonia
Francisca de Guzmán
Sister of: Catalina de Ribera y Mendoza, IV condesa de los Molares
Beatriz de Ribera y Mendoza
Inés de Ribera 
Half sister of: Alfonso Ruiz de Temiño. Alcalde de Pedrasa

Beatriz de Ribera y Mendoza
Birth date:
Death: (Date and location unknown)
Immediate Family:
Daughter of:
   Per Afán de Ribera, III Adelantado Mayor de Andalucía 
and Maria de Mendoza y Figueroa
Wife of:
Pedro Enríquez de Quiñones, Señor de Tarifa, Adelantado Mayor de Andalucía
Sister of: Catalina de Ribera y Mendoza, IV condesa de los Molares
Leonor de Ribera, Señora de Olivares and Inés de Ribera
Half sister of: Alfonso Ruiz de Temiño, Alcalde de Pedrasa

Inés de Ribera
Birth date:
Death: (Date and location unknown)
Immediate Family:
Daughter of: Per Afán de Ribera, III Adelantado Mayor de Andalucía and Maria de Mendoza y Figueroa
Wife of: Juan Portocarrero, II Conde de Medellín
Mother of: Rodrigo Portocarrero Rivera, Conde de Medellín
Inés Portocarrero y Rivera
Sister of: Catalina de Ribera y Mendoza, IV condesa de los Molares
Leonor de Ribera, señora de Olivares
Beatriz de Ribera y Mendoza
Half sister of: Alfonso Ruiz de Temiño, Alcalde de Pedrasa

Alfonso Ruiz de Temiño (Alfonso Ruis de Temiño), Alcalde de Pedrasa
Birth date: Circa 1457
Birthplace: Sevilla, Andalucía, Spain
Death: Died 1523 in Spain
Immediate Family:
Son of: Francisco Fernández de Velasco y Manrique de Lara and Maria de Mendoza y Figueroa
Husband of: Sancha Velasco de Lacarra
Father of: Diego Temiño de Velasco, Alcalde de Temiño
Pedro Gomez de Temiño
Rodrigo Temiño de Velasco
Isabel Temiño de Velasco
Luis Temiño de Velasco
Fernando Temiño de Velasco
Aldonza Temiño de Velasco
Alonso Temiño de Velasco

Half brother of: Catalina de Ribera y Mendoza, IV condesa de los Molares
Leonor de Ribera, señora de Olivares
Beatriz de Ribera y Mendoza
Inés de Ribera


1444: Alcalá de los Gazules was given up to the feudal estate of the Ribera family.


The king of Granada gave this city to the lineage of the Gazules noblemen, from where it took its final denomination. Alcalá de los Gazules is a city located in the province of Cádiz, Spain. There are remains of old settlers from the Neolithic Age, although the most important sites are of the Roman period with the names of Lascuta and Turris Lascutana. The Romans called it Regina Turditana. It is one of the most important in the time of the turdetani. There are also relics of a Visigothic village which was in this area up until the arrival of the Muslims, who built a fortress which gives the name to the village "castle" in Arabic, is Al Kalat. The King of Granada conferred this city to the lineage of Knights Gazules, which took its final name.

In 1248, it was conquered by Fernando III, but once again passed into the hands of the Muslims, until in 1264 it was reconquered by King Alfonso X el Sabio (the Wise). He suffered attacks by Abu-Melik, one of which was fought the battle of the plain of the fight in which the infant Fernán González de Aguilar, protector of the city lost his life.

In 1444, Juan II gave it up to the feudal estate of the Ribera family, named in the Mid-16th Century as the Dukes of Alcalá de los Gazules. The city is included in the territories of the lordship of the Ribera, gentlemen who subsequently were proclaimed Dukes of Alcalá de los Gazules and Medinaceli.

Pedro Afán de Ribera, 1st Duke of Alcalá de los Gazules, Virrey y Capitán General de Cataluña y Nápoles (Died 1571), also known as Pedro Enriquez Afan de Ribera or Per Afán de Ribera y Portocarrero or Perafán de Ribera y Portocarrero, was a Spanish nobleman most notable for his twelve-year-long service as Viceroy of Naples, Viceroy of Cataluña and 1st Duke of Alcalá de los Gazules.

A long line of Ribera descendants can be found into the 16th Century. Some claim that the name dates back to ancient Roman times. Other sources claim that the Riberas are direct descendants of Sancho Belloso, natural-born son of the King of León, Ramiro III.

Pedro Afán de Ribera was born in Tarifa, Cádiz, the son of Fernando Enriquez, a member of the Enriquez family, which descended from royal bastards living in the 14th Century. His mother's family was the "Afan de Ribera" located in Sevilla and Cádiz and was involved in the slave trade and the settlement of the Canary Islands.

He was the:

      • 2nd Marquis of Tarifa [Tarifa is a small town in the province of Cádiz, Andalucía, on the southernmost coast of Spain. The town is located on the Costa de la Luz ("coast of light") and across the Straits of Gibraltar facing Morocco.]
      • 4th Count of Los Molares (Los Molares is a city located in the province of Seville, Spain.)
      • And Adelantado of Andalucía


Note: Adelantado was a title held by Spanish nobles in service of their respective kings during the Middle Ages. It was later used as a military title held by some Spanish conquistadores of the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. Adelantados were granted directly by the Monarch the right to become governors and justices of a specific region, which they were charged with conquering, in exchange for funding and organizing the initial explorations, settlements and pacification of the target area on behalf of the Crown of Castile. These areas were usually outside the jurisdiction of an existing audiencia or viceroy, and adelantados were authorized to communicate directly with the Council of the Indies.

He served as Viceroy of Catalonia from 1554 to 1558 and was elevated Duke of Alcalá de los Gazules in 1558.

In 1559, he was appointed Viceroy of Naples and held on to this position until his death. As Viceroy, he blocked the promulgation of the decrees of the Ecumenical Council of Trent and also Philip II of Spain's wish to introduce the Spanish Inquisition into the Kingdom of Naples. He also continued his predecessors' patronage of the Renaissance composer Diego Ortiz. He fought criminal organizations such as the Calabrian pirates and thieves, exterminating the Marco Berardi gang.

In 1565, Afán de Ribera dispelled the naval blockade by the Turks of Malta. The following year the Turks attacked Naples. In 1570, Afán de Ribera sent a naval fleet to relieve Cyprus from naval attacks.

He died in Naples in 1571 without legitimate issue.

The title of Duke of Alcalá de los Gazules passed to his brother Fernando Afán de Ribera.

He married Leonor Ponce de León, but did not father any legitimate children with her. He fathered two known illegitimate children:

    • Saint Juan de Ribera (1532–1611), Archbishop of València, who was beatified in 1796 and canonized in 1960.
    • Catalina de Rivera y Mosquera, who married Pedro Barroso, marquis of Malpica


The following 17th and 18th centuries were prosperous and the village developed until the arrival of the epidemics of yellow fever and cholera reduced the population, and the invasion of the Napoleonic troops sacked and destroyed the castle and the bridge over the Barbate River.

The mounted militia was formed in 1809 in the city to fight the French troops during the war of independence. They harvested heroic victories against those despite being numerically inferior. A year later the troops of general Manbourg, in retaliation, killed all its inhabitants and flew the Roman Castle. One of the most prestigious historical figures born in this city was Mr. Fernando Casas, author of the first treatise known about cholera. Now Alcala lives, primarily from livestock, agriculture and production of Cork.

In 1876, King Alfonso XII gave it the title of city and in 1984 its old part of the city was declared a Historic - Artistic Monument.

It should be noted that the Ribera (Rivera) surname is traced to Gonzalo López de Rivera, Lord of the Castle of Rivera in Galicia in the 1200's.


1445: Olmedo: Supporters of John II of Castile (under Baron Alvaro de Luna) defeat Rebel Nobility at Olmedo (Nicolle, 1988).

1447: 1447 Catalina de Ribera y Hurtado de Mendoza, Born: Abt. 1447of Huelva, Spain
Gender: Female  Died: Yes, date unknown
Father: Per Afán de Ribera, Conde de los Molares, b. Abt. 1412, of Molares, Huelva, Spain, d. Yes, date unknown

Mother: María Hurtado de Mendoza de los Marqueses de Santillana, b. Abt. 1415, of Spain, d. Yes, date unknown

Family: Pedro Enríquez de Quiñones, Señor de Tarifa y Alcalá de los Gazules, b. Abt. 1436, of València, Spain, d. Yes, date unknown

1449: Portuguese Civil War (Nicolle, 1988).


1457: Don Rodrigo de Ribera, a gentleman of Sevilla (Born1407).

Pruna came under the protection of the Order of Calatrava until 1457, when on 17 October of that year Enrique IV gave the village to his vassal, Don Rodrigo de Ribera, a gentleman of Sevilla. It is believed from his writings that the King of Sevilla gave him Pruna because he feared the Order of Calatrava could not defend the border from the Moors. Don Rodrigo sorted out the Moors and the King allowed him to keep the land so long as he did not sell it, or otherwise dispose of to anyone other than the King. Don Rodrigo rebuilt the castle, repopulated the area, and put in place much of the present village of Pruna. The actual birth of modern Pruna is said to be the site of an old watch tower, at the side of the road from Ronda to Osuna, on the present day Calle Ronda. He sent the population from the old village of Pruna, inside the castle to this spot "Within range of a rifle shot of the castle and fortress of the village of Pruna". It is thought the move was made to escape the unhygienic, and epidemic ravaged confines of the castle, which was also excessively hot in the summer. Don Rodrigo gave the village the arms of the Ribera family, which helped defend it from attack.

From Rodrigo the village passed to his son Don Pedro de Ribera. Unfortunately he could not hang on to it and it was sold to the Marques de Cadiz Don Rodrigo Ponce de Leon on 23 September 1482 for 4 million Maravedies. Subsequently ownership changed hands again, this time to the Duque de Arcos de la Frontera.

1458-1491: Portugal captured Moroccan Atlantic ports (Nicolle, 1988).


1460: 16th Century Martín de Córdoba y de Velasco and Leonor Pacheco wed

Unfortunately, scholars have usually defined Spanish imperial administration in terms of official institutions and positions, such as the chancellery, state councils, royal secretariat, and viceroyalties. It is well known that family relations created personal and patronage obligations that influenced the functions of pre-modern governments. The fact that the individuals who manned these offices also led personal lives is often overlooked. Therefore, it should be noted that the importance of family networks to the structure of imperial administration complicates the matter further. These family networks constituted an essential pillar of Spanish imperial administration that stood next to the official hierarchy of offices. In short, as much as imperial administration consisted of institutions and offices, it also has to be seen as networks of family ties.

Secondly, military officers were also members of an administrative hierarchy they belonged to other structures of relations, most importantly their immediate and extended families. Appointments were made and actions taken based partly on these commitments.

Sometime during the first years of the 16th Century, Leonor Pacheco and Martín de Córdoba y de Velasco celebrated their wedding. The bride and groom had grown up on neighboring estates in the verdant Andalucían countryside in southern Spain. The adjacency of their properties reflected the close blood ties that united their two families; Leonor and Martín were cousins who belonged to two interrelated branches of the up-and-coming noble lineage known as the Fernández de Córdoba. Their marriage, like those of other pre-modern elites, was crafted with biological, social, economic, and even political calculations in mind. In many ways, Leonor and Martín's match was arranged to meet the expectations of the country gentry. The bride brought a handsome dowry to augment her husband's estate. She bore him eight heirs, and with her management skills organized his hearth, properties, and finances.

The story of Leonor and Martín richly illustrates the comfortable life of provincial nobles. Marked by the conventions of pedigree, property, wealth, and status, the couple seemed to typify the affluent security of the elite. Their lives, however, also tell a more important history of the early Spanish empire. The couple and their family formed the nexus of an administrative network of officers that helped create and sustain the expanding polity. Leonor's father, Diego, had pioneered what came to be the family's tradition of service by being one of the first to depart his provincial home to fight for the empire.

He captained companies of soldiers in the invasions of Granada (1482-92), Algeria (1505, 1509), and Navarre (1512). He stayed on in the latter two as their first governor.

His son-in-law Martín followed in these footsteps and also served as governor of Algeria and Navarre. Leonor and Martín's children and grandchildren went on to replicate the careers that their elders had undertaken. Seven of them commanded in Algeria, and four in Navarre. Four consecutive generations of the lineage ruled as royal executive officers in Córdoba, Granada, Toledo, Algeria, and Navarre over the course of the 16th Century. The repeated appointments of the Fernández de Córdoba to the same critical posts, especially in Algeria and Navarre, reveal that the deployment of this particular family network ultimately constituted an organizing principle of imperial administration.

Her father, Diego Fernández de Córdoba, the first Marquis of Comares, used his influence with the Catholic Monarchs Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand to secure the crown's favor, including royal offices for his new son-in-law. In turn, Martín de Córdoba provided Leonor with the creature comforts that suited the wife of the future Count of Alcaudete I. His political ambitions brought her into contact with other ladies and lords, some at the glamorous court of the Spanish sovereigns. His sizable income enabled her to live well beyond the means of most people.

Comments: The networks that made some of the greatest impacts were those of noble families. The most powerful order in medieval society continued to play important roles in managing early modern empires. Noble families enabled military expansion from the very start. For example, it was the Marquis of Cádiz, his relatives, and his retainers, not a royal force that seized the Granadine town of Alhama in 1480 and sparked the Granada War. Lineages such as the Fernández de Córdoba made enormous contributions to the war effort by mobilizing seigneurial troops and leading them into battle. They and their descendants served in senior martial and administrative capacities in Italy, the Low Countries, the New World, and North Africa. These nobles, then, made up the first officer corps of the nascent empire. Family relations went on to organize imperial office-holding at a time when defined bureaucratic structures had not come into being. The crown recruited personnel via familial ties. The Catholic Monarchs took notice of Diego Fernández de Córdoba's skills as a battlefield commander in Granada and employed him again in the conquest and administration of Algeria and Navarre. The crown then drew Diego's son-in-law Martín and other Fernández de Córdoba kin into the same offices. The succession of the captaincy general of Algeria and viceroyalty of Navarre went through the bloodline of the Fernández de Córdoba lineage, even though these were not, technically, inheritable offices.

The processes of biological and social reproduction that took place in families even helped imperial administration endure over time. Families dedicated to imperial affairs brought new generations of potential personnel to life. Families also enabled social reproduction. Usually understood to mean the passing down of status and property, in this case social reproduction transmitted skills, knowledge, and experience accumulated by earlier generations of officers to later ones. Such expertise was essential for service. The nepotism that was typical of a society of patronage may have helped perpetuate families in office. However, the fact that these families managed the affairs of the most perilous frontiers generation after generation, as the Fernández de Córdoba did in Algeria and Navarre, meant that skills were just as important as personal connections for service.

The Crown would not have appointed officers of lesser abilities when the security of vital borderlands was at stake. In an age when there was no formal training for imperial officers, the crown could draw only from a short list of candidates with the requisite status, ability, knowledge, and will to manage a far-flung, extensive, and heavily populated empire. The biological reproduction of families supplied bodies to serve the empire, and their social reproduction transmitted the necessary experience for office. Family networks, then, were a pillar of imperial administration and critical for its survival.

Family networks, thus, structured imperial administration. Administration, in turn, constituted the skeleton that supported the empire. Family administrative networks therefore helped give the empire visceral form. As such, this account of family history is in essence imperial history. The conception of empire as a collection of human beings who envisioned and enacted the polity is innovative. It stands alongside new ideas of empire as networks of exchanges and challenges conventional representations of empire as inert territories, a glorious monarch, projection of disembodied power, grand strategies, and abstract theories. To reconstitute a more functional empire and locate power in human agency, it is crucial to recognize that imperial officers created empires. Officers led armies that conquered territories. Afterward they enforced and managed the allegiance of new communities to an overarching political authority. They transmitted the orders of monarchs and royal councils to the provinces. They also conveyed the needs of subjects to decision-makers at court. The ties they cultivated in the territories brought other provincials into a trans-regional world. In their minds officers envisioned an interconnected political community out of the discrete physical spaces that Spain controlled.

They ascertained the needs of one territory and weighed them against others. They acquired skills in one locale, and then applied their experience elsewhere. They conveyed such knowledge to subsequent generations of officers, often relatives, who reproduced their career trajectories. Networks of administrators whose peripatetic careers spanned multiple territories gave structure to empire. As one such familial-administrative network, the Fernández de Córdoba provides a new way for understanding empire.

The work of these officers came at a critical juncture when the inception of imperial expansion intersected with the transition from the Middle Ages to early modernity. This was a moment in which new government institutions were being established, and in the case of Spain, through necessities presented by a growing realm. Where medieval government was based on the conservation of rights, customs, and privileges, the early modern state was faced with a growing range and density of martial, financial, judicial, and patronage affairs that required proactive administration and management. Just as permanent diplomatic missions emerged at this time; specialized governing councils were also established to conduct business where such gatherings had been ad hoc and the personnel undifferentiated. Spain was setting up a government of territorial and thematic councils, including something as elemental as the Council of War. Family networks were key participants at the very beginnings of this process, and their contributions serve to remind us that though this was a critical moment in state formation, we are still far from the "rational" and "impartial" concept of modern bureaucracy that conditions our understanding of the state today. Officials connected through blood, affinity, and patronage ties largely staffed administration. Moreover, administration was often effectuated through the cooperation of individuals who expected favors, honors, and rewards in return.

The contributions that family networks made to the construction of imperial administration and the empire itself have been overlooked. So too has the way service transformed families embedded in local communities into imperial officers operating in the cosmopolitan milieus of an emerging global empire. The Fernández de Córdoba made a mark on the construction of the Spanish realm and was deeply etched by it in turn. This book analyzes the family's history from the thirteenth to the seventeenth centuries to identify how early modern imperial careers upended once-parochial lives in the late Middle Ages. Exploits on the battlefield often shortened lives, and therefore licit reproduction. Martín de Córdoba and his three brothers all died in battle, and only one had married and produced legitimate offspring. To conserve resources and direct them toward the demands of office, thirteen of Martín's fourteen sisters and daughters entered the family convent. When marriages were celebrated, the Fernández de Córdoba preferred partners from distant Old Castile and even once-foreign Aragón and Navarre, whereas it had once almost exclusively wedded local nobles. Patronage ties that nearly made the monumental mosque-cathedral of Córdoba a part of the family's patrimony were transferred to churches, chapels, and convents elsewhere in the realm. Previously anchored to Córdoba, its household became mobile as members ascended the military-administrative cursus honorum.

The history of the Fernández de Córdoba—its participation in imperial affairs and the changes it underwent—introduces a larger history of the nobility in the construction of the Spanish empire. Nobles played vital roles in administration. In an age of extreme social stratification, only the most elevated members of society could serve as viceroys, captains general, and governors, offices that embodied the authority of the royal person. As Philip II instructed the viceroy of Naples, the Duke of Alcalá de los Gazules: "You will have to represent our person and act as we would act if we were present." Indeed, Diego Fernández de Córdoba received the title of Marquis of Comares, and Martín de Córdoba became the Count of Alcaudete over the course of their service. Among the extensive personnel that the crown employed, the nobility nearly monopolized the highest command posts.

Important officers in the 16th Century came from the Fernández de Córdoba clan as well as a long list of other illustrious families, including:

    • The Áfan de Ribera
    • Álagon
    • Aragón
    • Álvarez de Toledo
    • Borja
    • Cárdenas
    • Castro, de la Cerda
    • de la Cueva
    • Enríquez
    • Guzmán
    • Manrique de Lara
    • Mendoza
    • Pimentel
    • Suárez de Figueroa
    • Téllez Girón
    • Velasco
    • Zúñiga
    • among others


These names came with impressive titles: the dukes of Alba, Albuquerque, Alcalá de los Gazules, Cardona and Segorbe, Feria, Maqueda, Medinaceli, and Nájera; the marquises of Aguilar de Campoo, Cañete, Denia, Mondéjar, and Villafranca; and the counts of Almazán, Benavente, Castrogeriz, La Coruña, Miranda, Monterrey, Olivares, and Sástago. Like the Fernández de Córdoba, many of these nobles served throughout the realm. Their relatives also joined them in office, and the repetition of surnames over time is notable. Their history, however, has been sidelined by a focus on a centralizing monarchy in the early modern period.

The Fernández de Córdoba's history is typical of nobles serving in imperial administration. However, the lineage's dual feats—domination of executive office in multiple territories that endured over the span of four generations—were unique. Though historians have not studied early modern lineages sufficiently, it appears that only the Mendoza, Álvarez de Toledo, Guzmán, Cárdenas, de la Cueva, and Manrique de Lara lineages approximated one aspect of this achievement. Most of these families placed its members in vice regal offices in different territories. Very few families repeated service as viceroys of one territory, much less two, over generations. Both representative and unusual, the Fernández de Córdoba's history sheds light on dynamics that were experienced more broadly by a critical caste of society. At the same time, its continuity and longevity in service enable us to minutely track the transformation of locally rooted Señores into international imperial officers.

Fernández de Córdoba lives intertwined with imperial affairs. Their history logically illuminates the development of the state and forms part of the annals of the Spanish realm. While other scholars have ably reconstructed the narrative of Spanish expansion elsewhere, I address events that touched the lineage and that were in turn shaped by the clan. These events include the inception of Spain's early modern expansion in the Granada War, the establishment of a string of presidio outposts on the North African shore of the Mediterranean, the tense transition from the Trastámara dynasty of Isabella and Ferdinand to the Habsburg regime of Philip I, the violent outbreak of the Comunidades Revolt that marked Charles V's succession to the Spanish throne, and Spain's long struggle with France over Navarre and with the Ottoman and Moroccan sultanates over the Maghreb. These and other events were enmeshed in the family's history.

These endeavors heralded the creation of a Mediterranean empire that emerged alongside, but has often been overshadowed by, the exploration, colonization, and exploitation of the New World. Once a peripheral actor on the European stage, Spain came to intervene in the affairs of other Old World powers and helped to forestall the hegemony of the Ottoman Empire. The mingling of the two sovereigns produced, two generations later, a grandson named Charles who augmented the Spanish realm by combining it with his Habsburg and Burgundian inheritances. In hindsight, the Catholic Monarchs' wedding, the family network it created, and administrative institutions they directed reorganized much of Europe and even the world.

The Spanish empire was distinguished from its European contemporaries by the fact that it enfolded heavily populated regions in both the Old and the New Worlds. To manage such a polity it was essential to develop a full-fledged administrative system and institute a legal code tailored to the colonies. Given the importance of administration for the longevity of the empire, institutional histories enjoy a distinguished place in scholarship on Spain

1462: Castile took Gibraltar again (Nicolle, 1988).

1464: Enrique IV of Castile was named as heir to the throne his sister, the future Isabel I, the Catholic, and disinherited his daughter Juana, nicknamed "La Beltraneja".

1469: Isabel I of Castile and Fernando II of Aragón were married thus prepared the way for the union of the two kingdoms and creating unity in Spain. It was this marriage of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand V of Aragón in 1469 and the resulting union of their separate Iberian kingdoms that marked the onset of Spain’s overseas empire.


1469: The Crown of Aragón was effectively abolished after the dynastic union with Castile. Union with the County of Barcelona and its dominions in the Langue d'Oc

Emblematic allegorical woodcut (c. 1820) made during the Trienio Liberal. The political constitution illuminates the Aragonian shield that had been enclosed by the royal crown.

The dynastic union in 1137 between Petronila, Queen of Aragón, and Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Barcelona, produced a son, Alfonso II of Aragón who inherited all their respective territories creating the Crown of Aragón which included all lands and people, titles and states previously outside of the Kingdom of Aragón. The Crown of Aragón was effectively abolished after the dynastic union with Castile (1469) but the title continued to be used until 1714. The dynasty of the Kings of Aragón (called by some present-day historians "Kings of Aragón and Counts of Barcelona") ruled the present administrative region of Aragón, Catalonia, and later the Balearic Islands, València, Sicily, Naples and Sardinia (Aragonese Empire). The monarch was known as King of Aragón and also held the titles of King of València, King of Majorca (for a time), Count of Barcelona, Lord of Montpellier, and (temporarily) Duke of Athens and Neopatria. Each of these titles gave him sovereignty over the specific region, and the titles changed as territories were lost and won.

1470s: Castilians conquered the Canaries (Nicolle, 1988).

1471: Juan de Silva y Ribera, I marqués de Montemayor

1471-1538 (66 years)
Born: November 20, 1471
Died: August 15, 1538
Father: Juan de Ribera y Silva, b. Abt. 1446, d. Yes, date unknown
Mother: Juana de Herrera y Toledo, señora de Galves y Jumela, b. Abt. 1446, d. Yes, date unknown
Family: María Manrique de Toledo, señora de Mejorada, b. Abt. 1470, d. Yes, date unknown
Married: 1491
Children: 1. Juan de Silva y Ribera, II marqués de Montemayor, b. January 20, 1492, d. September 24, 1566 (Age 74 years)
2. Fernando de Silva, b. Abt. 1500, d. Yes, date unknown
3. Manrique de Silva, b. 11 Sep 1500, Lerín, Navarra, d. Yes, date unknown

Juan Luis de Silva y Ribera, IV marqués de Montemayor
Birth date:
Death: (Date and location unknown)
Immediate Family:

Son: of Pedro de Silva y Ribera and Teresa de Acuña y Guzmán
Husband: of Leonor de Mendoza

Father: of Juan Francisco de Silva y Ribera, V marqués de Montemayor y I marqués del Aguila and Teresa de Silva y Mendoza

Juan Francisco de Silva y Ribera, V marqués de Montemayor y I marqués del Aguila
Birth date: (Date and location unknown)
Death: (Date and location unknown)
Immediate Family:
Son: of Juan Luis de Silva y Ribera, IV marqués de Montemayor and Leonor de Mendoza
Husband: of María Vicentelo y Toledo, dama de la Reyna
Father: of Manuel de Silva y Rivera, VI marqués de Montemayor y II marqués del Aguila; Isabel de Silva Vicentelo, señora de Cantillana and Antonia de Silva, condesa de Castroponce
Brother: of Teresa de Silva y Mendoza

1472: Seville in the last quarter of the 15th Century. Pedro González de la Sal became a denizen of his adopted city and also served as jurado around the year. The names of two of his sons, Diego and Fernando, appear frequently in the Sevillian Protocols. Both were active participants in the trade with the New World, like most members of the family. A nephew of Pedro González de la Sal, Juan de la Sal, married Isabel Hurtado, and their children Ana and Diego married into the Alcázar family. Several members of the Sal served in the New World as agents for their relatives, including Diego, husband of Luisa del Alcázar, who in 1554 went to Tierra Firme as factor for his brother Lucas.

Juan de la Sal followed the converso practice of intermarrying with families of similar background, such as the Hurtado and the Gutiérrez. Although the origin of the Hurtado was not questioned in the pruebas of 1627 (the Juan de Jáuregui inquiry), accusations against them came to light in a subsequent investigation in 1642 for Jáuregui's nephew Miguel de Jáuregui y Guzmán. On this occasion the mother of the poet Jáuregui was accused of being a descendant of a person who was burned in effigy by the Inquisition, and even though it was not clear who this individual was, there was some indication that he belonged to the wealthy merchant Hurtado family. Gómez Hurtado (brother of the Isabel married to Juan de la Sal) was one of the most successful Sevillian Converso merchants during the first half of the 16th Century. At his death he left a large fortune that was distributed among his nephews and nieces, one of whom was Lucas de la Sal, Jáuregui's maternal grandfather.

The Gutiérrez are another case in point. Merchant Pedro Gutiérrez (husband of Beatriz de la Sal) and his brother Ruy Díaz de Segura, whose profession of trapero (old-clothes dealer) was traditional among the Conversos and their ancestors were among the richest Sevillian businessmen at mid-century. Ruy Díaz de Segura owned three ships engaged in the carrera de Indias: the caravel Santa María del Cabo, the Santa María de la Regla in association with his cousin Pedro de Medina, and the Santa María de la Consolación. In 1525, he was one of the three converso merchants who tried to purchase the farm of the almojarifazgo of Santo Domingo. His brother Pedro Gutiérrez served as his factor in Santo Domingo during the years 1524 to 1527. Upon his return to Seville he devoted himself to the Afro-American slave trade, often in association with Lucas de la Sal. Jerónima de León Y del Alcázar

Returning again to the Alcázars, Jerónima de León, another sister of the poet Baltasar del Alcázar, also married into a suspect family. Her husband Pedro de Ribera was the son of Licentiate (Licentiate is the title of a person who holds an academic degree known as a licence or a licentiate. The term derives from Latin licentia, freedom (from Latin licere, to allow), which is applied in the phrases licentia docendi meaning permission to teach and licentia ad practicandum signifying someone who holds a certificate of competence to practice a profession.) Luis Sánchez de Ribera and María de Palma, natives of Cordova. Pedro appears in the Sevillian Protocols along with his brother Diego as an investor in the trade with the Indies. In 1546, he leased the property of Almuedana from the Countess of Gelves, mother of that same Count of Gelves who employed the poet Baltasar del Alcázar as his financial administrator.

The union of Jerónima de León and Pedro de Ribera is just another example of intermarriage among the New Christian families (Conversos) and once again reveals the Converso origin of the Alcázars. Three generations of Alcázars were linked through marriage to a large group of families of similar background whose wealth was derived from trade. These families constituted the governing, mercantile, and intellectual elite of Seville during this period.

1474 Isabella I was Queen of Castile and León. This marked the opening of a period of growing success for Spain.

1474-1479: Castilian War of Succession - Civil war in Castile; Castilian-Aragonese under Isabella and Ferdinand eventually defeated the Castilian-Portuguese (Heath, 1982; Nicolle, 1988).

1474: In 1474, Catalina de Ribera y Hurtado de Mendoza (? - January 13, 1505), XVII Lady of the House of the Bank and IV Countess of Los Molares, Lady of el Coronil

El Coronil is a city located in the province of Seville, Spain.


Las Aguzaderas

The Castle of Las Aguzaderas is a fortress located in the municipality of El Coronil, about 3 km from the town center, built, according to some sources, by the Arabs. Its definitive Foundation dates from the 14th Century, having been modified in the 15th and 16th centuries.)

Catalina married: Pedro Enríquez de Quiñones, IV greater Andalucía Adelantado (I Lord of rate (1493) and IV in advance most of Andalucía).

They had two sons:

    • Fadrique Enríquez de Ribera I Marquis of Tarifa (1514), and saw the advance of Andalucía, and
    • Fernando Enríquez de Ribera Captain General of Seville

She was the daughter of:

    • Per Afan de Ribera, conde de Los Molares and Adelantado Mayor of Andalucía and
    • María Hurtado de Mendoza y Figueroa (daughter of Íñigo López de Mendoza, Marqués de Santillana)

Pedro Enríquez, her husband, had married in first wedlock with his sister Beatriz in 1460. She died a decade later.

In 1483, he acquired the Palacio de las Dueñas (A palace in Seville, Spain) from the family of the Pineda who sold it to pay a ransom for Juan Pineda, prisoner of the Moors in the Malaga Ajarquía. Although the contract was not in writing until 13 years later the residence ended up having a size and decoration similar to the Casa de Pilatos, coming to convertirese in the residence of the segundogenito.

Catalina and Pedro Enríquez started the construction of the Casa de Pilatos at the end of the 15th Century. It became a beautiful Palace of 10,000 square metres, the second after the Reales Alcázares, richly decorated. Its ultimate completion would come at the hands of their son Fadrique who, according to tradition was due because to his pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

Catalina had been widowed since 1492. She with his son Fadrique founded Hospital de las Cinco Llagas in 1500, after obtaining the Papal bull. The "bull" allowed the bearer create a charity hospital for the poor. It became unsafe. In 1540, it was moved its previous location in the Santiago Street and was then rebuilt at its final location in the north of the city of Seville. It was in operation until 1982 and then converted. The building has been for the seat of the Parliament of Andalucía since 1992.

She died in Seville, on the January 13, 1505 and was buried in an elaborate Tomb, opposite her husband, in the Carthusian Monastery of Santa María de las Cuevas de Sevilla, the monastery of La Cartuja. In the 19th Century the monastery became the factory of ceramic La Cartuja Pickman. The graves of Catalina and her husband were transferred to the Pantheon of illustrious Sevillians of the Church of the anunciacion. The factory was then moved in the 20th Century to the municipality of Saltera. The work of restoration of the monastery for the Universal Exposition of 1992 brought both graves back to La Cartuja.

1475: Portuguese (Alfonso V) besieged and took Toro about mid-year (Heath, 1982). Alfonso refuses to fight the Castilian relief army under Ferdinand of Aragón, and Ferdinand’s army disperses, however the Portuguese are kept cooped up in Toro by other supporters of Isabella.

1476: Toro - A Castilian army (Ferdinand of Aragón) besieges Portuguese held Zamora (Heath, 1982). Alfonso leads 8,500 Portuguese of the Toro garrison to Zamora’s relief (Feb). The Portuguese, being well-equipped with artillery and Arquebusiers, bombard the Castilian positions for two weeks, before withdrawing toward Toro. Ferdinand pursues and catches the Portuguese at four to five miles from Toro as they negotiate a narrow pass beside the River Duero (March 1st). The Portuguese form up beyond the hills and allow the Castilians through the gap to face them. Most of Ferdinand’s infantry had been left behind in the pursuit, so he is slightly outnumbered. The Castilian right is disordered by the Portuguese Arquebusiers facing them and then routed by the Portuguese cavalry. However, reinforced by late arrivals, the routers rally at the pass and return to the battle. Toward evening, after three hours of fighting, the Portuguese begin to give, and they finally break when their flank is turned. 2,000 Portuguese are killed, although most of the army escapes in good order in the night.

1478: There was a truce established between Christians and Granadines, although raiding continued (Nicolle, 1998).

1478: About 5 km outside the city center along the road going to Malaga (the A381 roadway) is La Cartuja, a monastery whose real name is El Monasterio de Nuestra Señora de la Defension (The Monastery of Our Lady of Defense). This structure is considered the most important monument in the Province of Cadiz.

Per Afan de Ribera on the headstone tombstone of the Monastery of the Carthusian Order la Cartuja

The monastery belongs to the Cartesian Order and no one can enter the monastery or church, but everyone can see the exterior and garden. The old Charterhouse or Cartuja is now occupied by the porcelain factory of Pickman & Co.

The monastery was founded by Don Alvaro Obertos de Valeto in 1453. He was a noble of Jerez and the construction started in 1478. The basic plan of the monastery was Gothic, but since the construction took a long time, now it is a mixture of styles.

The ancestor of the Ribera's family in Cáceres was Alfón de Ribera "el Doncel", son of the Adelantado of Andalucía, Don Perafrán de Ribera. In time of Banderías (disputes between nobility factions in 15th Century) he was governor of the castles of Azagala and Alburquerque, and he met death when he left Seville in 1443, and a group of supporters of Infantes de Aragón killed him.

1479: Spain gained control of the Canary Islands, important as a source of fish and sugar, but especially for their strategic location. Close to the West African coast, the islands would become valuable as a resupply base for Atlantic crossings.

1479: By 1479, Castile and Aragón were united when Ferdinand, the husband of Queen Isabella of Castile, became king of Aragón. Once united, these two powerful rulers extended their power. With unification the Catholic monarchs took control of Iberia. Once unified, the Spaniards had great victories in the southern part of the peninsula.


1481: The Granadines (Emir Abu Hasan) surprised the Castilian garrison of Zahara on a stormy night (December 26th) (Nicolle, 1998). The population was enslaved.

1482-1492: The Spanish from Castile-Aragón conquered the Kingdom of Granada (Nicolle, 1988).

1482: Spanish forces (2,500 cavalry and 3,000 infantry under Rodrigo Ponce de León, the Marquis of Cádiz) gathered at Marchena (February 25th) and marched to Antequera, crossed the Sierra Alzerifa, and then seized Granadine Alhama on a stormy night before dawn (February 28th) (Nicolle, 1998). Abu Hasan attempted to retake Alhama by siege (March 5th-19th) but withdrew unsuccessfully back to Granada. Muslim troops from Ronda raided the Arcos area in an attempt to tempt the Marquiz out of Alhama. In support of his men at Alhama, King Ferdinand marched to Lucena, sending reinforcements in Alhama (April 30th), withdrew back to Córdoba to organize a major force, and then formally took over Alhama (May 14th).

Siege of Loja (Nicolle, 1998) King Ferdinand of Aragón attacked the Granadine City of Loja (July 1st). The city was defended by the octogenarian father-in-law of Muhammad XII, Ibrahim Ali al-Attar. Ferdinand returned to Córdoba. Abu Hasan marched on Loja and swept the Rio Frio (Mid-July).

1483: Battle of Axarquia (Heath, 1982; Nicolle, 1998). A fast moving Castilian force of 3,000 cavalry and 2,000 infantry (Master of Santiago Alonso de Cardenas, Marquis of Cádiz, Don Pedro Henriquez) raided the mountainous sierra of Axarquia. Their plan is to march through the Axarquia mountains and march back via the coast. Granadine horsemen from Malaga (Abd-Allah al-Zagal – the future Muhammad XIII) ambushed the Castilian rearguard (Master of Santiago) when the vanguard and main body dispersed to plunder (March 19th). Elements of the Castilian main body (Marquis of Cádiz) rescued the rearguard, but none-the-less the Castilians decided to retreat to safety. For the rest of the day, and throughout the night, the Castilians floundered looking for a route through the mountains, all the while being attacked by Moorish handgunners and crossbowmen, and by avalanches of stones. The Marquis of Cádiz and 70 lances escaped to safety during the night. The remnants tried to break out the next day and most of the commander’s escaped, but 800 men were killed and 1,600 captured.

King Ferdinand ravaged the area around Illora (April 8th) and Tajar (April 14th), and resupplied the Alhama garrison (April 16th) (Nicolle, 1998).

At the battle of Lucena (Heath, 1982; Nicolle, 1998) about 10,000 Granadines (Muhammad XII Abu Abd Allah) including 1,200-1,500 horse besiege Lucena. A small relief force of about 1,500 (Count of Cabra) marched from Baena across the sierras and surprised the Granadine camp (April 20th). The Granadine foot fled when the Lucena garrison attacked them from the other side. The Granadine horse put up a strong fight, but started to give ground slowly when the hero of the army, Ali Atar (Muhammad’s father-in-law), was killed. The Granadine Horse was disordered when they reached the rain-swollen river Xenil where their own foot were crowded trying to cross. 5,000 Granadines were killed or captured; Ibrahim Ali al-Attar, Muhammad’s father-in-law, was one of the slain.

Muhammad became the first King of Granada to be captured by the Christians (April 21st).

A large force from Malaga and Ronda (Al-Zagal) raided in the area of Ubera in early September (Nicolle, 1998), the infantry were left to hold the pass homeward and a cavalry ambush was stationed on the Lopera River. The remaining cavalry headed for Ubera but were driven off by a Christian force. The Christians went on to attack the Moorish infantry, and were in turn ambushed, but managed to defeat both Muslim threats (September 17th). The Christians went on to take Zahara (October).

1482 Don Juan de Ribera, lord of Montemayor – Taken in 1486

The reason for the siege of Loja [Loja is situated on the western side of the province of Granada, in Andalucía. Bordering to the north Iznajar (Province of Córdoba), Zagra, Algarinejo and Montefrio; to the south Alfarnate (Province of Malaga), Zafarraya and Alhama; to the east with Huétor-Tájar, Villanueva Mesía and Salar and to the west with Villanueva del Trabuco, Archidona, Villanueva de Algaida y Villanueva de Tapia (Province of Malaga) considered the door to the kingdom of Granada, due to its position between two mountain ranges, which appear as strong bastions] was due to its strategic value.

When King Ferdinand lifted the siege of Loja in the retreat, Don Juan de Ribera twice saved the king

Statue of Ferdinand II of Aragón, the Catholic (1452–1516), at the Sabatini Gardens in Madrid, Spain

King Ferdinand now perceived the wisdom of the opinion of the Marques of Cadiz, and that his force was quite insufficient for the enterprise. To continue his camp in its present unfortunate position would cost him the lives of his bravest cavaliers, if not a total defeat, in case of reinforcements to the enemy. He called a council of war late in the evening of Saturday, and it was determined to withdraw the army early the next morning to Rio Frio, a short distance from the city, and there wait for additional troops from Córdoba.

The next morning early the cavaliers on the height of Albohacen began to strike their tents. No sooner did Ali Atar behold this than he sallied forth to attack them. Many of the Christian troops, who had not heard of the intention to change the camp, seeing the tents struck and the Moors sallying forth, supposed that the enemy had been reinforced in the night, and that the army was on point of retreating. Without stopping to ascertain the truth, or to receive orders, they fled in dismay, spreading confusion through the camp; nor did they halt until they had reached the Rock of the Lovers, about seven leagues from Loja.

The King and his commanders saw the imminent peril of the moment and made face to the Moors, each commander guarding his quarter and repelling all assaults, while the tents were struck and the artillery and ammunition conveyed away. The King, with a handful of cavaliers, galloped to a rising ground, exposed to the fire of the enemy, calling upon the flying troops and endeavoring in vain to rally them. Setting upon the Moors, he and his cavaliers charged them so vigorously, that they put a squadron to flight, slaying many with their swords and lances, and driving others into the river, where they drowned. The Moors, however, were soon reinforced, and returned in great numbers. The King was in danger of being surrounded, and twice owed his safety to the valor of Don Juan de Ribera, lord of Montemayor.

The Marques of Cadiz beheld, from a distance, the peril of his sovereign. Summoning about seventy horsemen to follow him, he galloped to the spot, threw himself between the King and the enemy, and, hurling his lance, transpierced one of the most daring of the Moors. For some time he remained with no other weapon than his sword; his horse was wounded by an arrow, and many of his followers were slain; but he succeeded in beating off the Moors, and rescuing the King from imminent jeopardy, whom he then prevailed upon to retire to less dangerous ground.

The Marques continued, throughout the day to expose himself to the repeated assaults of the enemy; he was ever found in the place of the greatest danger, and through his bravery a great part of the army and camp was preserved from destruction.

It was a perilous day for the commanders; for in a retreat of the kind, it is the noblest cavaliers who must expose themselves to save their people. The Duke of Medina Caeli was struck to the ground, but rescued by his troops. The Count of Tendilla, whose tents were nearest to the city, received several wounds, and various other cavaliers of the most distinguished note were exposed to fearful jeopardy. The whole day was passed in bloody skirmishes, in which the hidalgos and cavaliers of the royal household distinguished themselves by their bravery; at length, the encampments being all broken up, and most of the artillery and baggage removed, the bloody height of Albohacen was abandoned, and the neighborhood of Loja evacuated. Several tents, a quantity of provisions, and a few pieces of artillery, were left upon the spot, from the want of horses and mules to carry them off.

Ali Atar hung upon the rear of the retiring army, and harassed it until it reached Rio Frio. Ferdinand returned thence to Córdoba, deeply mortified though greatly benefited by the severe lesson he had received, which served to render him more cautious in his campaigns and more diffident of fortune.

1484: The Spanish army (King Ferdinand) assembled at Antequera (Spring), marched to Alora, raided Coin, Cazabonela, Almjia, Cartama, Pupiana, Alhendrin and the Vega of Malaga before returning to Antequera (Nicolle, 1998).

1484: Spanish captured Alora (June 20th) (Nicolle, 1998).

1484: Spanish raided into Vega of Granada (September) (Nicolle, 1998). Some Spanish remained to support Muhammad XII of Granada.

1484: Spanish troops captured Senetil (September 20th) (Nicolle, 1998).

1484: Doña Catalina de Ribera bought El Palacio de las Dueñas in 1484.

El Palacio de las Dueñas is a city building in Spanish in Sevilla (Andalucía) and currently sits on the House of Alba. It was built between the 15th and 16th centuries and is considered a major historic home in the city of great architectural and artistic for their valuable content. The famous poet Antonio Machado was born there.



The palace was founded and built by the Pineda family. Its name comes from the monastery of Santa María de las Dueñas, which in 1248 became known as Company of Dueñas. Its nuns were in charge of serving Queens and wives of kings San Fernando and Alfonso X el Sabio. The building was on the periphery and was destroyed in 1868. It had been renovated over the 18th Century and beyond.

The Pineda family had to sell the palace in the year 1484 to Doña Catalina de Ribera. Funds were urgently needed in order to pay a ransom for Don Juan de Pineda, taken prisoner by the Moors.

The building became the property of the House of Alba after the marriage of the V Marchioness of Villanueva del Rio with the Duke of Alba IV. Carlos Falco, Marques de Griñón and Marquis Castelmoncayo (Grandee of Spain) was also born there.

The palace has many courtyards and buildings of several architectural styles Gothic, Mudejar and Renaissance, and contains samples and details with touches of Seville using whitewashed bricks, shingles, tiles, and ceramics. It is decorated with mosaics, roof tiles as the Pilate House. It has a picturesque Andalusian patio. In the arch of the main entrance to the palace you can see the shield of the Duchy of Alba in tile from the 17th Century.

It has a typical Andalusian courtyard like that of the Pilate House which dominates the outdoor area, showing the majestic beauty of a whole.

Behind, the garden leads to a beautiful courtyard surrounded by arches with columns of white marble, adorned with pillars holding platerescos [It is a modification of Gothic spatial concepts and an eclectic blend of Mudéjar, Flamboyant Gothic and Lombard decorative components, and Renaissance elements of Tuscan origin. Examples of this syncretism are the inclusion of shields and pinnacles on facades, columns built in the Renaissance neoclassical manner, and facades divided into three parts (in Renaissance architecture they are divided into two).]. On top of this gallery with arches is built another Mudejar style. The palace has at the bottom to one side of the gallery, a chapel, with a high altar adorned with ceramic tiles (Typical of Seville). Upstairs is a luxurious salon with a gold octagonal roof and paneled ceiling.

One of its main attractions is the large and decorative art collection amounting to 1,425 pieces. According to an inventory of the Junta de Andalucía, it includes works of art, furniture and other antiques. The collection is important to the whole of Spanish art. From the 19th and 20th centuries Maríano Benlliure, Federico de Madrazo, Sorolla, Zuloaga, Gonzalo Bilbao, Carmen Laffón). There are also some previous pieces Dueñas: Jacopo Bassano ( The Crockery ), Sofonisba Anguissola , Annibale Carracci , Francesco Furini ( The Creation of Eve ), Luca Giordano , Giovanni Paolo Pannini , José de Ribera ( Christ crowned with thorns ), Francisco Antolínez , Joaquín Inza and a Virgin of Neri di Bicci (who chairs the altar of the chapel). These are but a portion of the huge gallery belonging to this family, whose main jewels are kept in Madrid in the Palacio de Liria.

Dueñas likewise accumulated abundant antique furniture, ceramics, tapestries, and many more decorative objects. The collection also includes a drawing and watercolor by Jackie Kennedy completed during one of her stays in the 1960′s.

The art collection is subject to the laws of Andalucía which prohibits their sale and ensures their being kept together in the palace.

1485: Al-Zagal drove Muhammad XII from Almeria in February) (Nicolle, 1998). He then fled to Ferdinand at Córdoba. Ferdinand besieged Coin and Cartama. Al-Zagal then attempted to relieve the sieges (April), but first Coin fell (April 27th) then Cartama (April 28th). The garrison of Ronda raided Medina Sidonia but returned to find its city besieged by King Ferdinand (Early-May).

After Abu Hasan of Granada died Al-Zagal assumed the title of Emir (Late-May) and then defeated a Christian foraging party from Alhama on his way to Granada. In late August, three groups of Spanish march toward Moclin. Al-Zagal ambushed and defeated the first group, although it was rescued by the second group of Spanish in early September. After Al-Zagal entered Moclin, the third Spanish group (Ferdinand) joined with the other two and they took the castles of Cmbil and Albahar around September 23rd. The Spanish of Alhama also took the castle of Zalea, in September.

1485: The Town of Torre Alháquime was passed over to the dominion of the Ribera family in the beginning of the 15th Century. Its origins come from the Muslim occupation. In 1327, it was occupied by Christian troops but once again fell under Muslim rule in 1333. This lasted until the beginning of the 15th Century, when it was passed over to the dominion of the Ribera family. It was definitively conquered in 1485 by the Marquis of Cádiz. Later, it was to pass once again to the feudal estate of the Ribera family, to the duchy of Alcalá de los Gazules and finally to the House of Medinaceli.


Torre Alháquime

Torre Alháquime is a village located in the province of Cádiz, southern Spain. It is home to a Moorish castle and cemetery (13th-14th centuries). Torre Alhamique's name comes from the Arabic Al Hakin family, meaning "the wise" or "the learned". This family owned the tower-fortress, located 4km from Olvera, which became the basis for the town. The town's location - on the border between disputed Muslim and Christian areas - meant that it frequently changed hands between the two sides in the 14th and 15th centuries, before finally being conquered by Marques de Cadiz in 1485. Torre Alháquime, was also owned by the Rivera family, and then became part of the Dukedom of Alcala de los Gazules, later belonging to the House of Medinaceli.


1487: Nicolás de Ribera
Born: Osuna Spain 1487

When Olvera fell to the conquering army of Alfonso XI in 1327, it came under the control of the Gúzman family, who were awarded control of much of the region for their role in the defence of Tarifa during the Reconquest.

It later passed into the hands of the dukes of Osuna. Its most famous son is probably Nicolás de Ribera, born there in 1487, and one of the leaders of Spain's conquest of Peru. He was made mayor of its capital, Lima, in 1535.

The Church of Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación and the castle


Cadiz Province - Olvera

There has been a human settlement on the site of Olvera for more than two thousand years. Archaeological findings suggest this verdant agricultural region north-east of Ronda was an important area for settlement as far back as the Palaeolithic era, at least twelve thousand years ago.

Settled as a town by the Phoenician and Roman periods, the latter called it either Hippa or Hippo Nova. Its first appearance in history is in the 1st Century in the History of Pliny.

Like much of the Iberian Peninsula, the area was overrun by Visigoths from the Baltic region in the 5th Century and they were later expelled by Berber armies from North Africa in the 9th Century. The Berbers, roughly termed as "Moors" in most histories of Spain, began construction of the town, which they called Wubira, or possibly Uriwila, as a defensive garrison that they managed to hold on to under the rule of Granada's Nasrid rulers until the town fell to the Christian reconquistadores in 1327.

The origin of the town's name is unknown. As was often the case, Roman, Visigoth and Moorish names fused into the later Spanish word, and Olvera has been variously described as a neologism for a well, woodland or olive grove. Olive oil is one of the area's main agricultural products.

When Olvera fell to the conquering army of Alfonso XI in 1327, it came under the control of the Gúzman family, who were awarded control of much of the region for their role in the defence of Tarifa during the Reconquest. It later passed into the hands of the dukes of Osuna. Its most famous son is probably Nicolás de Ribera, born here in 1487, and one of the leaders of Spain's conquest of Peru. He was made mayor of its capital, Lima, in 1535.

1488: A sea route to the Far East was found when, in 1488, the Portuguese navigator Bartolomeu Dias sailed around the Cape of Good Hope, at the southern tip of Africa. Also, it was considered necessary to protect Spain’s shipping activities and establish fortified positions for defense against Muslim raids. Those areas could also serve as outposts for export of African slaves and precious metals.


1491-1492: With the fall of two other major centers of African/Arab Islamic rule in the south, Malaga and Baza, Granada's will to resist was broken. When the final battle was fought for Granada, a siege against the great fortress-city which began in April of 1491 ended on January 2, 1492, when Granada surrendered. That beautiful capital city opened its gates to the Spaniards. Finally, and with great effort and bloodshed the Moors were driven back into Africa. In the end, most Moors were driven from Spain. The Christians, however, allowed two groups, the Mudéjares and Moriscos (Mudéjar is the name given to individual Moors or Muslims of Al-Andalus who remained in Iberia after the Christian Reconquista but were not converted to Christianity, unlike Moriscos who had converted. The overwhelming majority of both groups were themselves descendants of native Iberians who covered to Islam under Muslim rule - those who descended from Arab settlers made up only a small minority. Moriscos were Muslims who were forced to convert to Christianity rather than face death or expulsion from Spain. The Moriscos were eventually expelled from Spain between 1609 (Valencia) and 1614 (Castile).



When one views pre-Spain’s (Before 1492) Iberian history, he or she is struck by the complexity of Iberia’s long and difficult settlement. The various tribes of original inhabitants were generally of homogenous European stock. By this I mean to say, before they developed into distinct ethnic groups. As these inhabitants of the Iberian Peninsula (modern Spain and Portugal) settled the land in different regions of the Peninsula each group expanded, took on its own character, and developed its own world view. In short, these tribes were separate and apart. They would only later become Iberians.

About 500-250 B.C., the Celts intermixed with these original Iberians during the Celtic migration. The Celts were descendents of original inhabitants of Central Europe which developed the Celt language, Celt culture, and spread it throughout Europe. In the end, they formed the majority of the genetic composition of the modern day Spanish people. These later became the Celtiberians or Celts of Iberia.

The Greeks and Phoenicians (Carthaginians) settled their various colonies along the Mediterranean coast in those ancient times. They came as traders and explorers. While they had a very minor genetic contribution in the south of the Peninsula, one can accept that they had a tremendous cultural and historical impact upon what would become Spain.

What is now roughly modern Spain and Portugal came under Roman conquest. Roman Hispania began mainly due to the actions of Carthage’s expansion. At the end of the First Punic War (264-241 BCE) Rome defeated Carthage and claimed Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica. This placed an increased emphasis on the consolidation of territories, power, and control of Roman Hispania. Later after consolidation of its gains, the Romans would expand their grip on the Peninsula. Rome's expansion of Hispania however would not go uncontested.

After the war Rome divided Spain into two provinces, known as Hispania Citerior (Near) and Hispania Ulterior (Far). During the second Punic war the native tribes of the region eventually turned against the Romans in a series of revolts. That is not to say that the original tribes and the people of Hispania didn’t have a great deal of positive influence from Phoenician (Carthaginian), Greek, and Roman settlements. The fact is that each brought to the Peninsula advancements in technology, agriculture, and new ideas. At issue was the tendency of these Iberian tribes to want to maintain their own identities and freedoms. There was also ongoing inter-tribal warfare.

In Roman times the Celtiberians were composed of the Arevaci, Belli, Titti, and Lusones. The Arevaci dominated the neighboring Celtiberian tribes from the powerful strongholds at Okilis (Modern Medinaceli) and Numantia. The Belli and the Titti were settled in the Jalon valley, the Sierra del Solorio separating them from the Lusones to the northeast. The Lusitani lived in what is now Portugal. They were a group of warlike tribes who, despite defeats, resisted Roman domination until their great leader, Viriatus, was killed (139 B.C.). In the 1st Century B.C. they joined in supporting Sertorius, against the government in Rome.

During and throughout the Imperial Period, Hispania was significantly "Romanized". The area came to be one of the most important territories of the Roman Empire. Later, the emperors Trajan and Hadrian were both born in Hispania. Hispania’s importance was so great that all of the people of Hispania were granted the status of Roman citizen. Given the long period of Roman dominance, they left their genetic imprint on the regions they settled.

As Rome controlled the Iberian Peninsula for some 600 years, it left a strong legal, linguistic, and architectural legacy. It also planted a cultural phenomenon which outlasted its laws and language. This was Christianity. Christianity was not a Roman product, but an insurgency into Roman life. Christianity abandoned Greek for Latin, as its preferred language. Later, Rome became the headquarters of the Church. Eventually, the Spanish-born emperor Theodosius declared Christianity the religion of the Empire in 380.

Roman Latin existed before Christianity. As fate would have it, Christianity made its way throughout Europe via the Latin language. This would last until it was eventually replaced when Roman linguistic and political uniformity eroded. Latin continues to remain the official language of Catholic Church and it’s Vatican. Rome is still the center of Roman Catholicism. Roman Catholicism remained entrenched in the European mind and later formed the basis of the Holy Roman Empire. That formation which is generally attributed to the French king, Charlemagne who was crowned emperor in Rome in 800, was truly a product of the Church.

During the High Middle Ages (1001A.D.-1300A.D.), the battle of the whole of Christendom became one with the fight against the African Moors on the Iberian Peninsula. Many believe that the Reconquista was originally a war of Christian conquest over African Muslim Islam. Later, it appears, it underwent significant change in emphasis toward a religiously justified war of liberation. The papacy justified and encouraged Christian knights to war with the Moorish "infidels". So it was that Christianity remained one of the great influences for the Founding of Spain.

The Jews established communities throughout Spain and Portugal in the early centuries B.C., during the Roman period, and became known as Sephardic Jews. The Golden age of Jewish culture in Spain started with the Umayyad conquest of Iberia in 711 and lasted until the end of the Caliphate of Cordoba and the Almoravid invasion in the 11th century. By the 14th century, approximately 8% of the Spanish population was Jewish.

The Germanic invasions of the 5th Century brought Germanic peoples (Visigoths in particular) who conquered almost the entire Peninsula and became the ruling class. They gradually intermixed with the local Celtiberian population, providing a minor contribution to the Iberian genetic composition.

That is not surprising considering that the largest contingent was Suebi and only 40,000 of which settled permanently in Iberia. Today, Galicia, northern and central Portugal, and Catalonia are the regions with the highest ratios of Germanic Y-DNA (Approx. 5 to 10% of the male lineages). These areas represent the historical settlements of the Suebi and the Frankish in Catalonia's case. A reasonable estimation is that Germanic genes represent no more than 1% of the Iberian gene pool, with maximums of perhaps 3% or 4% in Galicia and northern Portugal.

In the 7th century, early Muslims from the Arabian Peninsula began spreading their new faith. They conquered a good part of the Middle East and the whole of North Africa under the Umayyad Caliphate. In 711, they crossed the Strait of Gibraltar and invaded Iberia, which they called Al-Andalus. This began the African Moorish period on the Iberian Peninsula, which would last for nearly eight centuries. It ended with the fall of the Emirate of Granada to the Catholic monarchs in 1492.

As in the case with the Jewish population, many Muslims converted to Christianity (Called Moriscos) and remained in Spain and Portugal. Possibly 275,000 Morisco converts were expelled from Castille and Valencia in the early 17th Century. However, many lingered in other regions, notably Aragon, Andalusia, Extremadura and Portugal. At one point, Moriscos accounted for 20% of the population of Aragon. It is no coincidence that their haplogroups make up 20% of modern Aragonese male lineages, despite the fact that the region was never under Phoenician or Greek influence.

To be sure, through the process of ethnogenesis these tribes became what is modern day Spain. Ethnogenesis (A "group of people, nation", and genesis "beginning, coming into being"), came to the Iberian Peninsula slowly. Each of these tribes had first to go through the process by which as a group of people, a tribe, each acquired a tribal ethnicity. As each tribe explored and settled its region, over time, each developed its own group identity. They were then identified by other tribes as distinct ethnic groups. For each tribe the process originated both through the process of self-identification as well as, coming about as the result of outside identification from other tribes. Undoubtedly, ongoing warfare and survival caused stronger internal identification as a group encouraging a sense of ethnicity.

Later, this ethnogenesis was expanded via self-identification through religion. With Iberian roots in Christianity, it soon began to transition from many views of Christian expression, coalescing into one. Eventually, it united under Roman Catholicism, so as to form one mass, one community of religion. With one religion as an underpinning, ethnogenesis expanded toward self-identification as a Christian Iberians.

African Muslim conquest of Iberia brought with it the tyranny of an external religion, Islam. It was this process which would lend itself to the expedited ethnogenesis of the entire Iberian Peninsula as one nation, Spain. The exception however, would be Portugal.

Upon the decline and fall of the Roman Empire and during the Germanic invasions of the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal, along the western coast, slowly developed an identity and culture all its own. It was unique to the remainder of the peninsula. It had not shared the identity and culture of the Roman years as the rest of Iberia had.

During the Medieval Period, the Spanish kingdoms of Iberia became politically intertwined with the Catholic Church and its popes. Many speculate that this was due to African Muslim domination of Iberia, necessitating closer ties to the Catholic Church for survival.

Later, Catholic adherence and closeness to Rome became even more of a necessity during the Age of Exploration (Beginning in the 15th Century). Spain was to have an important role in the expansion and innovation of European naval technology and use. Spanish access to the Atlantic made sea travel and exploration possible, as did its rapidly developing naval tradition. In the end, the Church and its Catholic popes assisted Spain and Portugal by defining and supporting an organized, structured Spanish Vs Portuguese monopolization of the New World, particularly Central and South America.

02/24/2015 07:19 PM