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Basic Elements of Islamic Portugal: A Survey
By Geoffrey Luiz Gomes
The Journal of the American Portuguese Cultural Society, Vol. 5 (1971)
Introduction: Conquered shortly after the initial Moorish invasion of the Iberian Peninsula in 711, Portugal formed at the time the western extremity of Visigothic Spain. Less than five centuries later, Portugal would be one of several Christian kingdoms gradually extending their boundaries southward until the last remnant of al-Andalus finally capitulated in 1492. Thus ended nearly eight centuries of almost continual Muslim-Christian conflict. For Portugal, however, the Reconquest was a less protracted affair than for the other Christian kingdoms of the Peninsula. Portuguese independence is traditionally set at 1139 or 1140, when Afonso Henriques first assumed the title ‘King of Portugal’. A status approximating independence can be seen as early as 1094 or 1095, when the county of Portugal, consisting of the territory between the Minho and Tejo Rivrs, was governed by Henrique de Borgonha (Henry of Burgundy) as a vassalage of Afonso VI of Leon. It was then that Portugal was severed from Galicia and emerged, for the first time, as a separate political entity.