Middle Ages for Kids
So, you’d like to know about the Middle Ages? First, we’ll need to back up a bit. (Yes, even before the start of what we refer to as the Early Middle Ages.) It begins with Rome, or rather, the collapse of what was once.
Based on what you know, it should not be a surprise that most early medieval literature was written in Latin. Latin was the language (both spoken and written) of the educated during the Early Middle Ages
Looking at the High Middle Ages (1000-1300) in comparison to the Late Middle Ages (1300-1500), it’s easy to think of the High Middle Ages as being the best period of medieval history
There are several ways to approach the subject of medieval architecture, including talking about the differences between two popular styles of building during this time period known as “Romanesque” and “Gothic”
At this point, we’ve talked about the fall of the Roman Empire, the rise of the Catholic Church, and the practices of feudalism and manorialism that began after a long series of invasions throughout Europe
As you might guess, the daily life of a man, woman, or child could be very different based on whether he or she lived during the Early, High, or Late Middle Ages and depending on what sort of status in society he or she held
Middle Ages Reconquista and Islam in Spain History >> Middle Ages for Kids What was the Reconquista? The Reconquista is the name given to a long series of wars and battles between the Christian Kingdoms and the Muslim Moors for control of the Iberian Peninsula. It lasted for a good portion of the Middle Ages from 718 to 1492. What is the Iberian Peninsula? The Iberian Peninsula is located in the far southwest of Europe. Today the majority of the peninsula includes the countries Spain and Portugal. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Pyrenees Mountains. Who were the Moors? The Moors were Muslims who lived in the northern African countries of Morocco and Algeria. They called the land of the Iberian Peninsula “Al-Andalus”. The Moors Invade Europe In 711 the Moors crossed the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa and invaded the Iberian Peninsula. Over the next seven years they advanced into Europe and controlled the majority of the peninsula. The division of the land before Granada was retaken from the Atlas to Freeman’s Historical Geography Start of the Reconquista The Reconquista began in 718 when King Pelayo of the Visigoths defeated the Muslim army in Alcama at the Battle of Covadonga. This was the first significant victory of the Christians over the Moors. Many Battles Over the next several hundred years the Christians and the Moors would do battle. Charlemagne would halt the Moors advance at the borders of France, but taking back the peninsula would take over 700 years. There were many battles won and lost on both sides. Both sides also experienced internal struggles for power and civil war. The Catholic Church During the latter part of the Reconquista it was considered a holy war similar to the Crusades. The Catholic Church wanted the Muslims removed from Europe. Several military orders of the church such as the Order of Santiago and the Knights Templar fought in the Reconquista. Fall of Granada After years of fighting, the nation of Spain was united when King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile were married in 1469. The land of Granada was still ruled by the Moors, however. Ferdinand and Isabella then turned their united forces on Grenada, taking it back in 1492 and ending the Reconquista. The Moors surrendering to Ferdinand and Isabella by Francisco Pradilla Ortiz Timeline of the Reconquista 711 – The Moors conquer the Iberian Peninsula. 718 – The Reconquista begins with the victory of Pelayo at the Battle of Covadonga. 721 – The Moors are turned back from France with a defeat at the Battle of Toulouse. 791 – King Alfonso II becomes King of Asterieas. He will firmly establish the kingdom in northern Iberia. 930 to 950 – The King of Leon defeats the Moors in several battles. 950 – The Duchy of Castile is established as an independent Christian state. 1085 – Christian warriors capture Toledo. 1086 – The Almoravids arrive from North Africa to help the Moors in pushing back the Christians. 1094 – El Cid takes control of Valencia. 1143 – The Kingdom of Portugal is established. 1236 – By this date half of Iberia had been retaken by Christian forces. 1309 – Fernando IV takes Gibraltar. 1468 – Ferdinand and Isabella unite Castile and Aragon into a single united Spain. 1492 – The Reconquista is complete with the fall of Granada. Interesting Facts about the Reconquista During the Second Crusade, Crusaders passing through Portugal helped the Portuguese army to retake Lisbon from the Moors. The national hero of Spain, El Cid, fought against the Moors and took control of the city of Valencia in 1094. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella were called the “Catholic Monarchs”. It was Ferdinand and Isabella who authorized the expedition of Christopher Columbus in 1492. After the Reconquista, Muslims and Jews who lived in Spain were forced to convert to Christianity or they were expelled from the country. Take a ten question quiz about this page. More subjects on the Middle Ages: Overview Timeline Feudal System Guilds Medieval Monasteries Glossary and Terms Knights and Castles Becoming a Knight Castles History of Knights Knight’s Armor and Weapons Knight’s coat of arms Tournaments, Jousts, and Chivalry Culture Daily Life in the Middle Ages Middle Ages Art and Literature The Catholic Church and Cathedrals Entertainment and Music The King’s Court Major Events The Black Death The Crusades Hundred Years War Magna Carta Norman Conquest of 1066 Reconquista of Spain Wars of the Roses Nations Anglo-Saxons Byzantine Empire The Franks Kievan Rus Vikings for kids People Alfred the Great Charlemagne Genghis Khan Joan of Arc Justinian I Marco Polo Saint Francis of Assisi William the Conqueror Famous Queens
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- 1Visigoth Hispania
- 2The Muslim conquest of Spain
- 3Al-Andalus and Spain
- 4The Christian advance in Spain
- 5Medieval Christian Art in the Iberian Peninsula
The Medieval era in our country was characterised by the succession of different peoples and religions that contributed to Spanish culture. Visigoths, Moors, Christians from the north and Sephardic Jews all had an impact on the history of Spain. Studying this period will enable us to understand the origins of Spain and, at the same time, to see how the cultural legacy left by these people is still present in our art, language and literature, as well as our borders, place names and many of our flags.
The Middle Ages began with the fall of the Western Roman empire in the year (476). Until then, the Iberian Peninsula had been occupied by a number of Germanic peoples. However, it was the Visigoths who eventually dominated the ancient province of Hispania and who created the Kingdom of Toledo in the 6th century.
The Visigoths arriving on the Peninsula eventually mixed with the Hispanic-Romans (native population). The vast majority lived in the countryside, because people left the cities during the final stage of the Roman Empire.
Among the minority Visigoth ruling class were the monarchs, the warrior aristocracy and the clergy. The peasants and the slaves made up most of the population.
In 711, the Muslim troops, comprising Berbers and Arabs, arrived on the Peninsula. After defeating the Spanish king Rodrigo (710-711) at the Battle of Guadalete, they set about conquering the majority of the Peninsula.
For more information about the Battle of Guadalete, visit the Grandes batallas website [See].
The Muslim occupation of the Iberian Peninsula was another stage in the spread of Islam. It was a very rapid process. In less than 20 years, the Muslims controlled the majority of the Iberian Peninsula and met almost no resistance (other than in the mountains of the north).
The Muslims called the Iberian peninsula Al-Andalus and converted it into a province or Emirate of the Islamic Empire. The capital was Cordoba, where the government or emir lived.
The history of Muslim Spain lasted until 1492. Throughout this period, Al-Andalus went through different periods:
The periods of Al-Andalus DEPENDENT EMIRATE
In this period, Al-Andalus was a province of the Islamic Empire and was subject to the authority of the Caliph of Damascus. INDEPENDENT EMIRATE
The Caliphate Omeya Abd ar-Rahman I proclaimed independence, rejecting the authority of the Caliphate of Baghdad. CALIPHATE OF CORDOBA
Abd ar-Rahman III proclaimed himself caliphate, seizing political and religious authority. This was the time of the greatest splendour of Al-Andalus. TAIFA KINGDOMS
The territory of Al-Andalus was divided into independent kingdoms. MUGHRABI INVASIONS
The Almoravids and the Almohads, peoples from North Africa, annexed Al-Andalus to their territories. KINGDOM OF GRANADA
Last Muslim State n the Iberian Peninsula It was governed by the Nasrid dynasty. It ended after the surrender of the capital of Granada (1492).
Find out about the evolution of Al-Andalus through history by using the resource on the Educarex website [See].
3.1Cities in the time of Al-Andalus
The cities of the Muslim world were very important, because they operated as political, economic and cultural centres. The great medinas of Al-Andalus were in Cordoba, Seville and Granada.
Al-Andalus cities were laid out in irregular shapes with narrow streets and dead ends. The houses were small and were usually arranged around a central courtyard.
3.2The legacy of Al-Andalus
Arab culture was one of the most advanced of the time. Many scientific and technical advances of the time reached the rest of Europe through Al-Andalus.
3.2.1The scientific and cultural development of Al-Andalus.
The Caliphate of Cordoba was the period of the greatest cultural, scientific and artistic development in Al-Andalus. The legacy of Ancient Greece was recovered, and great advances were made in several fields: medicine, astronomy, mathematics, logic, geometry and engineering, etc. In medicine, for example, surgical techniques were developed that would be used to improve amputations and cataract operations, and botanical studies helped to create new medicines.
Among the main contributions made by the Arab world are Arabic numerals, paper and the compass. They also introduced new techniques and skills that made it possible to develop irrigated agriculture, as well as new crops: rice, sugar cane, aubergine and citrus fruits.
Arabic was the language of culture. Evidence of its presence can be seen in Castilian and the other languages spoken in the peninsula: alfombra(rug), ajedrez (chess), alicate (pliers), alcachofa (artichoke), almohada (pillow), etc.
Al-Andalus art was characterised by the use of elements such as the horseshoe arch, the dome and the vault. For decoration, they used tiles and plaster work with which they made geometric shapes, plant motifs and calligraphy.
Among the best examples of Al-Andalus art is Cordoba’s Great Mosque, the Azahara Medina, the Aljafería Palace in Zaragoza, the Giralda and the Tower of Gold in Seville and the Alhambra in Granada.
Al-Andalus craftsmen were also skilled goldsmiths and made ivory chests, ceramics and worked leather (in Cordoba), etc.
The Muslim conquest of the Iberian peninsula forced Christian resistance groups to emerge in the Cantabrian mountains and in the Pyrenees.
4.1The first Christian territories
The Astures, Cantabrians and Vascons, and other native peoples from the North opposed the Muslim conquest. This led to the appearance of different Christian kingdoms and counties.
The Christian kingdoms THE KINGDOM OF ASTURIAS In 718, Pelayo was elected King of Asturias. His victory over the Muslims in the Battle of Covadonga (722) marked the start of the Christian conquest. THE KINGDOM OF LEÓN Between the 9th and 10th centuries, the Asturian kings pushed the borders as far as the Duero valley and the capital was moved from Oviedo to Leon. This saw the birth of the Kingdom of Leon. THE KINGDOM OF CASTILE This was originally a county dependent on the Kingdom of Asturias. In the 10th century it became independent and in the 11th century it became a kingdom. KINGDOM OF PAMPLONA
(LATER KINGDOM OF NAVARRA)
This emerged in the year 800 with the coronation of Íñigo Arista. THE KINGDOM OF ARAGON In the 11th century, after separating from Navarra, it became a kingdom. CATALAN COUNTIES In the 9th century, different counties emerged that were dependent on the French kingdom, although they became independent in the 10th century.
4.2The consolidation of the Christian kingdoms
The Christian resistance groups that emerged in the mountains in the north quickly became kingdoms and counties.
From the 12th century, the Christian kingdoms became established and started to conquer lands occupied by the Muslims advancing towards the south. It was a slow but unstoppable process. This was the period when the two great Christian powers were defined: Castile and León.
In 1137, Aragón and the Catalan counties united. This meant the birth of the Crown of Aragon. This became an important maritime power after conquering Majorca and Valencia, and acquired possessions in Italy.
Castile became the major power in the Spain and conquered most of the territory. In 1230, it became untied with León, which meant the birth of the Crown of Castile.
The growth of Navarre was blocked by Castile and Aragon. Portugal became independent and expanded southwards. The borders that were established were almost the same as those of the present day.
The marriage of Isabella the Catholic (queen of Castile) and Ferdinand II of Aragon represented the dynastic union of both powers. Known as the Catholic Kings, they concluded the Christian conquest of Granada in 1492.
During the Middle Ages, some important European artistic styles came to the Peninsula: Romanesque and Gothic art. These, however, acquired certain features due to the influence of other communities, particularly the Muslims.
5.1Spanish Romanesque Art
During the 11th and 12th centuries, Romanesque churches and monasteries were built in the territories in the north of Spain. This new style arrived via the Way of St. James.
Romanesque Art ARCHITECTURE – Simplicity and small buildings.
– Use of round arches and barrel vaults.
– Construction of bell towers.
SCULPTURE – Simplicity and symbolic value.
– Found on capitals, gates and reliefs.
PAINTING – Very simple works.
– Expressive and symbolic value.
– Use of intense colours.
5.2Spanish Gothic Art
Gothic art was introduced into the Iberian Peninsula by the Order of Cistercians, who came from northern France in the second half of the 12th century.
Gothic art ARCHITECTURE – High, stylised buildings.
– Use of ribbed vaulting and pointed arches.
– Ornamental buildings in the Kingdom of Castile.
– Absence of flying buttresses in the Kingdom of Aragon.
– Introduction of Mudéjar elements.
SCULPTURE – Decorative sense.
– Naturalism and realism.
– Funerary altarpieces and monuments.
PAINTING – Greater naturalism and movement.
– Depiction of daily and religious scenes.
– Miniatures and altarpieces.
– European influence.
Mudéjar art is the style that developed between the 12th and 15th centuries by the Muslims who inhabited the lands conquered by the Christians, in other words, the Mudéjars. The artistic style is unique to Spain, and combined aspects of Christian Art with Al-Andalus art. For example, it mixed architectural motifs with the round arch and the horseshoe arch, using materials such as ceramic, wood and plaster for decoration, and wood for the roofs of buildings.
Medieval History TIMELINE MAIN MILESTONES 476 The fall of the Western Roman Empire. 572-711 The Kingdom of Toledo. 711 The Roman conquest of the Iberian Peninsula Muslim Spain Christian Spain 711-756 The dependent Emirate. 718 The birth of the Kingdom of Asturias. 722 Battle of Covadonga. 756-929 The independent Emirate. 929-1031 The Caliphate of Córdoba. 1031-1086 The Taifa kingdoms. 1086-1212 The Almoravids and Almohads invasions. 1137 The union of the Kingdom of Aragón and the Catalan counties. 1212 The defeat of the Almohads. The Christian victory in the Battle of Navas de Tolosa. 1229 Jaime I of Aragon conquers Majorca. 1230 The final union of Castile and León. 1238 Jaime I of Aragon conquers Valencia. 1231-1492 The Kingdom of Granada. 1492 The Surrender of Granada. – The conquest of Granada.
– The expulsion of the Jews.
– The discovery of America.
PREHISTORY. 5TH GRADE.
The stages of pre-history
Interactivity that chronologically situates the different stages of pre-history and helps to discover their distinctive features
The longest stage in the history of humanity. It extends from the appearance of the first human beings (2.5 million BC) until the invention of writing (3500 BC). It is subdivided into three periods:
begins with the appearance of the first human beings (2.5 million BC) and ends with the discovery of agriculture (10000 BC). This is the longest and oldest period of pre-history.
During this period they used tools made of stone, bone and wood. Humans formed small groups of hunter-gatherer nomads, which moved around in search of animals to hunt, fruits and wild plants. They took refuge in caves and natural shelters, which they decorated with cave paintings.
This is the stage between the discovery of agriculture and cattle farming and the discovery of metallurgy (5000 BC).
During this stage, humans learned to cultivate cereals and legumes, and to domesticate animals such as dogs, goats, sheep and pigs (although they were different to how we know them today).
Agriculture and cattle farming helped to replace nomadism with sedentarism. During this time the first permanent populations appeared. In these places there also appeared craftspeople (weavers, potters, etc.).
The stage between the discovery of metallurgy (5000 BC) and the invention of writing (3500 BC).
The discovery of metallurgy and working with metals (copper, bronze and iron) drove the development of different civilisations.
During this stage, agriculture and cattle farming were improved, which led to the emergence of trade.
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Antiquity: chronological limits
Interactivity that presents a game to relate the main civilisations of ancient times with their chronology
Antiquity is the second longest period in human history. It began around the year 3500 BC with the invention of writing in the Near East and ended in 476, with the fall of the Western Roman Empire.
During this time, the first civilisations in history emerged around the Mediterranean and the territories of Asia.
This territory was positioned between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates. Thanks to its irrigation systems, the towns of the region were able to use their water to develop agriculture.
Agricultural growth made it possible to found the first city-states more than 6,000 years ago. The best-known are Babylon, Ur and Uruk.
Besides developing agriculture, the invention of writing occurred in Mesopotamia and the first legal code in history was written by Babylonian king Hammurabi.
In approximately 3000 BC, Egyptian civilization emerged in the fertile lands of the Nile valley. Due to the annual flooding of the river and channelling and irrigation systems, the Egyptians were able to develop agriculture in the same way as the Mesopotamian people.
The Egyptian Empire was governed by a pharaoh, who was considered to be a living god. Their power was absolute and they dictated laws, controlled armies and were the owners of all of the land. When they died, their remains were deposited inside a pyramid. The three best-known pharaohs were Khufu, Khafra and Menkaure.
Towards the 8th century BC the first Greek polis or city-states emerged. Although they were independent, they shared the same language, culture, religion and way of life. The most important were Athens and Sparta.
Owing to population growth and scarcity of land, the Greek cities promoted the establishment of colonies throughout the Mediterranean region. This contributed to the development of commerce and the expansion of Greek culture, which formed the basis of western culture.
The Roman civilisation began in the Italian peninsula and expanded throughout the Mediterranean. During its more than one thousand years of history, Rome had three forms of political organisation.
The territories occupied by Rome were incorporated into its Empire and submitted to a process of romanisation. This means that the Romans imposed their laws, customs, culture and language, Latin, on the lands that they conquered.
Roman society was split into two big groups:
– Citizens: patricians and plebeians.
– Non-citizens: slaves and freedmen.
The Middle Ages: basic chronology
Interactivity that presents some of the most significant events of the Middle Ages in a timeline
The most important events of the Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a period of more than one thousand years, beginning in the year 476 with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and ending in 1492 with Christopher Columbus’s arrival to America.
Throughout this period, different events and important people marked the era:
– 622: the flight of the prophet Mohammed from Mecca de Medina (hijra) signified the birth of Islam.
– 711: the beginning of the Muslim conquest of the Iberian Peninsula.
– 800: Charlemagne, king of the Franks, was crowned emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.
– 982: the viking Erik the Red arrived in Greenland.
– 1095: the first crusade began. The crusades were a series of military expeditions that aimed to conquer the Holy Land, which belonged to the Muslims.
– 1271: Venetian merchant Marco Polo arrived at the court of the Mongol Khagan, who he served for several years.
– 1348: an epidemic of the Black Death killed more than a third of the population. Its consequences were aggravated by bad harvests, famine and war.
– 1453: Johannes Gutenberg invented the moveable type printing press.