The Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa, the key struggle of the Reconquest

Do you know what was the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa? The short answer is that it was the decisive battle in the Reconquista, in the Middle Ages , which led to Christians having the hegemony of Spain instead of the Muslims. But as always, the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa contains many more secrets and than it seems at first sight , is, in short, one of the biggest curiosities of Spain historical Today in Supercurious a summary of the conflict so that you understand it well, with what will be a perfect reading for those fans of history or, simply, those who seek a good story or even historical places what to see in Jaén . Can you come with us?

All about the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa. Know it!

Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa Knights

1. Causes of the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa

It was the year 711 when the Umayyad conquest of Hispania was perpetuated, which would put the country under Arab forces for almost 800 years. Its final end was in 1491 (in fact, only a few months before Columbus headed to America), with the fall of the Nazari kingdom of Granada.

Now that we are clear about the context of the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa, let's go back a couple of hundred years, exactly until 1212, when this battle that would start the end of the Arab Kingdom in Spain would take place. In fact, the true principle is found in 1195, when the King of Castile at that time, Alfonso VIII, suffered the defeat of another battle known as the battle of Alarcos and the loss of the castle of Salvatierra. The border with the Almohad empire, commanded by Muhammad an-Nasir, was approaching more and more.

Alfonso decided then that he would defeat the Almohads once and for all, but that, to achieve this, he would need help, so he spoke with Pope Innocent III and told him that he wanted to make a crusade and that he needed knights from all over Europe, especially of France. With the papal intervention he also got the word from the rest of the Christian kingdoms in his area, such as Portugal, that they would not attack him while fighting with the Muslims. In addition, it obtained the support of two great kingdoms neighbors to the one of Castile: Aragon and Navarre.

However, and despite the fact that the army that got the monarch was quite strong, it had nothing to do with the strength and resources of the Almohads. Although in the chronicles was exaggerated a lot (it is said that they fought with more or less than 80,000 soldiers) it can be deduced that it was a massive and intimidating army that would lead to the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa.

2. Summary of the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa

Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa cavalleros

The Christian forces arrived at Las Navas de Tolosa on Friday, July 13, 1212. Throughout the weekend, there were skirmishes, but no major action. However, on Monday, July 16, Muhammad an-Nasir, fearful of the desertions that can generate waiting and tired of this, decides to start the attack on the Christian side.

The Christians tried to return the battle, but the Muslims pretended that they were retreating to counterattack. Seeing the large number of Muslim soldiers, many Christians panicked, released their weapons and prepared to flee. Upon seeing it, the three Christian kings decided that they themselves would launch the attack.

The tactic took effect and the morale of the troops rose like foam. The soldiers confronted the Muslims and, although they outnumbered them, they managed to defeat them, thanks also to an attack with the heavy cavalry and the more trained and efficient soldiers of the Christian side. When fleeing, the Muslim side left a great booty of war for the soldiers' rejoicing , who could take home many memories of such a bloody battle.

3. Consequences of the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa

Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa detail

As we have said, the consequences of the Battle of Navas de Tolosa were essentially what marked a before and after in the historical period known as the Reconquista. During the following years, the Christian side would recover much of Andalusia, as well as the Balearic Islands and Valencia.

The Almohad kingdom, then, was in clear decline and it was another emerging African association, the Marinids, who would try unsuccessfully to recover what the Almohads had lost. It was against this side that the Reconquista ended and a different period began in the whole country, which, being already a Christian majority, would extol the battle to legendary levels.

If you are interested in the subject and want to know what to see in Spain about, You can visit the museum of the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa , in Santa Elena, Jaén, near the place where everything we have told happened. In the museum you can see all kinds of explanatory panels, as well as pieces of the different armies, armament paraphernalia used during the battle, a recreation of the camp and a lookout tower in which you can enjoy the Sierra Morena (and a breeder of lynxes in captivity).

The Battle of the Navas de Tolosa is part of the history that takes us directly to our days and it is important to know and understand to know and understand ourselves. Tell us, did you like this article? Do you think we have left something to tell? Remember that you can tell us what you want if you leave us a comment!

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