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711 July 19, TARIK IBN ZIYAD (Spain)

A Moslem general. He defeated King Roderick, the last of the Visigoth kings, at the Battle of Rio Barbate (Guadalete) near Xeres de la Frontera. The Jews backed him in his battles. After each city was conquered (Cordova, Granada, Malaga), Jews were often given positions of safeguarding Moslem interests. One of his generals, Kaula al Yahudi, had many Jews under his command.


712 March, TOLEDO (Spain)

The Jewish inhabitants opened the gates for the Moslem invaders under Tarik ibn Zayid marking the end of Visigothic rule in Spain and the beginning of 150 years of peace. Thus began what was known as the Golden Age of Spain. The Iberian caliphate was independent of Baghdad and encouraged the flowering of Spanish-Jewish culture at the same time that it was being suppressed by the Baghdad caliphate.


716 RAMLE (Eretz Israel)

Was founded by Caliph Suleiman to be the administrative capital of the country. Many Babylonian and Persian Jews settled there. Ramle was the only town established by Arabs in Eretz Israel.


717 - 720 CALIPH OMAR II (Syria-Eretz Israel)

Did his best to force Jews and Christians to convert to Islam. This was after a period of respite during the Umayyad dynasty. This religious revival was partly due to the Arab failure to capture Constantinople and the feeling that the end of the world was imminent.


717 - 741 LEO III (The Isaurian) (Byzantine Empire)

Reigned in Constantinople. After narrowly defeating the Arab army at his gates and preventing the fall of his empire, he decided that the weakness of his empire lay in its heterogeneous population and therefore, in 722, he forcibly converted Jews as well as those known as the "New Christians". Most of them converted outwardly while secretly remaining faithful.




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