Umayyads in Spain
While the Abbasids were busy running their empire, the sole survivor of the Umayyad dynasty made his way to al-Andalus (Spain). Here, with the aid of Syrian troops (still present from the Umayyad conquests), prince Abd al-Rahman organized a new kingdom outside of Abbasid influence. Initially, in this revived Umayyad emirate (kingdom), Arabs ruled over the non-Arab and non-Muslim masses. In time, Spain was both Arabized and Islamicized, as many of its inhabitants learned to embrace Arabic and Islam. At the same time, many Christian and Jewish citizens chose to simply adapt to the language and culture of their new leaders.
In the Spanish capital of Cordoba, nearly half a million people enjoyed an age of scientific, philosophical, and artistic exploration. With hundreds of schools, mosques, libraries, and palaces, this Mediterranean city dwarfed all other European cities in size and splendor. By the early tenth century, the Umayyad dynasty and its subjects had developed a distinctly Andalusian culture that was known throughout the world. In an effort to establish al-Andalus and the Umayyad monarchy, Abd al-Rahman III declared himself caliph.
Although the kingdom would be dissolved in less than 100 years, various Islamic emirates continued to rule parts of Spain until 1492. Today, remnants of Arab and Muslim influence remain in Spain. This is especially true in the south, where visitors can see beautiful Islamic architecture, hear Arabic linguistic and musical influences, and taste the lingering flavors of North African cuisine.