The land today known as Spain was conquered in 711 by a General known as Tariq Ibn Zeyad, who was governor of Tangiers. The legendary story of how this land was conquered amazes men and women to this day!
General Tariq crossed the Strait of Gibraltar from North Africa to land on the shores of enemy territory. Afterward he burnt his ships and gave his army a rousing speech, telling them that there was nothing but waters at their back and the only way was forward. General Tariq proceeded to lead his army in conquering town after town, province after province, faster than expected.
One of the debated topics of the military conquest was how and why he took up this campaign and came to the land in the first place. It was a bold move considering he had to cross over a body of water and put his army in what one may consider a position of weakness.
Some say that there were "disgruntled Jews" that were unhappy with the way they were treated by the Visigoths that ruled the land during that time, and that it was them who invited General Tariq to come into the land. Also, some say that it was the "Jews" that threw open the gates of Toledo as General Tariq's army approached.
Without debating the facts, what we do know is that there was a great risk taken by this military commander and the risk was rewarded. We also know that what followed the conquering of this land was what is called to the "Golden Age of Judaism", and there was much progress and development in the way of life of the Hebrews of the land. They were given religious freedoms that were not typical of that day and time, and they were also given positions of influence and authority within the governments that ruled. The Hebrews benefitted greatly for hundreds of years after General Tariq led his conquering army.
General Tariq was a Governor and a military commander, not a rookie or private soldier. A leader at that level does not risk his own life and that of his army without having sound information from which to operate from.
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