El hecho diferencial portugués (3): La invasión mahometana y la reconquista.

Reconquista y repoblacion portuguesas Continúo con esto: El hecho diferencial portugués (2). La conquista Romana y los germanos

Chapter 10: Moslem Domination

For almost two centuries, until 585 A.D., the Swabians maintained their kingdom in the northwest, while the Visigoths controlled the remainder of the peninsula. The Swabian area was remote, obscure country, as it has been throughout virtually all of its history, and the Visigoths had little interest in it.

Otro “hecho diferencial”: en Galicia y el norte de Portugal se establecieron los suevos, en el resto del país, los visigodos.

Furthermore — and also of fundamental importance — it is not the kind of country and climate to attract either Arabs or Berbers. (….) In all ways it was better situated for revolt than most of the rest of the peninsula; this is demonstrated by the fact that the Moslems held no territory beyond the Douro River after the first two generations following the conquest. None of the forays that they made into the territory had lasting results.

The area of present Portugal pre-eminently to the taste of the Moslems was the dry south, below the Tejo River, the present Portuguese provinces of the Alentejo and, especially, the Algarve, with its climate more African than European and with fine opportunities for irrigation. (…)

Middle Portugal, the country between the Douro and the Tejo, fulfilled its long-time function as a transition area during the Moslem period also. It was a battleground throughout the centuries.

Otro más: tampoco era muy del gusto de los mahometanos.

Chapter 11: The Reconquest of Iberia

Between 751 and 754, Alfonso I took Chaves, Braga, Porto, Viseu and other settlements and castles.Then he continued his conquest by taking Astorga, León, Zamora, Salamanca, [149] Simancas, Avila, and Miranda de Ebro. To accomplish these victories, he had made thrusts through most of the northern meseta, and such a conquest was too rapid to be permanent. Alfonso realized this fact, and to protect the weak frontier he decided to strengthen the Asturian nucleus. To do so he created a politically impotent zone south of Asturias extending to the Duero River. The Chronicon Sebastiani says that he killed the Arabs of the cities and that he removed the Christians, taking them back to Asturias with him. The Chronicon Albedense reports that he desolated the lands down to the Duero River. The view that a desert waste was literally created was accepted by Herculano, and thus until recently found almost universal acceptance in Iberia. It is still defended by many historians. For example, Sánchez Albornoz brilliantly catalogues the breakdown of civil and religious authority and institutions, and his proof is beyond cavil. However, his assumption that this collapse indicates desertion of the land by the self-sufficient small peasant farmers is in no way demonstrated. His contention that a great band of desert was created from the Atlantic to the Ebro and that depopulation was complete cannot be accepted. The statements to this effect by early chroniclers, upon which he depends, were obviously hyperbole. Nor can his later statement, that the interruption of life on the meseta was absolute, be accepted, although the desertion of lands on the meseta of present Spain was undoubtedly far greater than that in the mountainous Portuguese north.

Esto no tiene mucho que ver con el hecho diferencial, pero es interesante.

The resettlement of the north was made in the “desert” zone, which had had no political affiliation for over a century and had severed its economic ties with Galicia and León. Politically and economically, this zone started afresh with new alignments, whereas Galicia had had an unbroken tradition of adherence to the Leonese kingdom of the Iberian plateau. The cultural[153] similarity between Galicia and the north of Portugal remained, but there was a new economic focus and a consciousness of difference, beginning at the north border of the formerly “deserted” zone, the line of the lower Minho River.

In a Guimarães document of 841 there is reference to the “Provincia Portucalense,” tacitly underlining the special character of the area south of the Minho River, the southern section of the former Swabian realm, the germ of the future Portugal. (37) Thus the present province of the Minho, plus extensions southward, was recognized as a place apart, one with distinct personality. In a document of Alfonso III, of 883, the name “Portugal” was used to identify the Minho-to-Douro lands. The term “Galicia” was restricted to the area to the north of the Minho River.

Galicia y Portugal empiezan a diferenciarse en esta época.

Even before the devastation and weakening of León by al-Mansur in the last of the tenth century, attempts had been made by local barons of Galicia to throw off Leonese control. In the last half of the tenth century they rebelled against [155] Ordoño III,(44) and in 1031 other revolts in Galicia against the king of León were aided by the king of Navarra. (45) By the end of the eleventh century the sense of independence had grown so lustily that in 1071 the barons of Entre-Douro-e-Minho (Minho Province) revolted against King García of the ephemeral kingdom of Galicia. (46) This revolt was a precursor of the one of 1128 when Affonso (or Afonso) Henriques took the successful step toward Portuguese independence. The barons might well have advanced the day of Portuguese independence by three generations had it not been for the opposition of Sesnando, Count of Coimbra. Because of his opposition, the barons were squeezed between two forces and defeated. (47)

The remote, increasingly self-sufficient northwest was an obvious candidate for separatism. If means had not been found to avoid it in Galicia, that section of Iberia would almost surely have been lost to Spain, as Portugal was ultimately lost. A device that probably can be credited with maintaining the bonds between Galicia and the meseta kingdoms was suggested, perhaps quite fortuitously, by the church. This was the establishment and development of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela along the route from France across north Spain.

Galicia intenta separarse de León, pero no lo consigue.

The rebelliousness of the northwest had been not only political but also religious. This part of Iberia had long been restless and independently disposed toward Rome (note earlier references to the Priscillianist and Manichaean heresies in Chapter 9). This sense of detachment from the remainder of Iberia was largely dissipated in Galicia by the development of the pilgrimage to the supposed Iberian resting place of the remains of [156] St. James, the first reference to which was made in the ninth century. (48)

El Camino de Santiago une a Galicia con el resto de España.
During the last half of the ninth and the early tenth centuries, resettlement was begun on the meseta. The southern part of the province of León was repopulated mostly by Galician and Asturian colonists. (54) This fact, undoubtedly, had an influence upon the later alliance of Galicia with the meseta kingdoms. North Portugal, as was pointed out above, was resettled out of the south. This is an important difference and casts more light upon the ultimate separation of Galicia and Portugal.

Interesante diferencia.

León was the strongest opponent of the Moslems and thus the center of their attack in several campaigns. Not only were cities sacked and burned, but the desolation of the farms and[159] groves was frightful. (60) Nevertheless, even after these afflictions, León remained the most powerful of the Christian kingdoms in the early eleventh century. (61) But the bell was beginning to toll. The blows of the Moslems had been debilitating (62) and constituted an important reason for its decline. Other reasons for decline are harder to assess but, without doubt, they were of importance. For example, the rigidity of customs and law was such that it was impossible for León to adjust to the changing times. The old Visigothic law, the Fuero Juzgo, was grimly applied, even though it failed to fit the conditions of this revolutionary situation. Nor did the Visigothic bequest of unpredictable regal succession help matters. (63) It led to internal tensions arid spawned revolts, when unanimity of purpose might have saved the kingdom.

Of the three distinct centers or nuclei of the north of Iberia, León had been the most powerful and was the object of Moslem attack. Leonese strength in this case was its disadvantage and it suffered under repeated and devastating attacks. Castile, on the east, was less in the Moslem focus and continued to grow in power and to form itself as a political unit. On the other side was the area of present North Portugal, considerably isolated by topography. It was a wet, green country in a blind alley position and had little to recommend it to either the Moslems or the meseta Spaniards. León had its hands full with insuperable problems without being concerned about a remote, somewhat strange and unattractive land. Even less would that part of the peninsula have come into the ken of Castile, so far away and so involved in the great social and military changes that eventuated in its becoming the supreme power of Spain. The emergence of Castile as dominant over León was all to the good for Portugal. It left the latter a free choice of remaining largely aloof, or of taking part in the affairs of the rest of the peninsula. When its interests were served it could take part in the conflict, but otherwise there was little compulsion. When Portugal struck for its freedom, León was well along the road of its decline, but Casille had not yet succeeded in consolidating its power over the more important areas in the east and the south.

La próxima semana publcio la conclusión.

La foto es de aquí.

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