A later illustration shows prisoners being led to the stake during the Inquisition.
During the next 200 years, Christian forces pushed slowly and steadily southward. By 1300, Christians controlled the entire Iberian Peninsula except for Granada. Muslim influences remained strong, though, and helped shape the arts and literature of Christian Spain.
In 1469, the marriage of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile created the unified state called Spain. Using their combined forces, Ferdinand and Isabella made a final push against the Muslim stronghold of Granada. In 1492, Granada fell. The Reconquista was complete. Ferdinand and Isabella then set out to impose unity on their diverse peoples. Isabella was determined to bring religious as well as political unity to the kingdom.
Under Muslim rule, Spanish Christians, Jews, and Muslims lived in relative peace, worshipping as they chose. Isabella ended that tolerance. With the support of the Inquisition, a Church court set up to try people accused of heresy, Isabella launched a new crusade.
Conditions for Muslims and Jews worsened. Both Muslims and Jews were ordered to accept baptism as Christians or go into exile. Many were baptized but secretly followed their former faith. Converts were often tried by the Inquisition. If they were found guilty of practicing their old religion, they faced punishments such as torture or burning at the stake. In 1492, Queen Isabella expelled all Jews who did not convert to Christianity. Hundreds of thousands of Jews fled Spain. Over the next century, hundreds of thousands of Muslims were also expelled from Spain.
Spain achieved religious unity, but at a high price. Hundreds of thousands of people, mostly Jews and Muslims, fled into exile in the years after 1492. Many of them were skilled, educated people who had contributed much to Spain's economy and culture.
What was the Reconquista?