Illustration of a raised platform with kindling occupied by a priest and soldiers dragging an unwilling participant. People watching include men, women, children, and a man on horseback.

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.

Spain Forces Non-Christians to Leave

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.


  1. Draw Conclusions Why was the invasion of the Byzantine empire by the Seljuk Turks in the 1050s significant?
  2. Determine Relevance How did the Crusades accelerate change in Europe?
  3. Recognize Cause and Effect How did improvements in agriculture in the countryside likely affect the lives of townspeople?
  4. Draw Inferences What were the advantages of living in a medieval city? Would you rather have lived in the country or a city in medieval Europe? Why?
  5. Draw Conclusions Why was the revival of trade so important?

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Table of Contents

World History Topic 1 Origins of Civilization (Prehistory–300 B.C.) Topic 2 The Ancient Middle East and Egypt (3200 B.C.–500 B.C.) Topic 3 Ancient India and China (2600 B.C.–A.D. 550) Topic 4 The Americas (Prehistory–A.D. 1570) Topic 5 Ancient Greece (1750 B.C.–133 B.C.) Topic 6 Ancient Rome and the Origins of Christianity (509 B.C.-A.D. 476) Topic 7 Medieval Christian Europe (330–1450) Topic 8 The Muslim World and Africa (730 B.C.-A.D. 1500) Topic 9 Civilizations of Asia (500–1650) Topic 10 The Renaissance and Reformation (1300–1650) Topic 11 New Global Connections (1415–1796) Topic 12 Absolutism and Revolution Topic 13 The Industrial Revolution Topic 14 Nationalism and the Spread of Democracy (1790–1914) Topic 15 The Age of Imperialism (1800–1914) Topic 16 World War I and the Russian Revolution (1914–1924) Topic 17 The World Between the Wars (1910–1939) Topic 18 World War II (1930–1945) Topic 19 The Cold War Era (1945–1991) Topic 20 New Nations Emerge (1945–Present) Topic 21 The World Today (1980-Present) United States Constitution Primary Sources 21st Century Skills Atlas Glossary Index Acknowledgments