Portuguese Society in the Eleventh Century: Conquest, Reconquest or Convivencia?



Eleventh-century Portuguese society was the product of a unique combination of geography and history. Rugged mountain ranges rising to heights of almost 2,000 meters hedge the region to the east, making direct travel into central Spain difficult and hazardous. This isolation encouraged self-sufficiency and a mistrust of outside interference, characteristics that were embedded more deeply by the passage of time. Prehistoric tribes, Celts, Phoenicians, Romans and Visigoths all left their mark upon the landscape and on the consciousness of its inhabitants. An accumulation of legends, ancient place names and overgrown ruins linked the eleventh-century Portuguese with the distant past. Yet the realities of day-to-day existence during this period were shaped above all by the cataclysmic events of the Arab invasions in 711.1


Muslim World Eleventh Century Royal Court Portuguese Society Muslim Ruler 
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© Stephen Lay 2009

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