In the eighth century, the Muslim Arabs conquered most of the Iberian Peninsula, the land mass containing present-day Spain and Portugal.
The centuries that followed constituted a golden age for Western Islam. Then, Muslim unity began to break down. In a series of wars, the Christians in the north began to expand into the south, replacing and repopulating the Muslim areas. Historians call this the Reconquista, or re-conquest. By 1250, the only remaining Muslim stronghold was the kingdom of Granada in the southeast.
Finally, in the spring of 1491, the Spanish laid siege to the city of Granada. The keys to the city were surrendered on January 2, 1492. Historian John Schmidt shares how the Spanish won.