Córdoba


CÓRDOBA

  1. A Taifa Kingdom in Muslim Spain;
  2. An inland province (CO) in Andalucía in southern Spain, named after its capital, which stands on the River Guadalquivir.

The city, called Corduba by the Romans, was the capital of their province of Baetica, itself named after the River Baetis (now the Guadalquivir), which is still crossed by a Roman bridge south of the city. In the late 540s the Hispano-Romans of Baetica rebelled against the Visigoths, whose Kingdom was in a turbulent state.

In 552 a Byzantine army landed in southern Spain and in 554 it and its Baetican allies defeated the Visigoths in battle. Although Seville soon fell back under Visigothic control, Córdoba and the region around it remained independent under Byzantine protection, until Leovigild I, one of the ablest of all the Visigothic rulers, captured the city in 572.

The city (Kurtuba in Arabic) later served as the capital of the principal governor in Muslim Spain (briefly preceded in the 710s by Seville) and then of the Umayyad Amirs and Caliphs in Spain, 756-1031. It was fitting that the city whose ruler claimed to be Caliph (from 929), the successor to Mohammed, should have one of the finest mosques in all Islam.

The last years of the Caliphate saw rival dynastic claims. The last Caliph, Hisham III, was expelled from Córdoba in 1031 and disappeared from history. A member of a family of administrators, Jahwar ibn Muhammed, became the leading figure in the government, and he was succeeded by his son and grandson. The Jawharids followed a peaceful and conciliatory policy, but in the end their Kingdom was absorbed by Seville in 1069/70.

In 1075 the city fell to Toledo but was recovered by Seville a year or two later. The Almoravids took Córdoba in 1091. Their decline in the 1140s led to a brief period of Cordoban independence, 1145-48. For most of that time the city was ruled by Ibn Ghaniya, a relative of the Almoravids, who also was influential in Granada. Alfonso VII of Castile-Leon besieged the city for a while, but it was the Almohads who took it into their possession in 1148 and who in 1162 restored it as the capital of their Spanish dominions.

In the 1230s Castile-Leon advanced into Andalusia and in 1236 Córdoba fell, partly by accident.   One of several Christian bands operating in Andalusia gained access to one of the suburbs, helped by one of the factions into which the city’s politics was divided. King Ferdinand III responded to their appeal for aid, and besieged the rest of the city. It surrendered at the end of June, and the inhabitants left, by agreement, with their valuables. The great mosque (the Mesquita) became a Christian cathedral.

In the 18th century a province of Córdoba, with an intendant at its head, was created. Today it is the 2nd largest of the 8 Andalusian provinces but only 5th in population (13th and 18th out of 50 in all Spain). An exclave of the province around the village of Villar lies just within the province of Sevilla, southwest of Córdoba and a little way north-northeast of Écija.

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