It is coextensive with the province of Asturias and contains some of the territory that was part of the larger Kingdom of Asturias in the Middle Ages. Divided into eight comarcas (counties), the autonomous community of Asturias is bordered by Cantabria to the east, by León ( Castile and León ) to the south, by Lugo ( Galicia ) to the west, and by the Cantabrian sea to the north.
Asturias - Principality of Asturias The Principality of Asturias is an autonomous community in Spain. Asturias borders with the Cantabric Sea to the north, with Galicia to the east, with Castile and León to the south and with Cantabria to the west. The capital of Asturias is Oviedo, while the most populated municipality is Gijón.
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- Indigenous Background
- Umayyad Occupation and Asturian Revolt
- Initial Expansion
- Social and Political Transformations
- Recognition and Later Solidification
- Viking Raids
- See Also
- General References
The kingdom originated in the western and central territory of the Cantabrian Mountains, particularly the Picos de Europa and the central area of Asturias. The main political and military events during the first decades of the kingdom's existence took place in the region. According to the descriptions of Strabo, Cassius Dio and other Graeco-Roman geographers, several peoples of Celticorigin inhabited the lands of Asturias at the beginning of the Christian era, most notably: 1. in the Cantabri, the Vadinienses, who inhabited the Picos de Europa region and whose settlement gradually expanded southward during the first centuries of the modern era 2. the Orgenomesci, who dwelled along the Asturian eastern coast 3. in the Astures, the Saelini, whose settlement extended through the Sella Valley 4. the Luggones, who had their capital in Lucus Asturumand whose territories stretched between the Sella and Nalón 5. the Astures (in the strictest sense), who dwelled in inner Asturias, between th...
The kingdom was established by the nobleman Pelayo (Latin: Pelagius), possibly an Asturian noble. No substantial movement of refugees from central Iberia could have taken place before the Battle of Covadonga, and in 714 Asturias was overrun by Musa bin Nusayr with no effective or known opposition. It has also been claimed that he may have retired to the Asturian mountains after the Battle of Guadalete, where in the Gothic tradition of Theias he was elected by the other nobles as leader of the Astures. Pelayo's kingdom was initially little more than a rallying banner for existing guerilla forces. In the progress of the Islamic conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, the main cities and administrative centers fell into the hands of Muslim troops. Control of the central and southern regions, such as the Guadalquivir and Ebro valleys, presented few problems for the newcomers, who used the existing Visigothic administrative structures, ultimately of Roman origin. However, in the northern moun...
Favila was succeeded by Alphonse I, who inherited the throne of Asturias thanks to his marriage to Pelayo's daughter, Ermesinda. The Albeldensian Chronicle narrated how Alphonse arrived in the kingdom some time after the battle of Covadonga to marry Ermesinda. Favila's death made his access to the throne possible as well as the rise of one of the most powerful families in the Kingdom of Asturias, the House of Cantabria. Initially, only Alphonse moved to the court in Cangas de Onís, but, after the progressive depopulation of the plateau and the Middle Valley of the Ebro, where the main strongholds of the Duchy of Cantabria (e.g., Amaya, Tricio and the City of Cantabria) were located, the descendants of Duke Peter withdrew from Riojatowards the Cantabrian area and in time controlled the destiny of the Kingdom of Asturias. Alphonse began the territorial expansion of the small Christian kingdom from its first seat in the Picos de Europa, advancing toward the west to Galicia and toward t...
Written sources are concise concerning the reigns of Aurelio, Silo, Mauregatus and Bermudo I. Generally this period, with a duration of twenty-three years (768–791), has been considered as a long stage of obscurity and retreat of the kingdom of Asturias. This version, defended by some historians, who even named this historical phase as that of the "lazy kings," derived from the fact that, during it, there were apparently no important military actions against al-Andalus. However, there were relevant and decisive internal transformations, which provided a foundation for the strengthening and the expansion of Asturias. First, the first internal rebellion, led by Mauregato (783–788), occurred during those years. The rebellion removed Alphonse II from the throne (although he became king again later, from 791 to 842). This initiated a series of further rebellions whose principal leaders were members of ascending aristocratic palace groups and landowners who, based on the growing economic...
It was not until King Alfonso II (791–842) that the kingdom was firmly established, after Silo's subjugated Gallaecia and confirmed territorial gains in western Basque Country. Ties with the Carolingian Franks also got closer and more frequent, with Alfonso II's envoys presenting Charlemagne with spoils of war (campaign of Lisbon, 797). Alfonso II introduced himself as "an Emperor Charlemagne's man", suggesting some kind of suzerainty. During Alfonso II's reign, a probable reaction against indigenous traditions took place in order to strengthen his state and grip on power, by establishing in the Asturian Court the order and ceremonies of the former Visigoth Kingdom. Around this time, the holy bones of James, son of Zebedee were declared to have been found in Galicia at Iria Flavia. They were considered authentic by a contemporary pope of Rome. However, during the Asturian period, the final resting place of Eulalia of Mérida, located in Oviedo, became the primary religious site and f...
The Vikings invaded Galicia in 844, but were decisively defeated by Ramiro I at Corunna. Many of the Vikings' casualties were caused by the Galicians' ballistas – powerful torsion-powered projectile weapons that looked rather like giant crossbows. Seventy of the Vikings' longships were captured on the beach and burned. A few months later, another fleet took Seville. The Vikings found in Seville a population which was still largely Gothic and Romano-Spanish. The Gothic elements were important in the Andalusian emirate. Musa ibn Musa, who took a leading part in the defeat of the Vikings at Tablada, belonged to a powerful Muwalladfamily of Gothic descent. Vikings returned to Galicia in 859, during the reign of Ordoño I. Ordoño was at the moment engaged against his constant enemies, the Moors, but a count of the province, Don Pedro, attacked the Vikings and defeated them, inflicting severe losses upon them. Ordoño's successor, Alfonso III, strove to protect the coast against attacks fro...
Remnants of Megalithic and Celtic paganism
Although the earliest evidence of Christian worship in Asturias dates from the 5th century, evangelisation did not make any substantial progress until the middle of the sixth century, when hermits like Turibius of Liébanaand monks of the Saint Fructuoso order gradually settled in the Cantabrian mountains and began preaching the Christian doctrine. Christianisation progressed slowly in Asturias and did not necessarily supplant the ancient pagan divinities. As elsewhere in Europe, the new relig...
The foundations of Asturian culture and that of Christian Spain in the High Middle Ages were laid during the reigns of Silo and Mauregatus, when the Asturian kings submitted to the authority of the Umayyad emirs of the Caliphate of Córdoba. The most prominent Christian scholar in the Kingdom of Asturias of this period was Beatus of Liébana, whose works left an indelible mark on the Christian culture of the Reconquista. Beatus was directly involved in the debate surrounding adoptionism, which...
The most transcendental works of Beatus were his Commentaries to Apocalypse, which were copied in later centuries in manuscripts called beati, about which the Italian writer Umberto Eco said: "Their splendid images gave birth to the most relevant iconographic happening in the History of Mankind". Beatus develops in them a personal interpretation of the Book of Revelation, accompanied by quotes from the Old Testament, the Church Fathersand fascinating illustrations. In these Commentaries a new...
The Kingdom of Asturias was, in its infancy, an indigenous reaction of Astures and Cantabri to a foreign invasion. These people had already fought the Romans in the Cantabrian Wars, and initially resisted Romanisation. Although they preserved many characteristics of their pre-Roman culture, their Celtic languages were later lost in favor of Latin. This kingdom is the birthplace of an influential European medieval architectural style: Asturian pre-Romanesque. This style of architecture was founded during the reign of Ramiro I. This small kingdom was a milestone in the fight against the adoptionist heresy, with Beatus of Liébana as a major figure. In the time of Alfonso II, the shrine of Santiago de Compostelawas "found". The pilgrimage to Santiago, Camiño de Santiago, was a major nexus within Europe, and many pilgrims (and their money) passed through Asturias on their way to Santiago de Compostela.
Glick, Thomas (2005), Islamic and Christian Spain in the Early Middle Ages, Leiden: Brill, ISBN 90-04-14771-3