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A brief history of the Reconquista (718-1492 AD): Conquest, repopulation and land distribution


  • Francisco J. Beltrán Tapia
  • Alfonso Díez-Minguela
  • Julio Martínez-Galarraga
  • Daniel A. Tirado Fabregat


This article is an attempt to summarize in the space of barely twenty pages some of the characteristics of the historical process known as the Reconquista in the territories of today’s Spain. Since this was a process that spread across eight centuries, this brief history obviously is not and does not claim to be exhaustive. On the contrary, it goes without saying that it is partial, biased and incomplete, and should be considered simply as an introduction to the subject. It looks at the Reconquista from a territorial perspective with the intention of presenting some of the key elements that led to the creation of particular institutions. These varied from region to region and, it can be argued, had an impact on the long-term economic evolution of the various territories within Spain. On the one hand, the work focuses on the timing and evolution of the military conquest of territory, from north to south, in different historical stages, while on the other it looks at the subsequent repopulation of these conquered territories as the military action moved southwards. The institutions that were created and the way society was organized at each stage of the Reconquista, including the distribution of land ownership, depended on the different factors and circumstances prevailing in each historical period.

Suggested Citation

  • Francisco J. Beltrán Tapia & Alfonso Díez-Minguela & Julio Martínez-Galarraga & Daniel A. Tirado Fabregat, 2020. "A brief history of the Reconquista (718-1492 AD): Conquest, repopulation and land distribution," Documentos de Trabajo de la Sociedad de Estudios de Historia Agraria 2004, Sociedad de Estudios de Historia Agraria.
  • Handle: RePEc:seh:wpaper:2004

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    Cited by:

    1. Beltrán Tapia, Francisco J. & Díez Minguela, Alfonso & Martinez-Galarraga, Julio & Tirado-Fabregat, Daniel A., 2021. "The roots of land inequality in Spain," IFCS - Working Papers in Economic History.WH 31728, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Figuerola.

    More about this item


    land distribution; geography; institutions; Reconquista;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • N93 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment
    • R10 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - General

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