From 711 CE until 1492, part or much of the Iberian peninsula was under Islamic rule. Muslim converts from North Africa easily took control of southern Spain from the ruling Visigoths with little resistance from the impoverished native Iberian or Jewish populations. Al-Andalus, as the Islamic areas were known, was originally based in Cordoba and was early blessed with enlightened rulers. It produced cosmopolitan cities, prosperous agriculture, a vibrant economy, numerous libraries with thousands of translations of Greek philosophical and scientic works, and a peaceful, religious tolerance with open participation in civic life for the Christians and Jews living there.
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