Andalus, Al-

   The Arabic terms "al-andalus" or "bilad al-andalus" is a geographical notion that refers to those parts of the Iberian Peninsula that at any given time came under Muslim rule. At the time of the Arab expansions in the seventh century, the country was a Visigoth kingdom, a minority group of German conquerors. At this time, the Arab troops under Musa Ibn Nusayr marched over North Africa to the Atlantic coast and found themselves facing the narrow straits that separated them from Andalusia. A reconnaissance raid of a few hundred men in July 710 by Tarif, one of Musa's subordinates, met with no resistance and was soon followed by a stronger expedition under Tariq Ibn Ziyad in 711, a Berber, whose memory survives in the names of Strait of Gibraltar and Gibraltar (Jbal Tariq), the mountain of Tariq. With 5,000 men, Tariq beat the Visigoths and ushered in Muslim control of Andalusia for a period that lasted eight centuries.

Historical Dictionary of the Berbers (Imazighen) . . 2014.

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