After the fall of the Roman Empire the Iberian Peninsula became populated
by a Germanic tribe called the Visigoths but these invaders were soon met by another invasion from the East. In 711,
the Umayyad Empire invaded the peninsula and quickly conquered the lands of spain and began to move into France until they
were stopped at Poiters in 732. The invading army were known as the Moors. The Muslim Moorish invaders were
a force led by Arab muslims and other peoples from the recently conquered lands of the Umayyad Empire including berbers other
North African peoples. The picture above clearly shows a Moorish army with Arab, Berber, and African
The Genetic Evidence
Recent mitochondrial DNA analysis performed on groups living in southern Spain and In North Africa around
the Sraight of Gibraltar show that both groups share the same haplogroups found in the Middle East but also the groups in
Spain still show a large number of haplogroups from Europe as well. The Y chromosome data in these regions show an even
lesser effect on populations. Around 10% of the population show decent from groups living in NW Africa. This evidence
may show that even though the region was inhabited from invaders from the south there was little gene flow actually happening
between the Christian inhabitants and their Muslim invaders. However further evidence reveals that out of
the people with these haplogroups it has been found that the largest percentage of them have ancentry from Berbers rather
More genetic evidence
Andalusi Arabic is a bundle of dialects resulting from the Arabic dialects brought into Spain in the
8th century by some thousands of Arabs who established Muslim political domination and cultural supremacy over the lands
of the Iberian Peninsula. These Arabs brought along their own separate analytic-type dialects, with a Yemenite component. This
resulted in the formation of Andalusi dialects.
Further linguistic evidence of the expansion can be heard in Spain everyday by people speaking Spanish words
which were borrowed from Arabic or have Arabic origins.
Arabic Influences in language
Other influences of Arabic Muslim culture in Spain can be seen in Spanish Cuisine and other foods that share
similarities with food found in NW Africa. The effects of Arab influence is also seen in the numeral system, music notation
system and musical instruments used in Spain and the whole of Europe.
Ali, Yusuf. "The Music of the Moors in Spain Origins of Andalusian Musical Art: Its Development and
Influence on Western Culture." Golden Age of the Moor. Edited by Ivan Van Sertima. New Brunswick: Transaction Press:
Bosch, Elena. et. al. "High-Resolution Analysis
of Human Y-Chromosome Variation Shows a Sharp
Discontinuity and Limited Gene Flow between Northwestern
Africa and the Iberian Peninsula". The
American Journal of Human Genetics. Vol: 68: p. 1019-1029, 2001.
Corriente, F. A grammatical sketch of the Spanish Arabic dialect bundle. Madrid. 1977.
Cox, George O. "The Umayyad Empire and the Caliphate of Cordoba." Chap. in African
Empires and Civilizations: Ancient and Medieval. Washington, D.C.: African Heritage Studies: p.133-58, 1974.
Plaza, S. et. al. "Joining the Pillars of Hercules: mtDNA Sequences Show Multidirectional Gene
Flow in the Western Mediterranean." Annals of Human Genetics. Volume 67, Issue
4. p.312. July 2003.
Reynolds, Dana. "The African Heritage and Ethnology of the Moors: Background to the Emergence
of Early Berber and Arab Peoples, from prehistory to the Islamic Dynasties." Golden Age of the Moor. Edited
by Ivan Van Sertima. New Brunswick: Transaction Press: p.93-150, 1992.
By John Christensen