This is episode 40 called Economy of al-Andalus and in this episode you will learn:
- European and Islamic context of the Medieval economy
- Two misconceptions related to the economy of al-Andalus: the static image of al-Andalus and the image of al-Andalus as an urban and commercial economy
- Muslim contributions to the agriculture of Spain and Europe, and the development of agriculture as a necessary condition to develop other sectors
- Brief overview of how the Arabs and Berbers settled in the Iberian Peninsula and how were the Andalusi lands exploited
- Which agricultural products were produced in al-Andalus, and the limitations of the “prosperity” of a pre-industrial economy
- Stockbreeding in al-Andalus
- Mining in al-Andalus
- Brief overview of the fiscal system of Umayyad Spain and the first Taifa period
- The growth and development of cities in Muslim Spain, including the estimated population of several Andalusi cities
- Manufactured products of al-Andalus
- Lengthy discussion about commerce and international trade, including town markets, the role of al-Andalus as a bridge between the East and the West, and the main exports and imports of al-Andalus
- The economic and commercial importance of Almería, and brief summary of the key points of the episode
- A comparison between the economy of Roman Hispania and al-Andalus
I’m David Cot, host of The History of Spain Podcast, and this is episode 40 called Economy of al-Andalus. In this episode you will learn about every relevant aspect of the economy of al-Andalus until the late 11th century. Don’t miss an episode, subscribe to the podcast!
The economic prosperity of al-Andalus contrasted sharply with the economic conditions of Christian Europe. Ever since the Late Roman Empire the state of European economies declined, as trade diminished and rural communities became largely self-sufficient. Urban centers lost population and power in favor of the countryside, and money almost disappeared as the common medium of exchange. But all that started to gradually change after the first century of Muslim rule, because the Iberian Peninsula became integrated into the economies of the Islamic community. That helped to revive the traditional economic and cultural links between Spain and North Africa, and it also allowed to open new contacts with the Near East and Constantinople. Cities gained population again and they became renowned centers of commerce and industry, where local and foreign merchants carried on trade and artisans produced goods for the domestic market and for export. Gold and silver coins circulated throughout al-Andalus, and the countryside shared the prosperity of the cities too. As you can imagine, the economy of al-Andalus reached its peak during the Caliphate of Córdoba, when it became the wealthiest country in Europe, and in today’s episode I’m going to focus on the evolution of the economy from the Muslim conquest up to the Almoravid conquest of al-Andalus in the late 11th century.
After exciting you with that very positive image of the Andalusi economy, let me cool your expectations because there are two main misconceptions related to the economy of al-Andalus that I need to address first. The first misconception is that al-Andalus remained unaltered. That applies to the political system, the society, culture, and also the economy. I say that because many people have a preconceived and simplified image of a static al-Andalus, and I want to change that. As it happens to all countries, the al-Andalus of the 8th century is very different from the al-Andalus of the 10th or the 14th centuries. So, as it’s logic, the economy of al-Andalus changed over time, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone to find out that the al-Andalus of the 8th century and early 9th century, from the Muslim conquest to the reign of Abd al-Rahman II, didn’t substantially change the economic landscape of the Iberian Peninsula. As it had happened in Visigothic Spain, at first the economy was characterized by its autarkic focus, with few differences in terms of crops, agricultural techniques, diversification, or urban development.
After this first phase, from the reign of Abd al-Rahman II to the early reign of Abd al-Rahman III, the Andalusi economy was starting to become more commercial and urban, an exchange economy, and all that urban and commercial development reached its peak during the Caliphate of Córdoba. Overall, the fragile political system of the small Taifa kingdoms of the 11th century supposed the beginning of the economic decline of al-Andalus. On one hand, the decline of Córdoba after the fall of the Caliphate helped to develop the provincial urban centers of al-Andalus and spread technologies across al-Andalus. Nonetheless, the Taifa period was also characterized by high fiscal pressure, monetary devaluations, and destruction and instability caused by the war between Taifa states and the Christian conquests.
Related to the previous time-related misconception, part of the academic historiography has portrayed al-Andalus as an urban and commercial economy. It’s true that the economy of al-Andalus was more diversified, more specialized, and more urban than the vast majority of economies of the Middle Ages, but at the same time the growth of urban centers was only made possible by a strong agrarian sector. This is similar to what happens with the early Roman Empire, that’s portrayed as urban, even if probably less than 10% of the population lived in urban areas. It’s impossible to estimate the urbanization rate of al-Andalus, it was among the top of the world at the time for sure and I will later discuss this urban development, but what’s also true is that most people still lived in the countryside.
As in any other pre-industrial country, agriculture was the backbone of the Andalusi economy. The Muslims didn’t make revolutionary innovations, but they improved much the existing agricultural techniques with techniques tested in Mesopotamia, India and Egypt. The Muslims introduced some new crops, such as orange trees or rice, so we wouldn’t have paella without them, and the wide variety of Andalusi products was enhanced by the fact that the Iberian Peninsula and in particular the south has many distinct ecological zones. The Muslims also improved greatly the irrigation systems of Spain, a legacy that has been especially important for the agriculture of Valencia, Murcia and the Balearic Islands. Again, it’s important to highlight that there were irrigation systems that dated back to Roman times, but the Muslims built large-scale systems of irrigation and introduced them in new locations, leading changes in the ecosystem of the Iberian Peninsula. Some lands that hadn’t been labored before, because they were considered too dry or infertile, started to be exploited thanks to investments in irrigation and hydraulic wheels and the introduction of new crops to reduce the risk of famines.
Something that I find very remarkable is that some Andalusis wrote a series of agronomic treatises with the aim to maximize agricultural efficiency and output while preventing negative effects on the ecosystem to ensure long-term sustainability. That was a central concern both in al-Andalus and the rest of the Islamic world for two reasons: lands were exploited more intensively than in the Roman period, and most Muslim countries aren’t exactly famous for their abundant rains. Among academics, the discussion of a concept coined as Arab Agricultural Revolution is still a central issue, and I encourage you to read more about this hypothesis and its different views. In any case, it’s obvious that the Muslims improved irrigation, widened the variety of crops of Europe, and helped to improve productivity in agriculture and horticulture supported by developments popularized through Andalusi agricultural manuals. What’s important to understand is that without these improvements in the agricultural sector, the growth and development of cities, trade, manufactures and culture wouldn’t have been possible.
When the Muslims conquered the Iberian Peninsula, the Arabs sized the lands of the Visigothic state and many that belonged to the Catholic Church or of individuals who had refused to submit peacefully. The Arabs settled in the most fertile lands, mainly in Andalusia around the Guadalquivir valley, and in the Ebro valley, while the Berbers settled in central Spain, in mountainous regions, or they didn’t settle at all and kept living their nomadic life. The Arabs and Hispano-Goths who kept their properties exploited large estates using the system of sharecropping. That means that the landowner allowed a tenant to use the land for the share of the crops produced. Landowners and sharecroppers usually supplied half the seeds each, but the sharecropper had to plow, sow and harvest using his own animals and tools in return of one-half of the harvest. If the sharecropper was supplied with work animals and more than half the seeds to be sown, he consequently received a smaller proportion of the harvest.
Wheat and barley were the fundamental agricultural products, and wheat was transformed into bread, porridge and mush. Wheat and barley were usually cultivated in the dry areas of Andalusia and the Levant, in Valencia and Murcia, and although wheat supply was usually sufficient for domestic needs, some was imported from North Africa. Even though al-Andalus was known for its prosperity, mainly thinking about the Caliphate of Córdoba, as in any pre-industrial economy famines occurred every now and then, that’s why some wheat had to be imported. A Muslim chronicler wrote the following about the famine of 915, already during the reign of Abd al-Rahman III: “the misery of the people reached unheard-of extremes and disease and plague took such hold upon the needy that it became impossible to bury all the dead.” I think it’s important to highlight this point about the famines, because although the economy of the Caliphate of Córdoba was among the most prosperous of the world, you need perspective and you need to know the limitations of the prosperity of a pre-industrial country. We speak about wealth always in relative terms, and if we time travelled to Medieval al-Andalus, or Constantinople, or China, we wouldn’t consider them rich at all by our modern standards.
Olive and fruit trees like orange or lemon trees were abundant in Seville, Córdoba, Jaén and Málaga, and olive oil was exported to Morocco and the east. Even though Quran prohibited the consumption of alcoholic drinks like wine, the consumption of wine was so widespread in the al-Andalus of the Umayyads and Taifa kingdoms that even the Caliph Abd al-Rahman III was famous for being a wine consumer. His son and successor proposed to uproot the vines, but he couldn’t due to the possible revolts that such order could ignite. In the Levant and southeastern Spain melons, beans, lettuce, cotton, rice and sugar cane were grown. In parts of Andalusia and Murcia linen, cotton and silk were cultivated mainly by women workers, while madder and woad were raised to dye clothes, all this to provide the raw materials for the powerful Andalusi textile industry. Moreover, the Andalusis exerted a lasting influence in Europe with their botanical knowledge and decorative flowers. On another note, hunting was done both for local meat consumption and as an entertainment of the aristocracy. Both fluvial and maritime fishing flourished, as species like sardine or tuna were widely consumed, while carpentry was very important to build houses and construct ships in the shipyards of Almería, Seville, Tortosa, or Alcácer do Sal, in Portugal.
Stockbreeding activities and the exploitation of mineral resources were very important economic activities too. The Berbers raised sheep and goats and they did transhumance, the annual migrations of sheep in central Spain and Valencia. Work and transport animals such as donkeys or mules were raised too, the mules of Majorca were especially appreciated, while cows and pigs were scarcer. Nonetheless, despite the Koranic prohibition of consuming pigs, pigs were still consumed by both Mozarabs and some not very orthodox Muslims. The Syrians even brought water buffaloes from India to the Iberian Peninsula, but they must have been extinguished by the 12th century. The breeding of chickens and rabbits was also prevalent, while it’s interesting to mention that few people had cats or dogs. Pigeons were extremely popular because they were widely used as messenger pigeons and their excrements were used as a fertilizer and in medicine. Beekeeping reached a notorious level of development in al-Andalus, and agronomic treatises show that the Andalusis knew a lot about bees. As in many other cultures, horses were very appreciated because they gave a man prestige, and actually since Roman times Spain was renowned for its horses. But thanks to the arrival of Arabian and Barb horses, the mix of heavy European and lighter Oriental horses gave birth to the Andalusian horse, also known as Pure Spanish Horse. Horses were raised in the Guadalquivir marshes and the mountains of Ronda, and since the 11th century horses couldn’t be freely sold. The Arabs and Berbers also brought camels to the Iberian Peninsula, but there weren’t many because their use didn’t make much sense given the ecological conditions of Spain.
In ancient times Spain was already famous for its mineral wealth, although it wasn’t as rich as it used to be because the Romans intensively exploited it. Still, gold could be found in the beds of rivers such as the Tajo in Lisbon or the Segre in Lérida, or in the Cordoban mines of Hornachuelos, but it was easier to import most gold from Sub-Saharan Africa and to make a good profit minting coin. As you can imagine, in a market economy like that of al-Andalus money was the ordinary medium of exchange, but as I’ve discussed in episode 39 ‘Towards the Caliphate of Córdoba’ the minting of the gold dinar was a right reserved to the caliph. Therefore, when Abd al-Rahman III assumed the title of Caliph, he could restart the minting of gold dinars and the at least fourteen mints of al-Andalus provided a good source of revenue for the royal treasure. Ibn Hawqal reported that the Caliph Abd al-Rahman III minted 200,000 dinars each year, a very remarkable sum, so it’s not surprising to see how many of these coins were found throughout the Muslim world and Christian Europe. A century later, Christian kings imitated the Cordoban coinage to improve their prestige, although as you can imagine they didn’t mint even a fraction of what the Caliphate minted.
However, most coins in circulation were silver and copper coins, and silver was easy to extract in Murcia, Córdoba and Seville. The mines of Almadén, which literally means mine in Arabic, were and are the richest source of mercury in the world, and more than 1,000 workers labored in Almadén. Thanks to the 10th century Arab writer Ibn Hawqal we know that iron, mercury, copper and lead were the most extracted and exported mineral resources of al-Andalus. Marble, salt, clay, and alum were extracted too, but what matters is that mines were once again intensively exploited, unlike it had happened during the Late Roman Empire or the Visigothic Kingdom. We are poorly informed about the techniques used or who owned and exploited the mines, but apparently techniques didn’t differ much from those employed by the Romans, and after the fall of the Caliphate of Córdoba mines were privately owned and exploited, until the Almohads restored state ownership. Miners in large mines were mainly unskilled slaves, while in smaller ones we can guess that there was a mix of slaves, serfs and free workers.
A good indicator of the prosperity and also the centralization of the Caliphate of Córdoba is the data we have about public revenues. The problem with the official accounting is that only legal and voluntary taxes are included. Remember from episode 26 ‘Administration of al-Andalus’ that the Quran recognizes several taxes, such as a land tax, one to exempt military service, or the jizya tax of the dhimmi. But then Islamic states had to impose additional taxes, because the divinely sanction taxes of the Quran weren’t enough to finance Muslim states, these are the extralegal taxes, or non-canonical taxes. Extralegal taxes include tariffs, tolls, sales taxes, taxes on foreigners, among others, but there were additional sources of revenue that aren’t included in official accounting, such as occasional tribute from Christian rulers or lords of the frontier marches, revenues from coinage, mints, or the exploitation of royal estates. If the Muslim ruler wanted to be more popular or tried to calm the population, he usually opted for a reduction of extralegal taxes, for instance the Almoravids and Almohads claimed to have restored taxes to their legal limits. So, with all these considerations in mind, during the reign of al-Nasir, revenues from legal Islamic taxes rose up to more than 6 million gold dinars, a figure 6 times than that of the Emir Abd al-Rahman II. Moreover, Abd al-Rahman III is reported to have had 20 million gold dinars in his treasury, a sum that his son and successor al-Hakam II doubled. As I said earlier in this episode, fiscal pressure increased during the turbulent Taifa period, partly because of the conflicts of this periods, and partly because Taifa rulers tried to recreate a small-sized version of the Caliphate of Córdoba instead of creating a state adapted to the circumstances of the 11th century.
Just as a reminder before moving on to the growth of cities and the secondary and tertiary sectors, as I said before the development of agriculture is what allowed cities and other sectors to grow. The economic development of al-Andalus provoked a demographic growth, and the Caliphate of Córdoba probably had between 5.5 and 7 million inhabitants. Because of the economic and demographic growth, the cities of Muslim Spain increased in population and wealth, a truly exceptional phenomenon in 10th and 11th century Europe. It would be interesting if specialists of Medieval Europe studied how the urban development of al-Andalus influenced that same development in Christian Europe a few centuries later. But anyway, we lack demographic statistics, but back in 1955 Leopoldo Torres Balbás estimated the population of several Andalusi cities using the extension of the walled area and suburbs. In the 11th century, Toledo had around 37k inhabitants, Almería 27k, Granada and Palma de Majorca 25k, Zaragoza 17k, and Málaga and Valencia 15k. He couldn’t estimate the population of Seville, Écija and Badajoz because the Almoravids destroyed their walls, but Seville for sure had more than the 37k inhabitants of Toledo. In his estimations Torres Balbás also considered other factors, like the fact that houses were small, the streets were narrow, there were few squares, almost no one lived in commercial districts, or that homes usually had 5 or 6 family members. It’s difficult to estimate the population of Caliphal Córdoba because we don’t know for sure the extension of the suburbs, but 10th century Córdoba had anywhere between 100k and 300k inhabitants. To put that in perspective, Constantinople may have had between 150k and 300k inhabitants, although again estimations vary a lot. In any case, Córdoba was the second largest city of Europe after Constantinople, while cities like Paris or Rome had less than 50k inhabitants in the year 1000.
Many cities of al-Andalus were renowned for their own thing: Córdoba, for the slave markets and the silk and leather factories, among other things; Toledo for its arms and armor; Jaén for its silk; Lisbon for its honey and amber; and Játiva, in Valencia, was famous throughout the Muslim world for the manufacture of paper. Muslim Spain was also noted for its fine metalwork, glass and pottery. Andalusi metalworking with gold, silver or ivory got refined by the time of the proclamation of the Caliphate of Córdoba, with a level of quality that could compete with the jewelry of Byzantium. The 9th century Cordoban polymath Abbas ibn Firnas discovered a procedure to manufacture glass, and thanks to that Córdoba and Málaga became glass exporters. The Andalusi pottery was popular across the Mediterranean too, and this pottery mixed Late Roman, Berber and Oriental styles in a very unique way. The city-palace of Medina Azahara, Calatayud and Málaga were important pottery production centers, and three colors were widely used in Andalusi pottery. I’m talking about white, black and green, colors that have a political and religious symbolism in Islamic cultures, with white representing power and loyalty, black austerity and dignity, and green happiness and the Arab peoples. To end this conversation about manufactured products, the textile industry of al-Andalus was very important, and although it all started with Abd al-Rahman II, it was under al-Nasir when the fabrics of Córdoba, Zaragoza, Baza, Málaga and Almería competed with the wonderful fabrics of Baghdad and Byzantium. In the 11th century Almería became a very prominent center of textile manufacturing, with 800 looms on which precious fabrics were woven, such as tunics of scarlet, gold brocades, curtains, veils, velvet, carpets, and other types of fabrics.
Manufactured products, except for state-owned textile workshops or mints, weren’t produced in big factories, but rather in multiple small artisan workshops. Artisans who engaged in the same craft usually lived together near the mosque and town market, the zoco in Spanish. The permanent or periodic town market was very important to sell a wide variety of products, such as perfumes, species, fabrics, clothes, arms, meat, fish, musical instruments, dyes, tools, animals, slaves, and esparto and leather shoes. In fact, Cordoban shoes were so popular that the French word for shoemaker, cordonnier, means artisan working Cordoban leather. The inspector of the market was responsible of guaranteeing fair prices, ensuring that weights and measures are accurate, and solving disputes peaceably with the help of collaborators. The inspector of the market didn’t hesitate to parade merchants who tried to deceive, and as a matter of fact this institution was copied in the Christian kingdoms and it was known as zabazoque.
Commerce was carried on within al-Andalus using the old Roman roads that linked the principal urban centers, while the most important commercial and military seaport was Pechina and later the nearby Almería. Almería was frequently visited by ships from Syria, Egypt, the Byzantine Empire, or even France and Catalonia, while Seville mainly traded with Morocco. In a letter the famous Jew under the Caliph’s service, Hasday ibn Shaprut, wrote an interesting description of the trade relations of the Caliphate of Córdoba: “Merchants come from the ends of the earth, and traders from all the countries and far away islands stream into it. […] They bring spice and precious stone and royal merchandise and noble trade and all the precious goods of Egypt. […] From year to year our purchases from the merchants of Mesopotamia and the traders of Khorasan, and the merchants of Egypt, and the merchants of India reach 100,000 dinars. This is the amount of our purchases year after year and it is only so because of the great number of merchants who come from all the lands and their islands.”
In terms of international trade, al-Andalus served as a bridge, as a link to connect the East and the West, the Muslim and the Christian world. As a frontier, Spain provided a gateway that gave passage to Christian and Muslim merchants, soldiers, diplomats, scholars and refugees. From an Islamic viewpoint, al-Andalus was a waystation for commodities coming from Europe into the Muslim world, the dar al-Islam, and a very interesting market to import and export products from other parts of the Muslim world. From a Christian perspective, al-Andalus was a point of contact with the Islamic trade domain and one of the best channels to get access to eastern spices, textiles, paper, or precious minerals and jewelry. That unique commercial role of al-Andalus continued until most of Spain was conquered by Christian kingdoms in the 13th century and the shift in the political, military and economic shifting balance of Christian and Muslim power. Despite that, during most of the Middle Ages, the Iberian Peninsula represented the western edge of the Muslim world and the southern edge of the Christian world, and because of that many historians have traditionally viewed the Iberian Peninsula as part of both worlds, yet not fully part of either. Authors such as Stanley G. Payne or Gustavo Bueno have written about the Europeanness of Spain and the integration of Spain within the wider European and Mediterranean context, but that’s something I will have to deal in another episode.
Al-Andalus was fully integrated into the Muslim trading network, with very strong presence in Maghreb and Egypt, while commercial contacts between al-Andalus and the Christian world were not so extensive. Records from Byzantium or Venice indicate little economic contacts with al-Andalus. Apart from the religious difference, this is probably due to the fact that the Greeks could easily access the rich markets of Syria or Egypt, and they had their own industries, such as silk or pottery. Few Jewish traders and even fewer Muslim merchants traded with Christian Spain through the overland routes, and instead Christian merchants travelled to al-Andalus to sell their products and buy the more varied Andalusi and Oriental commodities. We have more evidence about trade with the Christian kingdoms in the 11th century, as cities were starting to grow thanks to the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, but still Andalusi traders were always much more focused on trade within al-Andalus and within the Muslim trade network of the Mediterranean. In that same century, the 11th century, Taifa rulers had to pay a tribute called parias, which brought many Andalusi coins to the Christian kingdoms and helped to change the balance of wealth between Christian and Muslim Spain.
From Europe al-Andalus imported furs, wood, metal, weapons and slaves, while the main Andalusi exports to Europe were agricultural products, mineral resources, and luxury items such as the reputed Andalusi fabrics and leather or reexported Oriental spices. Jewish and Muslim merchants engaged in the slave trade to import and export slaves in Córdoba, with European, Oriental and African slaves. White skin and blond slaves, especially female slaves, were the most appreciated of all, and they weren’t only captured in land raids, slaves were also captured in acts of piracy against the shores of Provence and Italy. Timber for construction and shipyards was imported from Europe because al-Andalus had a forest deficit, exploitable forests were far from the coasts, and the lack of navigable rivers made the task of transporting Iberian timber difficult.
More in general and in relation to the rest of the Islamic world, the most relevant exports of al-Andalus were textiles, slaves, olive oil and dried fruits, metals and minerals, leatherwork, paper, and arms. The most relevant imports of al-Andalus consisted in textiles, slaves, ceramics, precious gems, and spices such as medical drugs, flavorings and aromatics. Muslim Spain also imported books from the Levant, Egypt and Constantinople to fill the libraries of Caliphal Córdoba, where male and female scribes copied and reproduced imported books. It’s well-known that Caliph al-Hakam II had a library with 400,000 books dealing with very diverse topics. The foreign trade of al-Andalus was facilitated by relatively safe land and maritime routes and a stable monetary system during the Umayyad period, while there were devaluations and inflation during the Taifa period that hampered trade.
The decline of Baghdad as a critical trading hub allowed Mediterranean port cities such as Alexandria, Tunis, or Almería to become focal markets for trade, and that supposed a renaissance of Mediterranean trade, dominated by Muslim and Jewish traders from the 10th to late 12th century. Almería was the greatest port of all al-Andalus, after Abd al-Rahman III moved many of the inhabitants of Pechina to Almería in 955 with the aim to completely dominate the Alboran Sea, the triangle with corners at Gibraltar, Algiers and Denia. It was the seat of the Umayyad war fleet, but the wealth of Almería came from silk production and its commercial ships, that were constantly going in and out of Almería to North Africa, the Near East, Byzantium, and other Christian kingdoms. Even porcelain from Song China has been found in Almería, probably imported from Egypt during the Taifa period. Some geographers mention that the Almerienses were the richest people of all al-Andalus, and all mention Almería as the harbor of al-Andalus, as well as its main trade hub and shipyard. Muslims travelling to the sacred cities of Islam also departed from Almería, and the city continued to grow demographically and economically during the Taifa and Almoravid periods. Long-distance trade was so important for Almería that an Andalusi poet wrote: “I was asked whether the city had any means of subsistence, and I replied, ‘Yes, if the wind blows’”. The ports of Seville and Málaga were very important too, while some honorable mentions include Denia, Valencia, Alicante, Cartagena, Algeciras and Palma de Majorca. Boats coming upriver through Seville brought commodities in inland markets, notably Umayyad Córdoba, when the city was a magnificent metropolis, hub for travelers and domestic Andalusi trade.
Okay now let’s sum everything up and make a brief overview of the main points. The first point is that the economy of al-Andalus needs to be studied and understood in each specific time frame to avoid having a distorted image of the historical reality. Then, although the economy of the Caliphate of Córdoba or the first Taifa period was a prosperous and urban market economy, we need to understand the limitations of that prosperity and urbanization for a pre-industrial economy. Then the third important point is that the development of agriculture was a precondition for the diversification of the Andalusi economy, with emerging sectors like textiles, pottery, commerce, or arts. The fourth and last important highlight is that al-Andalus was integrated into the Islamic commercial circuit and it served as a bridge to connect the Islamic and Christian worlds.
THE VERDICT: In today’s verdict I want to make a comparison between the economy of Roman Hispania and al-Andalus, within the Mediterranean context. It’s interesting because the existence of the Roman Empire allowed for trade and cultural exchange between peoples from different places of the Mediterranean basin, and the Islamic world had a similar role, despite the fact that the Islamic world remained politically divided after the fall of the Umayyad Caliphate. The Islamic world extended from al-Andalus to central Asia and the Hindus river, and sharing the same faith encouraged a degree of economic integration of this large area that only had a parallel during Roman times. What’s more, the Islamic world surpassed the economic integration and development seen with the Roman Empire. Al-Andalus was no exception, and during the Caliphate of Córdoba the economic development of Spain was something that far exceeded the levels of wealth of Roman Hispania, even taking into consideration the misconceptions and limits to that wealth. It took centuries to reach again in Spain the levels of urbanization and economic diversification seen during the Caliphal and first Taifa period, since the Christian kingdoms integrated into the then less wealthy continental European circuit. And with that, The Verdict ends.
In the next episode I’m going to deal with Caliphal Córdoba and the city-palace of Medina Azahara. To end this episode, let me remind you that the podcast has a website, thehistoryofspain.com, that has a fantastic store with merchandising, history books, travel guides, books and materials to learn Spanish, and more. If you love the podcast, you may want to support it by becoming a patron or making a donation, but there are other non-financial ways to support the show, like reviewing the podcast or spreading the word. Please subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcast, Spotify, YouTube and more and follow the social media accounts of Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. I hope you enjoyed the episode and thank you for listening!
A HISTORY OF MEDIEVAL SPAIN. Joseph F. O’Callaghan
SPAIN: A UNIQUE HISTORY. Stanley G. Payne
TRADE AND TRADERS IN MUSLIM SPAIN. Olivia Remie Constable
THE ROUTLEDGE HANDBOOK OF MUSLIM IBERIA. Maribel Fierro
HISTORIA DE ESPAÑA. AL-ANDALUS: MUSULMANES Y CRISTIANOS (SIGLOS VIII-XIII). Editorial Planeta
HISTORIA DE ESPAÑA VIII. Los reinos de taifas. Ramón Menéndez Pidal
LOS REINOS DE TAIFAS. FRAGMENTACIÓN POLÍTICA Y ESPLENDOR CULTURAL. Pierre Guichard & Bruna Soravia
HISTORIA DE ESPAÑA DE LA EDAD MEDIA. Vicente Ángel Álvarez Palenzuela
La economía de al-Andalus. Carlos Crespo Amat & Ferran Martínez Lliso
Extensión y demografía de las ciudades hispanomusulmanas. Leopoldo Torres Balbás
Aspectos comerciales de la economía peninsular durante el período de los reinos de taifas. Fernando Valdés Fernández
La minería visigótica y musulmana en la Península Ibérica. Octavio Puche Riart
Al-Mariya: Puerta del Levante. Documentary (in Spanish).