History - The Visigoths & Vandals


Vandals: 335-435AD

These groups from northern Europe ruled Andalucia for over 300 years.

At the beginning of the fourth century AD, the expanding Mongolian population was pressurising the tribes on the Russian Steppes, and over the next century they in turn pushed the Vandals, the Visigoths and the Franks further to the boundary of the Roman Empire on the Rhine.

In AD 409/410 the Roman frontier was breached and the Vandals crossed the Pyrenees into the Iberian peninsula. There, they received land from the Romans in Hispania Baetica (roughly modern-day Andalucia). Other tribes who also arrived around this time were the Suevi and Alani. The Vandals crushed the Alani, killing the western Alan king Attaces.[8] The remainder of his people subsequently appealed to the Vandal king Gunderic to accept the Alan crown.

The Visigoths

These tribes were followed by the Visigoths, who had invaded Italy and sacked Rome. The Visigoths first settled in southern Gaul as a tribe federated to the Romans (they had to provide them with troops). However, the Visigoths soon fell out with their Roman hosts and extended their authority into Hispania Betica at the expense of the Suevi and Vandals. The Visigoths completed the conquest of Spain by AD476.

In the sixth century, their rule in Gaul was ended by the Franks. After that, the Visigoth kingdom was limited to Hispania.

In 554, Granada and southernmost Hispania Baetica were lost to the Byzantine Empire (to form the province of Spania), who had been invited in to help settle a Visigothic dynastic struggle, but who stayed on, as a spearhead to a reconquest of the far west envisaged by Roman emperor Justinian I.

The Visigoths left few visible signs from their rule in Andalucia, except for stone pillars from their churches (some were Arian, others Catholic) reused by the Moors to build their mosques.