Kingdom of Asturias (5th – 9th c.)
The Kingdom of Asturias situated north of the Cantabrian Mountains was the only Christian kingdom of the Iberian Peninsula that managed to withstand the Moorish invasion. The Kingdom of Asturias was established by the legendary Pelayo (Pelagius) who defeated the Moorish forces in the Battle of Covadonga in 718. Pelayo’s victory against the Moors in the Battle of Covadonga in 718 is traditionally regarded as the beginning of the Reconquista or the Christian re-conquest of Iberian Peninsula from the Muslim Moors.
Pelayo was succeeded by his son Favila in 739 but he was supposedly killed by a bear on a hunt in the same year. He was succeeded by Alfonso I or Alfonso the Catholic (739-757) who conquered Galicia, Alamanca, Astorga, Leon, part of Navarre and reached Castile by capturing Segovia and Avila. Alfonso’s successors successfully withstood the Moorish attacks, continued the expansion of the Kingdom of Asturias and incorporated the northwestern part of the Iberian Peninsula by about 775.
The territorial expansion of the Kingdom of Asturias on expense of the Moors continued under Alfonso II (791-842) who reached almost to Lisbon. The reign of Alfonso II was also marked by his recognition as king by Charlemagne and by the Pope which greatly increased the prestige and influence of the Kingdom of Asturias.