On this day October 25, 1147

Forces under King Afonso I of Portugal captured Lisbon from the Moors after a four-month siege in what would be one of their only successes during the Second Crusade.

On August 6, 711 Lisbon was taken by the Moors and called al-ʾIšbūnah in Arabic الأشبونة, under whose rule the city flourished. The Moors, who were Muslims from North Africa and the Middle East, built many mosques and houses as well as a new city wall, currently named the Cerca Moura. The city kept a diverse population including Christians, Berbers, Arabs, Jews and Saqalibas.

Arabic was forced on the Christians as the official language. Mozarabic was the mother language spoken by the Christian population. Islam was the official religion practiced by the Arabs and Muladi (muwallad), the Christians could keep their religion but under Dhimmi status and were required to pay the jizyah (per capita tax).

The siege of Lisbon began on July 1, the Christians soon captured the surrounding territories and besieged the walls of Lisbon itself, although the Muslim defenders were able to destroy their siege engines.

After four months, the Moorish rulers agreed to surrender (October 21), primarily because of hunger within the city, which was sheltering populations displaced from Santarém as well as “the leading citizens of Sintra, Almada, and Palmela.”

The terms of the surrender indicated that the Muslim garrison of the city would be allowed to keep their lives and property, but as soon as the Christians entered the city these terms were broken.

According to the Expugnatione Lyxbonensi,

The enemy, when they had been despoiled in the city, left the town through three gates continuously from Saturday morning until the following Wednesday. There was such a multitude of people that it seemed as if all of Hispania were mingled in the crowd.

The city, with around 154,000 residents at the time, returned to Christian rule.


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