Echoes of Africa in Spain. Two Turbaned Muslim noblemen play chess in this 13th-century Spanish painting. Patrimonio Nacional, Spain1086 to 1147
African Muslims Rule Spain
"At Malaqa [Spain]...the mosque covers a large area and has a reputation for sanctity; the court of the mosque is of unequaled beauty...." Ibn Battuta (1304-1377),
The Almoravids, African Muslims based south of the Sahara Desert, conquered Spain and Portugal in 1086, forging an empire that spanned two continents. Although African Muslims were prominent in the Arabic conquest of Spain in 711, and in the centuries of Islamic rule that followed, the Almoravid reign marked undisputed African control.
The Almoravids' rigorous Islamic reform movement emphasized equality and led to a period of stability in North and West Africa. In Spain, the Almoravids were succeeded by North African Muslims, the Almohads. Cultural innovators, they became known for the architecture of their glorious mosques.
African Muslim cultures have had a strong influence in Spain ever since 711, making important contributions to Islamic law as well as to distinctive architecture, music, and decorative arts. http://www.mnh.si.edu/africanvoices/ax/fs/primary_fs.html?history+intro