It was 800 years ago today- July 16, 1212- that occurred one of the most significant battles in the conflict between Europeans and Moslems, the Battle of the Plains of Tolosa, usually refered to in Spanish as the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa.
After conquering North Africa, Moslem armies invaded Europe through Spain, and were not defeated until the Battle of Tours in 732. The Moslems retreated, but continued to occupy Spain. Around this time Christians on the Iberian peninsula began fighting to drive out the invaders. This effort continued until 1492, when the last Arab emirate was defeated.
Highlights include the Battle of Clavijo, source of the legend of Santiago Matamoros. But Las Navas de Tolosa is important because for one, it united the different Spanish kingdoms, which were not united at this time, Portugal, and other Christian military forces. 50,000 attacked a Moslem army of 200,000 and routed them, inflicting as many as 150,000 casualties.
Our enemies are fundamentally very weak. They rely on noise and intimidation, cruelty and fear. Confronted with a united, disciplined force, they scatter.