This authoritative introduction illuminates the many different interpretations of the conflict by examining a variety of perspectives. Franco and the Spanish Civil War places the war in its national and global contexts, exploring both nationalist and republican points of view, and giving attention to foreign participation in the conflict.
Matters changed thereafter, when Fernando and Isabel launched a decade-long effort to subjugate Granada. Utilizing artillery and expending vast sums of money, they methodically conquered each Naṣrid stronghold until the capitulation of the city of Granada itself in 1492. Effective military and naval organization and access to a diversity of financial resources, joined with papal crusading benefits, facilitated the final conquest. Throughout, the Naṣrids had emphasized the urgency of a jihād waged against the Christian infidels, while the Castilians affirmed that the expulsion of the "enemies of our Catholic faith" was a necessary, just, and holy cause. The fundamentally religious character of this last stage of conflict cannot be doubted, Joseph F. O'Callaghan argues.
Following a chronological overview of crusading in the Iberian peninsula from the late eleventh to the middle of the thirteenth century, O'Callaghan proceeds to the study of warfare, military finance, and the liturgy of reconquest and crusading. He concludes his book with a consideration of the later stages of reconquest and crusade up to and including the fall of Granada in 1492, while noting that the spiritual benefits of crusading bulls were still offered to the Spanish until the Second Vatican Council of 1963.
Although the conflict described in this book occurred more than eight hundred years ago, recent events remind the world that the intensity of belief, rhetoric, and action that gave birth to crusade, holy war, and jihad remains a powerful force in the twenty-first century.