Post-classical history

Tortosa (Spain)

Town in the northeast of the Iberian Peninsula, situated on the river Ebro.

The ancient Iberian Dertosa was an important trading emporium under Muslim rule. Its control was imperative to secure the Ebro region politically and economically. During the first half of the twelfth century, Christian forces under the counts of Barcelona repeatedly attempted to conquer the town. The ultimately successful campaign of 1148 was heavily influenced by crusading ideals, repeatedly depicted as part of a general struggle against Islam, and strongly supported by the papacy. Count Raymond Berengar IV assembled an army comprised of Catalan, Aragonese, Genoese, and Occitan forces, aided by military orders and by Anglo- Flemish crusaders on their way to the Holy Land in the course of the Second Crusade (1147-1149). After a seven- month siege, Tortosa surrendered on 30 December 1148. Many of the conquerors remained in Tortosa, cohabiting with the local Jewish and Muslim population, thus forming a multicultural and multiconfessional urban society that in some ways resembled that of the towns in the Latin East.

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