The Christian kingdoms of Iberia vied with each other for dominance, and occasionally formed alliances. By the beginning of the 15th century four kingdoms were dominant: Castile (permanently united with Léon from 1230), Aragon, Navarre and Portugal. The decisive Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212 was a turning point in the Reconquista, the Christian reconquest of Muslim Spain. A coalition of Christian forces, led by Castile and joined by Navarre, Aragon and Portugal crushed the Almohad forces and fatally weakened them, allowing Christian forces to push ever further southwards into Andalusia; Cordova fell in 1236 and Seville in 1248. By 1492 the Kingdom of Granada was the only remaining Muslim enclave in Spain. In 1469 the marriage of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile, the Catholic Monarchs, paved the way for the union of the two kingdoms to form the Kingdom of Spain, and ushered in a period of Spanish ascendancy. With the union came two empires: Aragon’s extensive territories in the Mediterranean and Castile’s growing possessions in the New World. The united monarchs embarked on a ten-year campaign against Granada in 1482; by the time it surrendered in 1492 100,000 people had died or been enslaved and 200,000 emigrated, finding life under the increasingly intolerant Christian rule impossible. In 1492 some 200,000 Jews were expelled and those that remained were forced to convert to Christianity; the same fate would later befall the remaining Muslims.
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