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Expansion of Islam: The primary goal of the Islamic conquests was to spread the religion of Islam. Islamic armies, inspired by religious fervor, sought to bring the message of Islam to new lands and convert non-Muslim populations.

Rapid Spread: The Islamic conquests began in the early 7th century, shortly after the death of the Prophet Muhammad in 632 CE. Over the next century, Islamic armies, led by both Arab and non-Arab Muslim commanders, expanded the Islamic Caliphate from the Arabian Peninsula to encompass vast territories in Asia, Africa, and Europe.

Major Conquests:
  • Conquest of Arabia: The initial campaigns focused on unifying the Arabian Peninsula under Islamic rule. The Ridda Wars (Apostasy Wars) were waged against tribes and leaders who had renounced Islam after the death of Muhammad.
  • Conquest of Persia: The Islamic conquest of Persia (Sassanid Empire) began in the 630s and resulted in the fall of the Sassanid dynasty. The Battle of Qadisiyyah in 636 and the capture of the Persian capital, Ctesiphon, were pivotal events.
  • Conquest of Byzantine Territories: Islamic forces also expanded into Byzantine territories, capturing significant portions of the Eastern Roman Empire. The Battle of Yarmouk in 636 and the capture of Jerusalem in 637 were key moments.
  • Conquest of North Africa: Muslim armies conquered North African territories, including Egypt and Carthage (modern-day Tunisia), during the 7th century.
  • Conquest of Spain: The Islamic conquest of the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) began in the early 8th century and led to the establishment of the Umayyad Caliphate of Cordoba.
Administrative Structures: The Islamic Caliphate developed administrative structures to govern its vast territories, including the appointment of governors and officials to oversee conquered regions. Arabic became the language of administration, and Islamic law (Sharia) was introduced in many areas.

Cultural and Scientific Contributions: The Islamic conquests facilitated the exchange of knowledge and culture between different regions. Islamic civilization made significant contributions to mathematics, astronomy, medicine, philosophy, and other fields during this period. The House of Wisdom in Baghdad, for example, was a center of scholarship.

Diversity of Conquered Peoples: The conquered territories were ethnically and religiously diverse. Islamic rulers typically allowed non-Muslims to practice their faiths but imposed a special tax (jizya) on non-Muslims. Over time, conversion to Islam led to demographic changes in many regions.

Golden Age of Islamic Civilization: The period following the Islamic conquests is often referred to as the Golden Age of Islamic civilization. It was characterized by advancements in various fields, including literature, art, architecture, and science.

End of Expansion: By the mid-8th century, the Islamic Caliphate had reached its greatest territorial extent. Subsequent centuries saw the fragmentation of the Islamic world into various dynasties and empires, including the Abbasid, Umayyad, and Ottoman empires. > World History > Spread of Islam