Tareq Ibn Ziyad
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On July 19, 711 AD, Muslim forces, led by Tareq Ibn Ziyad won a decisive victory in the Battle of Guadalete by completely routing the Visigoth Christian army of King Roderick and thereby rapidly conquering much of southern Spain. Soon all of Spain and Portugal were liberated by the Muslims, who subsequently crossed the Pyrenees Mountains into France. Tareq had earlier crossed the Mediterranean from the northwestern African coast and landed on the island known ever since in his name as Gibraltar (corruption of the Arabic "Jabal at-Tareq" – Rock or Mount of Tareq).
He was governor of Tangiers under Musa Ibn Nusayr, the conqueror and Emir of the Province of Ifriqiya (western Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco).Tareq was made governor of Spain by Musa, but was called back to Damascus by the jealous Omayyad caliph, Walid I, who also relieved Musa of the overall charge of northwest Africa, Spain and the islands off the coast of France.
There are three different accounts of the origins of Tareq given by Arab historians – he was a Persian from Hamadan; he was an Arab of the Sadf tribe; he was a Berber from North Africa. Musa Ibn Nusayr is also said to be the son of an Iranian Christian, according to the historian Tabari; while others say he belonged to the Lakhmid Arab clan who were Sassanid clients.