University of Oulu

Camuera, J., Jiménez-Espejo, F.J., Soto-Chica, J. et al. Drought as a possible contributor to the Visigothic Kingdom crisis and Islamic expansion in the Iberian Peninsula. Nat Commun 14, 5733 (2023).

Drought as a possible contributor to the Visigothic Kingdom crisis and Islamic expansion in the Iberian Peninsula

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Author: Camuera, Jon1; Jiménez-Espejo, Francisco J.1; Soto-Chica, José2;
Organizations: 1Andalusian Earth Sciences Institute (IACT), Spanish National Research Council - University of Granada (CSIC-UGR), Granada, Spain
2Department of Medieval History and Historiographic Sciences and Techniques, University of Granada, Granada, Spain
3Department of Stratigraphy and Paleontology, Faculty of Science, University of Granada, Granada, Spain
4Faculty of Education, Mid-Atlantic University, Madrid, Spain
5Natural Resources Institute Finland, Oulu, Finland
6Research Unit of Mathematical Sciences, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
7Unit of Archaeology, Department of History and Philosophy, University of Alcalá, Alcalá de Henares, Spain
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-10-23


The Muslim expansion in the Mediterranean basin was one the most relevant and rapid cultural changes in human history. This expansion reached the Iberian Peninsula with the replacement of the Visigothic Kingdom by the Muslim Umayyad Caliphate and the Muslim Emirate of Córdoba during the 8th century CE. In this study we made a compilation of western Mediterranean pollen records to gain insight about past climate conditions when this expansion took place. The pollen stack results, together with other paleohydrological records, archaeological data and historical sources, indicate that the statistically significant strongest droughts between the mid-5th and mid-10th centuries CE (450–950 CE) occurred at 545–570, 695–725, 755–770 and 900–935 CE, which could have contributed to the instability of the Visigothic and Muslim reigns in the Iberian Peninsula. Our study supports the great sensitivity of the agriculture-based economy and socio-political unrest of Early Medieval kingdoms to climatic variations.

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Series: Nature communications
ISSN: 2041-1723
ISSN-E: 2041-1723
ISSN-L: 2041-1723
Volume: 14
Issue: 1
Article number: 5733
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-023-41367-7
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 615 History and archaeology
1171 Geosciences
Funding: This work is funded by the Ministry of Science and Innovation of the Government of Spain, Agencia Estatal de Investigación /10.13039/501100011033/ and Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional - A way of making Europe, in particular the grant numbers FJC2020-044215-I (author J.C.), PID2021-125619OB-C21 (authors G.J.-M. and A.G.-A.) and PID2021-125619OB-C22 (author F.J.J.-E.). The grant number Retos P20_00059 (author G.J.-M.), the action Proyectos I + D + i del Programa Operativo FEDER 2018 (grant number A-RNM-336-UGR20, authors G.J.-M., and A.G.-A.) and the research group RNM-190 from the Junta de Andalucía (Regional Government of Andalusia). The project SBPLY/21/180501/000205 (author M.C.P.) from the Scientific Research and Technology Transfer Projects of the Junta de Comunidades de Castilla-La Mancha (Regional Government of Castilla-La Mancha).
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