The fall of Granada has a significant place among the important events that mark the latter half of the Spanish 15th century. It completed the so-called "Reconquista" (or Christian reconquest) of the almost 800-year-long Islamic rule in the Iberian Peninsula. Spain, now without any major internal territorial conflict, embarked on a great phase of exploration and colonization around the globe. In the same year, the sailing expedition of Christopher Columbus resulted in what is usually claimed to be the first European sighting of the New World, although Leif Erikson is often regarded as the first European to land in the New World, 500 years before Christopher Columbus. The resources of the Americas enriched the crown and the country, allowing Queen Isabella King Ferdinand to consolidate their rule as Catholic Monarchs of the united kingdoms. Subsequent conquests, and the Spanish colonization of the Americas by the maritime expeditions they commissioned, created the vast Spanish Empire: for a time, the largest in the world.
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