The description Moors has referred to several historic and modern populations of Berber, Black African and Arab descent from Northern Africa, who came to conquer, occupy and rule the Iberian Peninsula for nearly 800 years. At that time they were Muslim, although earlier the people had followed other religions. They called the territory Al Andalus, comprising most of what is now Spain and Portugal.
” Moors” are not a distinct or self-defined people. Medieval and early modern Europeans applied the name primarily to Berbers, but also at various times to Arabs, Muslim Iberians and West Africans from Mali and Niger who had been absorbed into the Almoravid dynasty.