Pelayo(pālä`yō), d. 737, first king (c.718–737) of Asturias. He was elected king by the tribespeople of Asturias and by Visigothic leaders who had escaped Tariq. His victory over the Moors at Covadonga sometime between 718 and 725 marked the beginning of Christian resistance to the Moorish conquerors. Accounts of Pelayo are largely legendary.
Year of birth unknown; died Sept. 18, 737, in Cangas. The first king of Asturias (from 718).
Pelayo led an uprising of the Asturians against Arab rule. In 718 he routed an Arab army at Covadonga and thus began the Reconquista. After Pelayo’s victory, Asturias became an independent kingdom.