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Moorish Dynasties

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The Almohad Dynasty (from Arabic الموحدون al-Muwahhidun, i.e., "the monotheists" or "the Unitarians"), was a Berber, Muslim dynasty that was founded in the 12th century, which conquered all of northern Africa as far as Libya, together with Al-Andalus (Moorish Iberia, now southern Spain and Portugal). The dynasty originated with Ibn Tumart, a member of the Masmuda, a Berber tribe of the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Ibn Tumart was the son of a lamplighter in a mosque and had been noted for his piety from his youth; he was small, and misshapen and lived the life of a devotee-beggar. As a youth he performed the hajj to Mecca (or "Makkah"), whence he was expelled on account of his severe strictures on the laxity of others, and thence wandered to Baghdad, where he attached himself to the school of the orthodox doctor al-Ash'ari. But he made a system of his own by combining the teaching of his master with parts of the doctrines of others, and with mysticism imbibed from the great teacher Ghazali. His main principle was a strict Unitarianism which denied the independent existence of the attributes of God, as being incompatible with his unity, and therefore a polytheistic idea. Ibn Tumart in fact represented a revolt against what he perceived as anthropomorphism in the Muslim orthodoxy. Ibn Tumart, who had been driven from several other towns for exhibitions of reforming zeal, now took refuge among his own people, the Masmuda, in the Atlas. It is highly probable that his influence would not have outlived him, if he had not found a lieutenant in Abd al-Mu'min al-Kumi, another Berber, from Algeria, who was undoubtedly a soldier and statesman of a high order. When Ibn Tumart died in 1128 at the monastery or ribat which he had founded in the Atlas at Tinmel, after suffering a severe defeat by the Almoravids, Abd al-Mu'min kept his death secret for two years, till his own influence was established. He then came forward as the lieutenant of the Mahdi Ibn Tumart. Between 1130 and his death in 1163, `Abd-el-Mumin not only rooted out the Murabits, but extended his power over all northern Africa as far as Egypt, becoming amir of Marrakesh in 1149. Al-Andalus followed the fate of Africa, and in 1170 the Almohads transferred their capital to Seville, a step followed by the founding of the great mosque (now superseded by the cathedral), the tower of which, the Giralda, they erected in 1184 to mark the accession of Abu Yusuf Ya'qub al-Mansur. From the time of Yusuf II, however, they governed their co-religionists in Iberia and Central North Africa through lieutenants, their dominions outside Morocco being treated as provinces. When their amirs crossed the Straits it was to lead a jihad against the Christians and to return to their capital, Marrakesh. The Almohads, who had taken control of the Almoravids' Maghribi and Andalusian territories by 1147, far surpassed the Almoravids in fundamentalist outlook, and they treated the dhimmis (non-Muslims) harshly. Faced with the choice of either death or conversion, most Jews and Christians emigrated.

Date: 1130

Region: Marrakesh

The Almoravids (Arabic: Al-Murābiṭūn) were a Berber Moroccan dynasty of North Africa, who lived between the current Senegal and south of Western Sahara. The Almoravid dynasty at its greatest extentFrom the year 1053, the Almoravids began to spread their religious way to the Berber areas of the Sahara, and to the regions south of the desert. After winning over the Sanhaja Berber tribe, they quickly took control of the entire desert trade route, seizing Sijilmasa at the northern end in 1054, and Aoudaghost at the southern end in 1055. Yahya ibn Ibrahim was killed in a battle in 1056, but Abd-Allah ibn Yasin, whose influence as a religious teacher was paramount, named his brother Abu-Bakr Ibn-Umar as chief. Under him, the Almoravids soon began to spread their power beyond the desert, and subjected the tribes of the Atlas Mountains. They then came in contact with the Berghouata, a branch of the Zenata of central Morocco, who followed a "heresy" founded by Salih ibn Tarif, three centuries earlier. The Berghouata made a fierce resistance, and it was in battle with them that Abdullah ibn Yasin was killed. They were, however, completely conquered by Abu-Bakr Ibn-Umar, who took the defeated chief's widow, Zainab, as a wife. In 1061, Abu-Bakr Ibn-Umar made a division of the power he had established, handing over the more-settled parts to his cousin Yusuf ibn Tashfin, as viceroy, resigning to him also his favourite wife Zainab. For himself, he reserved the task of suppressing the revolts which had broken out in the desert, but when he returned to resume control, he found his cousin too powerful to be superseded. He returned to the Sahara, where, in 1087, having been wounded with a poisoned arrow, he died. Yusuf ibn Tashfin had in the meantime brought what is now known as Morocco, Western Sahara and Mauretania into complete subjection. In 1062 he founded the city of Marrakech. In 1080, he conquered the kingdom of Tlemcen (in modern-day Algeria) and founded the present city of that name, his rule extending as far east as Oran. In 1086 Yusuf ibn Tashfin was invited by the taifa Muslim princes of the Iberian Peninsula (Al-Andalus) to defend them against Alfonso VI, King of León and Castile. In that year, Yusuf ibn Tashfin crossed the straits to Algeciras, inflicted a severe defeat on the Christians at the Battle of az-Zallaqah (Battle of Sagrajas). He was prevented from following up his victory by trouble in Africa, which he had to settle in person. When he returned to Iberia in 1090, it was avowedly for the purpose of deposing the Muslim princes, and annexing their states. He had in his favour the mass of the inhabitants, who had been worn out by the oppressive taxation imposed by their spend-thrift rulers. Their religious teachers, as well as others in the east, (most notably, al-Ghazali in Persia and al-Tartushi in Egypt, who was himself an Iberian by birth, from Tortosa), detested the native Muslim princes for their religious indifference, and gave Yusuf a fatwa -- or legal opinion—to the effect that he had good moral and religious right, to dethrone the rulers, whom he saw as heterodox and who did not scruple to seek help from the Christians, whose habits he claimed they had adopted. By 1094, he had removed them all, except for the one at Zaragoza; and though he regained little from the Christians except Valencia, he re-united the Muslim power, and gave a check to the reconquest of the country by the Christians. After friendly correspondence with the caliph at Baghdad, whom he acknowledged as Amir al-Mu'minin ("Commander of the Faithful"), Yusuf ibn Tashfin in 1097 assumed the title of Amir al Muslimin ("Commander of the Muslims"). He died in 1106, when he was reputed to have reached the age of 100. The Almoravid power was at its height at Yusuf's death, and the Moorish empire then included all North-West Africa as far as Algiers, and all of Iberia south of the Tagus, with the east coast as far as the mouth of the Ebro, and included the Balearic Islands.

Date: start date (numerous carriers)

Region: Marrakesh


The Marinid dynasty or Benemerine dynasty (Arabic: مرينيون marîniyûn or بنو مرين banû marîn; Spanish mariní/mariníes/benimerines) was a Zenata Berber dynasty of Morocco. They overtook the Almohads in controlling Morocco in 1244[1], and most of the Maghreb from the mid-1300s to the 15th century, and also supported the Kingdom of Granada, in Al-Andalus in the 13th and 14th centuries. The last Marinid fortress in the Iberian Peninsula fell to Castile in 1344. They were in turn replaced by the Wattasids in 1465. The Marinids originally came from Ifriqiya, advancing through what is now southeast Morocco, from where they were expelled in 1224 by the Arab Hilali tribes. As early as 1145, the Marinids engaged in battles with the Almohads, the ruling dynasty at the time, who regularly defeated them until 1169. In 1169, the Marinids began a dedicated pursuit to take Morocco from the Almohads. Following their expulsion from the south, the Marinids moved northwards under the command of Abu Yahya ibn Abd al-Haqq and took Fes in 1244, making it their capital. This date marks the beginning of the Marinid dynasty. The Marinid leadership installed in Fes declared war on the Almohads, fighting with the aid of Christian mercenaries. Abu Yusuf Yaqub (1259–1286) captured Marrakech in 1269, and then took control of most of the Maghreb towards the end of 1268, including what is now Morocco, Algeria and part of Tunisia. After the Nasrid's cession of Algeciras to the Marinids, Abu Yusuf went to Al-Andalus to support the ongoing struggle against the Kingdom of Castile. The Marinid dynasty then tried to extend its control to include the commercial traffic of the Strait of Gibraltar. To this end, they declared jihad on the Christians and successively occupied the cities of Rota, Algiers and Gibraltar, surrounding Tarifa for the first time in 1294. Internal power struggles among the Merinids followed, which did not however prevent Abu Said Uthman II (1310–1331) from undertaking substantial construction work in Fez. Several madrassas for the education of public servants were founded as part of a drive to achieve the centralisation of administration and to reduce the influence of the not always reliable Marabuts. The Marinids also strongly influenced the policy of the Kingdom of Granada, from which they enlarged their army in 1275. In the mid 1300s, the Kingdom of Castile made several incursions into Morocco, and in 1267 initiated a full-scale invasion of Morocco, but the Marinids successfully defended Morocco and drove out the Castilians. Under Abu al-Hasan (1331–1348) another attempt was made to reunite the Maghreb. In 1337 the empire of the Abdalwadids in (what is now) Algeria was conquered, followed in 1347 by defeat of the empire of the Hafsids in Ifriqiya. However in 1340 the Marinids suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of a Portuguese-Castilian coalition in the Battle of Rio Salado, and finally had to withdraw from Andalusia. Abu l-Hasan was deposed by his son Abu Inan Faris (1348–1358), who tried to reconquer Algeria and Tunisia. Despite several successes, the dynasty began to decline after the murder of Abu Inan Faris, who was strangled by his own vizir in 1358.

Date: 1145

Region: Fez

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