The Zirid dynasty was a Sanhaja Berber dynasty from modern-day Algeria which ruled the central Maghreb from 972 to 1014 and Ifriqiya from 972 to 1148. Descendants of Ziri ibn Menad, a military leader of the Cairo-based Fatimid Caliphate and the eponymous founder of the dynasty, the Zirids were Emirs who ruled in the name of the Fatimids; the Zirids established their autonomy in Ifriqiya through military conquest until breaking with the Fatimids in the mid-11th century. The rule of the Zirid emirs opened the way to a period in North African history where political power was held by Berber dynasties such as the Almoravid dynasty, Almohad Caliphate, Zayyanid dynasty, Marinid dynasty and Hafsid dynasty. Continuing their conquests to Fez and much of modern-day Morocco in 980, the Zirids encountered resistance from the local Zenata Berbers, who gave their allegiance to the Caliphate of Cordoba. Various Zirid branches did however rule the central Maghreb; this branch of the Zirids, at the beginning of the 11th century, following various family disputes, broke away as the Hammadids and took control of the territories of the central Maghreb.
The Zirids proper were designated as Badicides and occupied only Ifriqiyah between 1048 and 1148. Part of the dynasty fled to al-Andalus and founded, in 1019, the Taifa of Granada on the ruins of the Caliphate of Cordoba; the Zirids of Granada were again defeated by the expansion of the Almoravids, who annexed their kingdom in 1090, while the Badicides and the Hammadids remained independent. Following the recognition of the Sunni Muslim Abbasid Caliphate and the assertion of Ifriqiya and the Central Maghreb as independent kingdoms of Sunni obedience in 1048, the Fatimids masterminded the migration of the Hilalians to the Maghreb. In the 12th century, the Hilalian invasions combined with the attacks of the Normans of Sicily on the littoral weakened Zirid power; the Almohad caliphate conquered the central Maghreb and Ifriqiya in 1152, thus unifying the whole of the Maghreb and ending the Zirid dynasties. The Zirids were Sanhaja Berbers originating from the area of modern Algeria. In the 10th century this tribe served as vassals of the Fatimid Caliphate, defeating the Kharijite rebellion of Abu Yazid, under Ziri ibn Manad.
Ziri was installed as the governor of central Maghreb and founded the gubernatorial residence of Ashir south-east of Algiers, with Fatimid support. When the Fatimids moved their capital to Egypt in 972, Ziri's son Buluggin ibn Ziri was appointed viceroy of Ifriqiya; the removal of the fleet to Egypt made the retention of Kalbid Sicily impossible, while Algeria broke away under the governorship of Hammad ibn Buluggin, Buluggin's son. The relationship with their Fatimid overlords varied - in 1016 thousands of Shiites lost their lives in rebellions in Ifriqiya, the Fatimids encouraged the defection of Tripolitania from the Zirids, but the relationship remained close. In 1049 the Zirids broke away by adopting Sunni Islam and recognizing the Abbasids of Baghdad as rightful Caliphs, a move, popular with the urban Arabs of Kairouan; the Zirid period of Tunisia is considered a high point in its history, with agriculture, industry and learning, both religious and secular, all flourishing in their capital, Kairouan.
Management of the area by Zirid rulers was neglectful as the agricultural economy declined, prompting an increase in banditry among the rural population. When the Zirids renounced Shia Islam and recognized the Abbasid Caliphate in 1048, the Fatimids sent the Arab tribes of the Banu Hilal and the Banu Sulaym to Ifriqiya; the Zirids were defeated, the land laid waste by the Bedouin conquerors. The resulting anarchy devastated the flourishing agriculture, the coastal towns assumed a new importance as conduits for maritime trade and bases for piracy against Christian shipping, as well as being the last holdout of the Zirids. After the loss of Kairouan the rule of the Zirids was limited to a coastal strip with Mahdia as the capital, while several Bedouin Emirates formed inland. Between 1146 and 1148 the Normans of Sicily conquered all the coastal towns, in 1152 the last Zirids in Algeria were superseded by the Almohad Caliphate; the Zirid period is a time of great economic prosperity. The departure of the Fatimids to Cairo, far from ending this prosperity, saw its amplification under the Zirid and Hammadid rulers.
Referring to the government of the Zirid Emir al-Mu'izz, the historian Ibn Khaldun describes: "It never seen by the Berbers of that country a kingdom more vast and more flourishing than his own." The northern regions produced wheat in large quantities, while the region of Sfax was a major hub of olive production and the cultivation of the date is an important part of the local economy in Biskra. Other crops such as sugar cane, cotton, sorghum and chickpea are grown; the breeding of horses and sheep was flourishing and fishing was active, providing plentiful food. The Mediterranean is an important part of the economy though it was, for a time, abandoned after the departure of the Fatimids when the priority of the Zirid Emirs turned to territorial and internal conflicts, their maritime policy enabled them to establish trade links, in particular for the importation of timber necessary for their fleet, enabled them to begin an alliance and close ties with the Kalbid Emirs of Sicily. They did, face blockade attempts by the Venetians and Normans who sought to reduce their wood supply and thus their dominance in the region.
The Arab chronicler Ibn Hawqal visited and described the city of Algiers under the Zirid er
Muslim conquest of the Maghreb
The Muslim conquest of the Maghreb continued the century of rapid Arab Early Muslim conquests following the death of Muhammad in 632 AD and into the Byzantine-controlled territories of Northern Africa. In a series of three stages, the conquest of the Maghreb commenced in 647 and concluded in 709 with the "Byzantine" Roman Empire losing its last remaining strongholds to the then-Umayyad Caliphate. By 642 AD, under Caliph Umar, Arab Muslim forces had laid control of Mesopotamia, Syria and had invaded Armenia, all territories split between the warring Byzantine and Persian Empires, were concluding their conquest of the Persian Empire with their defeat of the Persian army at the Battle of Nahāvand, it was at this point that Arab military expeditions into North African regions west of Egypt were first launched, continuing for years and furthering the spread of Islam. In 644 at Madinah, Caliph Umar was succeeded by Uthman ibn Affan, during whose twelve-year rule Armenia and all of Iran, would be added to the growing Islamic empire.
The Byzantine navy would be defeated in the eastern Mediterranean. The earliest Arab accounts that have come down to us are those of ibn'Abd al-Hakam, al-Baladhuri and Khalifah ibn Khayyat, all of which were written in the 9th century, some 200 years after the first invasions; these are not detailed. In the case of the most informative, the History of the Conquest of Egypt and North Africa and Spain by ibn'Abd al-Hakam, Robert Brunschvig has shown that it was written with a view to illustrating points of Maliki law rather than documenting a history, that some of the events it describes are historical. Beginning in the 12th century, scholars at Kairouan began to construct a new version of the history of the conquest, finalised by Ibrahim ibn ar-Raqiq; this version was copied in its entirety, sometimes interpolated, by authors, reaching its zenith in the 14th century with scholars such as ibn Idhari, ibn Khaldun and al-Nuwayri. It differs from the earlier version not only in the greater detail, but in giving conflicting accounts of events.
This, however, is the one given below. There is ongoing controversy regarding the relative merits of the two versions. For more information, refer to the works cited below by Brunschvig, Modéran and Benabbès and Siraj; the first invasion of North Africa, ordered by Abdallah ibn Sa'd, commenced in 647. 20,000 Arabs marched from Medina in the Arabian Peninsula, another 20,000 joined them in Memphis and Abdallah ibn Sa'd led them into the Byzantine Exarchate of Africa. The army took Tripolitania. Count Gregory, the local Byzantine governor, had declared his independence from the Byzantine Empire in North Africa, he gathered his allies, confronted the invading Islamic Arab forces and suffered defeat at the Battle of Sufetula, a city 240 kilometres south of Carthage. With the death of Gregory his successor Gennadius, secured the Arab withdrawal in exchange for tribute; the campaign lasted fifteen months and Abdallah's force returned to Egypt in 648. All further Muslim conquests were soon interrupted, the Kharijite dissidents murdered Caliph Uthman after holding him under house arrest in 656.
He was replaced by Ali, who in turn was assassinated in 661. The Umayyad Caliphate of secular and hereditary Arab caliphs established itself at Damascus and Caliph Muawiyah I began consolidating the empire from the Aral Sea to the western border of Egypt, he put a governor in place in Egypt at al-Fustat, creating a subordinate seat of power that would continue for the next two centuries. He continued the invasion of non-Muslim neighboring states, attacking Sicily and Anatolia in 663. In 664 Kabul, fell to the invading Muslim armies; the years 665 to 689 saw a new Arab invasion of North Africa. It began, according to Will Durant, to protect Egypt "from flank attack by Byzantine Cyrene". So "an army of more than 40,000 Muslims advanced through the desert to Barca, took it, marched to the neighborhood of Carthage", defeating a defending Byzantine army of 20,000 in the process. Next came a force of 10,000 Arabs led by the Arab general Uqba ibn Nafi and enlarged by thousands of others. Departing from Damascus, the army took the vanguard.
In 670 the city of Kairouan was established as a base for further operations. This would become the capital of the Islamic province of Ifriqiya, which would cover the coastal regions of today's western Libya and eastern Algeria. After this, as Edward Gibbon writes, the fearless general "plunged into the heart of the country, traversed the wilderness in which his successors erected the splendid capitals of Fes and Morocco, at length penetrated to the verge of the Atlantic and the great desert". In his conquest of the Maghreb he besieged the coastal city of Bugia as well as Tingi or Tangier, overwhelming what had once been the traditional Roman province of Mauretania Tingitana, but here he was stopped and repulsed. Luis Garcia de Valdeavellano writes: In their invations against the Byzantines and the Berbers, the Arab chieftains had extended their African dominions, as early as the year 682 Uqba had reached the shores of the Atlantic, but he was unable to occupy Tangier, for he was forced to turn back toward the Atlas Mountains by a man who became known
Kingdom of Ait Abbas
The kingdom of the Ait Abbas or sultanate of the Beni Abbas, in, is a former berber state of North Africa a fief and a principality, controlling Lesser Kabylie and its surroundings from the sixteenth century to the nineteenth century. It is referred to in the Spanish historiography as "reino de Labes", its capital was the Kalâa of an impregnable citadel in the Biban mountain range. Founded by last Hafsid dynasty emirs of Bejaia, the kingdom was for a long time a bastion of resistance to the Spaniards to the regency of Algiers. Strategically located on the road from Algiers to Constantine and from the Mediterranean Sea to the Sahara, its capital Kalâa of Ait Abbas attracted Andalusians and Jews in the sixteenth century, fleeing Spain or Algiers, their know-how enriched a local industrial fabric whose legacy is the handicraft of the Ait Abbas tribe. The surrounding tribes were home to intense intellectual activity and a literary tradition that rivalled those of other Maghreb cities. At its peak, the influence of the kingdom of Ait Abbas extended from the valley of the Soummam to the Sahara and its capital the Kalâa rivalled the biggest cities.
In the seventeenth century, its chiefs took the title of sheikh of the Medjana, but were still described as sultans or kings of the Beni Abbés. At the end of the eighteenth century, the kingdom led by the Mokrani family broke up into several clans, some of which became vassals of the regency of Algiers. However, the Sheikh of the Medjana maintained himself at the head of his principality as a tributary of the Bey of Constantine, managing his affairs independently. With the arrival of the French, some Mokrani took the side of the colonisers, while others sided with the resistance; the French, to strengthen their hold in the region, relied on the local lords, maintaining an appearance of autonomy of the region under its traditional leaders until 1871. Its sovereigns assumed various titles, successively sultan and sheikh of the Medjana. Temporarily integrated into the French military administration before the revolt of 1871, they were known as khalifa and bachagha; the defeat of 1871 marked the end of the political role of the Mokrani with the surrender of the Kalâa to the French.
Ifriqiya, which corresponds to the eastern part of the present-day Maghreb, was part of the Hafsid kingdom. In this kingdom, the city of Bejaia, the ancient capital of the Hammadids in the eleventh century, was a prominent city. Indeed, its wealth and its strategic port location made it an object of covetousness for the Zayyanids and the Marinids; the city was seen as the capital of the western regions of the Hafsid sultanate and it's "frontier place". In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries it became, on various occasions, the seat of power of independent emirates-governors or dissidents from the Hafsid dynasty; these "sovereigns of Béjaïa" extended their authority - which went hand in hand with political dissent - to the entire domain of the ancient kingdom of the Hammadids: Algiers, Medea, Constantine and the oases of the Zab. Ibn Khaldun describes them as ruling "Biğāya wa al-ṯagr al-garbī min Ifriqiya". Ibn Khaldoun was the vizier of the independent administration of a Hafsid prince of Béjaïa in 1365.
The fifteenth century saw a general return to the centralization of the Hafsid state. But at the end of the fifteenth century and the beginning of the sixteenth, Leo the African and Al-Marini described a prince of Bejaia, distinct from Tunis, in a position similar to Constantine and Annaba, reflecting a fragmentation of Hafsid territory; these last emirs of Bejaia, independent of the central power of Tunis, were the origin of the dynasty, to found and direct the kingdom of Beni Abbes. In 1510, as part of the Reconquista, the Spaniards seized Bejaia, in the hands of dissident Hafsid emirs, they organized raids in the hinterland from this position. The Berbers of the region sought protection in the interior and took as their new capital the Kalâa of the Beni Abbas, in the heart of the Bibans mountains; this city was an ancient fortified place of the Hammadid era and a staging point on the triq sultan the commercial route going from Hautes Plaines to Béjaia. Abderahmane, the last of the emirs of Bejaia, chose the site for security reasons.
His son Ahmed became famous for his religious status with the Kabylian and Arab tribes in the region who settled in the Kalâa, fleeing the relative chaos in the country. Benefiting from growing support among the surrounding tribes, he proclaimed himself "Sultan of the Kalâa", he was buried in a village in the vicinity of the Kalâa. The reign of his grandson Abdelaziz El Abbes brought the name of the Kalâa to wider attention: at its peak, the city had 80,000 inhabitants; the Kalâa was equipped with weapons factories with the help of Christian renegades as well as some of the inhabitants of Bejaia driven out by the Spanish occupation, including Andalusians, Muslims, as well as a Jewish community who were welcomed for their know-how. Following successive annexations of territory, the kingdom of Ait Abbas Under Abdelaziz extended to the south and the surrounding mountains; the Spaniards, who had fallen back into Bejaia, offered him their alliance, he temporarily ignored the establishment of the regency of Algiers led by the Barbarossa brothers because his kingdom was not oriented towards the sea.
The Barbarossa brothers, wis
The Almoravid dynasty was an imperial Berber Muslim dynasty centered in Morocco. It established an empire in the 11th century that stretched over Al-Andalus. Founded by Abdallah ibn Yasin, the Almoravid capital was Marrakesh, a city the ruling house founded in 1062; the dynasty originated among the Lamtuna and the Gudala, nomadic Berber tribes of the Sahara, traversing the territory between the Draa, the Niger, the Senegal rivers. The Almoravids were crucial in preventing the fall of Al-Andalus to the Iberian Christian kingdoms, when they decisively defeated a coalition of the Castilian and Aragonese armies at the Battle of Sagrajas in 1086; this enabled them to control an empire. However, the rule of the dynasty was short-lived; the Almoravids fell—at the height of their power—when they failed to stop the Masmuda-led rebellion initiated by Ibn Tumart. As a result, their last king Ishaq ibn Ali was killed in Marrakesh in April 1147 by the Almohad Caliphate, who replaced them as a ruling dynasty both in Morocco and Al-Andalus.
The term "Almoravid" comes from the Arabic "al-Murabitun", the plural form of "al-Murabit"—literally meaning "one, tying" but figuratively meaning "one, ready for battle at a fortress". The term is related to the notion of a frontier monastery-fortress, through the root r-b-t; the name "Almoravid" was tied to a school of Malikite law called "Dar al-Murabitin" founded in Sus al-Aksa, modern day Morocco, by a scholar named Waggag Ibn Zallu. Ibn Zallu sent his student Abdallah ibn Yasin to preach Malikite Islam to the Sanhaja Berbers of the Sous and Adrar. Hence, the name of the Almoravids comes from the followers of the Dar al-Murabitin, "the house of those who were bound together in the cause of God."It is uncertain when or why the Almoravids acquired that appellation. Al-Bakri, writing in 1068, before their apex calls them the al-Murabitun, but does not clarify the reasons for it. Writing three centuries Ibn Abi Zar suggested it was chosen early on by Abdallah ibn Yasin because, upon finding resistance among the Gudala Berbers of Adrar to his teaching, he took a handful of followers to erect a makeshift ribat on an offshore island.
Ibn Idhari wrote that the name was suggested by Ibn Yasin in the "persevering in the fight" sense, to boost morale after a hard-fought battle in the Draa valley c. 1054, in which they had taken many losses. Whichever explanation is true, it seems certain the appellation was chosen by the Almoravids for themselves with the conscious goal of forestalling any tribal or ethnic identifications; the name might be related to the ribat of Waggag ibn Zallu in the village of Aglu, where the future Almoravid spiritual leader Abdallah ibn Yasin got his initial training. The 13th-century Moroccan biographer Ibn al-Zayyat al-Tadili, Qadi Ayyad before him in the 12th century, note that Waggag's learning center was called Dar al-Murabitin, that might have inspired Ibn Yasin's choice of name for the movement. Contemporaries referred to them as the al-mulathimun; the Almoravids veiled themselves below the eyes with a tagelmust, a custom they adapted from southern Sanhaja Berbers. Although practical for the desert dust, the Almoravids insisted on wearing the veil everywhere, as a badge of "foreignness" in urban settings as a way of emphasizing their puritan credentials.
It served as the uniform of the Almoravids. It was worn in remembrance of the Sanhaja's escape from Yemen disguised as women, thus making it an indication of their faith. Under their rule, sumptuary laws forbade anybody else from wearing the veil, thereby making it the distinctive dress of the ruling class. In turn, the succeeding Almohads made a point of mocking the Almoravid veil as symbolic of effeminacy and decadence; the Berbers of the Tamazgha in the early Middle Ages could be classified into three major groups: the Zenata across the north, the Masmuda concentrated in central Morocco, the Sanhaja, clustered in two areas: the western part of the Sahara and the hills of the eastern Maghreb. The eastern Sanhaja included the Kutama Berbers, the base of the Fatimid rise in the early 10th century, the Zirid dynasty, who ruled Ifriqiya as vassals of the Fatimids after the latter moved to Egypt in 972; the western Sanhaja were divided into several tribes: the Gazzula and the Lamta in the Draa valley and the foothills of the Anti-Atlas range.
The western Sanhaja had been converted to Islam some time in the 9th century. They were subsequently united in the 10th century and, with the zeal of neophyte converts, launched several campaigns against the "Sudanese". Under their king Tinbarutan ibn Usfayshar, the Sanhaja Lamtuna erected the citadel of Awdaghust, a critical stop on the trans-Saharan trade route. After the collapse of the Sanhaja union, Awdagust passed over to the Ghana empire; the Maghrawa exploited this disunion to dislodge the Sanhaja Gazzula and Lamta out
North Africa during Antiquity
The History of North Africa during the period of Classical Antiquity can be divided into the history of Egypt in the east, the history of Ancient Libya in the middle and the history of Numidia and Mauretania in the West. The Roman Republic established the province of Africa in 146 BCE after the defeat of Carthage; the Roman Empire controlled the entire Mediterranean coast of Africa, adding Egypt in 30 BCE, Creta et Cyrenaica in 20 BCE, Mauretania in CE 44. In the east, Egypt was under Persian rule during the early phase of classical antiquity, passing to the Ptolemaic dynasty in the Hellenistic era. Libya was inhabited by Berber tribes, while along the coast Phoenician and Greek colonies were set up. Rome lost parts of Africa to the Vandals in the 5th century; the Byzantine Empire lost all control of Africa as the region fell to the Umayyad conquest of North Africa by the close of the 7th century. The Late Period of Ancient Egypt refers to the last flowering of native Egyptian rulers after the Third Intermediate Period from the 26th Saite Dynasty into Persian conquests and, ending with the fall of the Thirty-First Dynasty to the conquest of Alexander the Great in 332 BCE.
After Alexander's death in 323 BCE, Egypt fell to Ptolemy I Soter who established the Ptolemaic Kingdom in 305 BCE. In 2013, the first genetic analysis utilizing next-generation sequencing was conducted to ascertain the ancestral lineage of an Ancient Egyptian individual. DNA was extracted from the heads of five Egyptian mummies. All the specimens were dated to between 806 BC and 124 AD, a timeframe corresponding with the Late Dynastic and Ptolemaic periods; the researchers observed that one of the mummified individuals belonged to the mtDNA haplogroup I2, a maternal clade, believed to have originated in Western Asia. Phoenician traders arrived on the North African coast around 900 BC and established Carthage around 800 BCE. By the 6th century BCE, a Punic presence existed at Tipasa. From their principal center of power at Carthage, the Carthaginians expanded and established small settlements along the North African coast. Hippo Regius and Rusicade are among the towns of Carthaginian origin on the coast of present-day Algeria.
As Carthaginian power grew, its involvement in the indigenous population increased dramatically. Berber civilization was at a stage in which agriculture, manufacturing and political organization supported several states. Trade links between Carthage and the Berbers in the interior grew and thus created a new Punic society speaking Punic, but territorial expansion resulted in the enslavement or military recruitment of some Berbers and in the extraction of tribute from others. By the early 4th century BC, Berbers formed one of the largest element, with Gauls, of the Carthaginian army. Egypt was not considered part of Libya in Hellenistic geography; the boundary between Africa and Asia was at Catabathmus Magnus, separating Libya proper from the "Libyan Nomos" of western Egypt. In the Revolt of the Mercenaries, Berber soldiers participated from 241 to 238 BCE after being unpaid following the defeat of Carthage in the First Punic War. Berbers succeeded in obtaining control of much of Carthage's North African territory, they minted coins bearing the name Libyan, used in Greek to describe natives of North Africa.
The Carthaginian state declined because of successive defeats by the Romans in the Punic Wars. As Carthaginian power waned, the influence of Berber leaders in the hinterland grew. By the 2nd century BCE, several large but loosely administered Berber kingdoms had emerged. Two of them were established behind the coastal areas controlled by Carthage. West of Numidia lay Mauretania, which extended across the Moulouya River in Morocco to the Atlantic Ocean; the high point of Berber civilization, unequaled until the coming of the Almohads and Almoravids more than a millennium was reached during the reign of Masinissa in the 2nd century BCE. After Masinissa's death in 148 BC, the Berber kingdoms were reunited several times. Masinissa's line survived until CE 24, when the remaining Berber territory was annexed to the Roman Empire. Roman domination of the northern Mediterranean coasts of Africa began; the Roman empire in the following century controlled all the coasts from the Nile valley to the Atlantic Ocean of actual Morocco The Roman military presence of North Africa was small if related to other areas of the empire, consisting of about 28,000 troops and auxiliaries in Numidia and the two Mauretanian provinces.
Starting in the 2nd century CE, these garrisons were manned by local inhabitants, because the area was considered pacified and nearly romanised. Aside from Carthage, urbanization in North Africa came in part with the establishment of settlements of veterans under the Roman emperors Claudius and Trajan. In actual Algeria such settlements included Tipasa, Cuicul or Curculum and Sitifis; the prosperity of most towns depended on agriculture. Called the "granary of the empire," North Africa was one of the largest exporters of grain in the empire, exported to the provinces which did not produce cereals, like Italy and Greece. Other crops included fruit, figs and beans. By the 2nd century CE, olive oil rivaled cereals as an export item; the beginnings of the decli