Algeria the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of North Africa. The capital and most populous city is Algiers, located in the far north of the country on the Mediterranean coast. With an area of 2,381,741 square kilometres, Algeria is the tenth-largest country in the world, the world's largest Arab country, the largest in Africa. Algeria is bordered to the northeast by Tunisia, to the east by Libya, to the west by Morocco, to the southwest by the Western Saharan territory and Mali, to the southeast by Niger, to the north by the Mediterranean Sea; the country is a semi-presidential republic consisting of 1,541 communes. It has the highest human development index of all non-island African countries. Ancient Algeria has known many empires and dynasties, including ancient Numidians, Carthaginians, Vandals, Umayyads, Idrisid, Rustamid, Zirid, Almoravids, Spaniards and the French colonial empire. Berbers are the indigenous inhabitants of Algeria. Algeria is a middle power.
It supplies large amounts of natural gas to Europe, energy exports are the backbone of the economy. According to OPEC Algeria has the 16th largest oil reserves in the world and the second largest in Africa, while it has the 9th largest reserves of natural gas. Sonatrach, the national oil company, is the largest company in Africa. Algeria has one of the largest defence budget on the continent. Algeria is a member of the African Union, the Arab League, OPEC, the United Nations and is a founding member of the Arab Maghreb Union. On 2 April 2019, president Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned after nearly 20 years in power, following pressure from the country’s army after mass protests against Bouteflika's campaign for a fifth term; the country's name derives from the city of Algiers. The city's name in turn derives from the Arabic al-Jazā'ir, a truncated form of the older Jazā'ir Banī Mazghanna, employed by medieval geographers such as al-Idrisi. In the region of Ain Hanech, early remnants of hominid occupation in North Africa were found.
Neanderthal tool makers produced hand axes in the Levalloisian and Mousterian styles similar to those in the Levant. Algeria was the site of the highest state of development of Middle Paleolithic Flake tool techniques. Tools of this era, starting about 30,000 BC, are called Aterian; the earliest blade industries in North Africa are called Iberomaurusian. This industry appears to have spread throughout the coastal regions of the Maghreb between 15,000 and 10,000 BC. Neolithic civilization developed in the Saharan and Mediterranean Maghreb as early as 11,000 BC or as late as between 6000 and 2000 BC; this life, richly depicted in the Tassili n'Ajjer paintings, predominated in Algeria until the classical period. The mixture of peoples of North Africa coalesced into a distinct native population that came to be called Berbers, who are the indigenous peoples of northern Africa. From their principal center of power at Carthage, the Carthaginians expanded and established small settlements along the North African coast.
These settlements served as market towns as well as anchorages. As Carthaginian power grew, its impact on 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, 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 the single largest element of the Carthaginian army. In the Revolt of the Mercenaries, Berber soldiers rebelled from 241 to 238 BC after being unpaid following the defeat of Carthage in the First Punic War, they 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.
In 146 BC the city of Carthage was destroyed. As Carthaginian power waned, the influence of Berber leaders in the hinterland grew. By the 2nd century BC, 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 modern-day 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 BC. After Masinissa's death in 148 BC, the Berber kingdoms were reunited several times. Masinissa's line survived until 24 AD, when the remaining Berber territory was annexed to the Roman Empire. For several centuries Algeria was ruled by the Romans. Like the rest of No
The Umayyad Caliphate spelt Omayyad, was the second of the four major caliphates established after the death of Muhammad. The caliphate was ruled by the Umayyad dynasty; the third Caliph, Uthman ibn Affan, was a member of the Umayyad clan. The family established dynastic, hereditary rule with Muawiya ibn Abi Sufyan, long-time governor of Syria, who became the sixth Caliph after the end of the First Muslim Civil War in 661. After Mu'awiyah's death in 680, conflicts over the succession resulted in a Second Civil War and power fell into the hands of Marwan I from another branch of the clan. Syria remained the Umayyads' main power base thereafter, Damascus was their capital; the Umayyads continued the Muslim conquests, incorporating the Transoxiana, the Maghreb and the Iberian Peninsula into the Muslim world. At its greatest extent, the Umayyad Caliphate covered 11,100,000 km2 and 33 million people, making it one of the largest empires in history in both area and proportion of the world's population.
The dynasty was overthrown by a rebellion led by the Abbasids in 750. Survivors of the dynasty established themselves in Cordoba in the form of an Emirate and a Caliphate, lasting until 1031; the Umayyad Caliphs were considered too secular by some of their Muslim subjects. Christians, who still constituted a majority of the Caliphate's population, Jews were allowed to practice their own religion but had to pay a head tax from which Muslims were exempt. There was, the Muslim-only zakat tax, earmarked explicitly for various welfare progammes. Muawiya's wife Maysum was a Christian. Relations between the caliphate's Muslim and Christian subjects were stable in this time; the Umayyads were involved in frequent battles with the Christian Byzantines without being concerned with protecting themselves in Syria, which had remained Christian like many other parts of the empire. Prominent positions were held by Christians, some of whom belonged to families that had served in Byzantine governments; the employment of Christians was part of a broader policy of religious accommodation, necessitated by the presence of large Christian populations in the conquered provinces, as in Syria.
This policy boosted Muawiya's popularity and solidified Syria as his power base. According to tradition, the Umayyad family and Muhammad both descended from a common ancestor, Abd Manaf ibn Qusai, they came from the city of Mecca in the Hijaz. Muhammad descended from Abd Manāf via his son Hashim, while the Umayyads descended from Abd Manaf via a different son, Abd-Shams, whose son was Umayya; the two families are therefore considered to be different clans of the same tribe. While the Umayyads felt deep animosity towards the Hashimites before Muhammad, their animosity deepened after the Battle of Badr of 624; the battle saw. This fueled the opposition of Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, the grandson of Umayya, to Muhammad, his family, Islam as a whole. Abu Sufyan sought to exterminate the adherents of the new religion by waging another battle against the Medina-based Muslims only a year after the Battle of Badr, he did this to avenge the defeat at Badr. Scholars regard the Battle of Uhud as the first defeat for the Muslims, since they incurred greater losses than the Meccans.
After the battle, Abu Sufyan's wife Hind, the daughter of Utba ibn Rabi'ah, is reported to have cut open the corpse of Hamza, taking out his liver which she attempted to eat. In 629, within five years of the defeat in the Battle of Uhud, Muhammad took control of Mecca and announced a general amnesty for all. Abu Sufyan and his wife Hind embraced Islam on the eve of the conquest of Mecca; the Umayyad's ascendancy began when Uthman ibn Affan, an early companion, second cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad became the third Caliph. Uthman placed some members of his clan at positions of power. Most notably, he appointed his first cousin, Marwan ibn al-Hakam, as his top advisor, which created a stir among the Hashimite companions of Muhammad, as Marwan had been permanently exiled from Medina by Muhammad. Uthman appointed his half-brother, Walid ibn Uqba, whom Hashimites accused of leading prayer while under the influence of alcohol, governor of Kufa and appointed his foster-brother Abdullah ibn Saad as the Governor of Egypt, replacing Amr ibn al-As.
Most notably, Uthman consolidated Muawiyah's governorship of Syria by granting him control over a larger area. Muawiyah proved a successful governor, he built up a loyal and disciplined army composed of Syrian Arabs and befriended Amr ibn al-As, the ousted governor of Egypt. In 639 Muawiyah was appointed as the governor of Syria after the previous governor Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah died in a plague along with 25,000 other people. In 649 Muawiyah set up a navy manned by Monophysite Christian and Jacobite Syrian Christian sailors and Muslim troops, who defeated the Byzantine navy at the Battle of the Masts in 655, opening up the Mediterranean. Uthman's rule saw the relaxing of restrictions instituted by the second Caliph Umar ibn Al-Khatt
'Amr ibn al-'As
'Amr ibn al-'As was an Arab military commander who led the Muslim conquest of Egypt in 640. He was a contemporary of Muhammad and one of the Sahaba who rose through the Muslim hierarchy following his conversion to Islam in the year 8 AH, he built the Mosque of Amr ibn al-As at its center. ʻAmr belonged to the Banu Sahm clan of the Quraysh.'Amr ibn al-'As was born in the city of Mecca in Arabia and died in Egypt. Assuming he was over eighty years old when he died, he was born before 592. Al - ` As ibn Wa'il was the father of ` Amr ibn al - ` Hisham ibn al-A ` as, he was a part of Hilf al-Fudul. Before his military career, ʻAmr was a trader, who had accompanied caravans along the commercial trading routes through Asia and the Middle East, including Egypt, he was a shrewd intelligent man who belonged to the nobility of the Quraysh, fought with the Quraysh against the Muslims in several battles. He was determinedly hostile to Islam, was in fact Quraysh’s envoy to the Negus, the ruler of Abyssinia. On one occasion when going to fight the Muslims, he saw them praying, became interested and tried to find out more about Islam.
After converting to Islam with Khalid ibn al-Walid, he fought for the Islamic cause and became a great commander. The first mosque to be built in Africa was erected under his patronage and is still known as The Mosque of Amr ibn al-As, he came to Egypt as the commander in chief of the Muslim Arab troops in 650 AD. Like the other Quraysh chiefs, he opposed Islam in the early days. ʻAmr headed the delegation that the Quraysh sent to Abyssinia to prevail upon the ruler, Aṣḥama ibn Abjar, to turn away the Muslims from his country. The mission failed and the ruler of Abyssinia refused to oblige the Quraysh. After the migration of Muhammad to Medina ʻAmr took part in all the battles that the Quraysh fought against the Muslims, he commanded a Quraysh contingent at the battle of Uhud. He took with him his wife, Rayta bint Munabbih ibn al-Hajjaj, the mother of his son Abdullah.ʻAmr ibn al-ʻĀs was married to Umm Kulthum bint Uqba but she died only one month after their marriage. In the company of Khalid ibn al-Walid, he rode from Mecca to Medina where both of them converted to Islam in 629-30.
Abu Bakr and Abu Ubaidah ibn al Jarrah served under ʻAmr ibn al-ʻĀs in the campaign of Dhat as-Salasil and had offered their prayers behind him for many weeks. At that time, ʻAmr ibn al-ʻĀs was their chief not only in the army but as a leader in religious services.ʻAmr was dispatched by Muhammad to Oman and played a key role in the conversion of the leaders of that nation, Jayfar and'Abbād ibn Al-Juland. He was made governor of the region until shortly after Muhammad's death. There are some hadith regarding his father's will. ʻAmr was sent by the Caliph Abu Bakr with the Muslim Arab armies into Palestine following Muhammad's death. It is believed that he played an important role in the Arab conquest of that region, he is known to have been at the battles of Ajnadayn and Yarmouk as well as the siege of Damascus. Following the success over the Byzantines in Syria, Amr suggested to Umar that he march on Egypt, to which Umar agreed; the actual invasion began towards the end of 639, as Amr crossed the Sinai Peninsula with 3,500-4,000 men.
He is reported to have celebrated the feast of pilgrimage in Arish on 10th Dhul Hij A. H 18 or 12 December 640. After taking the small fortified towns of Pelusium and beating back a Byzantine surprise attack near Bilbeis, Amr headed towards the Babylon Fortress. After some skirmishes south of the area, Amr marched north towards Heliopolis, with 12,000 men reinforcements who had arrived on 6 June 640 reaching him from Syria, against the Byzantine forces in Egypt, under general Theodorus; the resulting Muslim victory at the Battle of Heliopolis brought about the fall of much of the country. The Heliopolis battle resolved quickly, though the Babylon Fortress withstood a siege of several months, the Byzantine capital of Alexandria, the capital of Egypt for much of its 972-year existence, surrendered a few months after that. A peace treaty was signed in the ruins of a palace in Memphis. Despite a brief re-conquest by Byzantine forces in 645, after the Muslim victory at the Battle of Nikiou the country remained in Muslim Arab hands.
Finding no soldiers, Muslim army took possession. Needing a new capital, Amr suggested that they set up an administration in the large and well-equipped city of Alexandria, at the western edge of the Nile Delta. However, Caliph Umar refused, saying that he did not want the capital to be separated from him by a body of water. So in 641 Amr founded a new city on the eastern side of the Nile, centered on his own tent, near the Babylon Fortress. Amr founded a mosque at the center of his new city—it was the first mosque in Egypt, which made it the first mosque on the continent of Africa; the Mosque of Amr ibn al-As still exists today in Old Cairo, though it has been extensively rebuilt over the centuries, nothing remains of the original structure. One corner of the mosque contains the tomb of his son,'Abd Allah ibn'Amr ibn al-'As. Although some Egyptians did not support the Byzantine forces during the Arab conquest, some villages started to organise against the new invaders. After the Battle of Nikiou on 13 May 641, Arab troops, having defeated the Byzantine forces, destroyed many Egyptian villages on their march to Alexandria as the Delta rebelled against the new invaders.
The Egyptian resistance seems to have been village by village without a unified
Kairouan, is the capital of the Kairouan Governorate in Tunisia. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site; the city was founded by the Umayyads around 670. In the period of Caliph Mu'awiya, it became an important centre for Sunni Islamic scholarship and Quranic learning, thus attracting a large number of Muslims from various parts of the world, next only to Mecca and Medina; the holy Mosque of Uqba is situated in the city. In 2014, the city had about 186,653 inhabitants; the name is an Arabic deformation of the Persian word کاروان kârvân, meaning "military/civilian camp", "caravan", or "resting place". Kairouan, the capital of Kairouan Governorate, lies south of Sousse, 50 km from the east coast, 75 km from Monastir and 184 km from Tunis; the foundation of Kairouan dates to about the year 670 when the Arab general Uqba ibn Nafi of Caliph Mu'awiya selected a site in the middle of a dense forest infested with wild beasts and reptiles, as the location of a military post for the conquest of the West. The city of Kamounia was located where Kairouan now stands.
It had housed a Byzantine garrison before the Arab conquest, stood far from the sea – safe from the continued attacks of the Berbers who had fiercely resisted the Arab invasion. Berber resistance continued, led first by Kusaila, whose troops killed Uqba at Biskra about fifteen years after the establishment of the military post, by a Berber woman called Al-Kahina, killed and her army defeated in 702. Subsequently, there occurred a mass conversion of the Berbers to Islam. Kharijites or Islamic "outsiders" who formed an egalitarian and puritanical sect appeared and are still present on the island of Djerba. In 745, Kharijite Berbers captured Kairouan, at that time a developed city with luxuriant gardens and olive groves. Power struggles continued until Ibrahim ibn al-Aghlab recaptured Kairouan at the end of the 8th century. In 800 Caliph Harun ar-Rashid in hereditary ruler of Ifriqiya. Ibrahim ibn al-Aghlab founded the Aghlabid dynasty which ruled Ifriqiya between 800 and 909; the new Emirs made it their capital.
It soon became famous for its wealth and prosperity, reaching the levels of Basra and Kufa and giving Tunisia one of its golden ages long sought after the glorious days of Carthage. The Aghlabites built the great mosque and established in it a university, a centre of education both in Islamic thought and in the secular sciences, its role can be compared to that of the University of Paris in the Middle Ages. In the 9th century, the city became a brilliant focus of Arab and Islamic cultures attracting scholars from all over the Islamic World. In that period Imam Sahnun and Asad ibn al-Furat made of Kairouan a temple of knowledge and a magnificent centre of diffusion of Islamic sciences; the Aghlabids built palaces and fine waterworks of which only the pools remain. From Kairouan envoys from Charlemagne and the Holy Roman Empire returned with glowing reports of the Aghlabites palaces and gardens – and from the crippling taxation imposed to pay for their drunkenness and sundry debaucheries; the Aghlabite pacified the country and conquered Sicily in 827.
In 893, through the mission of Abdullah al Mahdi, the Kutama Berbers from the west of the country started the movement of the Shiite Fatimids. The year 909 saw the overthrow of the Sunni Aghlabites who ruled Ifriqiya and the establishment of the Shiite Fatimid dynasty. During the rule of the Fatimids, Kairouan was neglected and lost its importance: the new rulers resided first in Raqqada but soon moved their capital to the newly built Al Mahdiyah on the coast of modern Tunisia. After succeeding in extending their rule over all of central Maghreb, an area consisting of the modern countries of Morocco, Algeria and Libya, they moved east to Egypt to found Cairo making it the capital of their vast Caliphate and leaving the Zirids as their vassals in Ifriqiya. Governing again from Kairouan, the Zirids led the country through another artistic and agricultural heyday. Schools and universities flourished, overseas trade in local manufactures and farm produce ran high and the courts of the Zirids rulers were centres of refinement that eclipsed those of their European contemporaries.
When the Zirids declared their independence from Cairo and their conversion to Sunni Islam in 1045 by giving allegiance to Baghdad, the Fatimid Caliph Ma'ad al-Mustansir Billah sent as punishment hordes of troublesome Arab tribes to invade Ifriqiya. These invaders so utterly destroyed Kairouan in 1057 that it never regained its former importance and their influx was a major factor in the spread of nomadism in areas where agriculture had been dominant; some 1,700 years of intermittent but continual progress was undone within a decade as in most part of the country the land was laid to waste for nearly two centuries. In the 13th century under the prosperous Hafsids dynasty that ruled Ifriqiya, the city started to emerge from its ruins, it is only under the Husainid Dynasty that Kairouan started to find an honorable place in the country and throughout the Islamic world. In 1881, Kairouan was taken by the French; the French built the 600 mm Sousse–Kairouan Decauville railway, which operated from 1882 to 1996, before it was regauged to 1,000 mm gauge.
Jews were among the original settlers of Kairouan, the community played an important role in Jewish history, having been a world center of Talmudic and Hal
Barca (ancient city)
Barca called Barce, was an ancient city and former bishopric, which survives as both a Latin Catholic and an Orthodox titular see. Barca was an ancient Greek colony and a Roman and a Byzantine city in North Africa, it was in the coastal area of. As a Greek city, it was part of the Cyrenaican Pentapolis along with the city of Cyrene itself. Achaemenid king Darius I established Barcaean captives in a village in Bactria, still flourishing in Herodotus' time. According to most archeologists, it was situated at Marj, but according to Alexander Graham it was at Tolmeita. No remains of the ancient settlement are visible at Marj, but some of the finds made there during the Italian colonial dominance of Libya are on display in the museum at Tolmeita; the city's name, Arabized as Barqah, came to refer to the former province of Cyrenaica. Barce was part of the Exarchate of Africa until it was conquered by the Arabs in 643–644 during the Islamic conquest of North Africa, it served as the capital of the Barqah province of the Caliphate.
When the Ottoman Turks conquered the region in 1521, they used the Turkish form "Barka" for the province, but did not retain the city's status as its capital. Early Christianity spread to the Pentapolis of North Africa from Egypt. Synesius of Cyrene, Bishop of Ptolemais, received his instruction at Alexandria in both the Catechetical School and the Museion, he retained a great deal of reverence and affection for Hypatia, the last pagan Neoplatonist, whose classes he had attended. Synesius was raised to the episcopate by Theophilus, patriarch of Alexandria, in 410. In accordance with a ruling of the Council of Nicaea in 325, Cyrenaica is recognized as ecclesiastically dependent on the See of Alexandria. Pentapolis is therefore included in the titles used both by the patriarch of the Coptic Church and by the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria. Although it was destroyed and restored during the Roman period, becoming a mere borough, Barca was the seat of a bishopric; the bishops who participated in the First Council of Nicaea in 325 included the Arian Zopyros of Barca.
Zenobius signed the acts of the Council of Ephesus in 431 and Theodorus took part in the Robber Council of Ephesus in 449, whose decisions were overthrown by the Council of Chalcedon in 451. The Metropolitan of Western Pentapolis held the most senior position in the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church after that of the Pope of Alexandria. Since the demise of that eparchy as a major Archiepiscopal Metropolis in the days of Pope John VI of Alexandria, the position is held as a titular see attached to another Diocese. For the Catholic Church, Barca, no longer a residential bishopric, is today listed as a titular see. Over the past century there have been 11 bishops of the Catholic titular See; the most recent has been Andraos Salama prior to his appointment as bishop of the Coptic Catholic Eparchy of Giza. Apollonia Ptolemais Herbermann, Charles, ed.. "Barca". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Butler, The Arab Conquest of Egypt, p. 430 Heinrich Gelzer, Patrum Nicaenorum nomina, p. 231 Marquardt, Staatsverwaltung, I, p. 459 Westermann, Großer Atlas zur Weltgeschichte
Early Muslim conquests
The early Muslim conquests referred to as the Arab conquests and early Islamic conquests began with the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the 7th century. He established a new unified polity in the Arabian Peninsula which under the subsequent Rashidun and Umayyad Caliphates saw a century of rapid expansion; the resulting empire stretched from the borders of China and the Indian subcontinent, across Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, parts of Europe. Edward Gibbon writes in The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire: Under the last of the Umayyads, the Arabian empire extended two hundred days journey from east to west, from the confines of Tartary and India to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean... We should vainly seek the indissoluble union and easy obedience that pervaded the government of Augustus and the Antonines; the language and laws of the Quran were studied with equal devotion at Samarcand and Seville: the Moor and the Indian embraced as countrymen and brothers in the pilgrimage of Mecca.
The Muslim conquests brought about the collapse of the Sassanid Empire and a great territorial loss for the Byzantine Empire. The reasons for the Muslim success are hard to reconstruct in hindsight because only fragmentary sources from the period have survived. Fred McGraw Donner suggests that formation of a state in the Arabian peninsula and ideological coherence and mobilization was a primary reason why the Muslim armies in the space of a hundred years were able to establish the largest pre-modern empire until that time; the estimates for the size of the Islamic Caliphate suggest it was more than thirteen million square kilometers. Most historians agree as well that the Sassanid Persian and Byzantine Roman empires were militarily and economically exhausted from decades of fighting one another, it has been suggested that some Jews and Christians in the Sassanid Empire and Jews and Monophysites in Syria were dissatisfied and welcomed the Muslim forces because of religious conflict in both empires.
It has been suggested that Syriac Christians reinterpreted the events of the conquest to serve a political or religious interest. At other times, such as in the Battle of Firaz, Arab Christians allied themselves with the Persians and Byzantines against the invaders. In the case of Byzantine Egypt and Syria, these lands had been reclaimed from the Persians only a few years before. Arabia was a region that hosted a number of different cultures, some urban and others nomadic Bedouin. Arabian society was divided along tribal and clan lines with the most important divisions being between the "southern" and "northern" tribal associations. Both the Roman and Persian empires competed for influence in Arabia by sponsoring clients, in turn Arabian tribes sought the patronage of the two rival empires to bolster their own ambitions; the Lakhmid kingdom which covered parts of what is now southern Iraq and northern Saudi Arabia was a client of Persia, in 602 the Persians deposed the Lakhmids to take over the defense of the southern frontier themselves.
This left the Persians exposed and over-extended, helping to set the stage for the collapse of Persia that century. Southern Arabia what is now Yemen, had for thousands of years been a wealthy region, a center of the spice trade. Yemen had been at the center of an international trading network linking Eurasia to Africa and Yemen had been visited by merchants from East Africa, the Middle East and from as far away as China. In turn, the Yemeni were great sailors, travelling up the Red Sea to Egypt and across the Indian Ocean to India and down the east African coast. Inland, the valleys of Yemen had been cultivated by a system of irrigation, set back when the Marib Dam was destroyed by an earthquake in about 450 AD. Frankincense and myrrh had been valued in the Mediterranean region, being used in religious ceremonies. However, the conversion of the Mediterranean world to Christianity had reduced the demand for these commodities, causing a major economic slump in southern Arabia which helped to create the impression that Arabia was a backward region.
Little is known of the pre-Islamic religions of Arabia, but it is known that the Arabs worshiped a number of gods such as al-Lat, Manat, al-Uzza and Hubal, with the most important being Allah. There were Jewish and Christian communities in Arabia and aspects of Arab religion reflected their influence. Pilgrimage was a major part of Arabian paganism, one of the most important pilgrimage sites was Mecca, which housed the Kaaba, considered an holy place to visit. Mohammad, a merchant of Mecca, started to have visions in which he claimed that the Archangel Gabriel had told him that he was the last of the prophets continuing the work of Jesus Christ and the prophets of Tanakh. After coming into conflict with the elite of Mecca, Mohammad fled to the city of Yathrib, renamed Medina. At Yathrib, Mohammad by 630 conquered Mecca; the prolonged and escalating Byzantine–Sassanid wars of the 6th and 7th centuries and the recurring outbreaks of bubonic plague left both empires exhausted and weakened in the face of the sudden emergence and expansion of the Arabs.
The last of these wars ended with victory for the Byzantines: Emperor Heraclius regained all lost territories, restored the True Cross to Jerusalem in 629. The war agai