Caliph of Córdoba
||This article may require copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone, or spelling. (November 2013)|
|This article is part of a series on:|
The Caliph of Córdoba (خليفة قرطبة) ruled the Iberian peninsula (Al-Andalus) and North Africa from the city of Córdoba, from 929 to 1031. This period was characterized by remarkable success in trade and culture; many of the masterpieces of Islamic Spain were constructed in this period, including the famous Great Mosque of Córdoba. The title Caliph (خليفة) was claimed by Abd-ar-Rahman III on January 16, 929; he was previously known as the Emir of Córdoba (أمير قرطبة). All Caliphs of Córdoba were members of the Umayyad dynasty; the same dynasty had held the title Emir of Córdoba and ruled over roughly the same territory since 756. The Caliph's rule is known as the splendor of Muslim presence in the Iberian peninsula, although it was practically finished in 1010, with the fitna (or civil war) which started between descendants of the last legitimate Caliph Hisham II and the successors of his prime minister (or hayib) Almanzor. Furthermore, the Caliph's Empire probably was exhausted by its expensive military efforts. However, the Caliph officially existed until 1031, when it was fractured into a number of independent taifas.
The Umayyad dynasty
Abd-ar-Rahman I became Emir of Córdoba six years after his dynasty, the Umayyad, had lost the position of Caliph (held in Damascus) in 750. Abd-ar-Rahman I was on the run from persecutors for six years before arriving in Spain. Intent on regaining a position of power, he defeated the existing Islamic rulers of the area, and united various local fiefdoms into an emirate.
Rulers of the Emirate were content to use the title emir or sultan until the 10th century, when Abd-ar-Rahman III was faced with the threat of invasion by the Fatimids, a rival Islamic empire based in Cairo. Partially to help in his fight against the invading Fatimids, who claimed the Caliphate in opposition to the generally recognized Abbasidian Caliph of Baghdad, Rahman III claimed the title of Caliph himself. This move helped Rahman III gain prestige with his subjects, and the title was retained even after the Fatimids were repulsed.
After the battle of Melilla in 927, the Omeyas controlled the triangle formed by Algeria, Siyimasa and the Atlantic Ocean. The Caliph's power extended itself toward the north, and until 950 the Holy Roman Empire exchanged ambassadors with Córdoba. A few years before, Hugo de Arles demanded safeguards for his merchant boats in the Mediterranean. In the north of the Iberian peninsula, the small Christian kingdoms, such as the Marca Hispanica, the Kingdom of Navarre and Aragon had difficulty resisting the power of the Caliphate. They sought a truce with the Caliph, who didn't miss the opportunity to take some territories in exchange for peace. In 985, the Moors sacked Barcelona and in 997 Santiago de Compostella.
The last Caliph of Córdoba was Hisham III (1027-1031). At his death in 1031 the territories he controlled, which had by then shrunk mainly to possessions on the Iberian Peninsula, fractured into a number of independent taifas. These fiefdoms continued until they were gradually pushed out by Christian forces during the Reconquista, unable to effectively resist as independent factions.
The cultural aspects were also highlighted, in particular following Al-Hakam II's control of power. This caliph founded a library which would have attained 400,000 volumes. The Caliph of Córdoba thus became famous for its philosophy, translating to medieval Europe works from ancient Greece. Ibn Masarra, Abentofain, Averroes who returned the works of Aristotle to Europe, and the Jew Maimónides (whose work paved the way for Aquinas's reconciliation of the ancient Aristotelian philosophy with Christianity) were some of these famous thinkers, although the majority were known for their groundbreaking achievements in medicine, mathematics and astronomy.
Rulers of Cordoba
Umayyad Emirs of Córdoba
- Abd-ar-rahman I, 756-788
- Hisham I, 788-796
- al-Hakam I, 796-822
- Abd-ar-rahman II, 822-852
- Muhammad I, 852-886
- al-Mundhir, 886-888
- Abdallah ibn Muhammad, 888-912
- Abd-ar-rahman III, 912-929
Umayyad Caliph of Córdoba
- Abd-ar-rahman III, as caliph, 929-961
- Al-Hakam II, 961-976
- Hisham II, 976-1008
- Mohammed II, 1008-1009
- Suleiman, 1009-1010
- Hisham II, restored, 1010-1012
- Suleiman, restored, 1012-1017
- Abd-ar-Rahman IV, 1021-1022
- Abd-ar-Rahman V, 1022-1023
- Muhammad III, 1023-1024
- Hisham III, 1027-1031
Non-Umayyad Caliph of Córdoba: the Hammudid dynasty
- Ali ibn Hammud al-Nasir (1016-1018)
- Al-Qasim ibn Hammud al-Ma'mu (1018-1021)
- Yahya ibn Ali ibn Hammud al-Mu'tali (1021-1023)
- Al-Qasim ibn Hammud al-Ma'mu, restored (1023)
- Yahya ibn Ali ibn Hammud al-Mu'tali, restored (1023-1027)