Caliphate of Córdoba
|Caliphate of Córdoba
Khilāfat Qurṭuba (Arabic)
Caliphate of Córdoba (green), c. 1000.
|Languages||Classical Arabic, Berber, Mozarabic, Medieval Hebrew|
|-||Abd-ar-Rahman III proclaimed Caliph of Córdoba||929|
|-||Disintegrated into several independent taifa kingdoms||1031|
|-||1000 est.||600,000 km² (231,661 sq mi)|
|Today part of|| Gibraltar (UK)
|History of Al-Andalus|
|Umayyads of Córdoba
|First Taifa period
|Second Taifa period
|Third Taifa period
|Emirate of Granada
This period was characterized by remarkable successes in trade and culture; many of the masterpieces of Islamic Iberia were constructed during this period, including the famous Great Mosque of Córdoba. In January 929, Abd-ar-Rahman III proclaimed himself Caliph (Arabic: خليفة) of Qurtuba in place of his original title Emir of Córdoba (Arabic: أمير قرطبة 'Amīr Qurṭuba). Abd-ar-Rahman III was a member of the Umayyad dynasty, one who held the titles of Emir of Córdoba since 756. The rule of the Caliphate is known as the heyday of Muslim presence in the Iberian peninsula.
The Caliphate practically disintegrated due to civil war (Fitna of al-Ándalus) between the descendants of the last legitimate Caliph Hisham II and the successors of his prime minister (hayib) Al-Mansur. The Caliphate existed until 1031 when after years of infighting, it fractured into a number of independent Taifa kingdoms. Despite these fractures the Islamic civilisation in Iberia continued until 1492 when its last bastion: the Alhambra in Granada, formally surrendered to the Christians.
The Umayyad Dynasty 
Abd-ar-Rahman I became Emir of Córdoba in 756; fleeing for six years after the Umayyads had lost the position of Caliph held in Damascus in 750. Intent on regaining a position of power, he defeated the existing Islamic rulers of the area who defied Umayyad rule and united various local fiefdoms into an emirate. In 806, however, occurred the first of a series of incursions to Corsica.
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 Abbasid Caliph of Baghdad, Abd-ar-Rahman III claimed the title of Caliph himself. This move helped Abd-ar-Rahman III gain prestige with his subjects, and the title was retained even after the Fatimids were repulsed.
The Caliphate enjoyed immense prosperity throughout the 10th century. Abd-ar-Rahman III not only united al-Andalus, but brought the Christian kingdoms of the north, through force and diplomacy, under control. Abd-ar-Rahman stopped the Fatimid advance into Caliphate lands in Morocco and al-Andalus. This period of prosperity is marked by growing diplomatic relations with Berber tribes in North Africa, Christian kings from the north, with France and Germany, and Constantinople. The death of Abd-ar-Rahman III led to the rise of his 46 year old son Al-Hakam II in 961. Al-Hakam II more-or-less followed in his father's footsteps, occasionally dealing with a few disruptive Christian kings and North African rebels, though trying not to be too severe. Unlike his father, al-Hakam's dependence upon his advisers was more distinct.
The death of al-Hakam II in 976 marked the beginning of the end of the Caliphate of Córdoba. Before his death, al-Hakam named his 10 year old son Hisham II (976–1008) as successor. Seeing that the child was in no way competent to be Caliph, yet having sworn an oath of obedience to him, Al-Mansur Ibn Abi Aamir (the top adviser to Hisham's father, also known as Almanzor) pronounced him Caliph. Ibn Abi Aamir acted as guardian to the young Hisham, exercising the Caliph's powers until he was of age. While doing so however, he isolated Hisham in Córdoba while systematically eradicating opposition to his own rule. He allowed Berbers from Africa to immigrate steadily to al-Andalus in order to build up his base of support. He, and eventually after his death in 1008, his son Abd al-Malik (al-Muzaffar), and later his brother (Abd al-Rahman) retained the powers nominally held by Caliph Hisham. However, on a raid in the Christian north, a revolt tore through Córdoba, and Abd al-Rahman never returned.
The decision to name Hisham II Caliph shifted power from the individual to the advisers. The title Caliph became only a symbol; it no longer held power and influence. The Caliphate would be rocked with violence, with different revolutionaries claiming to be the new Caliph. The last Córdoban Caliph was Hisham III (1027–1031). With different factions competing, the Caliphate finally crumbled in 1031 into independent taifa kingdoms.
Life within the Caliphate 
Córdoba was the cultural centre of al-Andalus. Mosques, such as The Great Mosque, were the focal point of many Caliphs' attentions. Also found in Córdoba is the Caliph's large palace found on the outskirts of the city. This palace had many rooms filled with riches and prizes from the East. Córdoba was the intellectual centre of al-Andalus, with translations of ancient Greek texts to Arabic, Latin and Hebrew. The 10th-century library of Al-Ḥakam II was one of the largest libraries in the world, housing at least 400,000 volumes. Throughout the period of al-Andalus civilization, Jews and Arabs lived in harmony: Jewish stonemasons have left their marks incised into many columns of the great Mosque at Córdoba. It was not until the fall of al-Andalus in 1492 that the incoming Christians banished the Jews from Spain.
Appreciable advances in science, history, geography, philosophy and grammar occurred during the Caliphate. Al-Andalus became susceptible to eastern cultural influences as well. Ziryab is credited on bringing hair and clothing styles to the Iberian peninsula (as well as toothpaste and deodorant).
The economy of the Caliphate was very diverse and successful, primarily consisting of trade. Muslim trade routes connected al-Andalus with the rest of the Mediterranean and beyond. There were many areas of industry that were revitalized during the Caliphate: textiles, ceramics, glassware, metalwork, and agriculture all benefiting the state. The Arabs introduced new crops, such as rice, watermelon, banana, eggplant and hard wheat. They used better irrigation systems with the help of water wheels.
The Caliphate of Cordoba had an ethnically, culturally, and religiously diverse society. The society was composed of Muslims who were ethnically either of Arabic or Berber descent and native converts, Christians, and a Jewish minority which represented about 5% of the population. The ethnically Arab were at the top of the social hierarchy; Muslims in general had a higher social standing. Although Christians and Jews were considered dhimmis, having to pay a specific tax levied on all non-Muslims or jizya, they still enjoyed the possibility of social mobility. Conversion to Islam translated into a higher rate of social mobility for Christians and Jews alike [ citation needed]. There is little documentation available to indicate the conversion rates of Jews in Al-Andalus, although the numbers of Jewish converts have been estimated as relatively small . This is perhaps due to the tightly-knit Jewish communities that had formed before the Muslim invasion. Christians on the other hand were more eager to convert to Islam. Many wished to secure higher ranking government positions; while others took such liking to Islamic teaching and culture that they felt compelled to convert. Half of the Christians in Al-Andalus are reported to have converted to Islam by the 10th century, with more than 80% by the 11th century. Even Christians that did not accept Islam as their religion, became increasingly Arabized in terms of culture. These Christians became known as Mozarabs or musta’ribs, a word meaning ‘Arabized’, as they had adopted the Arabic language and customs.
List of rulers 
According to historians, the Emirs and Caliphes who made up the Umayyad dynasty in Al-Andalus were all sons from concubine slaves, almost all of whom were Spanish and from the North of the Peninsula. The founder of this dynasty, Abd-ar-Rahman I, was the son of a Berber woman, and his son and Emir successor had a Spanish mother. Therefore, a genetic study concluded that the genome of Hisâm II, the tenth ruler of the Umayyad dynasty, "would have mostly originated from the Iberian Peninsula and would not be more than 0.1% of Arab descent, although the Y chromosome would still be of fully Arab origin".
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 Caliphs of Córdoba 
- Abd ar-Rahman III, as caliph, 929–961
- Al-Hakam II, 961–976
- Hisham II, 976–1008
- Muhammad II, 1008–1009
- Sulayman II, 1009–1010
- Hisham II, restored, 1010–1012
- Sulayman II, restored, 1012–1016
- Abd ar-Rahman IV, 1017
The Umayyad dynasty was interrupted by 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, 1023 (restored)
The Umayyad dynasty returned to power:
- Abd-ar-Rahman V, 1023–1024
- Muhammad III, 1024–1025
- interreign of Yahya ibn Ali ibn Hammud al-Mu'tali, 1025–1026
- Hisham III, 1026–1031
See also 
- History of Islam
- History of Gibraltar
- History of Algeria
- History of Portugal
- History of Morocco
- History of Spain
- List of Sunni Muslim dynasties
- Septimania timeline
- Azizur Rahman, Syed (2001). The Story of Islamic Spain (snippet view). New Delhi: Goodword Books. p. 129. ISBN 978-81-87570-57-8. Retrieved 5 September 2010. "[Emir Abdullah died on] 16 Oct., 912 after 26 years of inglorious rule leaving his fragmented and bankrupt kingdom to his grandson ‘Abd ar-Rahman. The following day, the new sultan received the oath of allegiance at a ceremony held in the "Perfect salon" (al-majils al-kamil) of the Alcazar."
- Barton, Simon (2004). A History of Spain. New York: Palgrave MacMillan. p. 38. ISBN 0333632575.
- Chejne, Anwar G. (1974). Muslim Spain: Its History and Culture. Minneapolis: The University of Minnesota Press. pp. 43–49. ISBN 0816606889.
- Barton, 37.
- Barton, 38.
- Reilly, Bernard F. (1993). The Medieval Spains. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 84. ISBN 0521394368.
- Chejne, 35.
- Chejne, 37-38.
- Chejne, 38-40.
- Chejne, 42-43.
- Reilly, Bernard F. (1993). The Medieval Spains. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 87–89. ISBN 0521394368.
- Barton, 40-41.
- Barton, 42.
- Guichard, P. (1976). Al-Andalus: Estructura antropológica de una sociedad islámica en Occidente. Barcelona: Barral Editores. ISBN 8421120166.
- Ambrosio, B.; Hernandez, C.; Noveletto, A.; Dugoujon, J. M.; Rodriguez, J. N.; Cuesta, P.; Fortes-Lima, C.; Caderon, R. (2010). "Searching thie peopling of the Iberian Peninsula from the perspective of two Andalusian subpopulations: a study based on Y-chromosome haplogroups J and E". Collegium Antropologicum 34 (4): 1215–1228. PMID 21874703.
Further reading