Caliphate of Córdoba
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|Caliphate of Córdoba
Khilāfat Qurṭuba (Arabic)
Caliphate of Córdoba (green), c. 1000.
|Languages||Classical Arabic, Berber, Mozarabic, Medieval Hebrew|
|Caliph of Córdoba|
|-||929 – 961||Abd-ar-Rahman III|
|-||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 a large expansion of trade and culture, and saw the construction of the masterpieces of al-Andalus architecture, including the 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, who had held the titles of Emir of Córdoba since 756.
The Caliphate disintegrated during a civil war, the Fitna of al-Andalus, between the descendants of the last Caliph Hisham II and the successors of his hayib Al-Mansur. In 1031, after years of infighting, the Caliphate fractured into a number of independent Muslim Taifa kingdoms.
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. The first of a series of incursions to Corsica occurred in 806.
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 a great increase of prosperity through 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, 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. Through the period of al-Andalus civilization, the relations between Jews and Arabs flourished at times: 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 comprised by: A minority of ethnic Muslims of Arabic descent who used to occupy the higher priestly and ruling positions, another minority of Muslims of Berber descent mainly connected to the war machine, and native Hispano-Gothic converts, who comprised the majority of the Muslim minority and could be found in all strata of society, although, the vast majority did not enjoy a social status comparable to Arabs or even Berbers, but a status inferior to them. A Jewish minority represented about 5 to 10% of the population, more numerous than the Arabs and about equal in numbers as the Berbers. The Jews were mainly involved in business and trade as well as some more intellectual occupations. The Christian Mozarab majority, indigenous to the Spains, were Catholic Christians of the Visigothic rite, who spoke a variant of Latin close to today's Spanish, Portuguese or Catalan but with a little more Arabic influence. The Mozarabs were the lower strata of society and were forced to pay heavy taxes and deprived of some of their civil rights although, culturally, the Mozarab Christians adopted some few manners proper of the Muslims. The ethnically Arabs were at the top of the social hierarchy; Muslims in general had a higher social standing than Jews, which in turn had in general a higher social standing than Christians. Christians and Jews were considered dhimmis. They had to pay the jizya, a specific tax levied on Christians and Jews to support the wars against the Christian Kingdoms in the North. The word of a Muslim was valued more than that of a Christian or Jew in court, and there were some offenses that were more harshly punished when a Jew or Christian was the perpetrator against a Muslim, while the same offenses were permitted when the perpetrator was a Muslim and the victim a non Muslim. Half of the population in Cordoba is reported to have been Muslim by the 10th century, with some 70% by the 11th century. And this is explained not as much by conversions as by the many Muslims immigrants from North Africa and other regions of Hispania who wave after wave settled in the capital of the Caliphate. This, combined with the mass expulsions of Christians from Cordoba which had happened decades before, after a Christian revolt in the city, explain how during the Caliphate, the city of Cordoba was the greatest Muslim centre in the region. Jewish immigration to Cordoba also grew in this period.
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
- 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."
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- Reilly, Bernard F. (1993). The Medieval Spains. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 87–89. ISBN 0521394368.
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- 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.