Emirate of Córdoba

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Emirate of Córdoba
إمارة قرطبة
Imārah Qurṭuba (Arabic)



Emirate of Córdoba in 929 (green)
Capital Córdoba
Languages Classical Arabic, Berber, Mozarabic, Medieval Hebrew
Government Monarchy
 -  Abd al-Rahman I proclaimed Emir of Córdoba 756
 -  Abd-ar-Rahman III proclaimed Caliph of Córdoba[1] 929
Today part of  Andorra
 Gibraltar (UK)

The Emirate of Córdoba (Arabic: إمارة قرطبة, Imārah Qurṭuba) was an independent emirate in the Iberian Peninsula between 756 and 929 with Córdoba as its capital.

After the Umayyad conquest of Hispania in 711–718, the Iberian Peninsula was established as a province under the Umayyad Caliphate. These rulers established their capital in Córdoba and received from the Caliph of Damascus the title of wali or emir.

In 756 Abd-ar-Rahman I ignored the Abbasid caliphs in Damascus and became an independent emir of Córdoba. He had been on the run 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.[2] However, this first unification of al-Andalus under Abd-ar-Rahman still took more than 25 years to complete (Toledo, Zaragoza, Pamplona, Barcelona).

For the next century and a half, his descendants continued as emirs of Córdoba, with nominal control over the rest of al-Andalus and sometimes even parts of western North Africa, but with real control, particularly over the marches along the Christian border, their power vacillating depending on the competence of the individual emir. Indeed, the power of emir Abdallah ibn Muhammad (circa 900), for example, did not extend beyond Córdoba itself.

Upon arrival to the throne of his grandson Abd-al-Rahman III, who succeeded him in 912, the political decline of the emirate was obvious. Abd-al-Rahman III rapidly restored Umayyad power throughout al-Andalus and extended it into western North Africa as well. In 929, to impose its authority and end the riots and conflicts that ravaged the Iberian Peninsula, he proclaimed himself caliph, elevating the emirate to a position in prestige not only with the Abbasid caliph in Baghdad but also the Shi'ite Fatimid caliph in Tunis—with whom he was competing for control of North Africa.


  1. ^ Azizur Rahman, Syed (2001). The Story of Islamic Spain. Goodword Books. p. 129. ISBN 978-81-87570-57-8. "[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." 
  2. ^ Barton, 37.