Taifa of Murcia
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- Not to be confused with the Anglo-Saxon kingdom Mercia.
|Taifa of Murcia|
Taifa Kingdom of Murcia, c. 1037.
|Languages||Arabic, Mozarabic , Ladino|
|Religion||Islam, Roman Catholicism, Judaism|
|Historical era||Middle Ages|
|-||Downfall of Caliphate of Córdoba||1011|
|-||To Almeria/Valencia||1014-1038 / 1038-1065|
|-||To Seville/Almoravids||1078-1091 / 1091-1145|
|-||To the Almohads||1172-1228|
|-||Annexed by Castile||1266|
|Currency||Dirham and Dinar|
The Taifa of Murcia was one of the Taifas of medieval Al-Andalus, in what is now southern Spain. It became independent as a taifa centered on the Moorish city of Murcia after the fall of the Omayyad Caliphate of Córdoba (11th century). Moorish Taifa of Murcia included Albacete and part of Almería as well.
The taifa is apparently the one that existed the greatest number of separate time periods (five): from 1011 to 1014, from 1065 to 1078, in 1145, from 1147 to 1172 and finally from 1228 to 1266 when it was absorbed by Castile.
The Kingdom of Murcia later would become one of the kingdoms of the Crown of Castile.
In the year 713, only two years after the Moorish invasion of the Peninsula, the emir Abd al Aziz occupied the province. Murcia was founded with the name of Medinat Mursiya in A.D. 825 by Abd ar-Rahman II, emir of Al-Andalus. The Moors, taking advantage of the course of the river Segura, created a complex network of irrigation channels that made the town prosperous and is the predecessor of the modern irrigation system. The traveller Muhammad al-Idrisi described it in the 12th century as populous and strongly fortified.
Establishment of the kingdom
After the fall of the Caliphate of Cordoba in 1031, Murcia passed successively under the rule of Almería, Toledo and Seville. From 1078 until 1091 it was under the forcible control of Seville, by Abbad II al-Mu'tadid.In 1172 it was taken by the Almohades, and from 1223 to 1243 it became the capital of an independent kingdom.
Conquest of Valencia
The conquest of what was going to be the Kingdom of Valencia started in 1232 when the king of the Crown of Aragón, James I, called Jaume I el Conquistador or the Conqueror, took Morella, mostly with Aragonese troops. Shortly after, in 1233, Burriana and Peñíscola were also taken from the Balansiya (Valencia in the Arabic language) taifa.
A second and more relevant wave of expansion took place in 1237, when James I defeated the Moors from the Balansiya taifa. He entered the city of Valencia on 9 October 1237 which is regarded as the dawn of the Kingdom of Valencia.
A third phase started in 1243 and ended in 1245, when it met the limits agreed between James I and the heir to the throne of Castile, Alfonso the Wise, who would succeed to the throne as Alfonso X in 1252. These limits were traced in the Treaty of Almizra between the Crown of Castile and the Crown of Aragon, which coordinated their Reconquista efforts to drive the Moors southbound by establishing their respectively desired areas of influence. The Treaty of Almizra established the south line of Aragonese expansion in the line formed by the villes of Biar and Busot, today in the North of the Alicante province. Everything South of that line, including what would be the Kingdom of Murcia, was reserved by means of this treaty for Castile.
Aragon then Castile
James II called Jaume II el Just or the Just, a grandson of James I, initiated in 1296 a final impulse of his army further southwards than the Biar-Busot pacts. His campaign aimed at the fertile countryside around Murcia and the Vega Baja del Segura whose local Muslim rulers were bound by pacts with Castile and governing by proxy on behalf of this kingdom; Castilian troops often raided the area to assert a sovereignty which, in any case, was not stable but characterized by the typical skirmishes and ever changing alliances of a frontier territory.
The Castilians, led by King Alfonso X, took the Kingdom of Murcia at the end of this period, when large numbers of immigrants from north Catalonia and Provence settled in the town; Catalan names are still not uncommon. In 1296, Murcia and its region were transferred to the Kingdom of Aragon, but in 1304, in virtue of the Treaty of Torrellas, it was finally incorporated as part of the crown of Castile.