Muradid dynasty

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The Muradid Dynasty (Mouradites) was a dynasty which ruled over Tunisia from 1613 to 1705.

History[edit]

The dynasty was founded by Murad Bey, a janissary of Corsican origin. Ramdan Bey, ruler of Tunis, had sponsored the Corsican Murad since his youth. After Ramdan's death in 1613, Murad then followed his benefactor into the office of Bey, which he exercised effectively until 1631. Eventually he was also named Pasha by the Ottoman sultan; his position as Bey remained inferior to the that of the Dey. His son Hamuda Bey (reigned 1631-1666) inherited both titles, with the support of the local notables of Tunis. By virtue of his title as Pasha, the Bey came to enjoy the prestige of connection with the Sultan-Caliph in Constantinople. In 1640, at the death of the Dey, Hamuda Bey maneuvered to establish his control over appointments to that office.

Under Murad II Bey (reigned 1666-1675), son of Hamuda, the Diwan again functioned as a council of notables. Yet in 1673 the janissary deys, seeing their power ebbing, rose in revolt. During the consequent fighting, the urban forces of the janissary deys fought against the Muradids with their largely rural forces under the tribal shaykhs, and with popular support from city notables. As the Beys secured victory, so did the rural Bedouins and the Tunisian notables, who also emerged triumphant. The Arabic language returned to local official use, although the Muradids continued to use Turkish in the central government, accentuating their elite status and Ottoman connection.

At Murad II Bey's death, internal discord with the Muradid family led to armed struggle. The Turkish rulers of Algeria later intervened on behalf of one side in a subsequent domestic conflict; the Algerian forces did not withdraw and proved unpopular. This unfortunate condition of civil discord and Algerian interference persisted. The last Muradid Bey, Murad III, was assassinated in 1702 by Ibrahim Sharif, who then ruled for several years with Algerian backing.

See also[edit]