Sidi al-Ayachi

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Sidi al-Ayachi, also el-Ayachi or al-Ayashi (-1641), was a Moroccan marabout, warlord, and jihadist.[1] The Sultan of Morocco, Mulay Zidan al-Nasir, had made him governor (qā′id) of Azmūr,[2] but in 1627 he decided to secede and create his own state.

Since the death of Mulay al-Mansur in 1603, Morocco had progressively fallen into a state of anarchy, with the Sultan losing authority.[3] With Morocco in a state of civil war, the Spanish seized the opportunity to capture the cities of Larache in 1610 and then al-Ma'mura in 1614.[4] The Sultan's seeming inability to defend the country, infuriated Sidi al-Ayachi, and he began a counter-offensive against Spain, privateering against its shipping, and obtaining the help of the Moriscos and the English.[4] He managed to re-capture al-Mamura, albeit tempoarily, and extended his power as far as Taza.[4]

In April 1627, Sidi al-Ayachi revolted against the Sultan and attacked the harbour of Salé, which he captured and transformed into his own principality, the Republic of Bou Regreg, becoming its independent governor.[3] The English diplomat John Harrison negotiated a treaty with Sidi al-Ayachi in May 1627, a month later.[3] The Dutch also strong supported Sidi al-Ayachi, and supplied him with arms.[2]

It was not until Sutan Mohammed esh Sheikh es Seghir came to the throne in 1636, that real efforts were made to restore the lands of Sidi al-Ayachi to the throne. Sidi al-Ayachi was killed in battle in 1641.[2]


  1. ^ Sato (2012). Islamic Urbanism. Hoboken, New Jersey: Taylor and Francis. p. 77. ISBN 978-1-136-16952-6. 
  2. ^ a b c Hirschberg, Joachim W. (Hayyim Ze'er). Bashan, Eliezer and Attal, Robert, ed. A history of the Jews in North Africa: From the Ottoman conquests to the present time (second ed.). Leiden: E J Brill. p. 234. ISBN 978-90-04-06295-5. 
  3. ^ a b c Ships, money, and politics by Kenneth R. Andrews p.167
  4. ^ a b c The Cambridge history of Islam by P. M. Holt, Ann K. S. Lambton, Bernard Lewis p.247