Yusuf ibn 'Abd al-Rahman al-Fihri
Yusuf ibn 'Abd al-Rahman al-Fihri (Arabic: يوسف بن عبد الرحمن الفهري) was an Umayyad governor of Narbonne in Septimania and governor of al-Andalus from 747 to 756, ruling independently following the collapse of the Umayyad Caliphate in 750. He was a descendant of 'Uqbah, the founder of al-Qayrāwan.
Governor in Narbonne
After the Battle of Poitiers, Yusuf ibn Abd al-Rahman was appointed governor of Narbonne according to the Chronicle of Moissac, where he was in command of military operations. During four years he is said to have raided and pillaged the Lower Rhone, and in 735 he took Arles.
Infight and Berber revolt
Between 716 and 756, al-Andalus was ruled by governors sent from Damascus or appointed on the recommendation of the Umayyad regional governors of Ifriqiya to which it belonged administratively . Like many of his predecessors, Yusuf struggled to control infighting between the Berbers (the bulk of his power base) and the Arabs, and also had to deal with perennial feuding between Syrian and Yemeni Arab tribes comprising his forces.
Governor of al-Andalus
After the instability of the Berber Revolt in al-Andalus, an arrangement was concluded between different Arab factions to alternate in office. However, after taking over and completing his term, he refused to give up the reins of power, ruling unchallenged for 9 years, while in Damascus the Umayyads were definitely overthrown in 750. It has been pointed that he actually ruled as king (malik), and not as governor (wali). After becoming ruler, al-Fihri conducted a census, as part of which Bishop Hostegesis prepared a list of tax and jizya payers. The bishop then made annual visits to make sure the taxes were collected properly.
Arrival of Abd al-Rahman I and downfall
Yusuf had just broken a revolt attempt in Zaragoza (755) when he led a campaign against the Basques of Pamplona in 755 but the detachment sent was annihilated. This was the moment chosen by Abd ar-Rahman I, who had fled Syria some years before to escape from the Abbasids, to disembark on the southern coast of present-day Spain. He went on to capture important southern strongholds such as Malaga and Seville.
On Abd al-Rahman I's arrival, Andalusi forces divided, with both commanders garnering the allegiance of both Berbers and Syrian junds. Generally Yemeni units within the latter joined the Umayyad contender, while their Mudar and Qays rivals remained loyal to Yusuf. After failing to compromise a deal with Abd-ar-Rahman I by which the Umayyad survivor would succeed him, Yusuf al-Fihri was defeated at the Battle of Musarah just outside Córdoba in May 756 by Abd ar-Rahman I, who thus became the first independent Emir of Córdoba.
Still Yusuf managed to flee the battlefield north and make his way towards Toledo, possibly first attempting to recapture Seville, but failing. Yusuf may have been killed on his retreat to Toledo, while other accounts locate him in that stronghold still for two or three years, where he was eventually killed by some of his own men.
- Umayyad conquest of Hispania
- Battle of Avignon
- Battle of Narbonne (737)
- Timeline of the Muslim presence in the Iberian peninsula
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Abd al-Rahman ibn Katir al-Lahmi
|Governor of Al-Andalus
Abd ar-Rahman I succeeds as Emir