Al-Husayn I ibn Ali

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Al-Husayn I ibn Ali
Bey of Tunis
Reign1705 – 1735
PredecessorIbrahim Sharif of Tunis
SuccessorAbu l-Hasan Ali I
Died13 March 1740

Al-Husayn I ibn Ali (1669 – 13 March 1740) (Arabic: حسين بن علي التركي‎, Ḥusayn bin ʿAlī al-Turkī; Turkish: Hüseyin bin Ali) was the founder of the Husainid Dynasty, which ruled Tunisia until 1957.


Husayn was born a "kouloughli", which is a term used to refer to a Turkish father and a local North African mother.[1] His father was a Turk living in Crete and his mother was a Tunisian.[2][3][4] The Husaynids were called "Greek" by Habib Bourguiba.[5]

In 1702 the janissary commander Ibrahim Sharif, of whom he was lieutenant, expelled the Muradid Dynasty from Tunis. Three years later, after Sharif had been captured by the Dey of Algiers, he took control of the Turkish army in Tunis and, on 12 July 1705, had himself proclaimed Bey of Tunis. He had one of his close relatives proclaimed dey by the Constantinople diwan, an act which increased his popularity amongst the Turkish janissaries, and he was also able to gain support from his Tunisian subjects; however, his entourage was mostly composed of Mamluks. Husayn's first councillor was a Frenchman from Toulon, a literate man who had helped him in gaining power.

He imposed a unity upon the country by having Sharif assassinated at Ghar el-Melh upon his release from captivity. A pious man, Al-Husayn also used Islam to unite Tunisia's numerous different ethnicities. He built numerous edifices dedicated to religion and religious studies (madrasas), such as the Madrasahs of the Dyers (1727) and al-Husseyniah in Tunis, as well as the mosque of Le Bardo and other madrasas in the country's mainland (Kairouan, Sfax, Sousse and Nafta).

Madrasa Ennakhla

In 1726 he ordered the construction of El Jedid Mosque in Tunis.[6]

El jadid Mosque

Husayn tried to establish a succession to the title of bey for his sons Muhammad and Ali (born in 1710 and 1712, respectively). His nephew Ali Pasha, who had been plotting against him and had been therefore put under surveillance by Husayn, was able to escape and revolted, with the help of local tribes and of the Dey of Algiers. The latter invaded Tunisia and defeated Husayn at the battle of Smindja on 4 September 1735. Husayn was forced to flee to Sousse, while his troops in Tunis capitulated. Husayn was captured and beheaded on 13 September 1740.


  1. ^ Brett & Fentress 1997, 178
  2. ^ Brown 2015, pp. 29-30.
  3. ^ ed. Abun-Nasr 1987, p. 173.
  4. ^ Johnston 2011, p. 21.
  5. ^ Clancy-Smith 2011.
  6. ^ "Lieux de culte Municipalité de Tunis" (in French). Government of Tunis. Archived from the original on 11 August 2009. Retrieved 23 July 2010.


  • Brett, Michael; Fentress, Elizabeth (1997), The Berbers, Wiley-Blackwell, ISBN 0631207678.
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Ibrahim Sharif (bey of Tunis)
Bey of Tunis
Succeeded by
'Abu'l Hasan 'Ali I