Battle of Tabarka

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Battle of Tabarka
Part of the Muslim conquest of North Africa
DateEarly 8th century (sources differ on 701, 702, or 703 AD)
Near Tabarka
Result Umayyad victory
Numidia conquered by Umayyads
Subjugation of the Berber tribes
Umayyad Caliphate Berber tribes
Commanders and leaders
Hasan ibn al-Nu'man Dihya 

The Battle of Tabarka was a military engagement fought between the forces of the Umayyad Caliphate and Dihya, a Berber queen. The battle took place near the city of Tabarka, Tunisia, in either 701, 702 or 703 AD. The battle resulted in a major victory for the Umayyads and the end of organized Berber resistance to the caliphate.


During the late 7th century, forces of the Arab-dominated Umayyad Caliphate conducted a decades-long conquest of the Magrheb, then under the nominal control of the Byzantine Empire. One major obstacle to the invasion was Dihya, a Berber queen who had fought against the Umayyad advance into Numidia. In 698, she won a victory over the Umayyads at the Battle of Meskiana, temporarily halting Hassan ibn al-Nu'man's campaign to conquer Numidia.[1]


Regrouping in Libya, the Umayyads invaded Numidia again in either 701, 702[2] or 703. Dihya gathered many Berber tribes people to resist the new invasion. The two armies clashed near the town of Tabarka near the modern Algeria–Tunisia border, where a choke point exists between the Mediterranean sea and the Aurès Mountains.[3] The battle - described as "fierce"[3] - ended in a victory for the Umayyads, the death of Dihya, and the end of organized Berber resistance to the Umayyad invasion.[3]


Dihya was later killed in Bir al-Kahina (al-Kâhina's well), Aurès.[4] Sources disagree on whether Dihya's two sons - both of whom survived the battle - converted to Islam before the battle and fought against their mother[3] or converted after the battle in exchange for their lives being spared.[4]


  1. ^ Philippe Sénac; Patrice Cressier (2012). Armand Colin (ed.). Histoire du Maghreb médiéval: VIIe-XIe siècle (in French). p. 111.
  2. ^ Nicolle, David (2012-06-20). The Great Islamic Conquests AD 632–750. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84603-890-7.
  3. ^ a b c d Houtsma, M. Th (1993). E. J. Brill's First Encyclopaedia of Islam, 1913-1936. BRILL. ISBN 978-90-04-09790-2.
  4. ^ a b Modéran, Y. (2005-08-01). "Kahena. (Al-Kâhina)". Encyclopédie berbère (in French) (27): 4102–4111. doi:10.4000/encyclopedieberbere.1306. ISSN 1015-7344.