Zidan Abu Maali

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Zidan Abu Maali (Arabic: زيدان أبو معالي‎) (? – September 1627) was the embattled Sultan of Morocco from 1603 to 1627, ruling only over the southern half of the country after his brother took the northern half and a Sanhaji rebel from Tafilalt (Ahmed ibn Abi Mahalli) marched on Marrakesh claiming to be the Mahdi. All of which exacerbated by a context of chaos that ensued a plague pandemic which left a third of the country dead, the end of the Anglo-Spanish war (Treaty of London (1604)) —which broke the Anglo-Dutch axis that Morocco was relying upon as a means of protection from Spain, and so caused the Spanish navy to resume devastating raids on the Moroccan coast— and the rebellion of one of his provincial governors who established his own independent republic between Azemmour and Salé. He was the son and appointed hair of Ahmad al-Mansur, and resided mostly in Safi where he became encircled after being driven out of Marrakesh and failed military campaigns against the rebellious brother in the north.

Civil war[edit]

During the reign of Zidan, after the death of Mulay al-Mansur in 1603, Morocco fell into a state of anarchy, with the Sultan losing much of his authority and leaving [1] Salé a sort of independent Republic.[1] Morocco was in a state of civil war with warlords such as Ahmed ibn Abi Mahalli in the South and Sidi al-Ayachi in the North taking territory from Zidan.[2] The Spanish also seized the opportunity to capture the cities of Larache in 1610 and then al-Ma'mura.[2]

Foreign relations[edit]

Mulay Zidan established friendly relations with the Low Countries, with the help of envoys such as Samuel Pallache, and from 1609, he established a Treaty of Friendship. He sent several more envoys to the Low Countries, such as Muhammad Alguazir, Al-Hajari and Yusuf Biscaino.[3]

James I of England sent John Harrison to Muley Zaydan in Morocco in 1610 and again in 1613 and 1615 in order to obtain the release of English captives.[4]

By a coincidence the complete library of this sultan has been transmitted to us to the present day. During a civil war in 1612, Mulay Zidan commissioned a French privateer, Jehan Philippe de Castelane, to shift his household goods from Safi to Agadir for a sum of 3000 escudos. After waiting 6 days, without being paid, he sailed north, with the cargo still aboard. A Spanish fleet of 4 ships under command of Luis Fajardo de Córdoba intercepted the vessel near Mehdya and took it to Lisbon (then part of Spain) and convicted the crew of piracy. Two years later the collection was transmitted to El Escorial for permanent storage.[5][6]

See also[edit]

El Escorial


  1. ^ a b Ships, money, and politics by Kenneth R. Andrews p.167. Books.google.com. Retrieved 25 October 2014. 
  2. ^ a b The Cambridge history of Islam by P. M. Holt, Ann K. S. Lambton, Bernard Lewis p.247. Books.google.com. Retrieved 25 October 2014. 
  3. ^ Romania Arabica by Gerard Wiegers p.410. Books.google.com. Retrieved 25 October 2014. 
  4. ^ Khalid Ben Srhir. Britain and Morocco during the embassy of John Drummond Hay, 1845-1886. p. 14. Retrieved 25 October 2014. 
  5. ^ *For details of the incident see: Chantal de la Véronne, Histoire sommaire des Sa'diens au Maroc, 1997, p. 78.
    • Catalogue: Dérenbourg, Hartwig, Les manuscrits arabes de l'Escurial / décrits par Hartwig Dérenbourg. - Paris : Leroux [etc.], 1884-1941. - 3 volumes.
  6. ^ Journal of Early Modern History 18 (2014) 535-538 "Traveling Libraries: The Arabic Manuscripts of Muley Zidan and the Escorial Library" by Daniel Hershenzon of University of Connecticut ([1])

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Ahmad al-Mansur
Sultan of Morocco
Succeeded by
Abu Marwan Abd al-Malik II