Taifa

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The taifas (green) in 1031 Taifas2.gif
The taifas (green) in 1031

In the history of the Iberian Peninsula, a taifa (from Arabic : طائفةṭā'ifa, plural طوائف ṭawā'if, a party, band, or faction) was an independent Muslim-ruled principality, of which a number were formed in Al-Andalus (Moorish Iberia) after the final collapse of the Umayyad Caliphate of Córdoba in 1031. Most of these were emirates, but there was one oligarchy, Seville.

Iberian Peninsula Peninsula located in southwest Europe

The Iberian Peninsula, simply known as Iberia, is located in the southwest corner of Europe. The peninsula is principally divided between Spain and Portugal, comprising most of their territory. It also includes Andorra, small areas of France, and the British overseas territory of Gibraltar. With an area of approximately 596,740 square kilometres (230,400 sq mi)), it is both the second largest European peninsula by area, after the Scandinavian Peninsula, and by population, after the Balkan Peninsula.

Al-Andalus in historiography, the territories of the Iberian Peninsula under moorish rule between 711 and 1492

Al-Andalus, also known as Muslim Spain, Muslim Iberia, or Islamic Iberia, was a medieval Muslim territory and cultural domain that in its early period included most of Iberia, today's Portugal and Spain. At its greatest geographical extent, it occupied the northwest of the Iberian peninsula and a part of present-day southern France, Septimania, and for nearly a century extended its control from Fraxinet over the Alpine passes which connect Italy with the remainder of Western Europe. The name more generally describes the parts of the peninsula governed by Muslims at various times between 711 and 1492, though the boundaries changed constantly as the Christian Reconquista progressed, eventually shrinking to the south around modern-day Andalusia and then to the Emirate of Granada.

Moors Medieval Muslim inhabitants of the Maghreb, Iberian Peninsula, Sicily, and Malta

The term "Moors" refers primarily to the Muslim inhabitants of the Maghreb, the Iberian Peninsula, Sicily, and Malta during the Middle Ages. The Moors initially were the indigenous Maghrebine Berbers. The name was later also applied to Arabs.

Contents

Rise

The origins of the taifas must be sought in the administrative division of the Umayyad Caliphate of Córdoba, as well in the ethnic division of the elite of this state, divided among Arabs, the more numerous Berbers, Iberian Muslims (known as Muladíes – a significant majority) and the Eastern European former slaves.

Caliphate of Córdoba former state in Islamic Iberia (929-1031)

The Caliphate of Córdoba was a state in Islamic Iberia along with a part of North Africa ruled by the Umayyad dynasty. The state, with the capital in Córdoba, existed from 929 to 1031. The region was formerly dominated by the Umayyad Emirate of Córdoba (756–929). The period was characterized by an expansion of trade and culture, and saw the construction of masterpieces of al-Andalus architecture. In January 929, Abd ar-Rahman III proclaimed himself Caliph of Córdoba, replacing thus his original title of Emir of Córdoba. He was a member of the Umayyad dynasty, which had held the title of Emir of Córdoba since 756.

Arabs are a population inhabiting the Arab world. They primarily live in the Arab states in Western Asia, North Africa, the Horn of Africa and western Indian Ocean islands. They also form a significant diaspora, with Arab communities established around the world.

The Muladi were Muslims of local descent or of mixed Arab, Berber, and Iberian origin who lived in Al-Andalus during the Middle Ages. They were also called "Musalimah" (Islamized). In broader usage, the word muwallad is used to describe Arabs of mixed parentage, especially those not living in their ancestral homelands.

During the late 11th century the Christian rulers of the northern Iberian peninsula set out to take over the Muslim territories, defining them as Christian lands that had been conquered by infidels, and now needed to be reconquered; an ideological link with the First Crusade is obvious. The caliphate of Cordova, at this time among the richest and most powerful states in Europe, underwent civil war, known as fitna. As a result, it "broke into taifas, small rival emirates fighting among themselves." [1]

<i>Reconquista</i> Medieval Christian extended conquest of Muslim areas in the Iberian Peninsula

The Reconquista was the period in the history of the Iberian Peninsula of about 780 years between the Umayyad conquest of Hispania in 711 and the fall of the Nasrid kingdom of Granada to the expanding Christian kingdoms in 1492. The completed conquest of Granada was the context of the Spanish voyages of discovery and conquest, and the Americas—the "New World"—ushered in the era of the Spanish and Portuguese colonial empires.

First Crusade Crusade from 1095 to 1099 that captured Jerusalem and established the Crusader States

The First Crusade (1095–1099) was the first of a number of crusades that attempted to recapture the Holy Land, called for by Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont in 1095. Urban called for a military expedition to aid the Byzantine Empire, which had recently lost most of Anatolia to the Seljuq Turks. The resulting military expedition of primarily Frankish nobles, known as the Princes' Crusade, not only re-captured Anatolia but went on to conquer the Holy Land, which had fallen to Islamic expansion as early as the 7th century, and culminated in July 1099 in the re-conquest of Jerusalem and the establishment of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

However, the political decline and chaos was not immediately followed by cultural decline. To the contrary, intense intellectual and literary activity grew in some of the larger taifas.

There was a second period when taifas arose, toward the middle of the 12th century, when the Almoravid rulers were in decline.

Almoravid dynasty Medieval Berber dynasty in Spain and northern Africa

The Almoravid dynasty was an imperial Berber Muslim dynasty centered in Morocco. It established an empire in the 11th century that stretched over the western Maghreb and Al-Andalus. Founded by Abdallah ibn Yasin, the Almoravid capital was Marrakesh, a city the ruling house founded in 1062. The dynasty originated among the Lamtuna and the Gudala, nomadic Berber tribes of the Sahara, traversing the territory between the Draa, the Niger, and the Senegal rivers.

During the heyday of the taifas, in the 11th century and again in the mid 12th century, their emirs (rulers) competed among themselves, not only militarily but also for cultural prestige. They tried to recruit the most famous poets and artisans.

Emir title of high office, used throughout the Muslim world.

An emir, sometimes transliterated amir, amier, or ameer, is an aristocratic or noble and military title of high office used in a variety of places in the Arab countries, West Africa, and Afghanistan. It means "commander", "general", or "High King". The feminine form is emira. When translated as "prince", the word "emirate" is analogous to a sovereign principality.

Decline

Reversing the trend of the Umayyad period, when the Christian kingdoms of the north often had to pay tribute to the Caliph, the disintegration of the Caliphate left the rival Muslim kingdoms much weaker than their Christian counterparts, particularly the Castilian–Leonese monarchy, and had to submit to them, paying tributes known as parias .

<i>parias</i> tax / tribute in medieval Iberia

In medieval Spain, parias were a form of tribute paid by the taifas of al-Andalus to the Christian kingdoms of the north. Parias dominated relations between the Islamic and the Christian states in the years following the disintegration of the Caliphate of Córdoba (1031) until the reunification of Islamic Spain under the Almoravid dynasty. The parias were a form of protection money established by treaty. The payee owed the tributary military protection against foes both Islamic and Christian. Usually the original exaction was forced, either by a large razzia or the threat of one, or as the cost of supporting one Islamic party against another.

Due to their military weakness, taifa princes appealed for North African warriors to come fight Christian kings on two occasions. The Almoravid dynasty was invited after the fall of Toledo (1085), and the Almohad Caliphate after the fall of Lisbon (1147). These warriors did not in fact help the taifa emirs but rather annexed their lands to their own North African empires.

Taifas often hired Christian mercenaries to fight neighbouring realms (both Christian and Muslim). The most dynamic taifa, which conquered most of its neighbours before the Almoravid invasion, was Seville. Zaragoza was also very powerful and expansive, but inhibited by the neighbouring Christian states of the Pyrenees. Zaragoza, Toledo, and Badajoz had previously been the border military districts of the Caliphate.

List of taifas

The taifas in 1080 Reinos de Taifas 1080.png
The taifas in 1080

First period (11th century)

After the fall of the Caliphate of Cordoba in 1031 about 33 independent taifas emerged out the civil war and conflict in Al-Andalus. The strongest and largest taifas in this first period (11th century) were the Taifa of Zaragoza, Taifa of Toledo, Taifa of Badajoz and the Taifa of Seville. The only taifa which conquered most of its weak neighbours was the Taifa of Seville under the Abbadid dynasty.

Al-Tagr Al-Adna (Central Portugal)

This region includes the Centro and Lisboa region of Portugal and Extremadura region of Spain.

  • Badajoz 1013-1022/1034-1094 (Aftasid Dynasty); 1027-1034 (to Seville): 1094 (to Almoravids)
  • Lisbon 1022-1034 (Banu Sabur Dynasty); 1034-1093 (Aftasids Dynasty)

Al-Garb (Southern Portugal)

This region includes the Alentejo and Algarve region of Portugal.

  • Mértola 1033-1044 (Tayfurid Dynasty); 1044-1091 (to Seville)
  • Saltés and Huelva 1012/1013–1051/1053 (Bakrid Dynasty); 1051-1091 (to Seville)
  • Santa Maria do Algarve 1018-1051 (Harunid Dynasty); 1051-1091 (to Seville)
  • Silves: 1027-1063 (Muzaymid Dynasty); 1063-1091 (to Seville)

Al-Tagr Al-Awsat (Central Spain)

This region includes the Madrid region and the provinces of Toledo and Guadalajara of Spain.

Al-Musata (Castilla La Mancha)

This region only includes the provinces of Ciudad Real, Albacete and Cuenca of Spain.

Al-Andalus (Southern Spain)

This region includes the autonomous region of Andalucia in Spain

Al-Tagr Al-A'la (Aragon and Catalonia)

This region only includes the provinces of Teruel, Zaragoza and Tarragona of Spain.

Al-Xarq (Eastern Spain)

This region includes the region of Valencia, Murcia and Baleares.

Second period (12th century)

Third period (13th century)

Additionally, but not usually considered taifas, are:

Related Research Articles

The Abbadid dynasty or Abbadid was an Arab Muslim dynasty which arose in Al-Andalus on the downfall of the Caliphate of Cordoba (756–1031). After the collapse, there were multiple small Muslim states called taifas, each ruled by a different family or tribe: the Hammudids, the Zayrids, the Jahwarids, the Dhul-Nunids, the Amirids, the Tojibids, and the Hudids. Of all of these small groups, the Abbadid were the strongest and before long absorbed most of the others. Abbadid rule lasted from about 1023 until 1091, but during the short period of its existence it exhibited singular energy and typified its time.

Almohad Caliphate langue Arabic dialictic

The Almohad Caliphate was a Moroccan Berber Muslim movement and empire founded in the 12th century.

Yusuf ibn Tashfin The leader of Almoravid empire from 1061 to 1106

Yusuf ibn Tashfin also, Tashafin, Teshufin; or Yusuf was leader of the Berber Moroccan Almoravid empire. He co-founded the city of Marrakesh and led the Muslim forces in the Battle of Zallaqa/Sagrajas. Ibn Tashfin came to al-Andalus from Africa to help the Muslims fight against Alfonso VI, eventually achieving victory and promoting an Islamic system in the region. He was married to Zainab al-Nafzawiyya, whom he reportedly trusted politically.

This is a timeline of notable events during the period of Muslim presence in Iberia, starting with the Umayyad conquest in the 8th century.

Gharb Al-Andalus region of Portugal while under Muslim rule

Gharb Al-Andalus, or just Al-Gharb, was the name given by the Muslims of Iberia to the region of southern modern-day Portugal and part of West-central modern day Spain during their rule of the territory, from 711 to 1249. This period started with the fall of the Visigothic kingdom after Tariq ibn-Ziyad's invasion of Iberia and the establishment of the Umayyad control in the territory. The present day Algarve derives its name from this Arabic name. The region had a population of about 500,000 people.

Moorish architecture architectural style

Moorish architecture is the articulated Islamic architecture of North Africa and parts of Spain and Portugal, where the Moors were dominant between 711 and 1492. The best surviving examples in Iberia are La Mezquita in Córdoba and the Alhambra palace in Granada, as well as the Giralda in Seville (1184). Other notable examples in Iberia include the ruined palace city of Medina Azahara (936–1010), the church San Cristo de la Luz in Toledo, the Aljafería in Saragossa and baths at for example Ronda and Alhama de Granada.

Taifa of Seville The emirates of Al-Andalus

The Taifa of Seville was an Arab kingdom which belonged to the Abbadid family. It originated in 1023 and lasted until 1091, in what is today southern Spain and Portugal.

Taifa of Granada A Berber emirate in Al-Andalus

The Taifa of Granada was a Berber emirate in Al-Andalus, roughly corresponding to the modern province of Granada, Spain, in southern Spain. The emirate originated in 1013 and lasted until 1091.

Taifa of Zaragoza Taifa kingdom

The taifa of Zaragoza was an independent Arab Muslim state in Moorish Al-Andalus, present day eastern Spain, which was established in 1018 as one of the taifa kingdoms, with its capital in the Islamic Saraqusta (Zaragoza) city. Zaragoza's taifa emerged in the 11th century following the destruction of the Caliphate of Córdoba in the Moorish Iberian Peninsula.

Taifa of Arcos

The Taifa of Arcos was a Berber medieval taifa kingdom that existed in two periods; first from 1011 to 1068. Ruled by the Zanata Berber family of the Banū Jizrūn. From 1068 until 1091 it was under the forcible control of Seville, by Abbad II al-Mu'tadid. It regained its independence from 1143 to 1145 when it was finally conquered by the Almohad Caliphate.

Taifa of Mértola Medieval emirate in Portugal

The Taifa of Mértola was a medieval Moorish taifa that existed in what is now southeastern Portugal. It existed during three distinct periods: from 1033 to 1044, from 1144 to 1145, and from 1146 to 1151. From 1044 until 1091 it was under the forcible control of the Taifa of Seville, by Abbad II al-Mu'tadid. Its short-lived history ended in 1151, when it was finally conquered by the Almohad Caliphate.

Taifa of Toledo

The taifa of Toledo was a Berber Muslim taifa located in what is now central Spain. It existed from the fracturing of the long-eminent Muslim Caliphate of Córdoba in 1035 until the Christian conquest in 1085.

Taifa of Valencia

The Taifa of Valencia was a medieval Moorish taifa kingdom which existed, in and around Valencia, Spain during four distinct periods: from 1010 to 1065, from 1075 to 1099, from 1145 to 1147 and last from 1229 to 1238 when it was finally conquered by the Aragon.

Taifa of Silves Medieval emirate in Southern Portugal

The Taifa of Silves was a Muslim taifa Moorish kingdom that existed in what is now southern Portugal for two distinct periods: from 1027 to 1063, and again from 1145 to 1150, when it was finally conquered by the Almohad Caliphate.

Taifa of Murcia

The Taifa of Murcia was an Arab taifa of medieval Al-Andalus, in what is now southern Spain. It became independent as a taifa centered on the Moorish city of Murcia after the fall of the Umayyad Caliphate of Córdoba. Moorish Taifa of Murcia included Albacete and part of Almería as well.

Taifa of Badajoz Medieval emirate in Portugal and Spain

The Taifa of Badajoz was a medieval Islamic Moorish kingdom located in what is now parts of Portugal and Spain. It was centred on the city of Badajoz which exists today as the first city of Extremadura, in Spain.

References

  1. Tolan, John (2013). Europe and the Islamic World: A History. Princeton: Princeton University press. p. 40, 39-40.