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The taifas (singular taifa, from Arabic : طائفةṭā'ifa, plural طوائف ṭawā'if, a party, band or faction) were the independent Muslim principalities of al-Andalus (Spain) that emerged from the decline and fall of the Umayyad Caliphate of Córdoba between 1009 and 1031. They were a recurring feature of Andalusian history. Conquered by the Almoravids in the late 11th century, on its collapse many taifas re-appeared only to be subsumed by the Almohads. The fall of the latter resulted in a final flourishing of the taifas, but by the end of the 13th century only one remained, Granada, the rest being incorporated into the Christian states of the north.
The Arabic term mulūk al-ṭawāʾif, meaning "kings of the territorial divisions"or "party kings", was originally used for the regional rulers of the Parthian Empire. This period was treated as an interlude between Alexander's conquest of Persia and the formation of the Sasanian Empire. The term was later applied by Arabic historians to the regional rulers who appeared in the aftermath of the collapse of Umayyad power in Spain.
The corresponding term in Spanish is reyes de taifas ("kings of taifas"), by way of which the Arabic term has entered English (and French) usage.
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.
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.[ citation needed ] 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".
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.
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.
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 .
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.
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.
This region includes the Centro and Lisboa region of Portugal and Extremadura region of Spain.
This region includes the Alentejo and Algarve region of Portugal.
This region includes the Madrid region and the provinces of Toledo and Guadalajara of Spain.
This region only includes the provinces of Ciudad Real, Albacete and Cuenca of Spain.
This region includes the autonomous region of Andalucia in Spain
This region only includes the provinces of Teruel, Zaragoza and Tarragona of Spain.
This region includes the region of Valencia, Murcia and Baleares.
|History of Al-Andalus|
| Muslim conquest |
| Umayyads of Córdoba |
| First Taifa period |
| Almoravid rule |
| Second Taifa period |
| Almohad rule |
| Third Taifa period |
| Emirate of Granada |
Additionally, but not usually considered taifas, are:
The Almohad Caliphate was a Moroccan Berber Muslim movement and empire founded in the 12th century.
The Banu Sumadih were an 11th-century Arab dynasty that ruled the Moorish Taifa of Almería in Al-Andalus.
Alpuente is a town and municipality in the province of Valencia, part of Valencia, Spain.
Yusuf ibn Tashfin, also Tashafin, Teshufin, 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, 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.
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.
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.
The Kingdom of Toledo was a realm in the central Iberian Peninsula, created after Alfonso VI of León's capture of Toledo in 1085. It continued in existence until 1833; its region currently is within Spain.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The documented history of Murcia traces back at least to the Middle Ages, after Madinat Mursiya was built by Andalusi Emir Abd al-Rahman II in the 9th century, while it is suggested the city was erected over a previous settlement of Roman origin.