The Almoravids

Figure 1 Almoravid Gold Coin dated 1116


Initial Conquests


By the eleventh century, Islam had spread throughout the west Sahara under the influence of Berber and Arab traders and occasional Arab migrants. (14) During the 11th century (8) the Almoravids (1,2) [OR] Almoravides (6) Al-Murābiṭūn) (5,13) burst upon the scene. (8) They were a confederation of (10,12) three (12,13) zealous (10,12) nomadic (5) Berber Islamic (1,2) tribes (1,5) of the Sanhajah group1 (10,12) of the Sahara, (5,7) who may have originated (3,4) [OR] did originate (12) in what is now (3,4) southern (12) Mauritania. (3,4) The constituent groups of the confederation were the Gudala, (5,13) [OR] Gudula (12) Massufa. (12,13) and the Lamtuna, (5,12) the most powerful: their region of origin was ‘Wadi Noun’ (Nul Lemta). (15) They roamed in the territory between the Draa, (15) the Niger, (5,15) and the Senegal rivers. (5) They had been converted to Islam in the seventeenth2 century. (15) They founded the city of Aoudaghost in the upper Niger River region. (15)

Abdallah and Yahya

The breakup of the Sanhadja Confederation in the early eleventh century led to a period of unrest and warfare among the Sanhadja Berber groups of Mauritania. (14) About the year 1040 (13,14) or 1039 (14) or a little earlier (13,14) one of the (15) chiefs, (13,14) [OR] spiritual leaders (10) of the Djodala, (14) Yaḥyā ibn Ibrāhīm (10,13) made the pilgrimage to Makkah (15) [OR] Mecca. (14,15) On his journey home he attended the mosque at Kairouan, in Tunisia. (15) He informed them that his people knew little of the religion they were supposed to profess. (15) The theologians of Kairawan, one of whom was from Fez, therefore provided Yahya with a missionary to remedy this. (13) This was a Moroccan (13) [OR] Sanhadja (14) theologian, (13,14) ‘alim (religious scholar). (10) named Ahdallah (12) [OR] Abdallah (2,5) [OR] Abd Allah (3,4) ibn (2,3) [OR] bni (12) Yasin. (2,3) Abdallah, was a devout follower of the Malikis, one of the four legal schools of Sunni Islam. (15) In 1054 he started to preach that Muslims should follow the teachings of the Quran, and the orthodox tradition or Sunnah, (15) providing a theological foundation of simple and basic rules, (12) based on a strict Malikite version of Sharia (Muslim law). (12,14) While Abdallah acted as spiritual mentor, Yahya was the military and political leader. (15) Abdallah’s initial meetings with the Gudala people went poorly. (16) As he had more ardour than depth, Abdallah’s arguments were disputed by his audience. (16) He responded to questioning with charges of apostasy and handed out harsh punishments for the slightest deviations. (16) The Gudala soon had enough. (16) Yahya was killed (14,15) in a battle in 1056 (15) [OR] sometime in the 1040s. (16) Abdallah, however, found a more favourable reception among the neighbouring Lamtuna people. (16) [OR] Abdallah found himself opposed (14,15) by the Lamtunas (15) [OR] the Djodala. (14) Abdallah and some of his Sanhadja followers (14,15) were expelled almost immediately after the death of his protector, Yahya ibn Ibrahim. (16) Abdallah retired to a secluded place (14,15) in the Sahara, (15) where he built a fortified religious centre, a ribat, which attracted many Sanhadja. (14) Abdallah Abdallah inspired them improve their knowledge of Islamic doctrine, (13) and roused them to Islamic zeal (10,13) His influence spread. (15) His followers, gathered from a variety of Berber clans, became known as the Almoravids, (15) Abdallah imposed a penitential scourging on all converts as a purification, and enforced a regular system of discipline for every breach of the law, even on the chiefs. (15)

Jihad against unbelievers 1040s

In spite of the infiltration of Muslims into West Africa, traditional religious practices thrived. (14) So it was that in 1042 (14) [OR] 1039 (12) Abdallah (12,14) and the al murabitun (men of the ribat), as Abdallah’s followers came to be called (14) declared holy war against the (12,14) nonbelievers and the heretics among the (8,14) Sanhadja [OR] Sanhaja3 Berbers (12) ‘to make an end of the godlessness of a few Berber princes’ (8) and to establish a political community in which the ethical and juridical principles of Islam would be strictly applied. (14) This began what later become known as the Almoravid movement. (14) They were Saharan military monks. (10) The exact meaning of “Murabit” (from which Almoravid is derived) (7) is a matter of controversy. (7) The name may be derived from the Arabic ribat (meaning tie or fortress (a term with which it shares the root r-b-t). (7) This was the common opinion some time ago, however most historians now believe that it refers to ribat, meaning “tied to Horses” (ready for battle) (7) [OR] ‘men of the ribat’ (14) [OR] “Warrior-Monks” (10) [OR] “those dwelling in frontier garrisons”. (13) Contemporaries frequently referred to them as the al-mulathimun (“the veiled ones”). (16) The Almoravids veiled themselves below the eyes with a tagelmust (16) [OR] a face muffler called a litham, (12,16) a custom they adapted from southern Sanhaja Berbers. (16) (This can still be seen among the modern Tuareg people, but it was unusual further north. (16) Although practical for the desert dust, the Almoravids insisted on wearing the veil everywhere, as a badge of “foreignness” in urban settings, partly as a way of emphasizing their puritan credentials. (16) It served as the uniform of the Almoravids. (16) Under their rule, sumptuary laws forbade anybody else from wearing the veil, thereby making it (16) the distinctive dress of the ruling class. (12,16) In turn, the succeeding Almohads made a point of mocking the Almoravid veil as symbolic of effeminacy and decadence. (16)

Conquest of the Maghreb

In 1054 (12) [OR] 1053 (15) began to spread their reformist teaching to the Berber areas of the Sahara, and to the regions south of the desert. (15) They began their conquest of the Maghreb, (12,14) attacking and subduing the Djodala, forcing them to acknowledge Islam. (14) Their main force was infantry, armed with javelins in the front ranks and pikes behind, which formed into a phalanx; and was supported by camelmen and horsemen on the flanks. (15) Then, rallying the other Berber groups of the west Sahara, the Almoravids succeeded in recreating the political unity of the Sanhadja Confederation and adding to it a religious unity and purpose. (14) They converted Takrur (a small state in modern Senegal) to Islam, and after winning over the Sanhaja Berber tribe. (15) They quickly took control of the entire desert trade route, (15) seizing Sijilmasa at the northern end in 1054, and Aoudaghost at the southern end in 1055. (14,15)

Morocco and Algeria

Abdallah advanced on Morocco4. (3,10) In 1056, (8,10) imbued with Islamic zeal, (10) he took control over Sijilmassa (near Rissani in modern Morocco) (12) and conquered Morocco. (1,10) Abdallah conquered Algeria (1) [OR] major sections of western Algeria between 1054 and 1092 (10) [OR] 1147. (1) He then came in contact with the Berghouata, a branch of the Zenata of central Morocco, who followed a “heresy” founded by Salih ibn Tarif, three centuries earlier. (15) The Berghouata made a fierce resistance, and Abdullah was killed while fighting them. (15) He died in (3,14) about (3) 1059. (3,14) Abdallah converted a number of Saharan tribes to his own reformed religion, (3) which he regarded as a purer form of Islam. (7) The native religion was exterminated (8) and the conquest made possible a more orthodox Islamization of all the peoples of Mauritania. (14)

Yusuf and Abu

After Abdallah’s death in 1059 Yusuf ibn Tashfin (3,14) [OR] Tāshufīn (9) became leader of the Almoravids (3,12) in the north (14) and his brother (3) [OR] cousin (16) Abu Bakr (3,12) [OR] bni Umar (12) [OR] ibn Unas (14) of the Lamtuna tribe, (12) amir of Adrar, in the south. (14) Between them (1,2) driven by religious zeal and by military enterprise, (13) they established (1,2) a powerful (3) empire (1,2) in north western Africa (6,13) and Muslim Spain (13) in the 11th (2) [OR] 11th and 12th centuries. (1,3) It stretched over the western Maghreb and Al-Andalus. (1,2) The imperial Almoravid dynasty (2,5) was the first Moroccan and trans-Maghreb empire, (7) and was achieved in the space of 25 years. (8) In 1061, Abu Bakr ibn Umar made a division of the power he had established, handing over the more-settled parts to his cousin Yusuf Yusuf as viceroy, and also assigning to him his favourite wife Zaynab. (16) In 1060 Abu Bakr returned to (12,15) Mauritania (12) [OR] the Sahara (15) to fight rebels challenging the heart of the Almoravids. (12,16) When he returned to resume control, he found his cousin too powerful to be superseded. (16) Under Yusuf, the Berbers captured Morocco and (14,16) established their (2,3) base of operations and religious (10) capital at Marrakesh (2,3) [OR] Marrakech (12,14) in 1062. (2,3) Thenceforth, their main leaders (10) [OR] Yūsuf (13) embraced the title of Amir al-Muslimin (“commander of the Muslims”) but nevertheless continued to recognize the legitimacy of a still higher authority in Islam: the Abbasid caliph (10,13) in Baghdad (13) in Iraq upon whom the title Amir al-Mu’minīn (“commander of the faithful”) had been bestowed. (10,13) In 1080, Yusuf conquered the kingdom of Tlemcen. (15) In 1082 the Almoravids took Algiers (12,14) and the entire western Maghrib was under their domination. (14) The greatest contribution of the Sanhadja and the Almoravids was the Islamization of the western Maghrib. (14) This process would remain a dominant factor in the history of the area for the next several centuries. (14)

In Spain

Muslims and Christians

After the collapse of the Umayyads of Cordoba, Muslim Spain had split into small states, or taifa, each under an Emir or Prince. (15) In the Christian part of Spain the Muslim civilisation was an object of fear and wonder. (8) During this period the Castilian language took over a number of Arabic words which had to do with government, technology and cultural matters in general. (8) The cultured hispano-Arab Princes of the Taifa had their latter-day successors in Frederick II Hohenstaufen emperor and Spanish and Portuguese philosopher kings of the 12th and 13th centuries. (8) The atmosphere of these courts was such that culture was equated with argument; Public disputations were staged between scholars and theologians of the three religions, Islam, Judaism and Christianity. (8) The envoy of the emperor Otto I was amazed at finding Christian prelates and Jewish rabbis and physicians holding positions of importance at one of these courts. (8) The Andalusian amirates, (14) ‘Arab Kinglets’, squabbled among each other yet had remained in amity with their Christian neighbours, (8) It was toward the end of the 11th century that the Castilian Christians who held on to parts of Spain began challenging the authority of the Almoravids and encroaching on their territories5. (10) The successful (6) campaigns of Alphonso VI (6,13) of Castile and Leon (13) and Sancho Ramirez (6) against the old caliphal territories of Córdoba (13) had quickly convinced the petty Muslim Princes of Spain that they could not resist the Christian power without aid. (6) After the fall of Toledo in 1085, (15) the princes turned to the Maghrib for help. (14,15) They called on Yusuf and his Berber warriors to (14) to help stem the reconquest (3,7) by Crusaders from the North. (7,8) When the princes invited the Almoravids they assumed that they would “help out militarily,” then go home. (15)

Almoravids invade 1086

The absolutism of the jealous God from the fiery wastes seemed vindicated when, (8) in 1085 (1,3) [OR] In 1086, Yusuf Yusuf crossed the straits to Algeciras (14,15) from North Africa, (9) entered Andalusia (3,9) and established himself in Cordoba. (12)

Battle of Sagrajas or Al-Zallāqah

He slowly advanced north of Badajoz (Baṭalyaws), where (9) in 1086 he (3,5) decisively (5) and severely (15) defeated (3,5) a Castilian army (9) [OR] a coalition of the Castilian and Aragonese armies (5) led by Alfonso VI (3,9) of Castile (3) at the Battle of Sagrajas (5) [OR] za-Zallaqa (12) [OR] Al-Zallāqah near Badajoz, (9,13) This forced Alphonso to evacuate the extensive conquests made by the Cid in Lerida and Valencia. (6) [OR] Valencia remained under Christian control. (10) Yusuf lost Toledo to the Christians. (12) [OR] did not regain Toledo. (13) [OR] foiled their plans to conquer Toledo. (10) [OR] Yusuf had succeeded in preventing the fall of Al-Andalus to the Iberian Christian kingdoms. (5) [OR] The Almoravids defeated the Spanish Christians (14)

Yusuf returns to the Maghreb

Yusuf returned to the (9,12) Maghreb (12) [OR] Maghrib. (9,15) because of trouble in Africa. (15,16) Abu Bakr had been ruling over southern Morocco. (3,14) In Mauritania, he led the Almoravids in a war against Ghana (1062-76), culminating in the capture in 1076 of Koumbi Saleh. (14) This event marked (14) the end of the dominance of the Ghana Empire, (3,14) but in November (16) 1087, Abu Bakr was killed (15,16) in battle – according to oral tradition (16) by a poisoned (15) arrow (15,16) while fighting in the historic region of the Sudan. (16) Yusuf had to (15) [OR] chose to (16) settle in person. (15,16) [OR] since he could not decide whether to conquer Spain or not, (12) [OR] unable to further exploit his victory (9) because the country was governed by weak Muslim rulers, (12) the ‘ṭāʾifas’. (9) When Yusuf returned to the Maghrib, the taifas thought he had done the job he came to do and had left Iberia for good. (15) This proved to be wishful thinking. (15) Yusuf had no intention of halting his empire at the straits. (15) As far as he was concerned, the Muslim princes of Iberia were “intolerably weak, with their diplomatic relations with Christian states, not to mention their promotion of Jews in virtually every corner of their government and society.” (15) For two years Almoravid policy in Spain remained indecisive, but it appears that the siege of Aledo (1088) convinced Yūsuf of the urgent necessity of putting an end to the ṭāʾifas if he was going to rescue Spanish Islam. (9) When he returned to Iberia in 1090, it was with the express purpose of deposing the Muslim princes as corrupt, and annexing their states. (15) By 1090, Almoravid rule and the Maliki school of Islamic law was imposed on Muslim Spain. (14)

Destruction of the taifas

Muslim religious teachers detested the native Muslim princes for their religious indifference, and gave Yusuf a fatwa, or legal opinion, to the effect that he had good moral and religious right, to dethrone the rulers. (15) In 1090, Yusuf began to depose the local Muslim rulers, thus extending Almoravid control in Spain4. (9,12) As he ousted the Taifa princes, he promised the Muslims of Andalusia a “better life, security and low taxes.” (15) He began with the leaders of Granada and. (9,12) In 1091 he dethroned the rulers of Almería and Sevilla, followed by the leader of Badajoz in 1093. (9,12) By 1094, he had removed them all, except for Emir of Zaragoza. (15,16)

El ElCidCid

Figure 2 El Cid

Here Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar (the Cid), (9,12) (‘the Lord’ (Spanish Arabic: al-sīd), a title that the Arabs conferred upon him (9) enters the story. (9,12) Exiled from his native Castile by King Alfonso VI, (9) He first served as a mercenary in the ṭāʾifa of Zaragoza, after which he became an independent prince in the east, ruling over states that were mainly inhabited by Muslims, (9) although he himself was a Christian. (12) He alone proved able to resist the Almoravids. (9,12) He established a new independent Muslim ṭāʾifa in Valencia. (9) Rodrigo had the good fortune to find efficient administrators from among the Mozarabs residing in his states; further, his superb grasp of Almoravid tactics enabled him to overcome his numerical inferiority. (9) The whole of Muslim Spain except Valencia, eventually came under Almoravid rule. (13) Upon his death, (9) Valencia remained under the control of his forces until 1102, (9,12) when they were forced to evacuate it and seek refuge in Castile. (9)

Empire at Peak

In the 11th and 12th centuries (4,10) their religious fervour and fighting capabilities enabled them (10) to establish a formidable Moorish empire in the Maghreb and Muslim (Andalusian) (7,10) southern (1) Spain. (7,10) For a short time, the Mauritanian Sanhadja dynasty of the Almoravid Empire controlled a vast territory stretching from Spain to Senegal. (14) It included present-day (7) northern (3) Morocco, (3,7) Western Sahara, (7) Mauritania, (7,12) Gibraltar, (7) Tlemcen (7,10) (in northern (12) Algeria (7,12) and a great (7) part of what is now Senegal (7,14) and Mali in the south, (7) southern (12) Portugal (7,12) to the north in Europe (7) They (1) [OR] Yusuf (3) conquered southern Spain between 1085 (1) [OR] 1086 (6) and 1118. (1) The Almoravids were rough and puritanical, contemptuous of the luxurious Muslim courts in Spain. (3) Islamic orthodoxy, already vehemently opposed to cross-religious contacts, was powerfully strengthened by the arrival of these fresh supporters from the heart of the African desert and the high Atlas. (8) They subdued the local Muslim rulers (3,7) whom they denounced as religiously lax (7) and governed Muslim Spain. (3,4) In the reign (1106–42) of ʿAli ibn Yūsuf the union between Spain and Africa was consolidated, and Andalusian civilization took root: administrative machinery was Spanish in pattern, writers and artists crossed the straits, and the great monuments built by ʿAlī in the Maghrib were models of pure Andalusian art. (13) Their empire stretched 3,000 kilometers (1,900 mi) north to south. (5,7)


Figure 3 Koubba (Islamic domed shrine) Marrakesh

In addition to the powerful military force that they created at their zenith, the Almoravid period is also interesting for its art and architecture. (10) Desert dwellers, military ascetics from the Sahara, (13) the Almoravids shunned the lavish decoration that had characterized the late Umayyad architectural style (10,13) and built on a practical rather than a monumental scale. (13) What characterized Almoravid art was (10,13) its sobriety (13) and puritanism, (10,13) after the ornamental excesses of the Umayyads. (13) Architecture from the Almoravid period is characterized by simplicity, employing little decoration. (12) It was only in the minor, decorative arts of weaving and ivory carving that the Almoravids used ornamentation as an end in itself. (13) Piety and asceticism prevented them from erecting elegant palaces and magnificent monuments. (10)

Figure 4 Mosque at Tlemcen today

The most famous work to survive from the Almoravid age is the Great Mosque at Tlemcen, Algeria. (10,13) Built in 1082, it was restored in 1136 (10,13) but not in true Almoravid style. (13) The miḥrāb is unusually ornate, surrounded by multilobed arches decorated with arabesques. (13) The work is indicative of trends that were to develop in Spain and North Africa under the Almoravids’ successors, the Almohads and the Naṣrids. (13)

And the Jews

The advent of the Almoravids was the signal for the escape northwards into France, Germany and Italy of numbers of Jews, fleeing from the primitive Islamic and African fanaticism of the invaders; they took with them an intellectual culture which Islam itself had done much to enrich. (8) [OR] The position of the Jews under Almoravid domination was apparently free of major abuses. (10) There are no factual complaints of excesses, coercion, or malice on the part of the authorities toward the Jewish communities6. (10)

Decline and Fall

Sources of weakness

Yusuf died in 1106, (14,15) when he was reputed to have reached the age of 101 (15) [OR] 100. (16) Following the fall of El Cid’s stronghold at Valencia, the Almoravids were unopposed, (9) and in 1110, under the leadership of ʿAlī ibn (9,12) [OR] bni (12) Yūsuf (9,12) (1106–43), (9) they were able to occupy (9,12) Zaragoza, [OR] Saragossa, (12) but this was their last victory on Spanish territory (12) and marked the beginning of the Almoravid decline. (9) Fortunately for the Christians the Almoravids soon began to quarrel with the Spanish Muslim Princes, and the Moorish power once more lost its unity. (6) The early Emirs were charismatic and battle-proven, and so they were able to maintain their power, (7) but the rule of the dynasty was relatively short-lived. (5) The Almoravids were in many ways weak rulers: (12) they were numerically inferior (10,12) to the local Arabs and Spanish Christians, (12,13) a Muslim Berber minority in charge of a Spanish-Arab empire. (10,13) The heirs of the first emirs were born to rule, and may well have been as pious as their ancestors but their authority was inherited rather than gained on the field of battle. (7) Ruling conquered people, they did not have enough support to maintain power. (7) They Almoravids functioned as military commanders who also were administrators, called jurists (fuqaha). (12) This authority was a fragile one, as their claim to be jurists was heavily challenged by other Muslim groups. (12) This challenge undermined their power and became part of the reason for the fall of the Almoravids. (12) Menocal says that civil unrest occurred as early as 1109 caused by the Almoravids’ interpretation of Islam; they burned a book by the famous theologian Al-Ghazali, and “anti-Almoravid riots broke out in Cordoba.” (15) Ghazali’s “humane approach to Islam, despite its orthodoxy, was too liberal for the fanatical Almoravids,” she says. (15) Ali ibn Yusuf, the third Emir, ordered the burning and made death mandatory for anyone found possessing al-Ghazali’s writing. (15) He was reputedly pious but did not have the experience, or enjoy the respect, of his father, Yusuf Yusuf and is said to have fasted and prayed while his empire fell to pieces under the combined action of his Christian foes in Iberia and the agitation of Almohads (the Muwahhids) in Morocco. (15) It was during his rule, though, that exchange between Spain and the Maghrib developed to such an extent that not only merchants but also artists and literati regularly crossed between the straits between the two. (15) He surrounded himself with intellectuals. (15) The Almoravids were not the only administration or government that fell as a result of breaking promises, even though they were compelled to do so in defence of the realm. (7) The rule of the Almoravids was therefore never entirely stable. (3) Even holding Spain and the Maghrib with Berber troops (13) and a strong Christian guard (12,13) of hired mercenaries, (9) despite having based their case against their predecessors mainly on their tolerance of Christians, whose habits, they said, they had adopted, (13) they could not restrain the tide of Christian reconquest. (10,13) In the 12th century, (3,13) at the height of their power (5) they succumbed to Christian reconquest. (1) The beginning of the end was the loss of Saragossa (12,13) to the Christian kings of Spain (12,15) with French help (15) in 1118. (12,15)


The Aragonese king, Alfonso I (6,9) (the Battler), (9) (1104-34) (6) and his stepson, Alfonso VII of Castile, launched (9) renewed Christian assaults (9,12) against the entire frontier of Islam in Spain. (9) In 1118, he captured Saragossa (6,9) and reconquered a large part of the valleys of the Jalón and of the Jiloca, (9) thus almost doubling the area of Aragon. (6) Raymond Berenger III (Count of Barcelona) extended his power along the coast with the aid of a Pisan naval squadron and he raided Majorca. (6) The Almoravids could not withstand the Christian onslaught. (9) A resounding Almoravid victory over the Aragonese at Fraga (Ifragah) in 1134 (9,16) in which they even succeeded in slaying Alfonso I of Aragon, (16) bore no fruit, because the Almoravids lacked the resources to exploit it. (9) In 1137, under Yusuf’s son and successor, Ali ibn Yusuf, Sintra and Santarém were added, and he invaded Iberia again in 1119 and 1121, but the tide had turned, as the French had assisted the Aragonese to recover Zaragoza. (16) In 1138, Ali ibn Yusuf was defeated by Alfonso VII of León, and in the Battle of Ourique (1139), by Afonso I of Portugal, who thereby won his crown. (16) In 1147, Alphonso VII (1126-57) of Leon and Castile swept far into Muslim territory to capture Cordova and, with the assistance of a Genoese fleet, the port of Almeria in Granada. (6) Lisbon was conquered by the Portuguese in 1147. (16) It is interesting to find even at this early date contention arising between Spanish Crusaders and those from France and northern Europe: the Spaniards were disinclined to see their Islamic enemies indiscriminately slaughtered like so many ‘mad dogs’. (8)7

The Almohads

After 1121 the Almoravids experienced serious difficulties in Africa. (9) Disorder continued, with traditional rivalries among the Sanhadja and a new Muslim reformist conquest. (14) This was led by the (12,14) Zenata (14) Almohads. (12,14) (1133-63) (14) This was a confederation of rival (5,10) Masmuda (5) Berber tribes (10) in the Atlas Mountains, (10,12) In 1125, (10,12) as a result of the preachings of an Amazigh reformer, Muḥammad (9) ibn Tūmart, (5,9) The Almohads advocated the “Unity of Allah”.(10) They challenged the Almoravid claim to be ‘jurists’. (12) The Almohads, (3,4) started a rebellion in the Atlas mountains, at Tin Mal. (12) Having promised low taxation and prosperity, in the Almoravids now had to raise taxes to fight on two fronts, which they could ill afford. (7) This lost whatever support they had had. (7) Many of their subjects openly welcomed the Almohads, who “offered a new order” based “on victory rather than defeat” and one that “at least for the moment, better served their wants.” (7) After Ali ibn Yusuf’s death in 1142, his son Tashfin ibn Ali lost ground rapidly before the Almohads, and in 1146 he was killed by a fall from a precipice, while endeavoring to escape after a defeat near Oran. (15) His two successors were Ibrahim Yusuf and Is’haq ibn Ali, but their reign was only short. (15) Following a protracted struggle and relentless fighting, (10) the Almohads defeated the Almoravids (10,12) in April (5) 1147. (5,10) The last Almoravid king, Ishaq ibn Ali, was killed in Marrakesh. (5) The Almohads transformed Marrakesh into their own capital and extended their authority into Muslim Spain. (10) By 1174 (3) the Almohads had succeeded in ousting the Almoravids (5,7) both from Morocco and Al-Andalus. (3,5) They set up the Almohad Caliphate, (5) claiming that their interpretation of Islam was even purer. (7) the Almoravid leaders (12,13) [OR] fragments of the Almoravids (the Banu Ghaniya) (15) moved, first to Spain, and then to the Balearic Isles (12,13) and finally to Tunisia. (15) They had remained too deeply rooted in the desert ethos … to successfully meet the Almohad challenge. (15) The collapse of the Almoravids left a significant legacy, the close connection between Spain and Morocco; from this powerful liaison sprang the rebirth of hispano-Moorish culture. (8) In the 1980s, the unity established between Morocco and Mauritania during the Almoravid period continued to have some political importance, as it formed part of the basis for Morocco’s claims to Mauritania. (14)



Bibliographical Notes

Books 3 and 4 substantially identical. 10 and 11 are identical

1 Tribe (12) or clan (13)

2 Howler – must be 7th

3 But the Almoravids themselves were ‘of the Sanhajah group’? (10,12)

4 (4 has identical wording. Stop corroborating)

5 But the Almoravids were not yet Lords of Al Andalus!

6 This was a contrast to the problems encountered by the Jews during the rule of the Almohads (the Almoravids’ successor dynasty). (10)

7 Contrast the mood by 1200, when Dominic came over the Pyrenees much more violently pro orthodoxy than the local clergy.


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