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the name used in literature for the dynasty and feudal state (from the middle of the 11th century until 1146) which came into being during the course of the movement of the Berber tribes of North Africa and was headed by Abdullah ibn Yasin. The movement was centered in Mauritania, where the ribat (monastery) of Abdullah ibn Yasin was located. His followers were called al-Murabitun, which means “the people of the ribat” (in Spanish, Almoravides). They had to lead the life of hermits and study the art of war in preparation for the struggle against “enemies of the faith.” The military command was in the hands of the emirs of the Lamtun tribe, specifically Yahya ibn Omar (died 1056) and then his brother Abu Bakr ibn Omar (1059–1087 or 1088). “Lamtuna,” the old name for the Almoravides, is derived from that of the Lamtun tribe. By the middle of the 11th century the Almoravides had subjugated southern Morocco and were continuing their conquests, which were accompanied by the physical annihilation of the so-called infidels and apostates and by a struggle against unjust rulers and “illegal taxes.” This struggle secured for the Almoravides the support of the masses and contributed to the rapid success of the movement. In 1061, Yusuf ibn-Tashfin removed his uncle Abu Bakr ibn Omar from the leadership of the movement, took the title of Emir al-Muslimin, and after the death of Abu Bakr became the religious and secular head of the Almoravides. By 1090 the Almoravides had subjugated Muslim Spain. Marrakech was the capital of the state that comprised Morocco, western Algeria, Spain, and the Balearic Islands.

The requisitions and excesses of the troops and rulers, especially under the successors of ibn-Tashfin (Ali ibn Yusuf, who ruled 1106–43; Tashfin ibn Ali, 1143–45; Ibrahim ibn Tashfin, 1145—46; and Ishak ibn Ali, 1146), gave rise to broad discontent which was further increased by religious intolerance. All these factors weakened the state of the Almoravides, which was unable to resist the Almohads.


Julien, C. A. Istoriia Severnoi Afriki, vol. 2, ch. 3. Moscow, 1961. (Translated from French; bibliography.)