a Berber dynasty of the Beni Merin tribe that ruled in Morocco from 1269 to 1465.
Under their leader Abu Yahya (died 1258), the Merinids seized Fes in 1248 and founded an independent emirate. In 1269 they seized Marrakech, overthrew the Almohade dynasty, and united all Morocco under their power. The Merinid state reached its greatest extension under Abu al-Hassan (ruled 1331-51) and Abu Inan (ruled 1351-58). Dynastic strife and internecine feudal struggles, which intensified in the 1360’s, led to the decline of the Merinid state. During a struggle in the early 15th century with the Portuguese, who had seized part of the Merinid possessions, the Wattasids (a lateral branch of the Merinids) came to the fore. They became the de facto rulers of the country in the 1420’s, and acquired full authority in Morocco in 1465.