Almohads

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Almohads

Almohads (ălˈməhădz), Berber Muslim dynasty that ruled Morocco and Spain in the 12th and 13th cent. It had its origins in the puritanical sect founded by Ibn Tumart, who stirred up (c.1120) the tribes of the Atlas Mts. area to purify Islam and oust the Almoravids. His successors, Abd al-Mumin, Yusuf II, and Yakub I, succeeded in conquering Morocco and Muslim Spain, and by 1174 the Almohads had completely displaced the Almoravids. With time the Almohads lost some of their fierce purifying zeal; Yakub had a rich court and was the patron of Averroës. Yakub defeated (1195) Alfonso VIII of Castile in the battle of Alarcos, but in 1212 the Almohad army was defeated, and Almohad power in Spain was destroyed by the victory of the Spanish and Portuguese at Navas de Tolosa. In Morocco they lost power to the Merinid dynasty, which took Marrakech in 1269.

Bibliography

See studies by Abd al-Wahid al Marrakushi 1881, repr. 1968) and R. Le Tourneau (1969).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Almohads

 

the name used in literature for the dynasty and feudal state (1121 or 1122 to 1269) which came into being as a result of the religious and political movement of the Berber tribes of North Africa against the Almoravides. This movement arose in protest against heavy taxation, social oppression, and religious intolerance at the hands of the Almoravides. The founder and exponent of the movement, ibn-Tumart, preached the idea of strict Unitarianism, and thus his followers are known in Arabic as al-Muwahidun (in Spanish, Almohads), which means “Unitarians.” Around 1121 and 1122 the Almohads began an open struggle against the Almoravides. Ibn-Tumart was proclaimed Mahdi. After his death in 1128, Abd-al-Mumin, his closest fellow champion, became caliph. In 1146 he took Marrakech and made it the capital of the new state. As a result of the first (1151–52) and second (1160) campaigns against Ithrikia, the Almohads liquidated the local dynasties and chased the Normans from the coastal cities that the latter had captured. The state of the Almohads reached its maximum size toward 1161 under Abd-al-Mumin (who ruled 1128–63). It comprised all of North Africa and southern Spain. Under Abd-al-Mumin land registration was carried out, and the tribes were obliged to pay taxes and to perform military service.

After the death of Abd-al-Mumin the principle of hereditary transmission of authority became firmly established. The leadership of the Almohads quickly became feudalized. Under the pretext of defending the true faith, religious oppression and persecution were practiced. This gave rise to dissatisfaction among the masses and undermined the power of the Almohads. During the period of the reconquista the united forces of Castile, Aragon, and Navarre utterly defeated the army of the Almohads at Las Navas de Tolosa (1212), and by 1248 the Almohads had lost all lands in Spain except Granada. One after the other the eastern provinces separated from their state. Local dynasties began in 1228 in Tunis and in 1235 in Tlemcen (the territory of Algeria). In 1269 the emirs of the Marinid dynasty seized Marrakech and put an end to the Almohad dynasty.

N. A. IVANOV

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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