(ăl`məhădz), 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 TumartIbn Tumart
, c.1080–1130, Berber Muslim religious leader, founder of the Almohads. He went to the East in his youth and returned convinced that he was the Mahdi and that he was destined to reform Islam. He was a rigorist and purist in doctrine and morality.
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, who stirred up (c.1120) the tribes of the Atlas Mts. area to purify Islam and oust the AlmoravidsAlmoravids
, Berber Muslim dynasty that ruled Morocco and Muslim Spain in the 11th and 12th cent. The Almoravids may have originated in what is now Mauritania. The real founder was Abd Allah ibn Yasin, who by military force converted a number of Saharan tribes to his own
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. His successors, Abd al-MuminAbd al-Mumin
, d. 1163, founder of the empire of the Almohads. He was the favorite of the Almohad religious reformer Ibn Tumart and became (1130) his successor. Even before his rise to leadership, he had attacked the Almoravids.
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, Yusuf II, and Yakub IYakub I
, 1160?–1199, ruler of Morocco (1184–99) and Moorish Spain. He was known as Yakub al-Mansur [the victorious] after his victory over Alfonso VIII of Castile at Alarcos (1195).
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, 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 VIIIAlfonso VIII
(Alfonso the Noble), 1155–1214, Spanish king of Castile (1158–1214), son and successor of Sancho III. Chaos prevailed during his minority, but he quickly restored order after assuming (1166) the government.
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 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.


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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The director of the US Research Center said that the White Monastery (Monastery of Shenouda) is located about 8 km west of Sohag city and was founded by Anba Shenouda, head of the Almohads in 441 AD.
A thinker under the Berber Almohads "anticipates" Descartes' Discourse on Method.
The history of the Almoravids and Almohads in the Islamic West, she argues, is as significant as that of the Seljuk Turks in the East.
The fortress of Oudayya, known as the "Oudayya Kasbah", is a fortified citadel that was the capital of the political entity of the Almohads. This quiet and pleasant neighbourhood has all facilities, gardens, cafes, museums, shops and a mosque.
Later in the text another term would also be introduced to designate the Almohads, the Berber dynasty whose rise to power in the Maghreb between 1120 and 1147 was again well known by the author of the Chronica!
Until Almohads' invasions (mid-twelfth century), Moorish settlements were peaceful and respectful of all other religious groups (Ibn-al-Quttiyya or Abenalcotia, sd.).
When the Almohads ([phrase omitted]) from North Africa invaded the Iberian Peninsula in 1148 all non-Muslims were offered the choice of conversion, exile, or death.
Afterwards during this epoch, Morocco soon broke up into different kingdoms; the first was the Adarissa (788-974), followed by the Almoravids (974-1147), the Almohads (1147-1248), the Marinids (1248-1465), the Wattasids (1465-1555), the Saadians (1554-1659), and later the Alaouites (1664present day) [2-4].
Madinat Al-Zahra was intended to announce to the world the wealth, glory and power of the newly declared Caliph Abd Al-Rahman III, but in reality it signified the beginning of the end, as the opulent mini palace city lasted a mere 30 years before being sacked by the intolerant Almohads. Scholars see its demise as the start of Al-Andalus' decline.
The splendid courts of such Moroccan dynasties as the Almoravids and the Almohads, with their ties to and influence in Cordoba, Sevilla and Granada, were indeed a vital link in civilization.
In the fourth chapter, "The Myth of Umayyad Tolerance," Fernandez-Morera refutes the argument that the tolerance and liberality of the earlier Umayyad dynasty of Cordoba were ended only because of the triumph of the Almoravids and Almohads: "The celebrated Umayyads actually elevated religious and political persecutions, inquisitions, beheadings, impalings, and crucifixions to heights unequaled by any other set of rulers before or after in Spain" (120).