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(also Ommiads, Omayyads), a dynasty of Arab caliphs (661–750) from the Meccan Umayyad family of the Qu-raysh tribe. The first Umayyad caliph was Mu’awiyah I, son of Abu Sufyan, head of the Meccan Qurayshites. As viceroy of Syria, Mu’awiyah opposed the caliph Ali and proclaimed himself caliph in 660 in Jerusalem. However, he became head of the caliphate only in 661, after Ali was slain.

Continuing their predecessors’ policies, the Umayyads conquered North Africa, the greater part of the Iberian Peninsula, Middle Asia, and other territories. In the course of a prolonged but unsuccessful war against Byzantium, they besieged Constantinople several times, most notably in 668 and 669 and from 673 to 678.

In place of the practice of electing caliphs instituted after Muhammad, the Umayyads established the policy whereby the caliph chose his own successor from within the Umayyad family. The Umayyad rulers transferred their capital from Kufa to Damascus; hence Syria became the chief province, and the Umayyad Caliphate is sometimes called the Damascus Caliphate.

The Umayyads’ social base was the feudalized Arab aristocracy, while sharecroppers and the peasants who farmed communal lands constituted the major productive force. Slaves were mainly used for domestic and military services. Craft production and trade remained primarily in the hands of the tribute-paying indigenous population, which also engaged in moneylending and provided civil servants.

After the death of Yazid I, who ruled from 680 to 683 and was the last Umayyad caliph directly descended from Abu Sufyan, the caliphate virtually broke up. It was restored late in the seventh century by the Marwanids, a branch of the Umayyads begun by Marwan I, who ruled from 683 to 685.

Under the Umayyads, Greek and other local languages were replaced by Arabic in state institutions. Sassanid and Byzantine coins were replaced by the gold dinar and silver dirham of Arab coinage. Trade and handicraft production grew significantly. At the same time, the Ummayads’ social base was narrowed as a result of the heavy exactions and new taxes imposed on the subject populations. Under the Umayyads, the fixed tribute instituted during the Arab conquests was replaced by taxes based on ability to pay, while the land policy, calculated to increase state revenues, went against the interests of both the local and the Arab populations. The caliphate further narrowed its base by rejecting the early Islamic practice of freeing non-Arab subjects who converted to Islam from the jizya tax.

These policies led to widely supported anti-Umayyad uprisings instigated by the Shiites and Kharijites. As a result of an uprising led by Abu Muslim in 747–750, the Umayyads were overthrown and the Abbasids came to power. Abd-al-Rahman I, one of the few surviving Umayyads, fled to Spain, where in 756 he founded the Emirate of Córdoba, beginning the dynasty of the Córdoban Umayyads.


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Bartol’d, V. V. “Khalif Omar II ….” Soch., vol. 6. Moscow, 1966.
Zakhoder, B. N. Istoriia vostochnogo srednevekov’ia. Moscow, 1944.
Beliaev, E. A. Araby, islam i arabskii khalifat. Moscow, 1965.
Nadiradze, L. I. “Problema gosudarstvennoi sobstvennosti na zemliu v khalifate v VII-VIII vv.” In the collection Arabskie strany. Moscow, 1970.
Petrushevskii, I. P. “K istorii rabstva v khalifate VII-X vv.” Narody Azii i Afriki, 1971, no. 3.
Shaban, M. A. The Abbasid Revolution. London, 1970.


References in periodicals archive ?
Criticism of the Umayyads along these lines can be retrieved from early sources, such as the two Musannafs of 'Abd al-Razzaq and Ibn Abi Shayba, which sometimes preserve the scorn of pietist individuals from the Umayyad period, e.
This civilizing view is created through the text's inclusion of administrative letters, love poems, and literary contemplations written by Umayyad leaders as well as through the description of the successful conquest of al-Andalus, which takes place while the Umayyads are the caliphs in Damascus.
These results are obtained from conditioned people who are not aware of being captured in the clutches of the Umayyads.
Militarily established and holding control over the Umayyad government, many Sunni rulers perceived as threats those highly knowledgeable and qualified excellence of Shiite Imams who were considered by their Muslim followings to be real Islamic leaders, but never fought for caliphate, unlike most Sunnis who feared competence of Shiite leaders as a living reminder of a highly moral danger to both their political and religious authority.
Since the early morning, a huge number of citizens have started to flock to the squares of Umayyad in Damascus, Saadallah al-Jabri in Aleppo, al-Muhafaza in Lattakia, Sabaa Bahrat in Deir Ezzour, Late President Square in Hasaka, Post Crossroads in Daraa, Sutan Basha al-Atrash in Sweida and the main squares in Salqin, Jisr al-Shughour and Abu al-Dohour Town in Idleb.
Tulek also said that the palaces, mosques, baths and military structures in the city feature elements of Umayyad architecture.
What is not sufficiently explained is why the barid declined in the late Umayyad period, or why it was virtually nonexistent under the Seljuks.
Tomorrow is the anniversary of the day Imam Hussain and his family were slaughtered at the hands of Yazid's (an Umayyad ruler) army following the Imam's refusal to pledge allegiance.
These attempts were witnessed starting from the ruling era of Rashideen caliphates, Umayyads, Abbasids, other parts that were separated from the Islamic empire such as Iran, Africa, etc.
But even then, Ali's accession was opposed by many members of Muhammad's Bani-Quraish Tribe, including Mu'awiya (who was later to found the Sunni Umayyad Empire).
The expansion of Islam beginning in the 630s, the establishment of the Umayyad Caliphate at Damascus (A.