Almoravid dynasty

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The Almoravids (Berber: Imṛabḍen, Arabic: Al-Murābiṭūn) were a Berber dynasty of North Africa, who lived between the current Senegal and south of Western Sahara.[1]

It is affiliated to the Berber tribes of Sanhaja and Lamtuna. From the eleventh century to the twelfth century, their empire was extended over present-day Morocco, Mauritania, southern Spain and Portugal, western present-day Algeria and a part of what is now Mali. At its greatest extent, the empire stretched 3,000 kilometres north to south. Almoravids built the city of Marrakesh and made it their capital city which became then one of the most influential centers of power in Africa and the Mediterranean region.

Contents

Origins

In his book The Muslim Conquest and Settlement of North Africa and Spain, the author Abd al-Wahid Dhannūn Taha, based on several sources including bibliographic of Ibn Khaldun, provides, on pages 26 and 29 of his book, information on the geographical distribution of Sanhaja tribes. He does the same for the different tribes and tribal Berber branch of the Maghreb and information on the different tribes or ethnic groups (Arabs, Berbers and sub-Saharan African) who participated in the Muslim conquest of Visigoth Spain.[2]

The exact meaning of "Murābiṭ" is a matter of controversy. Some have suggested that the word might be derived from the Arabic ribaṭ, meaning fortress (a term with which it shares the root r-b-ṭ). Most historians, however, now believe that it refers to ribat, meaning "ready for battle" (cf. jihad).[3][4]

When the Almoravids began their political rise, the Kingdom of Fez (Morocco's first name) of the Idrisid dynasty was split into a series of small emirates located mainly north of the country, and headed by relatives of the royal family.

According to French historian Bernard Lugan and others, the lure of wealth from trade in the South (Sahara) and marketed to the North (the West) attracted various tribes to crossroads city such as Marrakech, which become the capital of various dynasties, especially those from the South (Almoravids, Almohads, Saadian).

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