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Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume III: The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries

XIII: Moslem North Africa, 1049-1394,   pp. 457-485 PDF (25.3 MB)

Page 471

Ch. XIII MOSLEM NORTH AFRICA, 1049—1394 471 
conquest in the sixteenth century, Morocco under the Marinids and their successors
the Wattãsids, western Algeria under the Ziyãnids, and Tunisia
and eastern Algeria—with Tripolitania and occasionally Cyrenaica as
unwieldy appendages—under the Hafsids would go their mutually hostile
 In Morocco the Marinids had gradually taken over all the Mu wahhid holdings,
but without the strong religious motivation which had made their predecessors
so formidable a foe in their early years. Ya'qub spent the years before 1270
in acquiring firm control of northern and central Morocco, and was finally
secure enough at home to contemplate foreign adventures. 
 Yaghmurasan the Ziyanid was still alive and active at Tlemsen in western
Algeria. He had snatched Sijilmasa from the debris of the Muwahhid realm,
and had tentatively attacked the Marinid Ya'qub, had been repulsed, and had
negotiated a truce. When he had once thrown off his fealty to the Hafsids,
he paid little further attention to his eastern neighbor, and neither he
nor Ya'qub participated at all in repelling the crusade. In fact, a private
and bloody quarrel was to occupy their full attention throughout its brief
 In Tunisia Yahyá I the Hafsid had constructed a firm and secure state,
had expanded it to include Bugia and Constantine, and later Algiers, had
been acknowledged suzerain by Ibn-Mardanish at Valen cia when that skillful
intriguer was in unusually desperate straits, had taken Tiemsen and made
Yaghmurasan his vassal, and had been fleetingly proclaimed in such widely
separated cities as Seville, Denia, Jerez, and Almeria in Spain, and Ceuta,
Tangier, Sijilmasa, and Meknes in Morocco. These distant proclamations, like
the Nasrid, Marinid, and Ziyãnid acknowledgments of fealty, were merely
transi tory but flattering testimonials to his renown; his merit lay in his
administrative achievements within his own greatly enlarged and firmly held
borders. The state he bequeathed in 1249 to his son Muhammad I was by far
the most stable and prosperous of the three successor states. 
 Relations with Christian powers had also become regular and fruitful.11
Yahyâ had inherited commercial accords with Pisa, Ge noa, Venice, and
Sicily, and he renewed them all as definite treaties; Marseilles, Narbonne,
Montpellier, and Barcelona began to compete for the rich Tunisian trade,
all of which was carried in Christian vessels. During his reign the primacy
of Pisa gave way to a Sicilian preponderance which approached monopoly. Excellent
11. The best modern discussion is Robert Brunschvig's La Berbérie
orientale sous les 
Hafsides. (2 vols., Paris, 1940—1947), I, 27—37. 

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