Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume III: The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries
XIII: Moslem North Africa, 1049-1394, pp. 457-485 PDF (25.3 MB)
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 ways. 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 course. 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 relations 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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