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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 468

kesh. The size of this tribute reflected the return of prosperity to the
eastern provinces, as well as the unified development of Morocco and Andalusia.
The Tunisian Arabs, like those of Algeria, were broken as military threats
to the central government by being dispersed or deported to Morocco, while
their warriors were inducted into the Muwahhid forces, often being sent to
Spain for frontier defense. Agriculture was revived, land-borne commerce
was encouraged and protected, cities were rebuilt and fortified. The new
Muwahhid empire represented the apogee of Berber power, exercised under the
aegis of a purely Berber version of Islam, militant and virile, strict and
intolerant, in which Jews and Christians were forcibly converted, and in
which for the first time women were severely secluded. 
 Under ' Abd-al-Mu'min's son and successor Yusuf, North Africa experienced
twenty-one years of unbroken prosperity. From 1163 to 1184 there were no
serious invasions, few important revolts or rivalries, no catastrophic interruptions
of any kind. Commercial relations were inaugurated with Genoa and Pisa, and
a fortunate generation began to repair the previous century's ravages, while
those whose tastes were warlike subdued several minor disturbances and added
Almeria and Murcia to Yusuf's Iberian holdings. In 1184 he was killed while
besieging Santarem, and his mantle fell on his son Ya'qub. 
 While Ya'qub's accession was dutifully accepted throughout his father's
realm, it was considered as an opportunity by adventurers from an unexpected
quarter. Majorca, or Mallorca, largest of the Balearic islands, was ruled
by descendants of the last Murãbit gov ernor in Spain. He and his
heirs were known, after a female ancestor, as the Banu-Ghaniyah, and they
were firmly established in their island stronghold. In the November following
Ya'qub's enthrone ment the current Ibn-Ghãniyah, ' All ibn-Ishãq,
left Majorca to his brother Talhah and sailed with several relations and
kindred spirits to Bugia, which was taken by surprise, as were two relatives
of the caliph, later ransomed. Leaving his brother Yahyâ to govern
Bugia, ' All took Algiers and Miliana, attacked Qal'at Bani-Hammad, and besieged
Constantine. Pursuit and retaliation were prompt and vigor ous. Miliana expelled
its new ruler, Algiers and Bugia were retaken by the Muwabbid fleet, the
siege of Constantine was raised. Ibn Ghãniyah, moving rapidly, assaulted
Tozeur, took Gafsa, and joined with an Armenian former slave of Saladin named
Karakush, leading a band of Ghuzz Turkomans, to take Tripoli. Ya'qub in person
de feated the combined rebels in battle, retook Gafsa, and left Tunisia well
garrisoned. Nevertheless, the Banu-Ghaniyah and their disreput 

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