How did Caliphal Cordoba occur?
The Chronological events of Caliphal Cordoba
The al-Andalus province
was absorbed into Moorish Spain Syrian Umayyad Caliphate by Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik, Abd ar Rahman 1's grandfather in 711
The Dependent Emirate
A Declaration Request
Who was to rule
Emir al Fihri
Abd ar Rahman 1
The Independent Emirate
Further al-Andalus related pages
During the first five years of the Syrian Umayyad Caliphate rule, Sevilla was the capital of the al-Andalus province. Cordoba had suffered terrible damage during the 5th century when Northern European barbarians invaded Andalusia on their way to North Africa. Cordoba's incomparable position was a preferred location. See detailed Cordoba Map
Once Cordoba was repaired, the centre-point of the Umayyad Caliphate was shifted from Sevilla to Cordoba. Cordoba became the capital of Umayyad Caliphal Cordoba in 716. Many Syrians moved to al-Andalusia.
The Syrian Umayyads were Overthrown
In Damascus 750 AD, the Umayyad Caliphate was ovethrown by the Abbasids. Many members of the Umayyad clan were brutally assasinated at a dinner party held by the Abbasids.
One young prince escaped and fled for his life...
Prince Abd ar Rahman 1 in 755 AD, after six years of perilous and heavily persecuted flight from Damascus, finally reached Ceuta. He sent his servant Bedr (a freed Greek slave) to al-Andalusia.
The Prince had a message which was a declaration: He was the rightful heir of the Umayyad Caliphate
. Would he, Abd ar-Rahman 1, be welcomed as the rightful ruler to the al-Andalus province?
Model of the Guadalquivir leading into Cordoba
Torre de la Calahorra
The al-Andalus province was in turmoil, subject to fierce ethnic strife between the Syrian Arabs and the Berbers. The rule of Emir Yusef al-Fihri, (the current appointed Abbasidian governor had proved to be ineffective and deficient.)
Patriotic Syrians (the strongest Arab faction), invited him. Even his departure from Ceuta was fraught with further persecution but finally his long journey had a destination.
Abd ar-Rahman 1 arrived in Almuñecar, Malaga province in September 755.
When Abd ar-Rahman 1 arrived in Malaga, the Abbasidian appointed ruler: Emir al-Fihri
and his son in law, al-Sumayl
, had had to absent themselves, in order to go and protect Zaragoza, which was suffering a rebellion.
The Abbasidian absence, gave Abd ar-Rahman 1, most valuable time needed to organise and acquaint himself with many of his inherent Syrian new supporters.
In March 756 the Umayyad Prince and his new army secured Sevilla without bloodshed.
Emir al Fihri finally returned to face the aspiring Prince. A severe drought had reigned the area prior to the Prince's arrival. Floods arrived while the two armies prepared for battle. The banks of the Guadalquivir river were swollen with flood waters. Poor harvests had made food very scarce...
Guadalquivir River Cordoba,
"We Conquer or We Die!"
Troops of either side were positioned on opposite sides of the Guadalquivir embankments. The Prince's supporters were in a shaky, tenuous position: compared to the Abbasidians.
The loyalists had scant rations, in fact they were almost starving, while the Abbasidians purposely consumed vast amounts of food, in full view of the Umayyad supporters, 'attempting' to demoralize. Sheer tenaciousness will-power and the Prince's impelling influence whose famed battlecry was: "We conquer or we die!"
Emir al-Fihri endeavoured to negotiate with Abd ar-Rahman 1 'trying' to marry him into his family.
The Prince refused.
Every attempt to stall the forthcoming battle was rejected. The Prince by then, was harshly accustomed to the brutality of the Abbasidians. Abd ar-Rahman 1 had matured during his long flight from Damascus.
His early education - preparing him as a Prince - paid off. He had acquired a fearless spirit, he was extremely vigilant and a was skilled statesmanship. These excellent leadership qualities, scored a victorious result in the Musurah plains outside Cordoba, in a bloody battle against the Abbasidians.
escaped. He masterminded a counterattack.
The Prince intuited this would happen and had prepared for it.
Finally, Emir al-Fihri was captured in Toledo and subsequently beheaded. His head was delivered to Abd ar-Rahman 1. The Umayyad Prince in order proclaim his absolute authority, ordered for Emir al-Fihr's head, be hammered to a bridge. The Emir's son-in-law was caught, he was garrotted.
The dawn of Caliphal Cordoba had begun.
Abd ar-Rahman's reign of al-Andalus commenced in a land plagued with its inhabitants who had varied and often conflicting ideas or interests of patriotism. Causing difficulty to create an orderly Muslim Government.
His ceaseless 'political correctness' avoided causing further major strife: by not professing himself instantly as Caliph. (There could only one be 'one' Caliph in the world to rightfully represent Islam.)
It would be Abd-ar-Rahman's 1 progeny who would finally declare the Umayyad Caliphate: when the time was right. (The Caliphate 929 - 1031.) The need for safety for the remaining family members of the Umayyad dynasty was immediately dealt with.
The Prince invited them and all loyal Umayyad supporters to the al-Andalus province. Many came. He granted high offices to his family, trusting them, before non-family members and in doing so the Umayyad dynasty regained their status of noblity and of being the politically elite.
Abd ar-Rahman 1 proclaimed his family members as the "Umayyad Caliphate Revived."
Strong governing hallmarked his new kingdom. Its foundations were focused on trade and commerce. (In contrast, Abbasidians' adminstration ideologies, had stemmed from traditional desert tribal rule.) The prince was determined his descendants would inherit the throne. Trade, commerce and Moorish Medicine created the necessary wealth for the success of the Independant Emirate.
After thirty years rule, work on the Great Mosque of Cordoba commenced. To this day, the Mezquita is famed as a major monument where Hispano-Moorish Art and Architecture evolved from islamic art and architecture.
Abd ar-Rahman 1 unified the governing of al-Andalusia. True Justice was its base, tolerant of all religions and varied cultures. Golden Glory of Caliphal Cordoba didn't happen overnight.
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