History, Muslim Conquest
Battle of Las Navas, Almoravids, Arab rulers, Almohads, Berbers
Byzantine rule was ended by the Arabs, who invaded Morocco in 682 in the course of their drive to expand the power of Islam. Except for the Jews, the inhabitants of Morocco, both Christian and pagan, soon accepted the religion of their conquerors. Berber troops were used extensively by the Arabs in their subsequent subjugation of Spain.
The first Arab rulers of the whole of Morocco, the Idrisid dynasty, held power from 789 to 926. The Idrisid was succeeded by other dynasties, both Arab and Berber. Among the most notable were the dynasties of the Almoravids, from 1062 to 1147, and the Almohads, from 1147 to 1258. Under the latter, Morocco became the center of an empire that embraced modern-day Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and large areas of Spain and Portugal.
The Almohad Empire began to disintegrate after the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212, in which the Spanish defeated the Moroccans. By midcentury its power was gone. A period of disorder and almost incessant civil war between Berbers and Arabs followed. Rulers of various dynasties reigned briefly and ineffectually over parts of the country.
Morocco experienced a revival under the Saadians, known as the first Sharifian dynasty (1554-1660). The reign (1579-1603) of Ahmed I al-Man-sur is regarded as the golden age of Morocco. The country benefited enormously from the influx of nearly a million Moors and Jews who were expelled from Spain after 1492. It was unified and relatively prosperous; its native arts and architecture flourished.
The Saadians were succeeded by the second Sharifian dynasty, who have ruled since 1660. This dynasty reached its peak in the reign of Ismail al-Hasani (reigned 1672-1727). Al-Hasaniís reign was followed by a long period of disorder, which was punctuated with brief interludes of relative peace and prosperity.
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