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The New Cambridge History of Islam
  • Volume 2: The Western Islamic World, Eleventh to Eighteenth Centuries
  • Edited by Maribel Fierro, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, Madrid

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    The New Cambridge History of Islam
    • Volume 2: The Western Islamic World, Eleventh to Eighteenth Centuries
    • Edited by Maribel Fierro
    • Online ISBN: 9781139056151
    • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521839570
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Book description

Volume 2 of The New Cambridge History of Islam is devoted to the history of the Western Islamic lands from the political fragmentation of the eleventh century to the beginnings of European colonialism towards the end of the eighteenth century. The volume embraces a vast area from al-Andalus and North Africa to Arabia and the lands of the Ottomans. In the first four sections, scholars – all leaders in their particular fields - chart the rise and fall, and explain the political and religious developments, of the various independent ruling dynasties across the region, including famously the Almohads, the Fatimids and Mamluks, and, of course, the Ottomans. The final section of the volume explores the commonalities and continuities that united these diverse and geographically disparate communities, through in-depth analyses of state formation, conversion, taxation, scholarship and the military.

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Page 1 of 2


  • 1 - Al-Andalus and the Maghrib (from the fifth/eleventh century to the fall of the Almoravids)
    pp 19-47
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521839570.003
  • View abstract
    Summary
    During the fifth/eleventh century, the Islamic West saw enormous shifts in territorial frontiers and variations in the patterns of population. In al-Andalus, the Umayyad order, with its capital in Cordoba, splintered into the small competing power centres of the Taifas. The Taifas of Cordoba and Seville, for example, occupied what had been the corresponding Umayyad provinces, while what had previously constituted the three frontier Marches were now the Taifas of Saragossa, Toledo and Badajoz respectively. In both al-Andalus and the Maghrib, the cities experienced substantial growth. In the Maghrib, the great urban event was the founding of Marrakesh in 463/1070 by the new Almoravid dynasty. In 399/1009, in spite of the apparent strength of the Ummayad caliphate, civil war broke out and the centralised caliphal state was torn into the various Taifas, which would last for the rest of that century and into the next. Christians and Jews had continued to practise their respective religions as people of the covenant.
  • 2 - The central lands of North Africa and Sicily, until the beginning of the Almohad period
    pp 48-65
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521839570.004
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The crisis of the Islamic world in the fifth/eleventh century, when the lands of the former Arab empire were overrun by barbarians from beyond its borders, Turks in the east, Berbers in the west, was brought about in the central Mediterranean by the invasion of Ifrīqiya by the Arab tribes of the Banū Hilāl and the invasion of Sicily by the Normans. Ifrīqiya was the old Byzantine province of Africa. The difference between the two histories apparent in the difference between the sources goes back to the departure of the Fāṭimid caliph al-Mu˓izz for Egypt in 361/972, leaving his central Mediterranean empire divided into two provinces under viceroys of different provenance. The Norman occupation of the coast of Ifrīqiya, which centred on the capture of al-Mahdiyya in 543/1148 and ended with the fall of the city to the Almohads in 555/1160, terminated the efforts of the Zīrids to regain a measure of power and authority after their flight from Qayrawān.
  • 3 - The Almohads (524–668/1130–1269) and the Ḥafṣids (627–932/1229–1526)
    pp 66-105
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521839570.005
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Ibn Tūmart, the founder of the Almohad movement, aimed at a moral and religious reform. Ibn Tūmart consolidated his hold over the mountains to the south and west of Marrakesh. Having realised that Tinmal was an impregnable site and having to deal also with the Christian advance in al-Andalus, the Almoravids concentrated on building a belt of fortresses to stop the Almohads descending into the plains of Marrakesh. Ibn Tūmart's movement can be understood within its Berber context, in which a charismatic figure with a religious message provided the glue by which tribes were united in a common enterprise leading to state formation. As for al-Andalus, Almoravid rule had been seriously weakened as a result of Christian expansion and of the concentration on fighting the Almohads in the Maghrib. The Almohad empire had lasted some 140 years. Control of both al-Andalus and Ifrīqiya proved in the end too difficult to manage.
  • 4 - The post-Almohad dynasties in al-Andalus and the Maghrib (seventh–ninth/thirteenth–fifteenth centuries)
    pp 106-143
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521839570.006
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The immigration of nomadic Arab tribes to North Africa and their pillaging of cities and agriculture, even when employed as mercenaries by the Almohad army, would have brought about a destructive process of bedouinisation and deterioration in the urban settlements, and played a crucial role in their decline. The ninth/fifteenth-century Portuguese conquest of Ceuta was the opening move in a new political reality characterised by the expansion of the Iberian kingdoms into Africa. The Marīnids and the ˓ Abd al-Wādids were Berber tribal groups belonging to the Zanāta, who had managed to establish themselves across large swathes of the central Maghrib. The first great moment of Marīnid intervention in the Peninsula corresponds to the rule of the sultan Abū Yūsuf, who mounted as many as five different expeditions between 673/1275 and 684/1285. The reconquista and the Morisco community fed a large-scale migration from al-Andalus to North Africa.
  • 5 - West Africa and its early empires
    pp 144-158
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521839570.007
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The Arab conquest of North Africa was a prelude to a series of developments that reshaped the western part of the ancient world and the way it was viewed. The militant occupation of the urban centres in North Africa went along with a cumbersome spread of the Islamic faith and the Arabic language. The splendid successes of the Almoravid movement in North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula have somehow covered up its Saharan origin and far reaching repercussions on the Islamisation of the Sudan. The geo-political orientation of Mali allowed, for the first time in West African history, a direct flow of goods and ideas from the rainforest regions to the Mediterranean and vice versa. The rise of the Sunni-Zaas and Askiyās of Gao was accompanied by a complex shift of emphasis in Sudanic Islam. The Islamic features served as promising ingredients in a traditional ceremonious despotism.
  • 6 - Bilād al-Shām, from the Fāṭimid conquest to the fall of the Ayyūbids (359–658/970–1260)
    pp 159-200
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521839570.008
  • View abstract
    Summary
    From the beginning of the Fāṭimid domination to the fall of the Ayyūbid, Bilād al-Shām was never controlled by one single political power. Westerners who left their country to settle in Syria in the sixth/twelfth and seventh/thirteenth centuries, to settle in Syria in the sixth/twelfth and seventh/thirteenth centuries, pushed out by the Christian Reconquista or simply attracted by the intellectual life of the cities of the Near East which they passed through on their pilgrimage route, were a different story. Throughout Bilād al-Shām Fāṭimids came up against numerous Arab tribes who allied themselves by turn with the Egyptians or their enemies, according to their interests, much of the time resorting to banditry and the pillage of caravans. Southern Syria was under the control of a governor representing the small Egyptian dynasty of the Ikshī dids and northern Syria was still under the domination of the Ḥamdānids.
  • 7 - The Fāṭimid caliphate (358–567/969–1171) and the Ayyūbids in Egypt (567–648/1171–1250)
    pp 201-236
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521839570.009
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Egypt conquered by the Fāṭimids in 358/969 was rich agricultural land with winter crops and summer crops. Egypt had a long tradition of textile manufacture and its production centres. The power of the Church was also derived from the fact that Egypt was predominantly a rural country with a low degree of urbanisation. Alexandria was the main Mediterranean port and Fusṭāṭ was the capital city and the administrative and commercial centre. The survival of some Arabic-Christian historical works dealing with the Fāṭimid- Ayyūbid period adds significantly to Arabic-Muslim historiography. The period of Fāṭimid rule in Egypt can be divided into two distinctive phases: before and after the civil war of the 450s/1060s and the early 460s/1070s which also marked a transition from civilian to military rule. The Fāṭimid army of the sixth/twelfth century was a large force composed of cavalry and tens of thousands of black infantry and was scorned by the Franks for its poor fighting capabilities.
  • 9 - Western Arabia and Yemen (fifth/eleventh century to the Ottoman conquest)
    pp 285-298
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521839570.011
  • View abstract
    Summary
    From the second half of the fourth/tenth century the ˓Abbāsid caliphate's hegemonic monopoly in western Arabia eroded. The economic and geostrategic importance of the Red Sea intensified in the wake of the ˓Abbāsid state's decline, and the basic significance of the Ḥijāz as goal of the pilgrimage and original abode of Islam widened. The Mamlūks incorporated the sharīfate into the Mamlūk state structure by appointing the ruler of Mecca to the newly created office of vice-sultan of the Ḥijāz in 811/1408. At the beginning of the fifth/eleventh century, Yemen was split up between several political forces none of which was strong enough to overcome regional competitors. Najāḥids, Zaydīs and Ṣulayḥids were to determine politics in Yemen in the fifth/eleventh century. The Zaydīs extended their territories towards the south, while members of the Ṭāhirids clan held power in Aden and its hinterland and remaining Egyptian Mamlūks who displayed loyalty towards the Ottoman sultan established themselves in Zabīd.
  • 10 - The Turks in Anatolia before the Ottomans
    pp 299-312
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521839570.012
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Byzantium had long been familiar with Arabs and Islam, but distance had precluded much knowledge of the Turks. Byzantium had made diplomatic contact with Central Asian Turks as early as the sixth century CE and later the movement of Turkic peoples across the steppes north of the Black Sea brought them to the empire's borders in eastern Europe. Byzantine defences in Anatolia were clearly ineffective, partly a result of almost continuous civil strife in Byzantium between the bureaucratic and military parties since the death of the emperor Basil II in 1025 CE. In 1068 CE the general Romanus Diogenes became emperor and, in a series of military expeditions, attempted to put an end to the growing Turkish danger. The Ottomans crystallised in the far northwestern corner of Anatolia around Sögüd at the end of the seventh/thirteenth century. By the beginning of the eighth/fourteenth century, the Saljuq sultanate had vanished.
  • 11 - The rise of the Ottomans
    pp 313-331
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521839570.013
  • View abstract
    Summary
    SögüdOttoman state was wedged up against the Byzantine frontier in the north-west corner of Anatolia based round Sögüd. The Ottoman diplomatic, and economic, contacts extended beyond Byzantium to other states further west across the Mediterranean. One of the Latin powers to the west with whom the Ottomans had good relations which were to last throughout the century and well into the next was Genoa. In Europe the Ottomans clashed with Hungary for control of the lower Danube. In 796/1394 the Ottomans laid siege to the Byzantine capital Constantinople. The Ottomans also advanced southwards, raiding in Epiros and Albania. In the Peloponnese, the Ottomans advanced successfully under the Ottoman commander Evrenos. By the end of the eighth/fourteenth century, Ottoman expansion had been enormous. The Ottoman army had become an efficient fighting machine, able to lay siege effectively and to defeat the enemy in formal battles. The Ottoman world was also a cosmopolitan and religiously mixed milieu.
  • 12 - The Ottoman empire (tenth/sixteenth century)
    pp 332-365
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521839570.014
  • View abstract
    Summary
    During the course of the tenth/sixteenth century, the Ottoman empire emerged as a world power, both in terms of its real military and political strength, and in terms of the claims of the Ottoman dynasty to universal sovereignty. The Ottoman-Safavid rivalries of the tenth/ sixteenth century also had long-term consequences. Two events in the late 960s/1550s changed the strategic balance between the Ottoman and Habsburg empires. First, in 964/1556, Charles V abdicated. His son Philip II inherited his territories in Spain, Italy and the Netherlands, but not the Holy Roman empire, leading to a split in the Spanish and Austrian branches of the dynasty. Second, in 968/1559 Philip II and Henry II of France concluded a peace at Cateau-Cambrésis, removing the possibility of a Franco- Ottoman alliance and undermining Ottoman influence in the politics of western Europe. The effect of Ottoman operations in the southern seas was to create a land frontier against the Portuguese.
  • 13 - The Ottoman empire: the age of ‘political households’ (eleventh–twelfth/seventeenth–eighteenth centuries)
    pp 366-410
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521839570.015
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter discusses the relations of the Ottoman rulers with neighbouring potentates and, at much greater length, the empire's domestic affairs. Throughout the eleventh/seventeenth and twelfth/eighteenth centuries British power and ambitions affected the Ottomans only in a limited fashion: there was occasional friction between the British and the rulers of the three North African provinces, who in the Ottoman perspective were merely governors with some claim to autonomy. Ottoman princes in the eleventh/seventeenth and twelfth/eighteenth centuries lived isolated and often quite miserable lives in the section of the palace set aside for them, the so-called cage or qafes. In the early eleventh/seventeenth century, the mercenary rebellions that had been devastating Anatolia since the 990s/1580s known as the Jelālī uprisings. A twelfth/eighteenth-century process of social differentiation among the urban population has been well studied with respect to certain towns of southeastern Europe, and something similar presumably happened in other parts of the Ottoman empire as well.
  • 14 - Egypt and Syria under the Ottomans
    pp 411-435
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521839570.016
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The Muslim character of the Ottoman state was enhanced by the demographic reality that Muslims had become the overwhelming majority of the sultan's subjects for the first time in the empire's history. Selīm conquest of Syria, Egypt and the Ḥijāz greatly increased the prestige of the empire and established it as a major obstacle to the expansion of Spanish power in the Mediterranean Sea and that of the Portuguese in the Red Sea. The application of the conventional Ottoman patterns of provincial governance drew interior Syria more securely into the Ottoman political and cultural orbit than any of the empire's other Arab provinces. The inhabitants of Aleppo, Damascus, Jerusalem and Cairo were heirs to a sophisticated, Muslim urban culture that was almost a thousand years old and which, at times, could be at odds with the Ottoman understanding of their shared faith.
  • 15 - Western Arabia and Yemen during the Ottoman period
    pp 436-450
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521839570.017
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Ottoman views of, and policies towards, the Ḥijāz as well as the Indian Ocean are well established. In Arabia, the Ottomans were the inheritors of three legacies from the Mamlūks whom they supplanted in Syria and finally in Egypt in 922/1517. The first involved the effort to repel the Portuguese, who had irrupted into the Indian Ocean world in 902/1497, and had set up a state based on commerce and warfare and which threatened to dominate the Indian Ocean as well as the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. The second legacy was the Mamlūk occupation of the relatively rich province of Yemen, domination over which meant tax revenues, the effective protection of the Ḥijāz from the south and control of the trade that crossed into the Red Sea. The third legacy involved the incorporation of the Ḥijāz into the empire.
  • 16 - Sharīfian rule in Morocco (tenth–twelfth/sixteenth–eighteenth centuries)
    pp 451-479
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521839570.018
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Moroccan autonomy was threatened from the east by Ottoman expansion into North Africa during the early tenth/sixteenth century. The Ottomans presented a unique challenge in that, as co-religionists, they appealed to Moroccan leaders in the name of Islamic unity and as defenders of the abode of Islam from the Christian Europeans. Moroccan political history during the tenth/sixteenth to twelfth/eighteenth centuries reflects an era in which two dominant sultans, Mawlāy Aḥmad al-Manṣūr and Mawlāy Ismā˓īl were able to create prosperous and relatively successful states, while several other sultans succeeded in maintaining sufficient central authority to sustain functional governments. TheSa˓dī dynasty first arose in the early tenth/sixteenth century, largely in response to Portuguese incursions from their fortresses along the Atlantic coast. Trade agreements signed between Morocco and the European powers were heavily weighted in favour of European interests. The establishment of the Sharīfīan dynasties produced the most durable form of government in the Islamic world.
  • 17 - West Africa (tenth–twelfth/sixteenth–eighteenth centuries)
    pp 480-502
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521839570.019
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Towards the end of the ninth/fifteenth century, West Africa's externality to the Muslim world began to end. The advance of Arab tribes to the south during the ninth/fifteenth century linked the Maghrib closer to the Sahel. In the east, Egyptian Shuwa Arabs penetrated the Chad region. From Tunisia, the Ottomans intervened in the Sahara trade. During the 'age of empires', Muslim existence south of the Sahara could be, very generally, depicted as one in quarantine. Muslims, hitherto, were newcomers: arriving as individuals or in family units, as traders, refugees, travellers or professionals, they settled in confined areas, which sometimes developed into urban quarters, and offered their religious services. The case of the Bambara demonstrates the particularly slow penetration of Islamic features into the vast rural triangle extending among the urban centres along the Niger, from Segu up to Timbuktu and the Senegal river.
  • 18 - Ottoman Maghrib
    pp 503-546
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521839570.020
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Ibn Khaldūn's description of the Maghrib of his day is a striking one, one which, as might be expected, illustrates his theory of the fall of civilisations. The Maghrib he describes labours under all kinds of troubles: the impoverishment and weakening of its states, worsening of its peoples' living conditions, the waning of its trade and the deterioration of its cities. The Ottomans' ambitions covered the whole of the Maghrib. The weak political situation of the Maghrib in the ninth/fifteenth century favoured the Spanish, who little by little between 911/1505 and 917/1511 occupied the major points on its Mediterranean coast. Although the regencies of Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli had been created by the same foreign army, their political development was very different. It gave rise to two contrasting models of sovereignty. Whilst Algiers lived under the grip of the militia, Tunis and later, Tripoli moved towards the constitution of a hereditary monarchy.
  • 19 - State formation and organisation
    pp 547-585
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521839570.021
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The tradition of imperial government was renewed by the Arabs, the last of the barbarians as well as the last of the heretics, who carried it back to North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula, as well as to Central Asia and northern India, without suppressing the tradition of self-government among the peoples of the mountains and the deserts whom they brought under their sway. The outcome, in the Ottoman empire, was an impressive solution to the problem of state formation and organisation inherent in the kinds of government. Only to the south, across the Sahara in tropical Africa, were the terms of the problem modified by the relationship of Muslims to pagans in lands where they had established themselves by settlement and conversion rather than by conquest. The Arabs, Turks and Berbers who invaded the settled lands of Islam in the fifth/eleventh century were all tribal peoples of the kind described by Ibn Khaldūn.
  • 20 - Conversion to Islam: from the ‘age of conversions’ to the millet system
    pp 586-606
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521839570.022
  • View abstract
    Summary
    At the beginning of the fifth/eleventh century the majority of the people living in the territories under Muslim rule were themselves Muslim. The appearance of sectarian movements such as the Zaydīs, Ismā˓īlis and Ibāḍīs played an important role in the conversion process, since such sects showed considerably more proselytising zeal than did the armies of the initial Muslim conquerors. The Islamic empire was beginning to witness the loss of Muslim territory, at the hands of either Spanish Catholics or Russian Orthodox Christians, and a reverse flow of conversion from Islam to Christianity. The territory under Muslim rule, or dār al-islām, can be divided into two parts: the frontier regions and the Muslim heartland. In the middle of the fifth/eleventh century, Asia Minor and the Balkans were entirely Christian. Yet by the middle of the tenth/sixteenth century, Muslims constituted the great majority of the population in Asia Minor and an important minority in the Balkans.