Taifa


Taifa

A "taifa" (from _ar. طائفة "ṭā'ifa", plural طوائف "ṭawā'if") in the history of Iberia was an independent Muslim-ruled principality, an emirate or petty kingdom, of which a number formed in the Al-Andalus (Moorish Iberia) after the final collapse of the Umayyad Caliphate of Córdoba in 1031.

The origins of the taifas must be sought in the administrative division of the Umayyad Caliphate of Córdoba, as well in the ethnic division of the elite of this state, divided among Arabs (a powerful but tiny minority), Berbers, Iberian Muslims (known as "Muladíes" - the overwhelming majority) and Eastern European former slaves.

There was a second period when taifas arose, toward the middle of the 12th century, when the Almoravid rulers were in decline.

During the heyday of the taifas, in the 11th century and again in the mid 12th century, their "emirs" (rulers) competed among themselves, not only militarily but also for cultural prestige. They tried to recruit the most famous poets and artisans.

Reversing the trend of the Umayyad period, when the Christian kingdoms of the north had often had to pay tribute to the Caliph, the disintegration of the Caliphate left the rival Muslim kingdoms were much weaker than their Christian counterparts, particularly the Castilian-Leonese monarchy, and had to submit to them, paying tributes known as "parias".

Due to their military weakness, "taifa" princes appealed for North African warriors to come fight Christian kings on two occasions. The Almoravids were invited after the fall of Toledo (1085), and the Almohads after the fall of Lisbon (1147). These warriors did not in fact help the "taifa" emirs but rather annexed their lands to their own North African empires.

Taifas often hired Christian mercenaries to fight neighbouring realms (both Christian and Muslim). The most dynamic taifa, which conquered most of its neighbours before the Almoravid invasion, was Seville. Zaragoza was also very powerful and expansive, but inhibited by the neighbour Christian states of the Pyrenees. Zaragoza, Toledo, and Badajoz had previously been the border military districts of the Caliphate.

Most historians agree that if the Almoravid empire had not attacked, Seville would have gone on to conquer the remaining taifas and unite Al-Andalus once again.Fact|date=June 2008

List of taifas

The names are in modern Portuguese and Spanish.
* Albarracín: 1011-1104 (to Almoravids)
* Algeciras: 1035-58 (to Seville)
* Almeria: 1011-91 (to Almoravids); 1145-47 (briefly to Castile and then to Almohads)
* Alpuente: 1009-1106 (to Almoravids)
* Arcos: 1011-68 (to Seville); 1143 (to Almohads)
* Arjona: 1232-44 (to Castile)
* Badajoz: 1009-1094 (to Almoravids); 1145-50 (to Almohads)
* Baeza: 1224-26 (to Castile)
* Beja and Évora: 1114-50 (to Almohads)
* Carmona: 1013-91 (to Almoravids); a second period is diffuse
* Ceuta: 1084-1147 (to Almoravids)
* Constantina and Hornachuelos: dates and destiny diffuse
* Córdoba (organized as republic): 1031-91 (to Seville)
* Dénia: 1010/12-76 (to Zaragoza); 1224-1227 (to Almohads?)
* Granada: 1013-90 (to Almoravids); 1145 (to Almohads?); 1237-1492 (this last period not usually considered to be a "taifa"; to Castile); 1568-71 (rebellion of "Las Alpujarras" after Arabic and Muslim customs were forbidden, two successive kings were appointed by the rebels)
* Guadix and Baza: 1145-51 (to Murcia)
* Jaén: 1145-1159 (to Murcia); 1168 (to Almohads)
* Jerez: 1145 (to Almohads)
* Jérica: dates and destiny diffuse
* Lisboa: 1022-? (to Badajoz)
* Lorca: 1051-91 (to Almoravids); 1240-65 (to Castile)
* Málaga: 1026-57/58 (to Granada); 1073-90 (to Almoravids); 1145-53 (to Almohads)
* Mallorca or Balearic Islands: 1076-1116 (to Almoravids)
* Menorca: 1228-87 (to Aragon)
* Mértola: 1033-91 (to Almoravids); 1144-45 (to Badajoz); 1146-51 (to Almohads)
* Molina: ?-1100 (to Aragon)
* Morón: 1013-66 (to Seville)
* Murcia: 1011/12-65 (to Valencia); 1065-78 (to Seville); 1145 (to Valencia); 1147-72 (to Almohads); 1228-66 (to Castile)
* Murviedro and Sagunto: 1086-92 (to Almoravids)
* Niebla: 1023/24-91 (to Seville); 1145-50? (to Almohads); 1234-62 (to Castile)
* Orihuela: 1239/40-49/50 (to Murcia or Castile)
* Purchena: dates and destiny diffuse
* Ronda: 1039/40-65 (to Seville); 1145 (to Almoravids)
* Saltés and Huelva: 1012/13-51/53 (to Seville)
* Santa María de Algarve: 1018-51 (to Seville)
* Santarém: ?-1147 (to Portugal)
* Segorbe: dates and destiny diffuse
* Segura: 1147-? (destiny unknown)
* Seville: 1023-91 (to Almoravids)
* Silves: 1040-63 (to Seville); 1144-55 (to Almohads)
* Tavira: dates and destiny diffuse
* Tejada: 1145-50 (to Almohads)
* Toledo: 1010/31-85 (to Castile)
* Tortosa: 1039-60 (to Saragossa); 1081/82-92 (to Denia)
* Valencia: 1010/11-94 (to El Cid, nominally vassal of Castile); 1145-72 (to Almohads); 1228/29-38 (to Aragon)
* Zaragoza: 1018-46 (Banu Tujib; then to Banu Hud); 1046-1110 (to Almoravids; in 1118 to Aragon); continuity in Rueda until 1030 (to Aragon)

External links

* [http://www.alyamiah.com/cema/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=249 Chronology of the "taifa" kingdoms (in Spanish)]
* [http://www.zum.de/whkmla/region/spain/taifas.html History of Spain: Disintegration of the Caliphate (1010-1260)]


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