Emiral times in Córdoba
Al-Andalus is used to name the territory politically controlled by the Muslims in the Iberian Peninsula since the year 711, when the invasion led by Musa Ibn Nusayr and his general Tariq Ibn Ziyad took place. The former was the Wali –direct representative of the Umayyad caliph from Damascus in a province in the subdued territory– in Ifriquiyya (north of Africa). Al-Andalus became a dependent territory of that province, and it was ruled by an Emir, under the orders of the mentioned Wali. From the year 716 onwards, Córdoba (Qurtuba) became the capital of the emirate of Al-Andalus. However, in the year 750 the Umayyads were overthrown by the Abbasids and the only survivor of the slaughter, Abd al-Rahman al-Dahil "the migrant" escaped and arrived in the south of Spain in 756, where he establised an Umayyad emirate independient from the Abbasid one in Bagdad, which lasted until the year 929.
Abd al-Rahman I was 25 when he proclaimed himself emir (756-788). He consolidated his power before the Abbasids and started building the magnificent Mosque of Córdoba. His succesors made a great effort to maintain the power over the conquered territory and the subdued Hispanic population. The dinasty continued with "the migrant’s" son, al-Hakam I (796-822), who was 26 when he acceeded to the throne; he was followed by his son Hisham I (788-796) at the age of 31. During this period, the main problems of the emirate did not come from the Christian groups in the north, but from internal rivalries: religious ones -with those Christians who had converted into Islam (Muladis); or with the Mozarabs, that is, Christians living in Al-Andalus (episode of the "voluntary martyrdom" in the year 850); ethnic –between Arab Muslims and berbers–, and geographical –between Yemenis or Arabs from the north of the Arabian Peninsula and Qaysis or Arabs from the south. These conflicts very often appeared because of the socioeconomic differences, as the Muslims who were at the top of the political power had more social privileges and paid fewer taxes than others.
After the repression of the domestic riots, new emir Abd al-Rahman II (822-852), who acceeded to the throne at the age of 45, could restart his offensive policy against Christian kingdoms and promote the works in the Mosque. During his mandate there were some Norman invasions in the Peninsula –years 844 and 858– and the Umayyads from Córdoba started to approach the Byzantine Empire, thanks to an embassy sent in the year 840 (which allowed the decoration of the Mosque to become richer, as we will see).
Abd al-Rahman II was succeeded, at the age of 23, by his son Muhammad I (852-886), who tried to maintain the territorial integrity of Al-Andalus, and who carried out 10 campaigns against the kingdom of Asturias and the west part of the peninsula. But the implementation of a foreign policy of expansion is usually an evidence, like in this case, of a strong domestic crisis in the emirate. Thus, the series of epidemics and famines that occurred between the years 865 and 874 triggered the strengthening of the riots.
Muhammad I was succeeded by the two sons he had with the Christian slave Ushur: 42-year-old al-Mundhir (886-888), and 44-year-old Abd Allah (888-912). Abd al-Rahman III succeeded his grandfather at the age of 21, in the year 912, after his father was killed by his uncle. During the first part of his reign, until the moment he proclaimed himself caliph in the year 929, and even years after that, Abd al-Rahman III spent his time suppressing the internal riots that questioned his election.
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Texto: Jesús Pijuán.