First Advisor

John Ott

Term of Graduation

Summer 2020

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in History






Almoravides -- Spain -- Andalusia -- History, Almohades -- Spain -- Andalusia – History, Andalusia (Spain) -- History -- To 1500



Physical Description

1 online resource (vi, 168 pages)


The Almohad (1120-1269) displaced the Almoravid dynasty (1040-1147) as the rulers of the Maghreb and Andalusia in 1147 and created the largest Berber kingdom in history. They conquered the first indigenous rulers of the Maghreb by aggregating the Masmuda tribes from the High Atlas Mountains and enlisting the Zenata and Arab tribes from the Northern Maghreb. The Almohad rule built upon the existing Almoravid infrastructure; however, their cultural, administrative, and military approach entailed a more integrated tribal organization, centralized authority, and an original Islamic ideology. In creating this empire they envisioned the Maghreb as a consolidated political center and not a periphery adjunct to the Abbasid caliphate. They would consolidate the Maghreb, the Balearic Islands, and Ifriqiya and eventually proclaim their own caliphate. They returned al-Andalus to its former glory of the Umayyads and stemmed the southern advance of the Christian kingdoms of Iberia for one hundred years. Then in 1212, at the height of their power, they lost the decisive battle of Las Navas de Tolosa and within twenty years were all but removed from al-Andalus. This sudden decline has been attributed to lack of support of the Maliki ulema, whom they challenged with their newly envisioned religious theology, and internecine tribal conflicts. These elements assuredly attributed to the Almohad disappearance from al-Andalus and their eventual defeat in the Maghreb by the Marinids; however, a primary contributor to their demise, that is often overlooked or underestimated, was the dissipation and loss of control of their economy.


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