Biography of Emir de al-Andalus Abd al-Rahman o Abderramán I (731-788)

First emir (756-788) Umayyad Emirate of Córdoba independent of Baghdad and founder of the Umayyad dynasty of Córdoba, born in the year 731 (111 year of the hegira) in Dayr Hamina, town near Damascus (Syria), and died on September 30 of the year 788 (172 year of the hegira) in the city of Córdoba, capital of the Emirate which he/she himself founded and consolidated, whose real name was Abu al - Mustarrif Abd a-Rahman Ibn Muawiya al - Dakhil.


Son of Muawiya and grandson of the Umayyad Caliph in Damascus Hisham Abd al - Malik (724-743), was one of the few of his family who managed to escape the false amnesty granted by the abassies, whose sole purpose was to eliminate all Umayyad stems to consolidate his power in the Caliphate. He/She took refuge in Spain, occupied Cordoba and extended its power to all the Muslim Spain (Al - Andalus) to the other side the border marked by the River Ebro. He/She also fought with fortune to the troops commanded by Frank Charlemagne emperor at the battle of Roncesvalles.

The conquest of the Iberian Peninsula by the Moslems.

Access to power

The uprising carried out in 749 by descendants of the family of the Prophet, the abassidas, culminated with the victory and the enthronement of the new Caliph abassi, Abu Al - Abbas (749-754), in the city of Kufa. The last Umayyad Caliph, Marwan II (744-749), was captured and killed. The new regime abassi was not willing to allow to follow in life no member of the expired Umayyad dynasty, so it prepared a banquet, at 750, with the false promise of a general pardon, to thus be able to exterminate all the Umayyad dynasty. However, a number of them managed to escape the massacre due to various circumstances, including the young prince Abd al - Rahman, who managed to save themselves because at that time it was not in Damascus. Abd al - Rahman wandered incognito through Palestine, Egypt and North Africa, place the latter where he/she found temporary refuge in the bosom of the tribe of the Nafsa, where his mother was born. Accompanied only by his Badr liberto, Abd al - Rahman was installed in Qairawan, ruled by al - Fihri. This feared possible unrest would lead to the presence of annoying guest, began to annoy Abd al - Rahman so leave, even to threaten his life, so that the young Prince directed his eyes to the nearby Al - Andalus, then plunged into a fierce civil war between the two most powerful clans, the qaysíes and the Yemenis. Abd al - Rahman sent the Peninsula to its Badr liberto on an exploratory mission, 754, which returned with news favorable to Abd al - Rahman, since newly vanquished Yemenis, full of resentment against their enemies, decided to provide its unconditional support to the Umayyad Prince, so equipped a boat with twenty men to transfer you to the Peninsula. In the autumn of the year 755, Abd al - Rahman arrived in the port of the current Almuñecar (Granada).

Just find out the arrival of the Umayyad, the Governor of al - Andalus, Yusuf al-Fihri, who was with his general al - Sumayl chasing his enemies in the North, abruptly returned to Córdoba. Abd al - Rahman was provisionally established in Torrox, where he/she began to come into contact with a large group of old customers (mawali) of the Umayyad dynasty, which strengthened their precarious situation, at the same time that it held several talks with Governor al - Fihri, who came to offer him the hand of his daughter and large sums of money if it renounced its claims on the throne of the Emirate. Abd al - Rahman, aware of his growing power thanks to the continuous arrival of Berbers and Yemenis who thickened their troops from all points of the Peninsula and North Africa, rejected the offer of the Governor, which forced to battle to settle the leadership on the decomposed Emirate dependent on Damascus. Before facing al - Fihri, Abd al - Rahman wanted to legalize their situation by proclaiming, in the month of March of the year 756, independent in Reyyo (Malaga) emir.

Once appointed and recognized as emir of Córdoba, Abd al - Rahman went to Córdoba to confront al - Fihri, he/she defeated at the battle of al - Musara on 15 May of the year 756. The important victory of al - Musara opened the capital young Umayyad Prince who with twenty-six years, became emir and founder of Córdoba Umayyad dynasty, which would rule al - Andalus until 1031.

The consolidation of Abd al-Rahman in al-Andalus

The conquest of Cordoba did not mean the end of the struggle for power, since Abd al - Rahman met with an important accumulation of problems to be resolved. Through its magnanimity and moderation, Abd al - Rahman was able to barely avoid the looting in the capital by his Yemeni followers, circumstance that fostered the discontent of these against the emir, to the point that soldiers planned to eliminate him to be deprived of the promised and usual spoils of war that the Koranic laws established for the victorious troops.

On the other hand, al - Fihri fled to Toledo and raised a mighty army, while al - Sumayl did the same with his supporters from Jaén, achieving both take over temporarily from Cordoba, city that was entrusted to a son of the former Governor, who failed to keep the city in his possession for a long time. Abd al - Rahman managed to regain the support of Yemenis to deliver the final blow to the two rebels, which signed an agreement of surrender in 757, quite favorable to the rebels given the circumstances, whereby both could enjoy immunity and protection of the emir, in addition to be allowed to live in the capital while retaining all their property intact and senior officials in the Court.

Finally, that same year, Abd al-Rahman I al - Dakhil ('the immigrant') publicly cursed the black banner of the abassies and banned is to mention the name of the Caliph abassi in prayer on good Friday.

The independent Emirate

Continuation of the rebel hotbeds

Before be able to devote himself fully to the construction of its State, Abd al - Rahman had to face many rebellious outbreaks against his power, some of whom put in serious jeopardy the newly conquered throne.

Although its policy of magnanimity, respect and conciliation provided him the respect of supporters and enemies alike, were some resentful, as the own Yusuf al - Fihri, who, in 758, broke the Covenant of obedience that established with the emir and managed to flee to Merida, whose city was strong and recruited an impressive army of close to 20,000 men. composed of disaffected Berbers with the conciliatory policy of the emir and some Yemenis, which advanced towards Cordoba ready to dethrone the Umayyad Prince insolent. After failing in his attempt, al - Fihri not was obliged to flee to hastily to Toledo, where he/she hoped to find refuge. But, until it reaches its goal, it was captured and killed by a loyal vassal of the emir, he/she sent the head of the rebel. Abd al - Rahman sent to expose publicly the trophy to scorn and notice of new coup attempts, at the same time that took advantage of the circumstances to abandon his policy of moderation and cruel retaliate against his enemies: he/she sent the eldest son of al - Fihri decapitate and made to strangle al - Sumayl, accused of alleged complicity with the rebel.

In 761, Abd al - Rahman had to face a rebellion in Toledo, instigated by the qaysi Hisam Ibn Urwah, which lasted four years. The ringleader was finally crucified in Cordoba. In 763, exploded another revolt in Beja, led this time by an agent abassi, Ibn-Mugith, which raised the flag abassi. Dismayed by such action, Abd al - Rahman marched with his whole army to meet the rebel, who had taken refuge in Carmona, and defeated them after a stubborn resistance. Abd al - Rahman was not walked through the branches: he/she cut off his head, wrapped it in the black banner abassi and sent in a richly decorated chest to Mecca, where the abassi Caliph al-Mansur (754-775) was on a pilgrimage. To check the contents of surprising gift, seems to be that the Caliph of Baghdad said: "thanks to Allah by placing the sea between us and such demon!".

Three years later there was fog a new uprising, led by the yemeni Said al - Matari, who managed to take Sevilla and become strong in Alcalá de Guadaira, where it was finally reduced. This was followed by another in Seville, in the same year, instigated by the former Governor Abd al - Yafar, also yugulada relentlessly by loyal forces of Abd al - Rahman.

In the year 768 exploded the most serious revolt against Abd al - Rahman, promoted by the Berbers located between the regions of Merida and Santaver, which took a more religious than ethnic motivations. The leader of the uprising was a Berber called Saqya Abd al - Wahid, of the tribe of the Miknasa, Koranic schoolteacher who was intended to be the Fatimid, i.e., a direct descendant of the Prophet's daughter Fatima. Despite such confused ideological aspects of dissent, he/she managed to stir for quite some time around the center of the Peninsula, on both sides of Toledo, which cost to Abd al - Rahman a constant bleeding of money and troops to quell the rebellion and trap the elusive Saqya, which remained independent for about nine years thanks to the tactic of plunging into the mountains without ever addressing the armies of Abd al - Rahman, until in the year 777 was eliminated by the treachery of some of his former supporters.

The Valley of the Ebro: defeat of Charlemagne and the definitive consolidation of the Emirate of Cordoba

The last revolt of great magnitude against Abd al - Rahman was developed in the border of the upper mark territories. After the death of the former ruler al - Fihri, in 759, and despite the fall of Narbonne in the right hands, the troops of Abd al - Rahman managed to gain effective control of the upper mark. In 767, Badr carried out a military campaign against Christian regions bordering of the brand, in the course of which forced one of the Yemeni leaders more influential and contrary to the power of the emir, Sulayman Ibn al - Arabi Al - Kalbi, to leave Zaragoza. Sulayman took heat from the Berber rebellion of Saqya for taking up arms against Abd al - Rahman in 772, seize Zaragoza and independence from Córdoba tutelage, efforts that failed because the prompt reaction of the troops of Abd al - Rahman, commanded by the efficient Badr. Sulayman was confined in a prison in Cordoba, where managed to escape and flee to the North with the aim of coordinating a large army to overthrow the emir of Córdoba. The rebels opened negotiations with the Frank King Charlemagne, reaching an agreement whereby, once achieved the victory, would recognize the authority of the franco monarch on the conquered territories, which they themselves would rule. When the forces that Abd al - Rahman sent Zaragoza were crushed by the insurgents, Charlemagne was convinced of the viability of the project.

Faithful to its commitment, in 778 Charlemagne marched against Al - Andalus; It first occupied Pamplona and then, he/she went to Zaragoza. But arriving at the gates of the city, Charlemagne found the city closed to cal and singing on the orders of the religious leader, the Orthodox Husayn Ben Yahiya, for whom the franc King wouldn't be an enemy in the religious field. Beset by internal problems in his Kingdom (revolt in the Rhineland), Charlemagne chose to retire quickly, but not before suffering one of its biggest military setbacks when his troops were preparing to cross the Valley of Roncesvalles, where were decimated in August 778 by attack of troops of Abd al - Rahman, in a clash that killed flower and franca Cavalry cream surprise.

The disaster of Roncesvalles coincided with the end of the Berber revolt of Saqya. Abd al - Rahman saw arrived the moment make a spectacular display of powerful military to re-establish its authority. He/She quickly laid siege to Saragossa, forcing Husayn to capitulate unconditionally. Then, carried out a violent punishment against Pamplona expedition and a large number of Basque regions, regions which already itself had been devastated in advance by the franc King in their retreat. Abd al - Rahman continued his campaign against the Christian territories located to the West of the River Ebro, to return in 783 against Zaragoza, where the forgiven Husayn had returned to declare rebellion against the emir, who commanded him to run immediately after you recover the control of the city without further regard to the traitor. His next goal was to get rid of the son of Sulayman, Ayshua, who had charge of the yemeni opposition in the most Eastern Catalan territories, who commanded to run a few days before entering victorious in Cordoba, with all the Emirate pacified and under his orders, in 785 echo.

Relationship of Abd al-Rahman with the Asturian Kingdom

Held in quelling the ongoing internal rebellions against his power and submit to his authority the ethnic factions that divided the Emirate, the military activity of Abd al - Rahman against the Astur Kingdom was almost nil, circumstance that knew how to take advantage of the astures monarchs to recover territories in their slow progress towards the Valley of the Duero. Even so, Christian successes not can tilt of spectacular since Abd al - Rahman got to remake of all the adventures of rebellion and reinforce the sufficiently well to his army so that the borders of the North will stabilize for a long period of time.

The Organization of the independent Emirate

Just need reliable news of how accomplished, politically and administratively, the consolidation of the new Umayyad State of Cordoba, unless indications concerned in the sources that speak of the battles that had brought the first emir to settle their power.

The truth is that Abd al - Rahman demonstrated to possess a great political intelligence by leveraging is skillfully the personal prestige of his dynasty and the loyalty of some hundreds of clients of his family who had arrived in the Peninsula before your arrival, to use in your favor of intense rivalries arising between large Arab ethnicities joinedcharting complementary alliances with the Berbers, all which contributed to Abd al - Rahman achieved to stay in power despite the continuous revolts against.

Towards the half of his reign, Abd al - Rahman deployed major efforts to strengthen and secure his Kingdom. For this purpose he/she sent to completely rebuild the walls of Cordoba and initiated the purchase of Berber and European slaves destined to swell his troops and his personal guard, measure that put him in possession of an impressive mercenary army that could cope with guarantees of success whatever military major. In 785, began the rebuilding of the old Alcázar (old dar el-imara's first rulers), a princely fortress filled with an exquisite luxury but for defensive military purposes (qasr).

Abd al - Rahman appointed able and loyal Governors (viziers) for the effective administration of the provinces under his command. The Organization of complex administrative and bureaucratic structures brought with it increased spending to keep standing so powerful State machinery, so it was forced to improve the tax system, as it shows the increasing level of issuance of coins that allowed sufficient Treasury and the sunset provision on an economy vital and quite developed for the moment.

Abd al - Rahman, either by allegiance to the Muslim tradition, or to avoid political-religious complications, did not assume the title of Caliph, so it adopted only the title of emir ('King' in Arabic), or son of the Caliph. Concerned about the welfare and safety of his subjects, he/she undertook an important task of the reconstruction of the main cities of the Kingdom, especially in Cordoba, that embellished with lots of buildings and gardens of a state capital, for which sent East fruit and vegetables of all kinds, they evoked their native Syria (it was he/she who introduced the cultivation of Palm tree in Spain). He/She also embellished the sierra de Cordoba with the construction of the Palacio of Rusafah, a marvel of its time, which rose in memory of the Palace of the same name as his grandfather Hisham had in Damascus.

The dramatic increase of the population of the city of Córdoba Abd al - Rahman forced to erect a new mosque, Aljama. So he/she bought the Christian population of Cordoba half which corresponded to them of the old Visigothic Church of San Vicente. Once the purchase is complete, he/she commanded to completely demolish the old church to build the early part of the current mosque of Cordoba, construction which became future mosques in the Western Muslim world model with over the years.

Before his death, Abd al - Rahman appointed his successor, choice which went to his second son, Abu Al - Hisham Halid (788-796), to the detriment of the eldest son Abd Allah. The surprising appointment provoked a civil war between the supporters of the designate and those of Abd Allah, which lasted almost two years of the reign of Hisham and threatened to break suddenly the work of unification and consolidation that with so much effort had been done Abd al - Rahman I. Once were defeated the troops of Abd Allah, Hisham was able to benefit and enjoy the tranquility of a pacified Emirate and, most importantly, strengthened at all levels, with the authority of the Umayyad Cordoba dynasty recognized by all the social, political and religious forces of Al - Andalus.


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