Biography of Al-Hakam o Alhakem I (770-822)

Third Umayyad of Al - Andalus (796-822) born in the year 770 in Cordoba and died on 21 May of the year 822 in the same city, the fifty-two year-old, whose full name was Abu Al - Asir to Al - Hakam al - Rabadi. Son of Hisham I (788-796), was a man of austere, decisive and fair, and also an excellent poet. Aware of the tendency to the revolts that existed in most of its provinces, carried out a strong Government which could effectively counter uprisings that occurred under his reign, submitted by weapons and with the most cruel and drastic methods. Without a doubt, al - Hakam I was an emir most feared that beloved by his people, but in the long run the Emirate came profited and mostly peaceful.

Ascent to the throne. resumption of the civil war

On the death of Hisham I, in the year 796, the throne was occupied by the chosen, his segundogenito Al - Hakam I, circumstance that you reopened the fratricidal fighting for the throne. The young emir had to deal with other suitors and secessionists in various parts of the Kingdom, including its two dangerous guys, Sulayman and Abd Allah, who had never renounced their claims to the Throne from his African exile. The bloody struggle lasted around four years, until Sulayman fell dead and Abd Allah was cornered in the region Valencia, forced to sign an accountability total in which acknowledged to his nephew as emir legitimate. Abd Allah was lucky you being granted a full amnesty in Exchange for staying forever in Valencia, in whose region remained quiet until his death, because he/she served as a kind of de-facto fully loyal to Cordoba Government. At the end of the struggle for the throne, al - Hakam I never more would use courtiers and direct relatives as governors or directors, using for such charges men of their confidence as they were the Governors that he/she himself had placed. In addition, among Governors, al - Hakam I decanted is among the indigenous element rather than Arabic, the latter much more prone to uprisings.

The fight against dissent

Toledo, capital of the Media brand, was the focus of rebellion more dangerous, city populated largely by indigenous, muladíes and Mozarabic, all of them are always ready to rebel against the authority of Cordoba. The uprising began in the year 797 for the muladi Ubayd ben Jamir. The city was soon subjected by another renegade Amrus ibn Yusuf, Commander of Huesca and so ruthless man as false and ambitious, which al - Hakam I availed to crush once and for all the constant and threatening dissent of the old Visigothic capital. Amrus, in collusion with al - Hakam I, devised an expeditious means to get rid of the ringleaders of the revolt. Amrus convinced the Toledo to allow you build a qasr (defensive Castle) which would be then opened by the Crown Prince in person at the periphery of the city. Amrus and al - Hakam I invited the major personalities of the city to commemorate the work. More than seven hundred guests, as they would pass to the front desk, were being systematically beheaded by the troops of the emir and dumped their bodies into the pit. All perished in the sadly known as the "day of the pit".

The next revolt arose in Zaragoza, capital of the upper mark, city that had always enjoyed a great independence from Córdoba. The protagonist of the agitation was another muladi, Bahlul ibn Marzus, who in addition to rise in arms to Zaragoza, dared to perform a devastating attack against Huesca in the year 800. The calm in the area recovered in the year 802, date on which Al - Hakam I Amrus sent to the zone to impose order and the respect of the Umayyad. Appointed Governor, he/she got quickly rid of Marzus, who had few props, seized vast territories dominated by the Banu Qasi and recovered for Cordoba Huesca lost square. With the intention of creating a spearhead from which preparing incursions into northern peninsular and at the same time to monitor a border as dynamic as it was the top brand, Amrus lifted the city of Tudela.

Finally, another secessionist attempt in the city of Merida, ruled by the Berber Asbagh ibn Banus broke in the year 805. After death of its ringleader in one of the numerous military skirmishes in the year 817, the city surrendered peacefully.

The revolt of the suburb

The riots promoted by them alfaqies is localized exclusively in the capital. The alfaqies proved to be a dangerous breed by the great descent who were on the whole of the population, as already demonstrated in 805 the discovery of a Palace conspiracy to overthrow al - Hakam I and mounted the throne to his cousin, Muhammad ben al - Qasid. The retaliation of the emir, who was swift, consisted of cutting head to seventy cordoban notables involved in the plot.

The emir, felt in danger, surrounded himself with a guard of 5,000 mercenaries, who did not speak Arabic (Al el-jurs), and introduced an effective system of espionage, keeping constantly in front of the Alcázar thousand horses and spies willing always to deal with the lowest rate of revolt. Such measures were not the liking of the capital population and even less by the alfaqies, to which the emir had removed them virtually all its prerogatives in the Court. The mutual resentment between the emir and the alfaqies erupted in the year 818, when a mercenary of the emir killed a cordovan child in the neighborhood of Secunda, known as the District of the city (rabad), located on the left bank of the Guadalquivir. The city erupted in a revolt against the sovereign power of the Umayyad, who asked for even that resign the throne. Al - Hakam I, showing his cold-blooded, reacted with a much harder than the Toledo repression, and gave permission to his mercenary troops that they loot the entire neighborhood, which was walled on all sides during three days in a row. After the three days, al - Hakam I ordered the public crucifixion of three hundred people and banishment from the city of all the inhabitants of the district, many of whom settled in Fez (Morocco).

The fight against Christians

Although the continuous internal problems prevented al - Hakam I keep a warlike action continued against the Christian kingdoms of the North, it undertook five seasons of relative importance, mainly against the County of Castile, among which highlighted the year 796, with which al - Hakam I got take Calahorra, and the year 816, which sent a strong contingent of troops against Basque territory and the eastern part of the County of Castile. In this latest campaign, the cordoban general Abd al - Wahid inflicted a severe defeat on the Asturian King Alfonso II in the course of a battle which had to develop not far from the Valley of the Ebro.

On the other hand, in the other three aceifas, Cordoba troops achieved hardly anything positive and Yes many casualties, in the year 798, Alfonso II temporarily occupied Lisbon, while the Franks of Charlemagne seized in the 801 of Barcelona.

Other aspects of his reign

Great constructor and stylist, al - Hakam I sent to expand the Aljama mosque and raised many others in cities throughout the Emirate (Jaén, Seville, etc.). Reorganized the administration according to the model abassi, delegating some of its functions to faithful viziers, but always retaining all the power, task that then would be perfected by his son and successor, Abd al-Rahman II (822-852). He/She coined lots of currency on its behalf and brought men and goods from the East, with what became the first of the Emirs in following the customs of the Caliphs festivities, forms, and configuration of the services of the Court. It provided a great Majesty to the Emirate, he/she built palaces that endowed beautiful running and drinking water sources and, in its concern to promote irrigated crops, it fostered the construction of a dam to the capital. Also carried out important reforms in the walled precinct of the capital to make it totally impregnable.

His tyrannical character and cruel resources that are earned without flinching to his subjects to the domain of the Umayyad dynasty of Córdoba, made him odious to the eyes of his people, but, however, left subdued and quiet throughout the country so that his heir implemented an in-depth reform of the Emirate to all levels, placing al - Andalus at the head of the most powerful States of medieval Western Europe.

On 21 May the 822 died at Al - Hakam I; He/She left the throne to his successor and eldest son Abd al-Rahman II, who took charge of the Emirate in full intellectual and physical maturity at the age of thirty.


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Carlos García Herraiz