Biography of Sultán de Granada Muhammad I o Muhammad el Rojo (1194-1273)

Real name Abu Abd Allah Muhammad Ibn Yusuf Ibn Nasr. Sultan of Granada (1232-1273), founder of the Kingdom of Granada and the Nasrid dynasty. He/She was born in the year 1194, in the city of Arjona (Jaén province), and died in the year 1273, in Granada. It took the nickname of al - Galib bi-llah (the victorious by God).

Muhammad I took advantage of the collapse of the Almohad power on the peninsula to proclaim himself sultan of Arjona, in the year 1232, where progressively spread its power to other neighboring towns until, in the year 1237, he/she established the capital of his Kingdom in Granada. He/She managed to keep the Nasrid Kingdom thanks to the ambivalence of his diplomacy, allying with the ciency King Fernando III or with the Moroccan marinids. He/She had a bitter fight with Alfonso X el Sabio for supporting Mudejar revolts of Andalusia and Murcia. Died, he/she left a Kingdom exhausted by continuous uprisings. He/She had built the first units of the future fortress-Palace of the Alhambra.

A member of a prominent family that descended from a companion of Muhammad, Muhammad was one of the local leaders who rose against the Almohads when, following the battle of the Navas de Tolosa (1212), the power of these began to decline in al - Andalus. In April of the year 1232, Muhammad I was proclaimed sultan in Arjona supported by their families, extending its authority to Jaén, Porcuna, Guadix and Baza, thanks to its daring and a skillful policy who knew how to take advantage of the differences between the numerous warlords who ruled the main Andalusian cities (third taifa period). During those early years of political anarchy, Muhammad I faced with Ibn Yusuf Ibn Hud by the possession of Cordoba and Seville, cities that initially remained in the hands of Ibn Hud, which Muhammad I declared vassal in the year 1234 to ensure their newly conquered territories. As the monarch ciency increased its territorial domain in the zone with the conquest of Cordoba, in the year 1236, Muhammad I was forced to move south, finally occupying the ancient capital of the Ziri, Granada, where he/she established his court definitively. Taking advantage of the discontent of the population towards Ibn Hud of high taxation aimed, in large part, to the payment of taxes to Fernando III, the sultan nazari managed to do, in the year 1238, Malaga and Almeria, city is last where Ibn Hud had been brutally murdered. These Nasrid victories were also accompanied by certain territorial losses to the realm of Muhammad I. His hometown of Arjona was conquered by the castellanoleoneses in the year 1244, who took not much to encircle the city of Jaén. Muhammad I, fearful of losing all conquered so far, ended up signing a pact with Fernando III whereby declared to his vassal of Castile and León Kingdom and undertook to provide aid military in Exchange for twenty years of relative calm, vital to establish his Kingdom. Compliance with the signed and much to his regret, in the year 1248 Muhammad I placed at the disposal of Fernando III a significant contingent of troops that intervened decisively in the Christian Reconquest of Seville.

Peace and cooperation agreement was renewed by Alfonso X the wise, until in the year 1264 it was broken by the Nasrid sultan as a result of the resumption of the campaigns of conquest by the castellanoleones, who had annexed Cadiz, Jerez and fog. To counter the Christian forces, Muhammad I sought the Alliance of the new Moroccan dynasty, that of the marinids, whose emir sent troops to the peninsula. At the same time, there had been the Moorish uprising in the regions of Jerez and Murcia, who recognized as sovereign to the Nasrid sultan. Alfonso X, with the help of the Aragonese King Jaime I, responded to the attack leading his troops up to the very gates of Granada, which, however, could not conquer. In this same order of things, the Banu Ashqilula, relatives of the nazari and Governors of Guadix and Málaga, declared themselves vassals of Alfonso X in an attempt to shake off the yoke that is Granada. Muhammad I laid siege to Malaga, but to not take it, decided to negotiate a treaty whereby the Kingdom of Granada renounced its territorial claims on Murcia and Jerez and agreed to pay a large annual tribute to Leonese Crown in Exchange for Alfonso X withdraw their support to their annoying families with ciency monarch. The rebellion of the great nobles in Castile and León against the authority of Alfonso X. headed by his son Sancho (future Sancho IV), in the year 1272, was used by Muhammad I to temporarily eliminate the annoying Banu Ashqilula. His attempt to take Ceuta failed miserably.

During his reign, and as the Christian advance southward was occurring, the Nasrid Kingdom was absorbing the exodus of Muslims expelled by the Christian authorities. Regarding its legitimate policy, Muhammad I reaffirmed their status within the Islamic world by invoking the name of al - Mustansir bi-llah, Abbasid Caliph of Baghdad in public Friday prayer (jutba). Once was owner of Granada, he/she abandoned his Sufi and ascetic tendencies, as well as his role as charismatic frontier leader, with fear of exercise power directly to support without concessions the religious doctrine of the maliki rite, the majority worldwide Muslim Maghreb. Between 1239-1242, it changed its recognition on behalf of the Almohad Caliph of Marrakech until the total disappearance of the North African dynasty, to end by invoking his name and authority.

Muhammad I made quite a few constructions in the Alhambra and considerably expanded the system of waters in the capital. Good administrator and Manager, dealt in person of the hacendisticos problems of the Kingdom and its private equity. Before dying, he/she made all the remarkable realm swore due loyalty and submission to his eldest son Abu Abd Allah Muhammad, known by the nickname of al - Faqih (the lawyer), that he/she ascended the throne under the name of Muhammad II.


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LADERO QUESADA, Miguel Ángel: Granada: history of an Islamic country (1232-1571). (Madrid: Ed. Gredos. 1976).

SECO DE LUCENA, l: the book of the Alhambra. History of the sultans of Granada. (Madrid: Ed. Everest. 1975).