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Realm of the Hafsid dynasty and surrounding states in 1400.


The Hafsids ( ) were a Berber dynasty ruling Ifriqiya (modern Tunisiamarker) from 1229 to 1574.

History

After the split of the Hafsids from the Almohads under Abu Zakariya (1229-1249), Abu Zakariya organised the administration in Ifriqiya (the Roman province of Africa in modern Maghreb; today's Tunisiamarker, eastern Algeriamarker and western Libyamarker) and built Tunismarker up as the economic and cultural centre of the empire. At the same time, many Muslims from Andaluciamarker fleeing the Spanish Reconquista of Castile and Aragonmarker were absorbed. His successor Muhammad I al-Mustansir (1249-1277) took the title of caliph.

In the 14th century the empire underwent a temporary decline. Although the Hafsids succeeded for a time in subjugating the empire of the Abdalwids of Tlemcenmarker, between 1347 and 1357 they were twice conquered by the Merinids in Moroccomarker. The Abdalwids however could not defeat the Bedouin; ultimately, the Hafsids were able to regain their empire. During the same period plague epidemics caused a considerable fall in population, further weakening the empire.

Under the Hafsids, piracy against Christian shipping grew stronger, particularly during the rule of Abd al-Aziz II (1394-1434). The profits were used for a great building programme and to support art and culture. However, piracy also provoked retaliation from Aragon and Venicemarker, which several times attacked Tunisian coastal cities. Under Utman (1435-1488) the Hafsids reached their zenith, as the caravan trade through the Sahara and with Egyptmarker was developed, as well as sea trade with Venice and Aragon. The Bedouins and the cities of the empire became largely independent, leaving the Hafsids in control of only Tunis and Constantinemarker.

In the 16th century the Hafsids became increasingly caught up in the power struggle between Spainmarker and the Ottoman Empire-supported Corsairs. The latter conquered Tunis in 1574 and toppled the Hafsids, who had at times accepted Spanish sovereignty over them.

Hafsid rulers




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