*** Tunisia Tunisian history Arab caliphate

Tunisian History: Arab Caliphate (7th-16th centuries)

Tunisian Islamic Caliphate
Figure 1.--Here we see a procession in the great Islamic center og Kairwan . This photograph was taken in 1899, but would not have been much different a mellenium earlier. Theis comes from a collection of color postcards showing vibrant streets, spectacular architecture, and the everyday life of Tunisian people. The postcards were printed using the popular Photochrom technique invented by a Swiss printer in the 1880s. The only touch of modernity we notice is the French umbrella.

The Byzantines did not hold Tunisia and the rest of North Africa reqonquered from the Vandals very long. The Arab armies of the Caliphate conquered Tunisia and founded Al Qayrawan (7th century). The area was called Ifriqiya. While toiday Tunisia is a bacjwater, during the Caliphate it was an important province. The Byzantines proved not to be a major challenge, the Berbers were. The Caliphate had to confront with huge Berber armies. Kairouan (Al Qayrawān or Kairwan) is a city in northern Tunisia’s inland desert. It became a powerful trading hub and center of Islamic scholarship. It became the capital of the Kairouan Governorate. The city is today a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city was founded by the Umayyads (around 670). This was during the reign of Caliph Mu'awiya (r 661–80). The Great Berber Revolt in the Maghreb, the Ifriqiyan army and a Syrian force dispatched by the caliph, was destroyed by the Berbers at the Battle of Bagdoura (741). Abd al-Wahid's amassed a gigantic army, some say 300,000 men-- the largest Berber army ever seen. The Arabs managed to defeat the Berbers and as a result, eventually converted the Berber population to Islam. Kairouan and the universities became a major center for Sunni Islamic scholarship and Koranic learning. The iniversities had the same resige in the Islanmic workld as the Universuty of Paris in the West. The difference is that the Univedrsity of Paris frtom a relgious finndation began to moce toward seculr learming. Islamicc unovrsities which once included secular studies grdually focused exclusively on religious learning. Muslims from throughout the Caliphate came to Kairouan, a center only eclipsed by Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem. The Great Mosque of Uqba was builty in the city and became an important pilgimage site. . Successive Muslim dynasties ruled Ifriqiya, but they were confronted with periodic Berber rebellions. The reigns of the Aghlabids (9th century was followed by the Zirids (972- ). Berber followers of the Fatimids achieved considerable prosperity. The Zirids angered the Fatimids in Cairo (1050) resulting in punishing attacks. Tunisia was affected by the Viking expansion. The Normans who seized Sicily also seized the neigboring coast of Tunisia (12th century). The Almohad caliphs of Morocco seized Tunisia (1159). Next came the Berber Hafsids (about 1230–1574), under whom Tunisia prospered.


Navigate the Children in History Website:
[Return to the Main Tunisian history page]
[Return to the Main Middle-Eastern North African histories page]
[Return to the Main Middle Eastern page]
[Introduction] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Climatology] [Clothing] [Disease and Health] [Economics] [Geography] [History] [Human Nature] [Law]
[Nationalism] [Presidents] [Religion] [Royalty] [Science] [Social Class]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Children in History Home]

Created: 8:00 AM 10/18/2021
Last updated:8:01 AM 10/18/2021