Almoravid dynasty

Berber dynasty that once ruled over Al-Andalus and Maghreb

The Almoravids were a Berber Muslim[1] dynasty from Morocco that ruled over a wide area of northwestern Africa and the Iberian Peninsula during the 11th century.

Almoravid Empire
Flag of Almoravids
Map showing the extent of the Almoravid empire
Map showing the extent of the Almoravid empire
CapitalAghmat (1040-1062), Marrakech(1062-1147) & Córdoba
Common languagesBerber languages (predominant), Classical Arabic, Mozarab, Hebrew language, African Romance & Andalusian Arabic
Maliki Sunni Islam (predominant and official state religion), Roman Catholic, Ibadi, Judaism & Sufism
• 1040-1059
Abdallah ibn Yasin
• 1146–1147
Ishaq ibn Ali
• Established
• Disestablished
3,885,000 km2 (1,500,000 sq mi)
CurrencyDinar & Maravedi
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Taifa of Mallorca
Taifa of Almería
Taifa of Badajoz
Taifa of Beja and Évora
Córdoban Republic
Taifa of Guadix and Baza
Taifa of Málaga
Taifa of Silves
Taifa of Niebla
Banu Hilal
Taifa of Murcia
Taifa of Valencia

Under this dynasty the Western Islamic empire included present-day Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Gibraltar, Tlemcen (in Algeria) and a great part of what is now Senegal and Mali in the south, and Spain and Portugal to the north in Europe. At its greatest extent, the empire stretched 3,000 kilometres from Zaragoza in the north to Senegal in the south (an all-time latitude spanner until Spanish America). The Almoravids originated as a Sunni Islamic revivalist movement in present day northern Mauritania and gradually evolved into a military confederation. The Almoravids started to subjugate Senegal and then started expanding northwards. They first captured southern and central Morocco and then took Marrakesh and started to proclaim themselves as an Islamic caliphate. They gathered many soldiers from the Tuareg tribe of Berbers. They then completed the conquest of Morocco by conquering the northern tip of Morocco and reached Ceuta. After conquering Morocco, they established their power base in Morocco rather than their original home, Mauritania. This was due to the isolation of Mauritania and the urbaneness of Morocco perfect for ruling empires. They then began to rule from Morocco after completing the conquest of the country and continued to further expand. Due to calls of help from the Andalusian taifas in Iberia, they expanded into Iberia and conquered the territory of the Islamic taifas there. After their conquest, they implemented Sharia law in all of their conquered territories. They proclaimed a jihad against the Christian Iberian kingdoms and met them at the Battle of Sagrajas where they decisively crushed the Christian army turning the tide of the Reconquista. The Almoravids veiled themselves below the eyes with a tagelmust, a custom they adapted from southern Sanhaja Berbers. (This can still be seen among the modern Tuareg people, but it was unusual further north.) Although practical for the desert dust, the Almoravids insisted on wearing the veil everywhere, as a badge of "foreignness" in urban settings, partly as a way of emphasizing their nomadic origins. It served as the uniform of the Almoravids. They wore the veil covering their entire face with the exception of their eyes due to their nomadic desert Saharan origins. The empire reached its territorial extent under the reigns of Yusuf ibn Tashfin and Ali ibn Yusuf.


  • Abdallah ibn Yasin (1040-1059)
  • Yusuf ibn Tashfin (1061–1106)
  • Ali ibn Yusuf (1106–42)
  • Tashfin ibn Ali (1142–46)
  • Ibrahim ibn Tashfin (1146)
  • Ishaq ibn Ali (1146–1147)


  1. Glick, Thomas F. Islamic And Christian Spain in the Early Middle Ages. (2005) Brill Academic Publishers page 37
  • General History of Africa, Africa from the Seventh to the Eleventh Century, Ed. M. Elfasi, Ch. 13 I.Hrbek and J.Devisse, The Almoravids (pp. 336–366), UNESCO, 1988
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