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First taifa of Valencia

First taifa of Valencia

Slavic Kings

After the fall of the Caliphate of Cordoba, in the beginning of the XI century, Valencia became capital of a Kingdom of Taifas, and, therefore, experienced an important urban growth.

The first warlords and creators of the Taifa were Mubarak (Mbarek) and Muzzafar, who reigned between years 1011 and 1020. They were related to the Amiries and had some independence. They even minted their own coins.

Lebil of Tortosa succeeded them to the throne. He was an important Amiri and Slavic character as the previous two kings. In 1019, under pressure from the king of the Taifa of Denia he shared the power, although he finally left Valencia and moved to Tortosa. As a representative of the party Amiri, he elected as a king of Valencia a descendant of Almanzor, who had fled from the fall city of Cordoba and had been installed in Zaragoza. This king would be Abd al-Aziz ibn Amir.

The Amiri Dynasty

The Amiri Dynasty Abd to the-Aziz ibn Amir, (grandson of Almanzor and of Sancho II Sandal) ascended to the throne in 1021 founding thus the dynasty amirí in Valencia. He was the king who would make the Taifa of Valencia one of the important ones of the first half of the eleventh century.

In his foreign policy, he broke the good relationship with the kings of Denia and the Balearic Islands. In his struggles asked help from Christians (as a grandson of Sancho II Abarca). He had wars against the Taifa of Almeria, whose population came to appoint him king, but for a short time.

During his reign Abd al-Aziz (1021-1061) built the almunia (royal palace, in Arabic) and a new city wall with the purpose to protect the population and to those who came from other places of al-Andalus.

Abd al-Aziz ibn Amir died in January 1061.

He was succeeded by his son Abd al-Malik ben Abd al-Aziz al-Mansur (1061-1064). As a result of the campaigns of Ferdinand I, he attacked and defeated this king despite the resources sent by his father-in-law. But the Castilian-Leon king could not take advantage of the triumph. Sick, he had to return to his court where he died. Al-Mamoun de Toledo took advantage of the opportunity to dethrone the Valencian king, proceeding to the incorporation of the Taifa of Valencia to the one of Toledo (1064-1075).

After Al – Mamun de Toledo’s death (1075) another son of Abd al – Aziz ibn Amir occupied the throne. Abu Bakr ben Abd al – Aziz (1075-1085) reigned ten years, but did not mint own coins. It seems that at the moment Valencia gravitated between the two most important Northern taifas: the taifa of Zaragoza and Toledo taifa. They proceeded to marital unions with elements of both taifas. Abu Bakr ben Abd al – Aziz were replaced by his son Utman ben Abu Bakr (1085-1086) who reigned shortly. With him the amiri dynasty, headed the taifa of Valencia last 65 years, finished.

Other kings

Alfonso VI and the Christian troops replaced Utman ben Abu Bakr with Al – Qadir (1086-1092), former King of the taifa of Toledo and later a cadi of Valencia. Other cadi, Jafar ben Abd Allah Ben Yahhaf (1092-1094), brought together anti Al – Qadir elements, dethroning him, and as a result of a riot they killed Al – Qadir. Jafar ben Abd Allah Ben Yahhaf was the last king before the occupation of Valencia by el Cid in revenge for the death of Al – Qadir. The Cid, who knew very well the history and traditions of islam, applied to Yahhaf the same procedure of punishment carried out by Muhammad against one of his enemies.

El Cid and Jimena (1094-1102)

The Taifa was conquered by el Cid in 1094 (entering the city 17 June 1094) as independent prince.

The Cid died in Valencia on 10 July 1099. His wife, Jimena, succeeded in defending the city with the help of his son-in-law Ramon Berenguer III of Barcelona, until the year 1101, in which the king Alfonso VI of Castile considering the difficulties to defend the city on 4 May 1102 ordered the evacuation of the city by the Christians and burning it. The day after, May 5 of 1102, Valencia fell to the Almoravids in control of his military leader Mazdalī.

The Almoravids (1102 – 1144)

After the death of el Cid (1099) and the return of the widow Jimena to Castile (1102), the Almoravids took possession of Valencia under Mazdalī’s command, who ruled rigorously the city, but an year later he was appointed Governor of Tlemcen, being replaced as Governor by Abū Abd Allāh Muhammad ibn Fātima, which would incorporate the taifa of Albarracín to the Almoravids and would even help to Al – Musta’in II of Zaragoza against Alfonso the Batallador’s assaults.

But the Almoravid empire declined as quickly as it had been constituted. Alfonso the Batallador of Aragon took advantage of the lack of cohesion of the Almoravids to take Zaragoza (1118), Calatayud (1121) and Daroca (1122).

The tax increases to strengthen the defensive walls in different sites of the Almoravid territory provoked the first disturbances and revealed the growing discontent of the Al-andalus with their governors Almoravides. One of them was the Sevillian mayor Ali ibn Majjuz, which fled from Al-andalus to the Valley of the Ebro, where agreed an alliance with the king Alfonso el Batallador to plunder and occupy the land of Valencia, in the same way as he had done a few decades before.

The Almoravids responded by sending a powerful army, recently arrived from North Africa, who joined the African riders of the Governors of Cordoba and Murcia in order to pursue the rebel Ibn Majjuz and Alfonso I. The battle took place in 1129 near the castle of the Alcalans (Montserrat), and there were defeated the Almoravids. According to the Spanish-Muslim poet Ibn al – Abbar, the disastrous defeat of the Alcalans made losing popularity to the Almoravids in Al – Andalus and would lead to the proclamation of the second kingdoms of taifa in the Eastern strip of Al – Andalus (from 1144 in Valencia).

Meanwhile, in Christian lands Alfonso el Batallador died in 1134 and his brother Ramiro el Monje succeeded him. Ramiro reigned in Aragon from 1134 to 1137 and his daughter Petronila married Ramón Berenguer IV of Barcelona. Thus the first monarch of the Crown of Aragon (1137-1162) (with the union of the Kingdom of Aragon and the County of Catalonia) arose. During this time Ramón Berenguer IV took Tortosa (1148), Lleida and Fraga (1149) and concluded with Alfonso VII of Castile the Treaty of Tudilén (1151), by which the future conquest of Valencia and Murcia was awarded to the Kings of Aragon.

Local revolt against the Almoravids (1144-1147)

Spanish-Arab aristocrats began the revolt against the dominant Almoravids, which they considered intolerable intruders that degraded the previous refined culture of Al-Andalus taifa kingdoms. The rebellion broke out in 1144, but as it happened in all the previous Al-Andalus indigenous revolts, it lacked coordination and different factions fought among themselves in a period of anarchy. The revolt was led by Ahmad ibn Hud al – Mustansir, better known as Saif ad-Dawla, son of the last King hudi of Zaragoza. Induced by his hatred to the Almoravids, he put himself to service of the King Alfonso VII of Castile. He enjoyed prestige among the Andalusian, as he was the heir of the Banu Hud.

At the outbreak of the revolt, Yahya ibn Ganiya (which had been Governor of Valencia) commanded the Almoravids in Al-Andalus, and he had placed his nephew Abu Muhammad Abd Allah ibn Ganiya as new Governor of Valencia, city which revolted against the Almoravids on March 1, 1145. On 2 may the cadi Abu Malik Marwan ibn Abd al – Aziz took the Government of Valencia, who entrusted the defense of the frontiers to captain Abd Allah ibn Iyad. This captain, who recognized the sovereignty of Saif ed-Dawla, took possession of Murcia shortly after. Meanwhile in Valencia Abu Malik Marwan ibn Abd al – Aziz was unable to govern and his soldiers revolted and placed Abd Allah ibn Sano’d ibn Mardanis instead, occupying the position of vali Ibn Iyad of Murcia.

Saif ad-dawla came to Murcia in January of 1146, as king of the eastern part of Al-Andalus, and was received with great honors by the governor Ibn Iyad. After Abu Bakr, son of Saif ad-Dawla, accompanied by the same Ibn Iyad, visited Denia and Valencia, and they were also received with honors.

Feeling strong, Saif ad-Dawla attempted to get rid of the guardianship of the Castilians, but Alfonso VII of Castile had now allied with Ats-Tsagri, Governor of Cuenca and personal rival of Saif ad-Dawla. Saif ad-Dawla organized an army commanded by the vali Abd Allah ibn Sano’d ibn Mardanis and formed by troops of Valencia, Alicante, Murcia and Lorca, but was defeated by the Castilians in Chinchilla February 4, 1146. In this battle Saif ad-Dawla and Abd Allah ibn Sano’d ibn Mardanis were killed. Ibn Iyad survived, but was dispossessed of his lordship of Murcia by ats-Tsagri, who ruled from May to September of 1146.

However, Ibn Iyad was able to reorganize an army with troops from Valencia, Alicante and Lorca, and marched to Murcia, where knowing of the coming of Ibn Iyad, people revolted against ats-Tsagri, who died in the revolt. Ibn Iyad entered as a winner in Murcia for second time on 13 September 1146. But an year after he died in a battle against the Castilians. The vali who ruled Valencia despite his youth from 1146 to 1147 was Muhammad ibn ‘Abd ibn Healthy Ajoāh’d ibn Mardāniš, Abd Allah ibn Healthy’d ibn Mardanis’ son and future king of the Taifa of Murcia and Valencia, which would be known by Christians as the Wolf King.

At this point we will talk about the second Taifa of Valencia

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