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Second Taifa of Valencia (1147-1171)

Second taifa (1147-1171)

The Almohads, another people from North Africa, invaded Al-Ándalus since the middle of the XIIth century. But after the Almoravid experience, unfortunate in Valencian lands, they were not well received in the oriental Al-Ándalus area. In Valencia and Murcia Muhammad ibn Mardanis, more known as Wolf King (1147-1172), soon seized the power and he succeeded in resist the propulsion of the Almohads until a year before his death (1171).

Muhammad ibn Mardanis, mercenary of uncertain origin, who had been born in Peñiscola, considered Murcia as capital of his States and appointed his brother Abu al-Hajjaj as governor of Valencia, where he ruled from 1146 until 1186. He stopped the attempts of Aragon and Barcelona to conquer the Muslim Kingdom of Valencia, thanks to the taxes that he promised to pay to Ramon Berenguer IV (until 1161) to avoid his lands to run the same fate as Almeria, Tortosa or Lerida, recently conquered (Alfonso VII with the support of Aragoneses and the Republic of Genoa Almeria took possession of Almeria in 1147 and the prince of Aragon and count of Barcelona took Tortosa and Lerida in 1148 and 1149 resp.). He committed to pay 100000 golden dinars to Ramón Berenguer IV in exchange of a military support. Muhammad ibn Mardanis also made a ten-years pact with Pisa and Genoa’s, allowing the establishment of factories in Valencia and Denia. He succeeded in acquire the taifa of Guadix in 1152, which castellano-leoneses had previously attacked. In 1156-57 Muhammad ibn Mardanis declared vassal of Alfonso VII, who delivered to him several fortresses.

Wolf King was a good warrior, but too wastefool and required too many tributes to his vassals, so that his brother Abu Al-Hajjaj finally gave the taifa of Valencia/Murcia to the Almohads (1171), and he continued as Governor until his death the 1186.

The Almohads (1172 – 1228)

Taking advantage of the instability caused by the death of the Wolf King, Christians tried to recover Valencia. Alfonso el Casto conquered Teruel in 1171, and made an incursion into the city of Valencia in 1172, before which Abu al-Hajjaj, who ruled until 1186, offered him double the tribute that his brother had been paid to the kings of Aragon and Catalonia.

In 1177 the Castilians took Cuenca with the help of Alfonso el Casto and by the Cazorla treaty there was established the future delimitation of the areas of influence of Castile-Leon and of Aragon – Catalonia. In the previous Treaty of Tudilén (1151), the whole Valencia up to Orihuela and most of Murcia had to form a part of the Crown of Aragon, but according to the new agreement, the area of influence of Aragon only would come to the line Biar-Busot, which in the lower end was the limit of the conquests of Jaime I.

The successor of Alfonso the Casto, Pedro el Católico, turned his expansionist ambitions toward Occitania, even when successfully conquered the Rincon de Ademuz in the year 1210.The loss of Ademuz affects the Almohads and it is one of the reasons that led Muhammad An-Nasir to organize an expedition, which then would lead to the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa. Two years later was prepared the big confrontation between Christians and Muslims. The caliph An-Nasir Muhammad organized an expedition of the Al-andalus and took place battle of Las Navas de Tolosa (1212), which definitively ended with the Muslim supremacy in Al-àndalus. In this battle, the king of Castilla Alfonso VIII of Castile, the king of Navarra Sancho VII, the king of Portugal Alfonso II of Portugal, the king of Aragon Peter the Catholic, the troops of the military orders of Santiago, Calatrava, Temple and St. John (Malta) and more European volunteers were Confederate. The Muslims were led by Muhammad An-Nasir, brother of future Governor of Valencia Zayd Abu Zayd.

The Christian army won a great victory of July 16, 1212. A year later Pedro the Catholic died at the battle of Muret, and his son Jaime I was proclaimed King of Aragon and count of Barcelona in the year 1214, at the age of six years. Meanwhile, Zayd Abu Zayd began to reign in the eastern area of al – Andalus, just few days after the defeat of las Navas de Tolosa.

Neither the Almohads, nor the Almoravids had succeeded to unify the hispano-arabic people with the North Africans in a stable political state. Just set the Almohad caliphs began to disintegrate their domains. The situation of Valencia, advanced city on the frontier with the Christians and too far from the Almohad capital, motivated the governors Zayd Abu Abd Allah (1190 to 1213) and his son Zayd Abu Zayd (1213 to 1229) -grandchild and grandson, respectively, of the caliph Abd Al-Mumin, founder of the Almohad empire, to operate with full autonomy and even they were titled kings if they never coined currency or refuse their submission to the Almohad Emperor.

In 1224 Jaime I asked the noblemen of the Crown of Aragon for help to initiate the conquest of Valencia. Zayd Abu Zayd asked the king for a truce. He accepted in exchange for a fifth part of the revenues of Valencia and Murcia. In 1225 he decided to become a vassal of the Castilian king Fernando III. During the summer 1225, Jaime I tried to take possession of the Peñíscola castle, but the Aragonese noblemen did not support him and he failed.

Zayd Abu Zayd, last governor of the Almohad Valencia, (Governor of the regions of Valencia, Denia, Játiva and indirectly Murcia), began an indigenous rebellion anti-Almohad in the eastern region of Al-andalus, led by Ibn Hud al-Djudzani, who seized Murcia in 1228 and dominated the regions of Orihuela, Denia, Gandia, Játiva and Alcira, that is, the southern half of the region of Valencia. Ibn Hud Al – Djudzani also besieged the city of Valencia, but could not take it, because the city and the domains to the North remained faithful to Zayd Abu Zayd. In 1227 Ibn Hud Al – Djudzani recognized al – Ma´mūn, former Governor of Cordoba and Seville, as Almohad Caliph. In 1228 he retrieved the castles of Villahermosa and Bejís, placed at Valencian North, previously occupied by the Aragoneses.

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

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