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Stephen Cory

chief of the West African Lamtuna, one of the Sanhaja Berber peoples, and leader of the Almoravid movement that eventually conquered Morocco, western Algeria, and Islamic Spain in the north and Mauritania and portions of Mali in the south. Although he became leader of the Almoravids following the death of the movement’s founder, ʿAbdallah ibn Yasin, in 1059, his notoriety was surpassed by that of his cousin, Yusuf ibn Tashfin. Yusuf would lead the Almoravids to multiple conquests in the north, while Abu Bakr remained with his Sanhaja warriors in the south, where he continued to lead jihad against the infidels of sub-Saharan West Africa. His accomplishments included defeating the kingdom of Ghana, but he was never able to establish full Almoravid control in the region. Abu Bakr ibn ʿUmar was killed in battle in 1087, after which Almoravid authority in the south rapidly disintegrated.

The Almoravid movement ...

Article

A. K. Bennison

chief of the Sanhaja, military leader, also known as Abuʾl-Futuh Yusuf, was the son of Ziri ibn Manad, a chief of the Sanhaja, one of the main Berber peoples of the Maghrib. Many Sanhaja tribes joined the Shiʿi Fatimids when they were based in Ifriqiya (909–972 CE), while the majority of the Zanata Berber tribes offered their support to the Sunni Umayyads of Cordoba. The Kharijites of the Maghrib also opposed the Fatimids, creating a situation of permanent conflict among the tribes of the region. In 324/936 Ziri constructed the fortified town of Ashir, which al-Nuwayri describes as populated by merchants dealing in agricultural products, religious scholars, and jurists. Ziri became a prominent client of the Fatimids after they assisted the Fatimid caliph al-Qaʾim during the Kharijite siege of al-Mahdiyya in 334–5/946.

According to chroniclers Buluggin was the youngest of Ziri s ten or twelve sons but the most able ...

Article

Diyab,  

Allen J. Fromherz

the Aeneas of North African Arabs, was a semilegendary Arab chief and a primary character in the most important medieval Arab epic, the Sira al-Hilaliyya. The Sira al-Hilaliyya glorifies the story of the great “western march” of Arabs from their original homelands to Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco. The Sira tells of the odyssey of the Arab migrants who journeyed from Yemen and Arabia to the more verdant lands of North Africa. It relates the resistance they encountered from Berber peoples as they spread across the continent in the tenth and eleventh centuries. The arrival of the Arabs irrevocably changed the cultural and linguistic landscape of the Maghreb.

The first part of the Sira takes place in Arabia and details long struggles between warring factions and the eventual displacement of one tribe the Banu Hilal to the land of Jaziya in North Africa Driven from Arabia by famine ...

Article

Dierk Lange

ruler of the Sefuwa dynasty (r. c. 1203–1242) in present-day Sudan, under whom the Kanem-Bornu empire reached its maximum size, owes his fame to military successes and to the implementation of radical Islamic reforms culminating in the destruction of the national Mune shrine.

Succeeding his father Salmama II, Mai Dunama II was the sixth ruler of the Sefuwa, who had come to power under Hume around 1068 CE He resided in Njimi the Muslim capital of Kanem and undertook extensive military campaigns by the extensive use of a Kanuri cavalry comprising allegedly 41 000 horses and Tuareg camel riders He thus extended the frontiers of Kanem in the north to Fezzan in the east to the Dajo of Dafur and in the west over most of Hausaland From a Kanuri base maghza at the northern end of Lake Chad he raided the Buduma but otherwise left the people of ...

Article

Syphax  

Duane W. Roller

Numidian chieftain, was the leader of the Masaesylians, with his royal seat at Siga (present-day Takembrit in Algeria). His name is also given as Sophax. The most extensive information about his life is scattered through Polybius (14.1–10), Livy (28–30), and Appian’s Libyka (36–121).

He is first noted as a Carthaginian ally at the beginning of the Second Punic War opposing another Numidian chieftain Gaia or Gala who ruled the Maesyli from his own capital of Cirta present day Constantine in Algeria The Romans persuaded him to shift allegiance to their side early in the war an important change in the balance of power that improved Roman fortunes Yet when Gaia died a few years later a Numidian civil war broke out betweeen Syphax the family of Gaia including his son the famous Massinissa and another chieftain Mazaetullus who had the status of being connected by marriage to the famous Carthaginian ...