Zirid dynasty (Berber languages: ⵉⵣⵉⵔⵉⴻⵏ Tagelda en
Ayt Ziri, Arabic: زيريون /ALA-LC: Zīryūn; Banu Ziri), was a
Sanhaja Berber dynasty from current Algeria, which ruled the central
Maghreb from 972 to 1014 and
Ifriqiya (eastern Maghreb) from 972 to
Descendants of Ziri ibn Menad, a military leader who rallied to the
Fatimid Caliphate and gave his name to the dynasty, the
Zirids were Emirs who ruled in the name of the Fatimids. They
gradually established their autonomy until officially breaking with
Fatimids in the mid-11th century. Transmitting power by hereditary
means, they constituted a true dynasty.[clarification needed] They
were the third Muslim dynasty of Berber origin in the
the Middle Ages. It opened the way to a period in Maghrebi history
where political power was held by Berber dynasties such as the
Almoravid dynasty, Almohad Caliphate, Zayyanid dynasty, Marinid
dynasty and Hafsid dynasty.
Continuing their conquests to Fez and all of modern-day
980, they encountered resistance from the local
Zenata Berbers, who
gave their allegiance to the Caliphate of Cordoba. Various
Zirid branches did however rule the central Maghreb. This branch of
the Zirids, at the beginning of the 11th century, following various
family disputes, broke away as the
Hammadids and took control of the
territories of the central Maghreb. The Zirids proper were then
designated as Badicides and occupied only Ifriqiyah between 1048 and
1148. Part of the dynasty fled to al-Andalus and later founded, in
Taifa of Granada
Taifa of Granada on the ruins of the Caliphate of
Cordoba. The Zirids of
Granada were again defeated by the expansion
of the Almoravids, who annexed their kingdom in 1090, while the
Badicides and the
Hammadids remained independent. Following the
recognition of the
Abbasid Caliphate and the assertion of
Ifriqiya and the Central
Maghreb as independent kingdoms of Sunni
obedience in 1048, the
Fatimids reportedly masterminded the migration
of the Hilalians to the Maghreb. In the 12th century, the Hilalian
invasions combined with the attacks of the
Normans of Sicily on the
littoral weakened Zirid power. The Almohad caliphate finally conquered
Ifriqiya in 1152, thus unifying the whole of
Maghreb and ending the Zirid dynasties.
3 Zirid rulers
4 Offshoots of the Zirid dynasty
4.1 Zirids of Granada
4.2 Hammadid dynasty
5 Succession timeline
6 Photo gallery
7 See also
The Zirids were
Berbers originating from the area of modern
Algeria. In the 10th century this tribe served as vassals of the
Fatimid Caliphate, defeating the
Kharijite rebellion of Abu Yazid
Ziri ibn Manad (935-971). Ziri was installed as the
governor of central
Maghreb and founded the gubernatorial residence of
Ashir south-east of Algiers, with
Fatimids moved their capital to
Egypt in 972, Ziri's son
Buluggin ibn Ziri
Buluggin ibn Ziri (971-984) was appointed viceroy of Ifriqiya. The
removal of the fleet to
Egypt made the retention of
Algeria broke away under the governorship of Hammad
ibn Buluggin, Buluggin's son.
The Zirid realm (dark green) after the secession of the Hammadids
(1018) and before the influx of
Banu Hilal tribes (1052)
The relationship with their
Fatimid overlords varied - in 1016
Shiites lost their lives in rebellions in Ifriqiya, and
Fatimids encouraged the defection of
Tripolitania from the Zirids,
but nevertheless the relationship remained close. In 1049 the Zirids
broke away completely by adopting
Islam and recognizing the
Baghdad as rightful Caliphs, a move which was popular with
the urban Arabs of Kairouan.
The Zirid period of
Tunisia is considered a high point in its history,
with agriculture, industry, trade and learning, both religious and
secular, all flourishing, especially in their capital, Kairouan.
Management of the area by later Zirid rulers was neglectful as the
agricultural economy declined, prompting an increase in banditry among
the rural population.
When the Zirids renounced Shia
Islam and recognized the Abbasid
Caliphate in 1048, the
Fatimids sent the Arab tribes of the Banu Hilal
Banu Sulaym to Ifriqiya. The Zirids were defeated, and the
land laid waste by the Bedouin conquerors. The resulting anarchy
devastated the previously flourishing agriculture, and the coastal
towns assumed a new importance as conduits for maritime trade and
bases for piracy against Christian shipping, as well as being the last
holdout of the Zirids.
After the loss of
Kairouan (1057) the rule of the Zirids was limited
to a coastal strip with
Mahdia as the capital, while several Bedouin
Emirates formed inland. Between 1146 and 1148 the
Normans of Sicily
conquered all the coastal towns, and in 1152 the last Zirids in
Algeria were superseded by the Almohad Caliphate.
The Zirid period is a time of great economic prosperity. The departure
Fatimids to Cairo, far from ending this prosperity, saw its
amplification under the Zirid and Hammadid rulers. Referring to the
government of the Zirid
Emir al-Mu'izz, the historian Ibn Khaldun
describes: "It [has] never [been] seen by the
Berbers of that country
a kingdom more vast and more flourishing than his own." The northern
regions produced wheat in large quantities, while the region of Sfax
was a major hub of olive production and the cultivation of the date is
an important part of the local economy in Biskra. Other crops such as
sugar cane, saffron, cotton, sorghum, millet and chickpea are grown.
The breeding of horses and sheep was flourishing and fishing was
active, providing plentiful food. The Mediterranean is also an
important part of the economy, even though it was, for a time,
abandoned after the departure of the
Fatimids when the priority of the
Zirid Emirs turned to territorial and internal conflicts. Their
maritime policy enabled them to establish trade links, in particular
for the importation of timber necessary for their fleet, and enabled
them to begin an alliance and very close ties with the
Kalbid Emirs of
Sicily. They did, however, face blockade attempts by the Venetians and
Normans who sought to reduce their wood supply and thus their
dominance in the region.
The Arab chronicler
Ibn Hawqal visited and described the city of
Algiers under the Zirid era: "The city of Algiers, is built on a gulf
and surrounded by a wall. It contains a large number of bazaars and a
few sources of good water near the sea. It is from these sources that
the inhabitants draw the water they drink. In the outbuildings of this
town are very extensive countryside and mountains inhabited by several
tribes of the Berbers. The chief wealth of the inhabitants consists of
herds of cattle and sheep grazing in the mountains.
so much honey that it forms an export object, and the quantity of
butter, figs and other commodities is so great that it is exported to
Kairouan and elsewhere".
Abul-Futuh Sayf ad-Dawla
Buluggin ibn Ziri
Buluggin ibn Ziri (973-983)
Abul-Fat'h al-Mansur ibn Buluggin (983-995)
Abu Qatada Nasir ad-Dawla
Badis ibn Mansur (995-1016)
Sharaf ad-Dawla al-Muizz ibn Badis (1016–1062) declared independence
Fatimids and changed the khutba to refer to the Abbasid
Caliph in 1048, changed capital to
Mahdia in 1057 after
lost to the Banu Hilal
Tamim ibn al-Mu'izz (1062–1108)
Yahya ibn Tamim (1108–1131)
Ali ibn Yahya (1115–1121)
Abu'l-Hasan al-Hasan ibn Ali (1121–1148)
Offshoots of the Zirid dynasty
Zirids of Granada
Main article: Taifa of Granada
Map of the
Taifa of Granada
Taifa of Granada in the first half of the 11th century
The Zirids were also the ruling dynasty of the Taifa of Granada, a
Berber kingdom in Al-Andalus. The founder was the brother of Buluggin,
Zawi ben Ziri, a general of the
Caliphate of Córdoba
Caliphate of Córdoba under Caliph
After the death of Almanzor in
Medinaceli on 12 August 1002 (25
Ramadan 392), a civil war broke out in Al-Andalus, and General Zawi
ibn Ziri destroyed several cities, such as
Medina Azahara in 1011 and
Córdoba in 1013. He founded the Taifa of Granada, and declared
himself its first emir. He died of poison in
Algiers in 1019.
The arts and civil construction under the rule of the Zirid governors
and emirs in Al-Andalus, mainly in the Taifa of Granada, were very
important. An example is the Cadima
Alcazaba in Albayzin, Granada, and
part of the old wall surrounding Granada.
Main article: Hammadid dynasty
— Royal house —
Fatimid rule over central
Maghreb and Ifriqya
vassal of the Fatimids
972 – 1048
Independence from the
Maghreb under Zirds (972-1048)
Emirs of Ifriqiya
(loss of central
Maghreb to the benefit of Hammadids)
1048 – 1148
Secession from the Zirid
Emirate of Ifriqiya
Emirs of central Maghreb
1014 – 1152
Emirs of Granada
1013 – 1090
Emirs of Malaga
1058 – 1090
The ruins of Achir, a fortress founded by Ziri ibn Menad, the eponym
of the Zirid dynasty
Maqsurah of Al-Muizz in the Mosque of Uqba, Kairouan, produced
during the reign of Al-Muizz ibn Badis
The Casbah of Algiers, founded by
Bologhine ibn Ziri
Bologhine ibn Ziri and classed by
Sunni Muslim dynasties
Ar-Raqiq, a courtier, poet and historian, secretary to al-Muizz ibn
^ "Qantara". Retrieved 5 February 2016.
^ Euratlas. "Euratlas Periodis Web - Map of
Ifriqiya in Year 1000".
Retrieved 5 February 2016.
^ a b "Zirid
Dynasty Muslim dynasty". Encyclopædia Britannica.
^ a b c Idris H. Roger, L'invasion hilālienne et ses conséquences,
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^ a b "Qantara - Les Zirides et les Hammadides (972-1152)".
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^ Idris, Hady Roger. "L'invasion hilālienne et ses conséquences".
Cahiers de civilisation médiévale. 11 (43): 353–369.
^ Bosworth, Clifford Edmund (2004-01-01). The New Islamic Dynasties: A
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^ Berry, LaVerle. "Fatamids". Libya: A Country Study. Library of
Congress. Retrieved 5 March 2011.
^ a b Brill, E.J. "Fatamids". Libya: Encyclopedia of Islam. Library of
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^ a b "Zirid
Dynasty - Muslim dynasty". Encyclopædia Britannica.
Retrieved 5 February 2016.
Dynasty Encyclopædia Britannica
Historical map showing location of Zirid Kingdom c. 1000
Islamic dynasties in
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Banu Kanz (1004–1412)
Almohads (f. 1130, r. 1147–1269)
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