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 The Islamic Period

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kosovohp
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Join date : 2010-09-28

PostSubject: The Islamic Period   Thu Nov 18, 2010 10:10 pm

Around the end of the 7th century and the beginning of 8th century the region was conquered by Arab Muslims, who founded the city of Kairouan, which became the first city of Islam in North Africa; in this period was erected (in 670) the Great Mosque of Kairouan, considered the oldest and most prestigious sanctuary in the western Islamic world[11] as well as a great masterpiece of Islamic art and architecture.[12] Tunisia flourished under Arab rule. Extensive irrigation installations were constructed to supply towns with water and promote agriculture (especially olive production).[13][14] This prosperity permitted luxurious court life and was marked by the construction of new Palace cities such as al-Abassiya (809) and Raqadda (877).[13]

Successive Muslim dynasties ruled Tunisia (Ifriqiya at the time) with occasional instabilities caused mainly by Berber rebellions;[citation needed] of these reigns we can cite the Aghlabids (800-900) and Fatimids (909-972). After conquering Cairo, Fatimids abandoned North Africa to the local Zirids (Tunisia and parts of Eastern Algeria, 972-1148) and Hammadid (Central and eastern Algeria, 1015–1152).[15] North Africa was submerged by their quarrels; political instability was connected to the decline of Tunisian trade and agriculture.[13][16][17] In addition, the invasion of Tunisia by Banu Hilal, a warlike Arab Bedouin tribe encouraged by the Fatimids of Egypt to seize North Africa, sent the region's urban and economic life into further decline.[15] The Arab historian Ibn Khaldun wrote that the lands ravaged by Banu Hilal invaders had become completely arid desert.[16][18]

The coasts were held briefly by the Normans of Sicily in the 12th century, and the following Arab reconquest made the last Christians in Tunisia disappear. In 1159, Tunisia was conquered by the Almohad caliphs. They were succeeded by the Berber Hafsids (c.1230–1574), under whom Tunisia prospered. In the late 16th century the coast became a pirate stronghold (see: Barbary States).

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