Control Extends Over Three Continents
When the Abbasids over threw the Umayyads in 750 they killed all of the Umayyads except for Abd al-Rahman who managed to escape and flee to Spain.
While in Spain Abd al-Rahman set up an Umayyad caliphate.
More about Abd al-Rahman and his caliphate
Spain had already been conquered and settled by North African Muslims known as the Berbers.
The Berber armies headed north and got within 200 miles of Paris before being halted at the Battle of Tours in 732. Then they ended up settling in Southern Spain where they created a Muslim state in al-Andalus.
Video on the Battle of Tours
In 762 the Abbasids moved the capital to a new city called Baghdad in central Iraq. This location lay on key trade routes. This was important because it allowed the caliph access to trade goods, gold, and information about the far-flung empire.
To control these affairs the developed a bureaucracy
A treasury kept track of money flow.
A special department managed the army.
Diplomats were sent to Europe, Africa, and Asia to conduct imperial business.
For support they taxed land, imports, exports, and non-Muslims' wealth.
Trading: The Muslim Empire, at this time, could trade by sea through the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean networks. This allowed them to trade with the rest of the world. The land network connected the Silk Roads of China and India to Europe and Africa.
The Muslim merchants only needed to know Arabic and used the Abbasid dinar as currency.
Muslim money chargers set up banks to encourage the flow of trade
Why did setting up banks help the trade flow?
Banks offered letters of credit called sakks. A merchant with a sakk from a bank in Baghdad could exchange it for cash at any other bank in the empire.
Fun Fact: In Europe sakk was pronounced check, so technically using checks dates back to the Muslim Empire
Video about the Silk Road and Ancient Trade
The Abbasid caliphate lasted from 750 - 1258.
During this time the Abbasids gained authority through communicating with various religious leaders, however because of the size of the territory they lost political control.
Independent states started to pop up and local leaders took over many smaller regions
The Fatimid caliphate was formed by Shi'a Muslims who claimed descent from Muhammad's daughter Fatima. They began in North Africa and spread across the Red Sea to Western Arabia and Syria. However the Fatimids and other smaller states were still connected to the Abbasids.
Why did the size of the territory affect political control?
Córdoba: a large Muslim city in al-Andalus that in the 10th century had a population of 200,000 while Paris only had a population of 38,000. Córdoba attracted philosophers, poets, and scientists. Also many people in Córdoba adopted Muslim customs.
Why do you think Córdoba was so popular?
Muhammad’s Successors Spread Islam
Muslim community elected one of Muhammad's close friends, Abu-Bakr, as their leader after Muhammad's death.
The "Rightly Guided Caliph's", Abu-Bakr ,Umar, Uthman, and Ali all knew Muhammad and used the Qur'an and Muhammad's actions as guides for leadership.
The four "Rightly Guided Caliph's" had great success when expanding Islam, they persuaded people with hope of great equality and no poll taxes.
Reasons For Success
Why do you think they were called the 'Rightly Guided Caliph's'?
More about the Rightly Guided Caliphs
Treatment of Conquered people
The Qur'an didn't allow forced conversions so Muslims let the people follow their own religion but if you were Christian or Jewish aka "People of the Book", received special consideration and had to pay poll taxes to exclude themselves from military duties
Why do you think people of the book were given special consideration?
Internal Conflict Creates a Crisis
656 - Uthman was murdered. This led to a civil war in which multiple groups fought for power Uthman left behind.
Ali was the natural choice as a successor to Uthman, however he was challenged by Muawiya, a governor of Syria.
In 661 Ali was assassinated, and the elective system of choosing a caliph died with him.
The Umayyads family then came to power.
The Umayyads moved the Muslim capital to Damascus. The location of Damascus made controlling conquered territories easier.
The Arab Muslims thought that Damascus was too far away from their lands.
The Umayyads left the lifestyle of the old caliphs and started to surround themselves by wealth like the non-Muslim leaders would do.
The actions of the Umayyads led to division in the Muslim community.
In the mindset of keeping peace the majority of Muslims accepted the Umayyads rule.
These people who did not outwardly resist the Umayyads rule were called the Sunni
The minority of people that resisted were called the Shi'a
More about the Sunni and the Shi'a
A group called the Sufi rejected the lifestyle of the Umayyads
These divisions eventually led to the Umayyads downfall in the year 750. The most powerful rebellion group, the Abbasids, then took control of the empire.
Why do you think the Umayyads left the old lifestyle and turned to wealth?
More about the Umayyads
Why was Muawiya able to challenge Ali when Ali was the obvious choice?
More about Ali's life and death.
Government - Struggle of Authority