A House of Lamps: A Moorish America

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by dontfearme22, Oct 23, 2017.

  1. dontfearme22 Chicalotlatonti

    Dec 18, 2013
    A House of Lamps; Part 1

    "The whole world is like a house filled with lamps, rays, and lights through whom the things of the house are elucidated…"

    Ibn Barrajan, 12th century CE

    This timeline will trace the latter history of the Reconquista, from the Moorish victory at Las Navas de Tolosas through the history of the Ayshunids, to the Islamic discovery of the New World, and the beginning of the imperial age.

    The Point of Divergence: May 2nd, 1212 CE
    The Sierra Morena, Southern Spain

    The olives were doing well, this time of year. In the Sierra Morena, there was little else to worry about. On a pleasant day in early May, a haggard shepherd cussed at his sheep to follow the path from his hut on the hill to the pasture in the valley. One small lamb wandered off, as lambs do, and came to a spring nestled between crags of grey stone. The shepherd knocked his stick against the dusty road, pushing his flock down the path. He munched on some pine nuts from a bag slung at his waist. With a bit more grunting, and a fair few more curses, he goaded the flock to a rest in their pasture.

    He ran a quick count, unos, duos, tre…and saw one was missing. With an exasperated clip to his stride, the shepherd worked his way up the path, tracing the mess of hoofprints that marked the main flock, looking for a straggler. The lamp was off to the side, its hoods marked with mud where it had carelessly romped through the wet dirt besides the path. It munched on some small shrubs near a little puddle of water bubbling up from the rocks. The shepherd called to it, but it didn’t listen. He sighed and stepped off the trail, throwing dirt over his fine, for a shepherd, leather boots. One step landed him on a little boulder buried in the grass, just slickened just enough by residual morning mist to send him stumbling forwards. With a loud crack he fell forward onto more stones, grey but now flecked with blood. He died quickly. The lamb didn’t seem to notice.

    This shepherds name was Martin Alhaja, a Castillian. He was 36 years old.

    His death in other circumstances would warrant little attention, but in this case, it would change the face of the Iberian Peninsula. Just across the gorges, through the Despeñaperros pass would come to be the war-camp of the Caliph Muhammad al-Nasir. At the head of a vast host drawn up from Africa, he was intent on waging war on the Christians, following up the victory at Alarcos in 1195. He would be countered by Alfonso VIII of Castille, and the combined knightly orders of all Spain, among others. In other times, he would be aided by Marin to cross the Despeñaperros and ambush the Caliphs camp, routing the Almohad army and crushing the dream of resurgent jihad in Iberia. Yet, thanks to a wandering lamb and a slicked stone he would have no such guide.

    The next day, the Caliph would lead his force against the Christian coalition, crossing the Sierra Morena themselves and fighting south of the Guadiana. While not the crushing final battle either side was wishing for, the Almohad forces succeeding in causing a Christian withdrawal, and capitalized on their gains to fortify the territory on the north wall of the Sierra Morena.

    The Christian armies were forced to withdraw to Toledo. The military orders suffered significant losses, including the master of the order of Santiago Pedro Arias, and the master of the famed Order of Calatrava, Ruy Diaz.

    Muslims losses were not insignificant either. The Caliph himself was struck by a stray arrow during the assault on the Castillian center, and lost his right eye for it. For this he gained the Castillian nickname, el nudo, “the tree knot”, an insult on his new facial appearance. The Almohads also lost a significant number of Andalusian troops, which did not fare well with the southern emirs, already rankled by supporting troops to yet another Berber-led war. Still, it was a Muslim victory, and the battle was trumpeted throughout the mosques of Granada and the Maghreb during the khutbah.

    Toledo; 1263

    The brow of the crown-prince Ferdinand, once so clean and immaculate, was splashed with dirt and dust. The moors had tied him to his horse. Rope fetters bound his wrists together behind his back, and more ropes strapped him to his saddle. A guard pulled the reins ahead of him. He kept the nag at a steady pace with the rest of the vanguard. Muhammad Yusuf wished that the crown-prince would be visible to the entire city, not hidden behind a wall of dark faces and leathery shields. Ferdinand could barely see through the sunlight. The evening sun had begun its dip to the horizon, shining straight into his eyes, turning his bangs translucent as its rays pierced through to scratch his face.

    Captivity did not suit him, he thought. The cuffs on his wrists felt odd, like a bad dream. Only just yesterday he was a free man. A prince of Castile, a warrior of Christ. The red and yellow, the white, the blacks and blues of Christian banners fluttering over the tawny fields. He could feel, if he just pretended this flea-bitten beast was his own proud Santiago, a horse of noble bearing. Deep brown, thick hide and smart eyes. Sharp hooves and a straight head, a war horse. A champion of jousts across every corner of Christian Iberia. Wherever that horse was now was little better than his sad state. A Moorish spear, thrust into his side and then a black-feathered bolt to his forehead. He died quickly, Ferdinand could at least console himself on that. A fly landed on his neck, but he couldn’t swipe it off. He felt its wings on his skin, its tiny mouth nibbling at his flesh.

    “It seems these Christian flies are quick to turn on their own kind.” Someone spoke in a thick Moorish accent. Their foreign tongue laced each Castilian word with a southern must.

    The Moorish king, on a horse far finer than his, casually trotted up to meet at Ferdinand’s side.

    “They have eaten well in the past week. Perhaps they have remembered how sweet Christian blood can be.” He said.

    There was little that distinguished their king from the rest of their kind. Unlike others Ferdinand had fought he wore little finery and dressed practically. Tall black riding boots and a short gambeson with just the hint of a gilded fringed tunic underneath. A long sword in Andalusian style, sheathed and bound with iron rings clapped against his saddle. He wore a large turban, as in the style of the Berbers, but kept his face unveiled to display an immaculate brown beard, clipped with a sharp edge around the chin. Long proud features with wide cheekbones and pale eyes betrayed a mixed background, between moor and Christian. Ferdinand could scarcely imagine that such a creature could ever have been descended from Christian men. The falcon of Seville, as he had become known, wore his title well. He carried himself with an avian sort of stance, a barely bent pose that held a seemingly infinite pool of waiting ferocity. Ferdinand hung his head low. In his weakness, he could not bear to face his captor, as so many moors had whimpered before him in his own past.

    “Do not despair prince of Castile, I am not wasting a horse on you, so I can kill you somewhere else. You still have a mission to carry out for your kingdom.”

    “What task will you compel from me, moor?” he asked, speaking down through his hair and sweat.

    “God-Willing, you shall deliver me Toledo.”

    Ferdinand couldn’t help but grin. The audacity of the moor continued to exceed his own ability to comprehend it.

    The Timeline

    1214 - 5 CE​

    Muhammad Al-Nasir, intent on pressing his advantage further, sets his sights on Toledo. Almohad forces penetrate across the Guadiana at Merida and rampage through La Mancha, but cannot directly attack the city, settling to retake Talavera and many towns to the south and west. It is renamed Talabayra al-Majd Allah, to celebrate the success of the campaign. Alfonso VIII stays in Toledo, anticipating an imminent siege that does not arrive. He sends Sancho VII of Navarre with a significant force to cut the Almohads off from the south near Malagon. Sancho successfully pushes back local garrisons but is intercepted by the Berber commander Imen al-Din Farra. After a short engagement both parties withdraw. Amid a general stalemate Muhammad Al-Nasir and Alfonso VIII sign a 15-year peace, both sides left drained by the war. The landscape around Toledo is decimated, some argue by intention, and a bloated population due to refugees and low food production leads to riots within the city. Muhammad Al-Nasir returns to Morocco.
    1216 CE​

    Miramoullin El Nudo, as the Christians had come to call the Almohad Caliph, busies himself with suppressing a Berber revolt in the Rif in Morocco. Increasing ethnic tensions in the South continue to peck at the Almohad power structure.

    In Andalusia, the governor of Jaen Abd Allah Al-Bayyasi faces a significant challenge from the commander Imen al-Din Farra, who accuses him of negligence in stocking the border with Castille with garrisons. Backed by Muhammad Al-Nasirs brother, and a significant power-broker in Al-Andalus, Abu Muhammad ‘Abdallah, Farra is able to orchestrate Al-Bayyasis death in August of that year. He is given control of Jaen in return for an unofficial pledge of loyalty to Abu Muhammad. Muhammad Al-Nasir, alerted to this machination calls for his brother’s imprisonment. The emirs of Al-Andalus are faced with a potential political crisis between two foreign figures, equally disliked among them.
    1217 - 20 CE​

    Abu Muhammad ‘Abdallah successfully wards off his brothers threats by swearing off his former plans off personal gain, having Farra publicly shamed and then hung for his ‘treachery’. Muhammad Al-Nasir, still unsatisfied with his brothers show of remorse has him assassinated as a precaution. Abu Muhammad ‘Abdallah is stabbed to death while taking a bath. Conscious of the need to restore loyalties among the Andalusian emirs, Al-Nasir promotes the son of Al-Bayyasi, Ahmed ‘Abdullah Yusuf to the governorship of Jaen. He is a popular figure among the emirs, and seen as a ready ear for their concerns. He is also palatable to the Masmuda sheiks as a pragmatist, not willing to tread on too many toes across the pillars of Hercules.

    Portuguese raiders along with a force of Crusader volunteers take several towns on the Portuguese coast, sieging the keep at Alcácer do Sal. They are repulsed upon attempting to push farther inland however. There is otherwise, general peace in Iberia.

    Gzennya Berbers stage a revolt in the Rif, attacking Almohad outposts on the coast. Mlila is even put under siege for several months, before Al-Nasir is able to lift the siege, executing 500 tribal sheiks.
    1221 CE​

    Muhammad Al-Nasir dies in combat with a straggler force of Riffian rebels. He is immediately succeeded by the 20-year-old Yusuf II al-Mustansir, who wastes little time in putting down the last vestiges of rebellion in Morocco.
    1223-24 CE​

    Yusuf II spends a significant amount of time and money refurbishing Mlila and Ceuta, signing an extensive trade accord with Genoa in November. Portuguese nobles, eager to take advantage of the absence of the Caliphs launch a wide ranging cabalgada raid into western Almohad holdings, capturing thousands of Muslim slaves and large herds of livestock. They swung north of Silves and put torch to the fields outside the city before returning to Portugal.

    Incensed, Yusuf II crosses to Portugal and crosses the border with a significant force, taking Alcacer and Setúbal. Alfonso II of Portugal dies at Coimbra, leaving Portugal unable to levy an effective response force. 40 Portuguese nobles choose to pledge allegiance to the Caliph to preserve their holdings in the southern Estramadura.

    Sancho II is declared King of Portugal, and immediately starts rallying troops for the reconquest of the Estramadura.
    1225 CE​
    The First Battle of Palmela (Tal al-Balla)

    Yusuf II gets notice of the Portuguese army advancing to the east of Setúbal, near the mount of al-Balla. He draws up his force southeast of Palmela, with the Sado estuary covering his southern flank and the fortress covering the north. He came to the field with 11,000 men, primarily Berber mushud levies with a large Andalusian cavalry contingent under the command of the Emir of Silves, Ibn Abnd al-Badie. His Christian mercenaries, the jund al-nasara bring up the very center.

    Sancho II entered the campaign with 4,000 men at arms, 1,200 crossbowmen and 2,000 mounted religious volunteers, headed by the general Dom Ruy Fontes of Guimarães. He also commanded a sizable number of knights from the Order of Aviz. After supplying in the still-Christian towns east of Setúbal, he swung west towards the city, intent on retaking it. Initial scouting parties clashed in the early weeks of June, and the battle commenced on the 17th.

    Sancho II sent his infantry at the center, who collided with Yusuf’s Christian mercenaries. The Portuguese crossbowmen screened the infantry’s advance, while he sent Ruy’s cavalry through the farmlands to the north to flank the bloated Almohad central line. Eager to press into the Christian center, Yusuf’s Berber troops crowded into the center, squeezing his Christians behind his levies and the Portuguese. Ibn Abnd al-Badie’s cavalry engaged with the Christian cavalry, and quickly pressed them back, forcing Sancho II to shift troops to the northern flank to ward them off. Seeing the battle and wishing to participate, a number of residents of the city of Setubal attempted to sally out to aid the Portuguese, but were promptly slaughtered by the Moorish garrison.

    The entire Portuguese line began to curve northwards, pulling back in the center against the weight of the massive Almohad central line and twisting to protect the vulnerable northern flank. Ibn Abnd’s cavalry were able to rout the Portuguese cavalry, forcing them back. It was at this time that the Knights of Avis, held back in reserve were deployed to charge the Almohad southern flank, but they became bogged down in the estuarine flats, where archers were able to inflict significant losses before they could break through. The Andalusian cavalry after breaking fully Dom Ruy’s cavalry swung south and charged the Portuguese flank, instigating a rout that relieved pressure on the Almohad center. Sancho II attempted to rally his forces, charging forward into the fray but was pulled from his horse and taken prisoner.

    Sancho II was later ransomed for a hefty sum, and returned to Lisbon in disgrace. Frustration over the defeat led to the nobility to request Sanchos younger brother Afonso take the throne, though at 15 he was aided by the regent Paio de Menezes until he could come of age. Sancho II accepted his removal and retired to Coimbra, where he would die of an intestinal infection in 1234.
    1226 CE​

    Ferdinand III of Castile was aware of the difficulties faced by the Portuguese, but chose to reinforce his own position and to strengthen ties with Aragon and Leon in the event the Almohads withdrew south again, where he could then reverse their gains free from immediate reprisal. He understands that the Portuguese throne is in serious jeopardy, and schemes to strengthen his position as the premier regent of Christian Iberia, so in the event of a possible intervention within Portugal he could plausibly claim long-coveted Portuguese territory with some degree of legitimacy.
    1229 CE​

    Yusuf II sieges Lisbon and enters the city in late spring. He signs a humiliating peace treaty with Afonso III soon after, who cedes all lands south of the Tagus. Yusuf II converts the Lisbon Cathedral back to a mosque (it was formerly on the site of the main mosque in Islamic Lisbon), commissioning a large minaret in Maghrebi style as a sign of the reconquest of the city. To punish the city for the difficulty of the campaign Yusuf II exiles the majority of the Christian population of the city, scattering them through the Algarve, and enslaving the rest. The city is repopulated by migrants from the south. He takes the title Al-Rasheed (The Rightly Guided) to commemorate his conquests.

    James I of Aragon begins a naval invasion of Majorca in the Balearics. He quickly succeeds, taking the island from its Almohad governor Abu Yahya. Due to heavy casualties, he relents on moving to Menorca or Ibiza immediately afterwards.

    Afonso III reaches age of majority and assumes full control of the Kingdom of Portugal. He chooses not to pursue the Reconquista immediately, rather to strengthen relationships with the Holy See and develop internal loyalties with the merchant houses who had been alienated in the previous decades.
    1230 CE​

    Alfonso IX of Leon dies in September. Through negotiations Ferdinand is able to claim the crown of Leon, and is crowned as king of the united kingdom of Leon and Castile.
    1231 - 33 CE​

    Yusuf II initiates a series of hardline religious reforms attempting to return Al-Andalus to the original Almohad creed, enforcing stringent restrictions on dhimmi, and banning Jews and Christians from the interior towns along the Guadalquivir, intent on gradually cleansing Granada of non-Muslims. He convenes the qadi’s of Al-Andalus, religious judges, in Seville and attempts to lay out an updated version of the Almohad Doctrine. There is also a purge of tax collectors deemed excessive in their activities as a return of the original policies of Ibn Tumart and of artistic figures and styles deemed overly decadent.

    An Andalusian emir, Abdul Qadir Al-Nour emerges as the prime opponent to this new tact, and begins to gather supporters for an eventual uprising. He apparently solicits Ferdinand III, promising land concessions in return for military aid.
    1234 CE​

    King Sancho VII of Navarre dies. By a pre-arranged agreement Navarre is supposed to be granted to James I of Aragon, but the Navarrese nobility elevates Theobald, Count of Champagne to the throne instead. James I disputes this, and after Papal intervention eventually James I accepts Theobalds ascension.
    1235-36 CE​

    The fall of Lisbon to the Moors had seriously unsettled the Pope, who begins to enjoin Ferdinand and Afonso to work to increase the pace of the Reconquista to reverse the recent Islamic gains.

    Zanata Berber tribes in Ifriqya begin to collect their own taxes, clashing with local Almohad officials. Yusuf II returns to Morocco.

    Ferdinand goads Abdul Qadil Al-Nour into instigating his revolt, sending a large Castilian force under the raider Carlos de Alçaga towards Merida, where Al-Nours supporters rise up to take control of the city. The combined force marches on Cordoba. Shocked by the revolt, the other emirs of Al-Andalus flock to the city, bolstering its defenses and pushing Nour back. They are unable to prevent Ferdinand from retaking Talavera, who installs Nour, in exchange for his baptism, as governor. Nours supporters cede Merida to Ferdinand, and Caceras falls soon after. Ferdinand soon sweeps through the Extramadura, taking all territory north of Caceras and consolidating his gains.

    Al-Nour, baptized as the Christian Joaquín, assumes the title of governor of Talavera.

    The Andalusian emirs quickly break into camps, mutually accusing the other of aiding the coup by Al-Nour. Local Almohad governors are hard-pressed to contain the unrest. The strict religious restrictions of Yusuf II also add to strife in the area.

    James I of Aragon completes his conquest of the Balearics, taking Ibiza in 1236.

    Afonso III strengthens the city of Santarem, establishing it as a major border fortress guarding against Moorish raids that had been occurring despite the recent treaty.
    1237 CE​

    Yusuf II falls from a balcony while in Marrakesh. He is crippled, and dies soon after. His eldest son, Abu Sa’id Al-Mājid, who served with distinction during the Estremaduran campaigns succeeds him, taking the regnal title al-Mu'tadid bi-llah, “Seeking Support in God”. Abu Sa’id attempts to quell the strife in Al-Andalus, lifting the religious burdens of his father and allowing a larger degree of freedom to separate from the puritanical ideology espoused by the previous few Caliphs. This causes rumblings among the tribal sheikhs of the Maghreb that he is insufficiently committed to the creed, who begin to complain of his moderate policies. Abu Sa’id breaks with a core principle of Ibn Tumart in establishing a unified religious order across the Islamic world, and establishes separate law codes for the Maghreb and Al-Andalus, one stricter and the other more liberal. This enjoys great support in Al-Andalus, and resentment in the Maghreb, but works in establishing some measure of peace in the turbulent empire.

    Abu Sa’id exchanges letters with the Pope, who hoped to convince him to restore some measure of leniency to the dispossessed Christians of Andalusia. The Popes attempts to fully restore their status fails, but Abu Sa’id, conscious of the need to attract Christian commerce, does allow Christians to resettle in the larger cities and ports, he signs another trade agreement with Genoa in December.
    1238 CE​

    Abu Sa’id sponsors a large expansion to the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakesh, adding an adjoined Madrasa and significantly expanding its square-footage.

    James I sets his sights on Valencia, amassing a significant force of Catalans, Aragonese, Navarrese and Crusaders. He invades the province, but is forced to withdraw by a severe bout of fever that renders him bedridden for several months.

    Ferdinand III signs a peace treaty with Abu Sa’id.
    1239-1240 CE​

    Abu Sa’id attempts to establish more direct control over the Saharan gold trade, but is decisively rebuked while campaigning near Essouk (Tadmekka), suffering grievous losses to local Berber fighters.

    Afonso III redistricts much of Portugal for easier administration. He also convenes the Cortes of Portugal to outline new law codes, more favorable to the merchant classes​

    1242 CE​

    James I of Aragon carries out extensive negotiations in southern France, slowly working to extend Aragonese influence past the Pyrenees.
    1243-45 CE​

    Alfonso III negotiates with Ferdinand for the exact boundary between Castile and Portugal.

    Abu Sa’id deals with an internal insurrection from the Masmuda cleric Abu Yusuf al-Sayyar, who accuses him of breaking from the Almohad creed. Abu Yusuf publicly denounces Abu Sa’id in mosques in the Maghreb. Almohad officials attempt to capture Abu Yusuf but he flees to Egypt, where he is taken in by several nobles there, willing to sponsor him.

    Abu Sa’id extends his moderate reforms, renouncing the belief in Ibn Tumart’s infallibility, and re-allowing the study of legal texts officially suppressed since the rise of the Almohads.

    Almohad forces campaign in the Sahara, and succeed in taking Tadmekka after failing six years ago, executing rebellious local chiefs.

    Andalusian emirs reach a peak in the trade of Christian mercenaries, to the extent that the governor of Badajoz, fearful of Castilian invasion, stocks his entire palace with Portuguese slaves and bodyguards.
    1247 CE​

    Frustrated by the apparent moral degradation of the Almohad court, Berber tribes under the leadership of the chieftain Musa Uthman Ibn Abd al-Yassin seize a portion of western Ifriqya south of Tlemcen and declare independence. He founds the Yassanid Dynasty as Uthman I, and takes Tlemcen as his capital soon after.

    Yassanid armies negotiate the surrender of the garrison at Tlemcen, absorbing the garrison into their own force but forcing the Christian mercenaries stockade within to return to Iberia. Abd al-Yassin soon expands his territory to extend deep into the Sahara and marches on Sijilmasa to the west.
    1249 CE​

    Abu Sa’id crushes the Yassanid armies outside Sijilmasa, but is unable to recapture any lost territory to the east.

    Eager to retake Lisbon, Alfonso III invades Estremadura, laying siege to the city. Abu Sa’id is forced to withdraw from Morocco, seeing Lisbon as a more significant city to hold than to attempt to retake Yassanid territory.

    Ferdinand III courts Mozarabs in Toledo amid a general unification of the Christian communities of Castile.

    He leaves his younger brother Abdul Ghani to supervise the campaign in Morocco.
    1250 CE​

    Ayyubid Egypt falls in a coup as the Mamluk Sultan Izz al-Din Aybak. Abu Yusuf loses his, short-lived, Egyptian backing. He finds a backer in the new-found sultan Uthman I, who has him join him at Tlemcen. Abu Yusuf exhorts other leaders of the Maghreb to rise in revolt.

    Abu Sa’id lifts the siege of Lisbon, which has lasted for almost a year, from September of 1249 to May of 1250. Alfonso III returns back across the border having suffered casualties, and with a despondent army worn out from an extremely long siege. Abu Sa’id pushes into Portugal to take several border towns, but quickly returns to Morocco to deal with the rapidly expanding Yassanid rebellion. Abu Yusuf travels to Tunis to court the governor, Abu Hamdan, who had recently replaced the prestigious Abu Hafs after he had died after a bout of dysentery. Abu Hamdan was a known puritan, and was deeply uncomfortable with the moderate elements in Abu Sa’ids court. He also was constantly threatened by raids from the Banu Ghaniya tribes to the south, who now felt more loyal to the Yassanids to the west, of similar descent, than the Arab Abu Hamdan (whose family was Syrian in origin).

    Abu Hamdan tentatively sides with Abu Yusuf, feeling confident enough in the absence of nearby Almohad forces to show some open signs of dissension.

    The bishop of Pamplona attempts to excommunicate Theobald of Navarre, but is unsuccessful.
    1251 – 52 CE​

    Abu Sa’id stays to reinforce the Portuguese border and to rally support in Al-Andalus among the wavering emirs. Abdul Ghani is unable to make significant headway against the Yassanids, though he is able to retain the frontier east of Sijilmasa.

    The Riffian tribes, encouraged by the growing weakness of Almohad power in eastern Morocco sweep down from the hills, raiding towns and extorting local governments into paying taxes towards them. They are led by the sheikh Idris ibn Nas Al-Qarayn, a fanatical, elderly warlord. Drained for the fighting in the south, regional garrisons collapse, and the Riffian armies quickly occupy as far as Mlila on the coast.

    Abdul Ghani moves north to restore the trade routes along the Moroccan coast. Genoese traders negotiate with Al-Qarayn in the event his coup remains permanent.

    Ferdinand III of Castile dies. He is succeeded by his eldest son Alfonso X.
    1253 CE​
    The Battle of Oujda

    Abdul Ghani marches from Sijilmasa with a force of 12,000 weary Almohad infantry and cavalry to reconquer Mlila and restore the Riffian ports. While passing by Oujda on the passes between the south and the Rif he attempts to call to the city commander to open the gates, so his entourage can rest within. The commander opens the gates and invites Abdul Ghani within. When his retinue reaches the center of the city the guards toss down the Almohad banners and throw up the banner of Al-Qarayn. A ferocious melee ensues wherein Abdul Ghani dies attempting to flee, along with his entire bodyguard.

    The Almohad force, able to hear the melee from within the city, attempt to rally for an assault. However, Al-Qarayn sallies forth with his cavalry and routs the majority of the force.

    The Almohad army is scattered and Abdul Ghani’s head is carried back to Mlila as a trophy. Al-Iqarayn declares himself the founder of the Qaranid Dynasty. They immediately claim the eastern Rif past the Atlas to Taourirt and east to Oujda.

    Alfonso X is eager to press the Reconquista. He is intent on conquering the remaining elements of La Mancha still in Muslim hands, marching on Puertollano and easily defeating the Moorish forces guarding the frontier. He razes the Almohad castles in the region, erecting his own line of fortifications along the Guadiana and scattered along the interior. The conquests of Al-Nasir beyond the Sierra Morena are entirely erased in the matter of a few months.
    1254 CE​

    Abu Hamdan joins the Yassanids on the agreement he is able to retain his position as governor of Ifriqya. Uthman I agrees, and moves the Yassanid capital to Tunis. He embarks on a war to consolidate Almohad Libya under his rule.

    Al-Qarayn moves west, razing Taza and setting his sights on Tangier. Abu Sa’id receives word of Abdul Ghani’s death. He is despondent by the collapse of eastern Almohad territory as well as the imminent invasion across the Sierra Morena by Alfonso X. Abu Sa’id suffers a mental breakdown and withdraws to his tent, leaving his army quartered in the Algarve.
    1255-57 CE​

    Amid Abu Sa’ids despondency, an Andalusian general within his army begins to consolidate his own position. Yusuf Muhammad Ibn Ayshun, originally from Seville, is able to ingratiate himself with Abu Sa’id with unusual quickness. He ends up in command of much of the Almohad army after Abu Sa’id succumbs to a fever in April.

    The Masmuda sheikhs attempt to select the next Caliph, quickly placing Abu Sa’ids son Umar on the throne, despite being only 14. He is given the laqab “Al-Nasir”.

    Yusuf Muhammad clashes with the Almohad governors in Al-Andalus. They are suspicious of his rise and of the circumstances of Abu Sa’ids demise. He is able to outmaneuver them by allying with the landed Andalusian aristocracy, willing to take the bet that the Almohad forces in the Maghreb will be unable to mount an effective response.

    Al-Qarayn takes Tangier and commandeers the Almohad fleet stationed by the city. Qaranid armies raid deep into western Morocco, some going as far as the outskirts of Marrakesh itself. Al-Qarayn conscripts the Christian contingents within Almohad forces into his own armies, while ruthlessly purging tribes loyal to the Masmuda.

    The premier loyalist Almohad commander in Libya, Falysal Al-Awjila fights the Yassanids to a standstill outside Tripoli.

    Alfonso X crosses the Sierra Morena and lays siege to Jaen, entering the city in September.

    James I renounces his claims to Toulouse in exchange for Louis VIII renouncing his own claims to Barcelona. He returns to Aragon to deal with internal turmoil among the noble families there.

    Uthman I sieges Tripoli, starving the city out until the residents sue for peace in October of 1256.​

    1258 CE​

    The Battle of Bujalance

    Yusuf Muhammad attacks Alfonso X as the latter marches towards Cordoba. Alfonso’s army of 9,000 infantry and 3,000 cavalry was ambushed by Muslim skirmishers near the town of Bury al-Hans (Bujalance). The town is surrounded by dense olive groves which conceal the movements of the Moorish fighters and prevents an effective cavalry counterattack. Yusuf Muhammad waits until the Castilian army is drawn out into a long convoy and has broken out of the olive groves into the more open ground west of the town. He then attacks with the bulk of the Almohad army, routing the Castilian vanguard and killing Alfonso’s second eldest son Sancho. Alfonso rallies the Castilian forces and counterattacks Almohad cavalry attempting to flank the rear, leading a courageous fighting escape back towards Jaen.

    Yusuf Muhammad chases Alfonso to the gates of Jaen. He reconquers the city after a short siege. The townspeople, eager to reassert their independence chase the remaining Castilians out of the city. Alfonso returns to his fortresses along the Guadiana.

    Al-Nasir II, advised by the elderly regent Ibn Muharib, faces a challenge from Abu Sa’ids uncle Tariq Bin Qays. Tariq begins minting coins listing his name as Caliph Tariq Bin Qays Nasir al-Dawla, “Defender of the State”. His base of territory is between Agadir and Essaouira. Despite holding more outright military power than Al-Nasir II, he lacks the approval of the Masmuda sheikhs and remains intent on establishing his legitimacy as the true Caliph.

    Abu Yusuf establishes a rigid system of Zahirite law in Yassanid territories, built on an adherence to Almohad traditions. He proclaims Ibn Tumart as the Mahdi, and Uthman I as the true successor of his rule through descent from Ibn Al-Baqqal, one of the original companions of the Mahdi.​

    1259-60 CE​

    Yusuf Muhammad pushes Alfonso back across the Sierra Morena but stops short of marching to the Guadiana. Instead, he consolidates his own position inside Al-Andalus. Andalusian leaders show less and less respect for Almohad orders as the Almohad powerbase fragments. Yusuf Muhammad stops short of taking official titles, preferring to work inside of informal arrangements between noble families. Almohad loyalists begin to be pressured to realign towards Yusuf’s interests, and many find themselves quietly stripped of wealth and power.

    James I prepares for a campaign into Valencia to take advantage of the infighting within the Almohad regime. He assembles a grand army of Catalans, Aragonese and Navarrese to finish the aborted campaign of 1238. Morella falls, followed by Peniscola in August. He lays siege to Valencia proper in May of the next year, and enters in August.

    Alfonso III builds up Coimbra, rebuilding its fortifications and erecting a monastery along the Mondego river.
    1261-62 CE​

    Tariq Bin Qays clashes with Al-Nasir II as the former tries to recover the coast. Al-Nasir II is defeated.

    Al-Qarayn marches further west, taking Fes, Sale and Rabat with little resistance.

    The ruler of Sijimasa Mousa Bin Haidar Al-Jabbour declares independence, throwing out Almohad loyalists within the city. He is able to negotiate for peace with Al-Qarayn in exchange for allowing Qaranid forces to move through his territory.

    Yassanid armies complete the conquest of Almohad Libya, pushing the boundary of the new kingdom as far east as Adjabiya, constructing an imposing fortress within the town.

    Yusuf Muhammad marches north, pushing past the Guadiana and razing Castilian border castles. He takes Talavera in a midnight raid and routes a Castilian army sent to intercept him.

    James I moves south to consolidate the remaining portions of Valencia under his control.
    1263 CE​

    Alfonso X rallies for the defense of Toledo, expecting Yusuf Muhammad to attack the city from Talavera. The prominent Almohad governor of Gibraltar Nusayr al-Garnata is assassinated, removing the last prominent loyalist Almohad in Al-Andalus.

    Yusuf Muhammad leads his army around Toledo, capturing Madrid and cutting off a main artery of supplies to Toledo. He sends his ally Badr al-Gasani to burn the farmlands on the outside of the city, both to deprive food supplies and to send clouds of smoke into the city. Alfonso X asks for aid from James I, who halts the conquest of Valencia and marches west.

    The Battle of the Villasequilla Marshes / The Battle of Muballah

    July 16th - 23rd

    Yusuf Muhammad leads the Almohad army of 12,000, supplemented by mujahidin recruited for the conquest of Toledo, to attack James I near the village of Villasequilla. He arrays his forces behind the salt marshes west of the town, spread in a long line with his personal cavalry on the north flank.

    The elderly James I set up camp inside the village, sending the bulk of his army to array on the opposite side of the marshes, with his Catalan crossbowmen making up the center. He brings 2,000 knights and 6,000 men-at-arms, as well as 9,000 almogavar skirmishers. He also has 1,500 French volunteers brought to aid in the conquest of Valencia.

    Alfonso X marches from Toledo with the remnants of his army, 7,000 strong with a few remaining knights. His eldest son Ferdinand leading the Castilian cavalry.

    July 24th

    Moorish cavalry swarm the countryside, intercepting couriers between Alfonso and James as they attempt to plan a joint attack on Yusuf’s position. James I receives word that Yusuf’s forces are maneuvering to attack Alfonso X from the north. He marches his army north to attack Yusuf from the rear. This is confirmed by the appearance of large moorish troop movements on the far side of the marsh away from Villasequilla. James I waits on attacking across the marshes, waiting for the bulk of the Almohad army to begin the march to meet Alfonso before trying to take their positions with his infantry.

    Alfonso X, aware of the Moorish numerical advantage, sets up his line east of Yusuf with Toledo to the rear, erecting stockades and defensive trenches. He plans on having James I superior army press Yusuf against his line where they can be held and broken by the Aragonese cavalry.

    Yusuf sends a Murtadin courier, a Muslim convert dressed in captured Castilian heraldry, to James I, telling him that Yusuf has already attacked the Castilian line and to send the cavalry southwards to engage the Almohad rear. James I marches out at the head of the Aragonese cavalry, moving past the marshes and towards where he believes the Almohad forces are currently engaged in fighting Alfonso. In reality, Yusuf’s infantry had done little but skirmish with the Castilian line, the bulk of his army had actually withdrawn south, leaving a gap between his infantry and his cavalry force where James I moved through.

    July 25th

    James I leads the Aragonese cavalry during the early morning hours to charge the Almohad line, but once he arrives at Alfonso’s line, he is shocked to see there is no sign of the Almohad army, and Alfonso’s defenses in good condition. Sensing a trap, he attempts to withdraw back to Villasequilla, but it is too late. Yusuf’s cavalry attack from the north while his infantry move from the south, catching the Aragonese in a trap. Alfonso can only watch as the Aragonese cavalry are wiped out to a man. James I dies in the melee, as well as his eldest son Peter. Reportedly James’s final words were the Latin, “Ego perdidi”. Simply, “I have lost.”

    July 26th

    Yusuf pivots his force to attack Alfonso, overrunning his defenses but suffering heavy casualties. Alfonso attempts a charge with his knights, but they fail to rout the large Moorish army, and the king is killed in the melee, while Ferdinand is captured. The Castilian army fights almost to a man, though some attempt to flee to Toledo. By late evening the Castilian army is completely destroyed.

    Leaderless, and without any knowledge of the fate of James or the whereabouts of Yusuf’s army, the Aragonese generals elect to fortify the town and wait for word of any messengers. At midday a small number of Catalan knights led by the Count Hugo Gardenes ride into Villesequilla, wounded and exhausted. He carries a scrap of the king’s robe, emblazoned with the standard of his house. He describes the ambush of the Aragonese cavalry and the supposed death of the king.

    July 27th

    The Aragonese generals hunger for revenge and move across the marshes to take the Moorish positions. While suffering some casualties from missile fire, they take the other side easily, and slaughter the garrison there. The Almogavars move west to counter Yusuf’s own skirmishers, and to harass the Moorish army.

    Yusuf decides to ignore the remaining Aragonese forces, and dispatching his light cavalry to ward off James’s almogavars marches to Toledo with Ferdinand displayed as a prisoner.

    July 28th-29th

    Yusuf negotiates the surrender of Toledo and enters in triumph on midday of the 29th of July. Ferdinand is delivered to the nobles of Castile in exchange for his agreement to pay tribute to Yusuf. He is crowned as Ferdinand IV of Castile.
    1264-66 CE​

    The Aragonese army slowly filters to Aragon after several unremarkable skirmishes with Moorish cavalry. James’s second eldest James is recalled from his capital in the Balearics and crowned as King James II.

    Yusuf, free from retaliation from either Aragon or Castile ravages Christian lands along the Tagus, reconquering Caceras, Merida and even as far east as Tarancon. He stops short of taking his war to the recently conquered territories of Valencia, aware of the difficulties posed by managing such a large and restive Christian population in his new conquests. Yet, for the first time in almost 200 years Muslim flags are again visible over Toledo, and Muslim rule has been restored as far north as Madrid.

    Yusuf grows confident in his recent successes and sheds the last vestiges of Almohad title. He takes on the laqab al-Fadl, “the prominent”, and gives himself the full regnal title of Yusuf Muhammad ibn Ayshun ibn Walid ibn Al-Aban Ibn-Muhammad al-Fadl I. He is also nicknamed by his troops Saqr Ishbiliyya, “The falcon of Seville”. He takes Toledo as his capital and takes Al-Andalus as his own personal sultanate, though he does not proclaim himself Caliph. The Andalusian emirs swear loyalty soon after, though not without reservations about the legality of his rise to power. After all, it was only too well known that the most prominent opponents of Yusuf before the Toledo campaign had suffered unfortunate accidents in rapid succession.

    The Castilian nobility is furious by the thought of paying tribute to a Moor, and outright rejects Ferdinands offered peace treaty. Ferdinand attempts to consolidate a peace with Yusuf but finds himself essentially stripped of power at court. The Castilian nobility begins to bicker about how best to counter the recent Moorish successes. Some argue an alliance, like the one constructed in 1212 is necessary to recover Toledo while others argue for peace.

    James II carries out an extensive purge against Morisco’s living in his territory, to minimize the chances of a popular rebellion in the new territories of Valencia. Count Hugo is rewarded with an addition to his already sizable estates and is recognized as a hero throughout Aragon.

    Al-Qarayn attempts to outright conquer the Masmuda heartland in the High Atlas but is unable to establish control in the old Almohad seat of power. He settles to freely raid the foothills and fortify his newly captured ports at Ceuta and Tangier.

    Despite Yusuf’s victories on land, the Almohad fleet remains scattered and weak, allowing Aragonese pirates to freely attack Maghrebi and Andalusian ships. Al-Qarayn attempts to gain control over the bulk of it but cannot use it effectively to curb piracy.

    Uthman I is captured by Christian mercenaries, intending to ransom him to Al-Qarayn, but is killed while attempting to escape. He is succeeded by his son Abdullah, who becomes Uthman II. Abdullah executes his father’s captors and expels Christian mercenaries from the Yassanid armies.
    1267 CE​

    James II marries Elena of Arborea. Through the marriage, he acquires a sizable estate in Sardinia and an alliance with the house of Arborea, a powerful Sardinian family dating back to the 11th century.

    A coalition of nobles backs the claim of the infante Peter of Ledesma, with the added support of Alfonso Ferandez, one of Alfonso X bastards, but considered an impeccable strategist. Alfonso had been in Toledo and had counseled against riding out of the city, before being forced to flee himself upon Yusuf’s advance.

    Tariq Bin Qays dies of old age, leaving Al-Nasir II in control of a unified, but drastically shrunken Caliphate. Al-Nasir II is an ineffectual, and garrulous ruler. He spends most of his time among his harem, leaving Qaranid armies to inexorably gain more and more territory each year.

    The emir of Sijilmasa expands his influence over the Saharan trade routes at the expense of the Almohads. He begins to mint his own coinage. Sijilmasa rapidly becomes an immensely wealthy city as it oversees a stable corridor between Mali and the Algerian coast.​

    1268 CE​

    Yusuf Muhammad puts down a rebellion by the Christians of Extremadura, massacring thousands of Castilians between Madrid and Toledo. He appoints his nephew Ali to oversee the northern border.

    Uthman II fights a short-lived, but catastrophic war with the Mamluks of Egypt. In the ensuing counter-campaign, led by the Oghuz Mamluk Chormakhan the Yassanids are routed from Cyrenaica.

    Abu Yusuf dies, but his followers continue to dominate internal Yassanid politics.

    Al-Qarayn moves his capital to Tangier, beginning a public works project to expand the walls of the city.
    1269 CE​

    Portuguese nobles secretly back the claim of Peter to the Castilian crown, in exchange for concessions in Galicia to Portugal. Ferdinand IV marries Patricia de Caboat. Patricia negotiates and schemes to build up Ferdinands position in the court, restoring him to some modicum of authority.

    She calls on the Pope decides to intervene and, but he eventually backs Peter’s claim, awarding Ferdinand a large territory in Burgundy as a compensation for him abandoning the throne. Ferdinand reluctantly accepts and cedes the crown to Peter. He is crowned as King Peter I of Castile. He cedes large estates in Zamora to Portugal, which irritates the same nobles who had backed his position previously.

    Al-Nasir II marches out of Marrakesh to reconsolidate the ravaged territories to the north under his rule. He is murdered by his own men, who switch sides to Al-Qarayn on the road to Fes. The sheikhs elect his eldest son Tariq Ibn Nashri as-Sadr, who becomes the Caliph Tariq Al-Ma’mun. He is faced by a pretender from the Hhaha tribe, ‘Abd al-Aziz.
    1270-71 CE​

    Al-Qarayn finally embarks on a campaign south, grinding down the remaining Almohad mountain fortresses and laying siege to Marrakesh proper in July. Qaranid armies break into the city by late September. Tariq Al-Ma’mun is sent to live in exile in Mauretania. ‘Abd al-Aziz withdraws to the Sous and attempts to negotiate with Al-Qarayn. Unwilling to tolerate a potential claimant to the Almohad throne Al-Qarayn has him executed instead during his conquest of the Sous. The Almohad Caliphate officially ceases to exist, but pockets of loyalists remain well in the 1270’s, mostly in the High Atlas and southern coast.

    Yusuf Muhammad presses Peter I, attacking Caceras and razing multiple Castilian castles, moving west to gather slaves in Portugal before retreating to Lisbon.

    Uthman II signs a trade deal with the Genoese, opening up the Libyan ports again to European traders.

    Peter I signs an alliance with Alfonso III, agreeing to aid the other in the case of Moorish invasion. He is rebuffed by James II, who feels more loyalty to Ferdinand and is unhappy with his exile. James II is also attempting to expand his holdings in Sardinia and the Balearics, and decides not to incur the wrath of Yusuf Muhammad.

    Peter I attacks Menorca, taking it after a prolonged siege. It was still ruled by the Almohad appointee governor Abû 'Uthmân Sa'îd ibn Hakam al Qurashi, who surrenders the island in September. He deports the entire Muslim population of the island except for a few families.

    Louis IX of France invades Tunis as part of the Eight Crusade. Dysentery sweeps through the French camp, killing Louis soon after the siege began. The Crusaders withdraw, but not before negotiating free trade with Tunis and privileges for Christians in the Algerian ports.​

    1272 CE​

    Al-Qarayn dismantles much of Marrakesh, intent on eliminating the Masmuda from the political scene. He has the Masmuda sheikhs purged to a man. Returning to Tangier, he declares himself the first Caliph of the Qaranids, but receives little recognition outside his own territories. Bricks from the Almohad palace in Marrakesh are shipped to Tangier and incorporated into his sprawling citadel there.

    Almogavars raid Castile, creating a brief diplomatic row between Peter I and James II, who is forced to curb their influence and punish those responsible.

    Yusuf Muhammad reorganizes the Andalusian army, training a large number of jinetes and reducing the size of the traditional mounted Andalusian knights. He organizes numbers of raiders who can take territory quickly and use scorched earth tactics to put pressure on the enemy before the main force arrives.

    Yusuf Muhammad enslaves or deports much of the Jewish population of Toledo as part of an organized purge of Jews in Al-Andalus. It is a response to the criticism of some firebrand imans, who had been attacking him as overly tolerant of non-Muslims in the conquered northern territories. Most flee to Christian lands while those who are more Arabized flee to Egypt.

    A Mamluk army under Shurayh Ibn Muhammad marches past Benghazi to solidify the frontier in Cyrenaica. Yassanid forces don’t even engage the Mamluks in battle, making a hasty retreat west to the safety of Tripoli.
    1273-74 CE​

    Yusuf Muhammad tests his new army in Portugal, moving across the Tagus and into the Centro region. They avoid assaulting the numerous hilltop castles in the area and instead burn large swaths of farmland, slaughtering cattle and covering whole areas in smoke. Alfonso III marches from Coimbra to repel the moors but by design the Andalusian army is too wide-spread and dispersed to be easily pinned down. Yusuf Muhammad and a small entourage return to Lisbon, allowing much of his army to slowly trickle past the Tagus over a period of months, drawing out the raid.

    Alfonso III, now in his mid-60s, is unwilling to fight a high-speed, aggressive war against the Moors. He calls on Peter I for aid, who responds by marching west from Caceras, damaged but still in Castilian hands. Together, Portuguese and Castilian forces defeat the remaining raiders in Portugal, and push Yusuf Muhammad out of Portugal. Alfonso III erects imposing castles at Leiria, Torres Vedras, and another at Santarem. He suspends trade with the Islamic Algarve, and expels any Moors living in southern Portugal, accusing them of aiding the raiders.
    1275 CE​

    Al-Qarayn, now well past his 70’s, dies after a prolonged sickness. His eldest son, Ahmad al-Dani attempts to succeed him, but is pushed out by the sheikh Muhammad Sa’d. Ahmad al-Dani is pushed out of Tangier and forced to flee to Al-Andalus.

    Uthman II invades Qaranid territory, but is defeated at Bejaia by Muhammad Sa’d.

    James II moves to expand his holdings in Sardinia, displacing native communities and vassalizing local nobles. He comes into conflict with the Pisan and Genoese noble families that controlled much of the island. Aragonese forces begin to trickle into the region of Logudoro, but face intense resistance from the local population.

    Peter I oversees a growing and deep relationship between the Portuguese and Castilian nobility. Nobles from the house of Lara oppose the move but are outmaneuvered and sidelined. They see this as a betrayal, considering they were the ones originally backing his claim for the throne.
    1276 CE​

    Yusuf Muhammad attempts to reopen the western Mediterranean, dispatching his fleet from Gibraltar to intercept Aragonese pirates south of the Balearics. His fleet is unable to catch the enemy fleets, and eventually has to withdraw to Gibraltar. He is able to negotiate a deal with Genoa, promising significant concessions and a reduction of Almohad tariffs.

    Emir Mousa Bin Haidar of Sijimasa successfully plays the Qaranids against the Yassanids, retaining his own independence. He extends his influence as far south as the old Almohad frontier of Tadmekka, installing a friendly client ruler.

    Yusuf Muhammad begins his second campaign into Portugal, capitalizing on his recent raids and the ailing health of Alfonso III. He sieges Santarem, surrounding the city with siege weapons he hauled across the Tagus in a flotilla of rafts. Soon after he takes the territory south of Peniche on the coast, attaching Lisbon to the bulk of Al-Andalus after many decades of isolation. Leiria falls soon after, its unfinished citadel breached during a nighttime raid. A long string of towns in southern Portugal capitulate to Yusuf, on the conditions that they will not be forcibly converted nor enslaved, like what happened to the population of Lisbon after its own surrender.

    Yusuf lays siege to Coimbra itself, but is repulsed after several assaults. He decides to move east to reconquer Extramadura, taking Caceres and Merida. Peter I, who had been in Burgos, quickly mobilizes and attacks Yusuf at the Almonte.

    The Battle of Haza de la Concepción

    Peter I deploys on the far side of the Tietar river, northwest of Caceres. Yusuf, plagued by supply difficulties in the rocky terrain of the Sierra de Gredos attempts to move quickly to friendly territory to the east, but finds his path blocked by a large Castilian army.

    Multiple attempts to break the Castilian defenses result in high Moorish casualties, Yusuf’s infantry being bogged down in the river and picked off by crossbows and archers. He attempts to ford the river at another point, but is ambushed by knights under Peter’s son Ferdando. Yusuf escapes the melee, and in a fit of frustration attempts to counter-attack again, before retreating south to the village of Haza de la Concepcion, called Bayt al-Jabal in Arabic. Peter fords the Tietar, and chases Yusuf towards Caceres, but heavy rains prevent him from fording the Tagus proper quickly enough to catch him.

    Yusuf suffers heavy casualties. His new army, while more mobile, was unable to break heavy infantry in an open battle, causing Yusuf’s first major defeat. Furious, he withdraws south, but not before ransacking the churches in Caceres in a fit of anger.
    1277-78 CE​

    Emboldened by Peters victory against Yusuf, already a rallying cry throughout the Christian territories, recently conquered towns in Portugal rise up in revolt. Militias cast out local officials and chase Andalusian garrisons out of the towns. Yusuf is forced to march back to Portugal, crushing the rebels and massacring thousands of Christian peasants. Between constant raids and Yusuf’s purge, much of the Centro is depopulated. Thousands of peasants from the Algarve are sent in to repopulate the territory.

    Uthman II is strangled by a slave in his sleep. He is succeeded by his brother Idris ibn Uthman Al-Khalid, who is rightly suspected as being behind the coup. Idris ibn Uthman Al-Khalid, now Idris I, imprisons most of the former followers of Abu Yusuf as possible threats to his new rule.

    Muhammad Sa’d shows interest in Sufism, entertaining prominent Imans from Syria and Egypt at Tangier.

    James II is humiliated by a Sardinian rebel force in Logudoro, suffering a major defeat where Sardinian militias ambush a Aragonese force in the mountains of Gennargentu.
    1279 CE​

    Alfonso III dies, succeeded by his eldest son Denis. Denis attempts to increase Portuguese self-sovereignty at the expense of Castile, which frustrates Peter. He centralizes the judiciary and promotes Portuguese as a court language.

    Peter I remarries, taking Ingrid of Bayonne, and tries to curry better favor with the French while simultaneously competing with Navarre for the favor of Philip III. Navarre, which had long been frustrated on its attempts to recapture territory lost to Castile, was growing increasingly restive, and while it was enjoying an economic boom free from the warfare in the south, was still small, and not of significant threat. However, the close relations between Theobald and Louis IX had concerned Peter, and on Louis death in Tunis, Peter saw an opportunity to bypass the Navarrese.

    Yusuf enjoins the governor of Cordoba, Haroun Ibn Tayyib, to build up the Andalusian navy. He scuttles parts of the old navy, degraded beyond repair, and orders the planting of large forests in Granada to provide new lumber for ships.
    1283 CE​

    Yusuf enters an alliance with Muhammad Sa’d, who is eager to make good with what had rapidly become the most powerful western Islamic kingdom. Yet, before Yusuf can do anything with the alliance he falls of his horse while hunting and dies of a pierced lung several days after.

    He gives the bulk of his territory to his eldest son Sulayman al-Aswad Ibn Yusuf, while giving control of the conquered Portuguese territories and the Algarve to his second-eldest ‘Abd al-Aziz. Sulayman rules as Sultan Sulayman Sayf al-Andalusi I of the Ayshunids.

    Idris I becomes involved in a diplomatic row with Genoa, as he is unwilling to hold to the trade concessions signed by Uthman II. A Genoese fleet, with the aid of Philip III, attacks Tripoli and is able to batter Idris’s fleet into submission. He reopens the Libyan ports soon after.

    The Situation in the Maghreb and Iberia in 1283, on Muhammad Yusuf's Death:

    [Thats it for this installment. This is my first timeline here, so any feedback is appreciated.]​
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
  2. KarneeKarnay I am a meat popsicle

    Dec 4, 2010
    Subscribed! This has been an idea that I've tried replicating in games and this looks like an awesome setup.
    Nivek and Taloc13 like this.
  3. danteheadman Well-Known Member

    Jun 30, 2015
    Whaaaat this is amazing, high-quality work! Subscribed!

    Edit: fucking legacy of the Almohads :(

    Last edited: Oct 23, 2017
    Alexander the Average likes this.
  4. Taloc13 Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2015
    Chandigarh, India
    Quite unusually fast-paced, I like it. Watched.
  5. dontfearme22 Chicalotlatonti

    Dec 18, 2013
    Oddly enough, the date the Almohad Caliphate falls in reality is only a few years off the data it falls in this timeline. The latter 13th century in Iberia was pretty chaotic, but in reality and this timeline.
  6. Aristomenes Lord Of Morea

    Nov 30, 2012
    This is a very promising timeline, keep up the good work!
  7. Aishio Dark Traveler

    Jun 24, 2016
    Where is Portugal in the map???? It is a bit confusing, but good. Watched.
  8. dontfearme22 Chicalotlatonti

    Dec 18, 2013
    Yeah, that was me being retarded and sleep-deprived. Its fixed now.
  9. dontfearme22 Chicalotlatonti

    Dec 18, 2013
    Can't have too many good guys in the 13th century. Yusuf Muhammad was a figure who didn't necessarily hate the dhimmi, but didn't particularly like them either. Any actions he carried out against either Christians or Jews was as a reaction to a political concern, not because of any religious obligation.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2017
  10. dontfearme22 Chicalotlatonti

    Dec 18, 2013
    A House of Lamps; Part 2

    "The whole world is like a house filled with lamps, rays, and lights through whom the things of the house are elucidated…"

    Ibn Barrajan, 12th century CE

    The Ayshunid Sultans and the Wars of Galicia, The Last Yassanids and the Expeditions to the West

    The Atlantic Ocean; 1364

    Abdullah was right to be proud of his olives. A thick stand stood where once a tiny few saplings had clung to the deep soil. Each morning the sea mist clung to the fat green fruit, dripping slowly onto the thirsty grasses on the ground. They grew deeper and denser each year, twisting and twining like the village along the coast. They had named it Dāniyyaḧ al-Sahil, Denia[1] of the coast. He remembered the day he first stepped foot on this beach. Thick stands of beech wood interspersed with low rolling hills. Were it not for the wildness of it all he swore he could have smelt the sweet perfume of the Denian beaches, the fisherman and flower merchants. As he stepped through the grove, checking the branches for pests, he smelt that smell again.

    His slippers were worn thin over years of pacing the groves. His sleeves ragged and marked with small patched repairs. A small cap to cover his head, and some leather gloves fitted to his belt. Some goats trotted through the field next to him. Bird calls rang out from the interior. Chattering and clamoring voices answered their calls from the town below. Abdullah checked the length of the shadows against the trunks, it would be time to return to town soon. He pulled a knife out from his pocket and cut an olive off a nearby branch, feeling for its firmness and texture. They soon would be good for making oil, he thought, and his new press was almost finished.

    Pattering feet from behind him. A young man from the village, one of the fishermen’s boys.

    “Abdullah!” he shouted and clapped his hands on the rock wall that surrounded the grove. “There is a ship in the harbor, it is Andalusian.”

    “Oh really. And what would an Andalusian ship want with an olive farmer?” Abdullah responded.

    “It has the flag of the governor!” The man said. Abdullah quickly put away his knife and walked out of the grove towards the small wooden gate in the wall. He thanked the man and began his long shuffle down the path to the town.

    Long rows of stones and withered branch fences marked the outer edge of the ring of farms circling the town. Fields of oranges, wheat and fat Iberian grapes. Small white flat-topped houses with walls of slathered plaster puffed chubby clouds of smoke into the blue sky. A single watchtower balanced atop a few beech trees kept watch for any bandits slithering out of the forests. Off near the coast, a tall stack of rounded stones marked the minaret of the town mosque. Behind it, the stout masts of ships docked in harbor.

    Abdullah made his way through the souq, the warren of shops and stalls that crowded the center of the town and stepped from the beaten dirt onto the sun-bleached planks of the town docks. Tied to the largest dock in the town, sitting resplendent on the crystal blue waters of the bay, was a fine galley of Andalusian design. It had three masts, with a large cabin fixed on the back and a high railing rung around the rest of the ship.

    Fluttering from the bow was a green standard with the tell-tale golden seal of a high official. There was a thin wood ramp extending away from the ship to the dock, guarded by men in long quilted coats with red turbans.

    “I knew I left my islands in good hands.” The governor shouted from the deck and stepped down along the ramp. He wore a long red and gold robe with a heavy necklace and a bright, almost shining, white turban around a red cap. A long sword with a brown and gold sheath dangled from his belt, a mark of office, even if it might rust in its scabbard from unused.

    “You look well. The groves have barely aged you.” He said, and embraced Abdullah, who did the same.

    “I wish I could say the same. How many years has it been?”

    “Beyond count it seems. Tell me, is it this hospitable every day? Or has God blessed us for just this meeting?”

    “It is indeed this beautiful year-round. Though, there can be storms.”

    “Only Eden can be perfect.” The governor chuckled. “but it is worth to suffer the rare storm to see such a sight like this each morning.” He said, gazing at the sparkling bay around him. Abdullah smiled and nodded. “Can I ask why I am blessed by such a visit?” he said. The governor rubbed his chin.

    “My friend, I have a mission for you. Do you remember running the fleets down to Arguin[2]?” he asked. Abdullah had a faint memory of it.

    “That was many years ago, why mention it?”

    “We believe there are more islands in the western seas. The Sultan is gathering colonists for it, I offered your name to head the fleet.”

    “more islands? To the west, there is nothing but ocean past the islands of the Wanj[3] until Sin[4]. Why sail west?”

    The governor pondered for a moment, looked back at the guards behind him and took Abdullah to the edge of the dock, away from any nearby ears. He turned inwards to him and pulled a small bundle from within his robe. It was a small piece of white folded cloth tied with string. He gave it to Abdullah, who pulled the string and opened the bundle. Within was a small bracelet of rounded wood beads threaded around a sinew cord. The beads had small swirling carvings on them, faded and worn with ocean spray, but recognizable all the same.

    “Sailors found this on the corpse of a body off the shore of Al-Jinit[5]. It was not Wanj, nor was it like the blacks. . The Sultan believes it means there are still more peoples to be found to the west.” The governor said.

    Abdullah turned the bracelet over. It seemed so soon to sail again, but the will of the Sultan could reach far farther anywere he could run to. He sighed, “if you ask this of me, God-willing I must comply.” He said. “When do we sail?”

    [1]A city in eastern Iberia.
    [2]A island on the Mauritanian coast, a popular trading post for slaves heading back to Al-Andalus.
    [3] The Guanche, the aboriginal population of the Canary Islands
    [4] China
    [5] Tenerife, in the Canary Islands

    Muhammad Sa’d reinforces his alliance with Sulayman al-Andalusi I. Relations between Sulayman and ‘Abd al-Aziz remain strong in the face of retaliatory Christian raids.

    ‘Abd al-Aziz implements notoriously tough policies in his territories. As a result, the Algarve rapidly homogenizes into one of the most solidly Islamic territories in Al-Andalus as the remaining Christian population is gradually drained to sell as slaves to the Moroccan emirs.

    Peter I succeeds in strengthening ties with France, frustrating the Navarrese and signing off his eldest daughter Isabella to Philip’s son Louis of Évreux.


    Idris I is allegedly murdered during a orgy while in his palace at Tripoli. The ruling sheikhs of the Yassanids, commandeered by the Zahirite Iman, and student of Abu Yusuf’s school, Mubarak Ibn Abdullah Al-Qas promote his second eldest Abdul to the throne. Abdul, a noted religious scholar and a prominent opponent of his father, takes little time in cleansing the supposed decadence of the Yassanid court. He goes so far as to drive Idris’s harem out of the court entirely, famously taking a horse whip and swatting at his fathers courtesans as he rampaged through the palace.

    Abdul, crowned as Al-Mustansir I of the Yassanids, restores the power of the Alfahilites, as Abu Yusuf’s students had become known. This name is derived from the Arabic verb “to remain”, referencing their belief that the consequences of the manifest interpretation of the Quran, the zahir of Zahirite law, are the key determiner of the validity of such interpretations, that such consequences remain past the original interpretation of the text. That is, the physical impact of past teachings legitimizes, or delegitimizes those interpretations. It is assumed that an interpretation that leads to a negative impact on the community must reflect on the incorrectness of that interpretation, as God would only allow for a proper reading that benefited the community in some way to the utmost.


    Peter I, after several unsuccessful attempts to push back into Ayshunid territory, negotiates the Treaty of Segovia with Sulayman. The terms were designed to establish a general détente in Iberia after almost a century of warfare. In exchange for the cessation of organized cross-border raids (chevauchée) and the renunciation of Sulayman’s claim to the Castilian territories in the former ta’ifa states of Zaragoza and Valencia, which had become a major target of proposed military expeditions after Yusuf’s death, Peter I and James II in exchange, agreed to respect Ayshunid claims south of the Tagus in Castile.

    In Portugal, neither King Denis nor ‘Abd al-Aziz agreed to the treaty, forcing a separate treaty at Ourém in 1295, which included additional stipulations for the management of the Algarve and the Portuguese border. ‘Abd al-Aziz ceded Leiria to Portugal and agreed to halt the continued deportation of Christians to Morocco, though by 1295 they were already seriously depleted. King Denis moved towards lifting sanctions on Muslim traders moving through Portuguese ports but was talked out of the move by disgruntled noblemen. As a result, up through the mid-1400s official trade through Portugal would continue to be conducted by Mozarab and Jewish middlemen.


    Muhammad Sa’d puts down an insurrection from the former Almohad holdings in the High Atlas. It is notable for featuring a large number of black slave-soldiers from Ghana, who had reasserted their place in Maghrebi armies after the glut of fresh Christian slaves withered after the restoration of peace in Iberia.

    The emir of Sijilmasa, Mousa Bin Haidar Al-Jabbour dies at the ripe age of 92, ceding power to a collection of local chiefs who eventually appoint the Lamtuna elder Ebrahim Al-Wadoud Nasr. He reaffirms the treaties with both Muhammad Sa’d and Abdul Al-Mustansir.

    Al-Qas institutes reforms based on Alfahilite philosophy, suppressing lingering Malikite strains in Ifriqya and ordering the creation of a systematic review of previous law codes. The massive 12 volume collection is a complete top-down compilation of Ifriqyan laws and fatwas and is used to institute a centralized law code that becomes the envy of the Maghreb.

    James II defeats the Sardinians at the battle of Nughedu di San Nicolo, ending his Sardinian campaign, and extending Aragonese control over all the island except for the southern kingdom at Cagliari. Tensions between Genoa and Aragon over growing Aragonese influence in the western Mediterranean boil over, leading both sides to begin to hire rival pirate fleets to ransack enemy shipping.


    Theobald of Navarre dies of dysentery and is succeeded by his eldest son Manuel, who rules much of the country as managed estates from his own residency in France.


    Peter I dies when a boulder falls on his skull while travelling in northern Castile. He is succeeded by his daughter Elvira; all his eligible sons having died of various causes in the previous years. Her claim is challenged by his bastard Juan, who was half-Galician and quite popular there.

    Initially, Juan has little support except for the regional nobility in Galicia, who fume under continued Castilian control. To undercut any potential rebellion, Elvira decentralizes the region, appointing a mayor of Galicia drawn from the local nobility (coincidentally families solidly loyal to her). She rules as Elvira I of Castile.


    Frustrated moriscos in Valencia rebel, seizing parts of the city and driving Aragonese officials out of formerly Muslim towns, which they then fortify. James II, returned from Sardinia with a large number of experienced troops, brutally crushes the rebellion.

    ‘Abd al-Aziz flaunts the treaty of Segovia, continuing to brutalize local peasants in the Algarve. In one incident, while out on a hunting trip, the entire town of Odivelas (near Beja) is rounded up and forced to eat in the same stable as his horses. King Denis, inundated with complaints and demands for reprisal, suffers a serious loss of prestige at court, unwilling to either react or violate the treaty.


    ‘Abd al-Aziz is assassinated, some suspect on the orders of Sulayman who felt frustrated by his growing rebelliousness and sadism. He is replaced by a member of Sulayman’s inner circle, the governor of Huelva, Omar Bin Sayyid. The Algarve is reintegrated into the larger Sultanate.

    James II sets his eyes on Sicily, wracked with constant rebellions against the Capetian regime there. After the failed uprising in 1282, there had been a second, larger one led by the local baker Balderico Bartocci. The rebels succeed in defeating the French at the battle of Roccoaema, pushing them from the center of the island and a few areas in the west. Louis X sends a large force to suppress the rebellion.


    James II dies peacefully while in the Balearics. His eldest son, crowned as James III, continues his fathers plans in Sicily, marrying Margaret of Sicily, the daughter of Constance consort of the duke Robert of Tarragona. By marrying her, he sided himself with the Sicilians against the French. At the head of an army of thousands of almogavars and Catalan warriors, he invades Sicily, intent on being hailed as a liberator.

    Philip V fights James III and a combined army of Sicilians at the battle of Luco. James II prevails and drives the Capetians out of all of Sicily. However, less than a year after his marriage, Margaret dies of an infection, robbing James III of any material claim to the throne of the island. Splinter bands begin to diffuse in the countryside as Aragonese power visibly withers.


    The French defeat the Aragonese outside Messina. Balderico Bartocci, after producing documents supposedly tracing his lineage to William II states his own claim to the Sicilian throne. Under these combined pressures the Aragonese withdraw to forts on the western coast. Balderico is crowned as Baldrick I of Sicily, though neither James, nor Philip recognizes his claim.


    Muhammad Sa’d invades the southern deserts, seeking to extend Qaranid control to the old Almoravid boundaries deep into the coast. In an agreement with Musa Keita I of Mali he does not violate Malian territory, instead raiding the Sosso tribes to the north. Despite minor setbacks, Qaranid forces soon control as far south as Oualata, with raids penetrating farther south than that.

    The Emirate of Sijilmasa absorbs many of the refugees fleeing the Qaranid forces, who selectively punish Berber tribes traditionally opposed to the tribes serving the Qaranids. Ebrahim Al-Wadoud Nasr, intending to flex the muscle of his expansive trade empire, repulses a Qaranid siege of the salt mines at Taghaza. This minor skirmish marks the most significant defeat of the Qaranids during their desert campaign, and establishes the Emirate as the main political power in the Algerian desert.

    Juan of Galicia dies, leaving Elvira in complete control of Castile. She reforms the judiciary, and weakens the power of the central church, appointing a network of mayors to rule over Castile who report to the crown, and who are given special powers to resolve religious disputes: to avoid rebellions like had happened in Aragon.


    Manuel of Navarre marries off his daughter, Isabella, to Alfonso, eldest son of James III. Manuel’s unpopularity in Navarre boils over to a minor revolt, which he is forced to put down with the aid of Castilian mercenaries.

    Sulayman I is pressured to leave the throne to his nephew Fariq due to a worsening neurological condition, likely a form of Alzheimer’s. Fariq is crowned with the titular name al-Muʿtamid ʿAlā ’llāh (Dependent on God).


    Fariq, an ambitious and young ruler, sets his eyes on reforming the languishing Ayshunid navy. The abortive reforms of Yusuf Muhammad to improve the navy had little effect, and many ships were still unchanged from the Almohad era. The ports, while lucrative, had weak defenses and pirates still had free reign over the eastern shipping routes to Syria.

    He first reforms the navy, scuttling any remaining old ships and investing into a new naval college at Cadiz. The major ports of southern Andalusia were refortified, especially Gibraltar, which gained a massive sea-wall to ward off naval attacks from the Mediterranean. Fariq also begins to fund expeditions south along the African coast to identify new ports for gold, salt, and slaves.

    As the Qaranids power grew in the Sahara, Muhammad Sa’ds eagerness to maintain a subservient trade relationship with the Ayshunids lessened substantially, preferring to trade more and more with the Yassanids and then to Mamluk Egypt. To recoup such losses, Fariq began to send ships south to find trading partners beyond the Qaranids he could negotiate with directly, and bypass Muahammad Sa’ds grip on western Saharan trade.

    Denis I of Portugal dies. He is succeeded by his son Sebastian.


    Muhammad Sa’d dies in Tangiers. He is succeeded by his eldest son Ibn Muhammad Al-Fadl I.

    The wars in Sicily end with the Third Battle at Rocca di Novara, where Baldrick I decisively defeats Philip V, and then goes on to negotiate the independence of Sicily under the authority of the Pope. As part of the peace treaty James III is forced to renounce his own claim to Sicily, while Charles IV retains the port of Messina as a French enclave.

    Al-Mustansir I of the Yassanids invades Mamluk Libya, but is repulsed, like previous rulers had been, back to Tripoli.

    Galician nobles rise in revolt against Castile, led by the powerful knight Sebastian Araujo. They enjoy initial success, forcing the appointed mayor of Galicia Tomas of Asturias to call on the Crown for further aid. Rebel forces in Galicia spill over into northern Portugal, causing Sebastian of Portugal to head north to reinforce the border. While in the north, he is convinced by certain rival nobles to intervene in Galicia proper, being promised concessions to Portugal in the case of Sebastian Araujo’s defeat, and the victory of the rival cause.

    In what becomes known as the War of the Sebastians, Sebastian I of Portugal comes into conflict with Sebastian Araujo. Sebastian I even reaches out to Manuel of Navarre, who sends a token force to harass Castile in the east. Elvira is able to defeat the Galicians, but at significant cost, and with the use of large numbers of Norman mercenaries, who would go on to become extremely troublesome in later years.

    Sebastian I is forced to withdraw south, and gives up his promised territories in southern Galicia. Manuel of Navarre dies at the end of the war, ending in the inheritance of Navarre to Aragon through the marriage between Isabella and Alfonso, who becomes Alfonso I of Navarre.


    Ayshunid merchants sail the Mauretanian coast, but find few new ports not already controlled by Qaranid officials. Attempts to negotiate treaties with Musa Keita I result in failure, pushing Fariq to consider pushing expeditions even farther south beyond Mali entirely. Sailors sail down the coast of Africa, making visits to the ports on the coast of Senegal and as far south as the Volta delta.

    Sebastian I turns his attention again to Castile in what has become a personal vendetta with Elvira. With a huge Portuguese armada, he attacks ports along the coast of Galicia and Asturias. He garners significant support from the Galician populace that sided against the rebellion of Sebastian Araujo. In response Castile convinces the Ayshunids to enter the war against Portugal, claiming that the constant aggression between Portugal and its neighbors would eventually lead to an invasion of Al-Andalus, should Portugal prevail.

    Ebrahim Al-Wadoud Nasr builds a fortress on the main salt caravan route through Algeria. It is designed to solidify Sijilmasan control over the lucrative salt trade, and discourage Qaranid incursions east.


    Intervening on behalf of Queen Elvira, Fariq dispatches the admiral Abu Tamin al-Furat to harass the Portuguese fleet. The Fleet departs Andalusia on May 7th.

    The Battle of the Rias Baixas

    The Ayshunid fleet, comprised of 70 galleys of newer style and a smaller number of older vessels swept north with little resistance, the bulk of the Portuguese navy fighting off the coast of Asturias with the Castilian fleet. Abu Tamin intended on rendezvousing with local allies at Pontevedra. By using the port as a base, he could harass Portuguese shipping routes, then retreat into the estuaries upon a potential counterattack.

    Sebastian, aware of the possibility of being cut off from behind, dispatched the commander Dom Gustavo Vilho to keep the Atlantic shipping lanes open. With 50 galleys, he sailed south to intercept the Moorish fleet, arriving two days before they were intending on entering the port of Pontevedra. Abu Tamin’s fleet arrived to face a wall of Portuguese ships separating them from the port.

    Through the month of June, the moors attempted to break the blockade, attacking the Portuguese ships with improvised siege weapons, nighttime boarding parties and even trying to scale the nearby cliffs to fire down on the enemy force.

    Frustrated, Abu Tamin ordered a final assault on June 22nd. With supplies rapidly dwindling and morale low, the remaining Ayshunid fleet attacked the Portuguese en masse. After intense fighting, they were able to crack the Portuguese center and fled towards Pontevedra, where they were able to flee towards friendly territory. The Portuguese, satisfied the Moorish fleet had been seriously wounded, departed Pontevedra, but not before burning the remaining enemy ships left in the estuary. Abu Tamin drowned while fleeing his flagship.

    Despite the failure of the Ayshunids to sway the war decisively in Castile’s favor, Sebastian suffered heavy losses on land, unable to capture any new territory in the face of rocky terrain and enemy tactical superiority. By winter, Portugal was forced to withdraw south a second time, again with no gains on land, despite a moral victory at sea.


    The Portuguese fleet is crushed by Castile near Gijon. Out of a combined 130 Portuguese ships, less than half survive to flee south again. Their losses are so severe it would be almost a century before the Portuguese navy could return to pre-war levels. Sebastian I signs the treaty of Verin with Castile, surrendering his claims on Galicia entirely.

    After the total loss of Portuguese naval power, Castile and the Sultanate effectively divide the wealth of the Atlantic trade routes between the two.

    Al-Mustansir I is ousted from power by his uncle Al-Assah. Growing tribal rivalries begin to threaten the Yassanid ruling regime. Berber tribes grow in boldness, attacking settlements in Tunisia. Al-Assah, backed by a coalition of sheikhs from the Beni Khlut, a group of mixed Arab-Berbers who had fled to Ifriqya after persecution under the Qaranids, receives considerable political backing against Al-Mustansir, who, despite his popularity with the Ifahilites, has little support from the tribes that control most of the military forces in Ifriqya.

    Growing hostility between the Yassanids and the Ayshunids culminates in the near-murder of the Andalusian Iman Bin Yusuf, who is forced to flee from Tunis to Cordoba.


    Fariq, eager to exploit the void of Portuguese naval power, grants charters to explore the western seas and access sources of new trade revenue. Increased trade with ports on the African coast incentivizes this policy even more. Andalusian ports begin to swell with large numbers of Sahelian slaves in quantities not seen since the Almohad period.

    James III dies, leaving his son Alfonso to inherit the kingdom of Aragon alongside Navarre. Alfonso is crowned as Alfonso I of the unified kingdom in Zaragoza. He is extremely popular in Navarre, having been far more amenable to native customs than Manuel had been, who was far more interested in spreading French culture.

    Muhammad al-Fadl I takes advantage of the civil war in Ifriqya, taking Tlemcen after a brief siege, a long sought target of the Qaranids.


    Al-Assah’s coup leads to a civil war inside the Yassanid kingdom, with the Khlut and coastal Arabs on his side facing the Berbers in the interior. Al-Mustansir himself flees to Syria while the tribal sheikh Izemrasen Al-Abdi leading his loyalists. A Berber army sieges Tunis for a short while but is repelled in late spring by Al-Assahs military.

    Ayshunid sailors reach the eastern end of the Azores, dubbing the islands the Tawil (long) islands after the long shape of the first island spotted.

    Muhammad al-Fadl I marches east from Tlemcen, taking large parts of the Algerian coast with little resistance.


    Izemrasen Al-Abdi succeeds in defeating the Beni Khlut near the Chott el Hodna, only to be assassinated a few weeks later.

    The Canary Islands are sighted by Moorish sailors, and some contacts are made with the local Guanche peoples, called the Al-Wanj. They are dubbed Al-Kinaru, after the Latin name.

    Norman mercenaries, settled in Asturias by Elvira, begin to clamor for more regional power. A small rebellion is subsequently put down near Santandar.

    Ebrahim al-Wadoud Nasr of the Emirate of Sijilmasa dies, and is replaced by Haroun Ibn Tamim al-Shawiya.


    Alfonso I petitions the Pope to resolve a dispute between him and his younger brother Sancho, who claims Valencia under documents purportedly prepared by James III on his deathbed. The Pope orders that Alfonso give a sizable piece of Sardinia to Sancho in exchange for his renunciation of his claim to Valencia.

    Ayshunid sailors discover a unique circular wind pattern in the north Atlantic, which they dub the Karr wa Farr (Attack and Retreat), after the signature cyclical formation of the Jinete. Naval charts drawn up at Cadiz show the Canary islands and Azores in their entirety for the first time.

    Al-Assah regathers his forces and defeats the remnants of the lfahilite army, who flee to Algiers. Unable to pursue them due to the threat of a possible Mamluk invasion in the east, he is forced to allow them to regroup themselves.

    The Arab commander, Ali Ibn Makki Ibn Fath, of Al-Assahs army defects, taking Tripoli and declaring himself the head of a new dynasty. Suspicion of Mamluk involvement in the plot is proven correct when Ibn Fath, aided by a large Mamluk force from the east, routes his former allies at the decisive battle of Wadden. Al-Assah retreats to Tunis.

    Fariq orders the colonization of the Azores, to establish both a new western base of Ayshunid naval power off the shore of Portugal, and to establish timber mills to ship wood to offset rapidly depleting timber reserves. The destabilization of Ifriqya means the lessening of Yassanid power and therefore lower tariffs, but increased piracy means more ships being attacked and supplies lost.


    Sebastian I dies while wintering in Coimbra, some suspect assassination by disgruntled nobles for his failures in the Galician campaigns. He is succeeded by his son Fernando, who quickly attempts to patch up the frayed relationship with the nobles, convening the Cortes Portugal in the spring.

    Ibn Fath, now Sultan Ali Ibn Makki Ibn Fath li-Dīn Allāh, makes Tripoli his capital as a protectorate state of the Mamluks. His dynasty, the Fathids, for the moment only control Cyrenaica and parts of the interior desert. Al-Mustansir attempts to regain influence among Ibn Fath, but fails.

    The Beni Khlut, under Muharib Ibn Asim al-Aswad, ingratiate themselves into the Yassanid army as mercenary infantry. Eventually, Al-Aswad becomes the second most powerful man in the Yassanid court, below Al-Assah.

    Ayshunid sailors set foot on Madeira, naming the islands the ‘Blessed Islands” after their name in classical literature.

    The first large migration to the Azores takes place. Andalusian communities, primarily from the Algarve. They establish towns on the major islands, and begin to trade back with Iberia.


    Fariq dies while traveling abroad in Egypt. His eldest son, Abdul attempts to take the throne but is outmaneuvered by his second eldest Yaqub. The Andalusian emirs settle on Yaqub, opposed to Abdul on account of his lack of suitability for rule. Rumors of his debauchery were well known in the court.

    Alfonso I decides to press the advantage gained temporarily in North Africa during the Eight Crusade. Sailing from Valencia, he attacks Tunis, the center of Al-Assah’s rump state. Weakened and wearied from constant civil war, the city falls easily. Al-Assah surrenders to Alfonso, becoming a vassal of Aragon and effectively ending the Yassanid state proper. Their desert territories quickly revert to the pre-existing tribal rule.


    Elvira of Castile dies. Having married multiple times, she has a wide range of illegitimate children. After a brief, but violent squabble, her son Henry, the child of Juan, duke of Lugo, inherits the throne. He is crowned as Henry II.

    Yaqub Ibn Fariq al-Qurtubah I continues his fathers policies, but with a even fiercer mercantilist bent. He moves to push the Portuguese out of the Atlantic entirely, signing a trade agreement with Castile setting aside the bay of Biscay for Castilian ships in exchange for their respect of Ayshunid trade between the coast and the Azores. He intensifies overland trade and reopens trade with Aragon, having been significantly throttled after the conquest of Valencia a century ago. He moves to open up new western trade routes, believing a western passage towards China could lessen the Andalusian reliance on Mamluk Egypt for trade routes to the east.

    The Ayshunid navy, now the most powerful Islamic navy in the western Mediterranean, works to cut down on piracy in the Alboran sea.

    Ayshunid sailors record the presence of islands off the coast of Ghana which they label the Al-Zamaridia “Emerald” Islands (Cape Verde) after their verdant vegetation.

    Ibn Fath takes the easternmost Yassanid territories as far west as Zarzis.

    Andalusian traders begin to regularly interact with the Al-Wanj, setting up trade posts along the shores of the major islands. Several chiefs on the island of Al-Jinit (Tenerife) converts to Islam.

    Alfonso I fights Al-Fadl I outside Algiers. They sign a treaty assigning Algiers to Alfonso while the two sides agree on a mutually respected border to the west. Alfonso I adds the title rex Africae to his name to commemorate his conquest.

    Fernando works to rebuild the shattered Portuguese navy, though he finds Portugal has been almost entirely cut out of its former territories in the Atlantic.


    Encouraged by the possibility of yet more lands to the west, an expedition is launched west from the Canary Islands to scout and settle these new territories. It is lost at sea.

    Alfonso I sends missionaries to his African territories to Christianize the area, though-like the Yassanids-he is unable to suppress tribal revolts from the interior.

    Henry II cuts taxes to encourage economic growth and strips the nobility of their power, further centralizing power under the crown.

    The Emirate of Sijilmasa becomes embroiled in the Tuat War, a intercine conflict between the Gurara and Tuwat Zenata Berbers. Following an uprising by the sheikh Musa Abdullah Amani Agha of the Tuwat against the Gurara, Gurara raiders attacked several oases in Tuwat territory. In addition, Tuareg bandits from the south took advantage of the chaos to attack the border fortresses, taking away significant amounts of stockpiled goods. It takes many months to suppress the violence during the height of caravan season, cutting deeply into the Emirates profits.


    Alfonso I defeats the Banu Khlot at El Kef, forcing them westwards towards Qaranid territory.

    Henry II weakens the laws against Jews and Muslims in Castile.​

    The Discovery of the New World

    Yaqub funds a second expedition west, led by captain Abu Ali ibn Mahmud al-Mursiyah. Leaving in July, the expedition of 20 ships sailed southwest, reaching new lands across the Atlantic in mid-October.

    They name the island (Guadaloupe Grande-Terre) they reached Jezirah al-Riysh, the island of feathers, after the vast menagerie of tropical birds that flew past their ships as they approached. The settlers disembark, making contact with a band of natives they call the Al-Tayni (Taino) They exchange goods and take on a native guide, leaving after a few days. The expedition leaves a few men to scout the territory and heads north, following the chain of islands. They take the names for the islands they discover from the names reported to them by the native guide, transcribed in Arabic.

    The fleet reaches Damea “teardrop” (Montserrat), named for its distinctive pointed shape. In order, they sail past Waliyya (Nevis), Laymuqa (Saint Kitts), and Malawhana (Anguilla). After passing through a series of small islands, they come across a large landmass they dub Buriken (Puerto Rico). Again, the fleet makes landfall, contacting the local peoples, led by the chief Al-Nithanaw. It is later discovered that Nithanaw simply means ‘noble’ in the Tayni language, but the original name sticks. Abu Ali stays on Buriken for several weeks, erecting a makeshift mosque and trading with the local peoples. For a brief period they come under attack by natives apparently different from the Tayni, who are named the Al-Karbi (Island Carib). He is told of many more islands both to the west and north, as well as of lands to the south, but chooses to sail back instead. Leaving a few settlers behind at a makeshift village, dubbed Buhiyya, a rendering of the native word for “house”, transcribed as al-buhiyu.

    Abu Ali returns to Yaqub with the records of his discoveries. Yaqub, tantalized by the possibility of new trade networks and new sources of slaves commands another expedition to set out the following year.

    Summary 1283 - 1370 CE

    The Ayshunids have solidified their new holdings in Iberia, exploring west and south to find new trade routes beyond the stranglehold of the Mamluks in the east.

    Despite several wars and a crisis of succession, Castile decisively prevails over Portugal, pushing the Portuguese out of the Atlantic for the immediate future.

    In the Maghreb, tribal confederacies carve out increasingly tenuous states from the wreckage of the Almohads. The Mamluks construct alliances with turncoats from the Yassanids, and the Qaranids fight with Sijilmasa for the wealth of the Saharan trade routes.

    Aragon takes advantage of the chaos in the Western Mediterranean to conquer Sardinia and the Algerian coast, but fails to take Sicily. After absorbing Navarre, Aragon stands as the most expansive Christian state in Iberia.

    The Next post will be the culture of the Sultanate, technological developments and the expedition of Abu Ali.
    Fig 1: The Western Maghreb and Al-Andalus on the
    Eve of the Discovery of the New World


    Fig 2: Ayshunid Naval Discoveries Between 1300 - 1370

    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
  11. Zulfurium Well-Known Member

    Oct 16, 2012
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    This is really impressive. Look forward to seeing it continue. What happens in France given the developments with Navarre?
  12. dontfearme22 Chicalotlatonti

    Dec 18, 2013
    One rule I set out for myself at the start of this timeline, was to keep it contained as much as possible to cultures I felt I had the knowledge base with to construct the ATL timeline properly, so I won't be covering France much anyways. Otherwise it would become bloated, and I don't have the confidence I could properly cover a increasingly large span of ATL history each development.

    That said, without any intermarriages there won't be a Philip IV for example, or any Navarrese claims in France proper. The Capetians have a chance of lasting longer with a different series of final kings, but I don't think there would be anything radically different. Maybe the Knights Templar last longer?
  13. Aghstadian Well-Known Member

    Nov 9, 2016
    I do wonder what kind of ship the Andalusian use in their exploration?
    EquatorJewel likes this.
  14. dontfearme22 Chicalotlatonti

    Dec 18, 2013
    It is going to be essentially a proto-caravel, based on the same root design (the qarib). The design even in reality, already existed in the late 1300s and was primarily Islamic in origin even in OTL. Most Ayshunid ships are quite light, with lateen sails and shallow keels. Piracy in the Mediterranean has been suppressed due to both Aragon and the Ayshunids, and pirates aren't sailing heavy war-ships anyways.

    It meant that they were not especially effective in a pitched naval battle with anything heavy, but since the Portuguese navy is obliterated as of 1370 and the other major naval power in the mid-Atlantic (Castile), is a de-facto ally, being able to win a outright naval engagement with another professional navy is not as important, for the time being.
  15. dontfearme22 Chicalotlatonti

    Dec 18, 2013
    A Brief Cultural and Political History of the Early Ayshunids [1260 - 1370 CE]

    The Early Ayshunids, defined as the period between Yusuf Muhammads ascendency to the effectively independent ruler of Almohad Spain c. 1260 CE and the discovery of the New World in 1370. This brief, 110 year period was marked by rapid social, political and technological changes that transformed Al-Andalus from a frustrated Almohad colony to the resurgent capital of Western Islam.

    In the last years of the Almohads, it seemed obvious to anyone paying attention that the status quo could not last. In the words of the scholar Ibn Faradh, from his Book on the History of The Christians of Spain and the Flower of Andalusia,

    “In the time of Abu Sa’id, God turned his gaze from the Almohades, and it seemed all Andalusia was in shadow.”

    Between the campaigns of 1212 and Abu Sa’ids death in 1255 constant warfare with the north wreaked an increasing toll on the political stability of the Almohad state. Exorbitant demands for fresh levies for the campaigns of the various caliphs, coupled with a series of droughts from 1226 – 1240 crippled the food supply in the south pushed the Andalusian emirs to turn to protect their own, rather than fuel the endless jihad of the Berber tyrants in Morocco. Where once the first Almohad caliphs had sacked tax collectors from the Algarve to Valencia as part of their fundamentalist cleanse of the Almoravids, the later caliphs hiked the tax rate higher and higher to pay for their wars. Almost to spite the Andalusians, at the same time peasants outside Cordoba were cutting leather from old shoes to boil into soup, Abu Sa’id invested into a massive expansion of the Koutoubia mosque in Marrakesh. Its fine brickwork, in Moroccan style but overlain over floors paved with Iberian granite seemed to be a reminder for the troublesome colony of their place in the Almohad hierarchy.

    After the droughts subsided, Andalusia was left drained and deprived. Tax avoidance was at crippling levels, crop yields were barely at what they had been in the 1220s, and the dearth of adult men in Andalusia was filled by a glut of Christian mercenaries. These farfanes, as they are called, stepped in with opportunistic glee to stock the Almohad armies. In a twist of cruel irony, those same emirs who protested as the Almohad depopulated their territories ended up hiring thousands of Christians from the same states their own populations had been called up to fight. These mercenaries, while competent fighters, could not hold the frontier with any more success than the Almohads could. In 1250 Abu Sa’id, after just barely pushing the Portuguese north out of their attempted reconquest of Lisbon was forced to return to Morocco to curb the rapidly expanding Yassanid rebellion. In a reaction to the growing vulnerability of Al-Andalus against the Christians, Andalusian political figures worked with desperate assurance to buttress their own positions. In Seville, the qadi, (a municipal judge) Abdullah al-Mus’ad slackened the religious restrictions on Christians. Evidently fearful of them rising up in the event the city came under siege, he hoped to placate them into some measure of loyalty. Acting as the governor of Valencia, Ali Ibn Nizar Ibn Dabbaj, began to divert supplies from ships ostensibly bound for the Maghreb into the cities own storehouses as a way of gathering up financial collateral to bargain after the inevitable Christian assault. In the case of Abdullah al-Mus’ad, his fears never materialized, but for Ali Ibn Nizar, when the Christians did sally outside the walls in 1260, no amount of stolen goods could stop Alfonso X from mounting his head on an pike outside the city gates.

    Direct Almohad control on the regional level, tenuous by 1212, was basically nonexistent by 1255. Almohad appointments to governmental posts were sporadic at best in 1212, with multiple decrees (taqadim) sent out by Al-Nasir to appoint pro-Almohad figures to a mishmash of judge and governorships. Abu Sa’id, so preoccupied by the disintegration of Almohad power in the Maghreb, only sent out one with any consequence, taqadim 3, which appointed the sheikh Abu Yusuf to the judgeship of Murcia in 1248. Past this point, no Almohad appointees would ever rule in Al-Andalus. Only in the khutbah, the public sermon in the mosque, was Almohad power acknowledged. In the same year (1245) the Jaenese Iman Muhammad Mu'awiya Ibn Affan declared that Andalusia was:

    “the white flower of Islam, that sits cupped in the hand of al-Mu'tadid bi-llah (Abu Sa’id), and will only wilt on the day of Revelation”,

    the governor of Jaen, Ibrahim al-Hawlaq paid just a reported 56 dinars to Marrakesh over the course of the entire year. It is clear that Abu Sa’ad was aware of this breakdown of authority, but he could take few solid steps to remedy it. In previous years Almohad caliphs could punish any upstart rebels by simply crushing them militarily, but with depleted troop counts and a war in Morocco that was quickly spiraling out of control, that was no longer an option. Instead Abu Sa’ad could do little but march his army through Al-Andalus when he could but could not linger much longer than absolutely necessary, just putting bandages on an increasingly festering wound.

    So, by 1255 Abu Sa’ad, lying morose in his tent while his empire crumbled around him, must have felt some sense of personal responsibility for it. After all, he knew from the 1230’s onwards that the Andalusians felt no real allegiance to the Almohads and felt no great harm would come to them if they defied him. Despite that fact, the Almohad governmental structure far outlasted any actual Almohads in Iberia. Yusuf Muhammads rise, though the death knell of Almohad Iberia, began through Almohad structures of power. Originally a minor noble of a Muladi family in Seville, Yusuf Muhammad first appeared on the historical scene as a cavalry commander in Abu Sa’ads army after 1251, an attaché to bolster the Almohad army with Andalusian loyalists. Of course, his true ambitions cared little for the Almohad cause, and after Abu Sa’ads death he engineered a silent coup inside the army, playing with alliances built up across his youth and his time among the cadre of Andalusian military officers.

    Yusuf Muhammad never took an official position as any sort of real ‘ruler’ in Al-Andalus. Rather, after becoming the de-facto leader in the face of the Almohad withdrawal he had his ally, the most powerful iman in Al-Andalus, Ibn Mutarrif of Cordoba, release a khutbah in 1256 declaring that the apparent surviving descendant of Hisham III, the last Umayyad emir of Al-Andalus, a obscure and effete intellectual named Abdullah Al-‘Abbas was the only true ruler of Andalusia. Now, Abdullah Al ‘Abbas would have never appeared in the historical record unless Yusuf Muhammad needed a royal face for his nascent regime, until he could assume it himself. After the khutbah, the emirs couldn’t decide entirely how to react.

    As the Christians marched south, some even considered pleading to the Almohads to try and gain fresh military support. Yusuf Muhammad needed a victory to align the emirs behind his movement, and he gained one at Bujalance. After a prolonged ambush through the olive groves of southern Spain, Alfonso X had to flee north and Yusuf Muhammad could fully emerge from the shadows. Abdullah Al ‘Abbas, taking on his title as the Umayyad Caliph Abdullah I, though entirely unrecognized by the Almohads, released a series of taqadim establishing Yusuf Muhammads allies throughout influential positions across Al-Andalus. Yusuf Muhammad himself never took an official Almohad title, though he ensured he was cloaked by a ring of allies who did have such title, to project some air of plausible deniability. By the late 1250’s, it was obvious who was truly pulling the strings, and by 1263 the last staunch Almohad in Iberia was conveniently assassinated by an unknown assailant. The shadow takeover of Andalusia was complete. There was significant nostalgia for the old Caliphate of Cordoba among the emirs, and the possibility of a legitimate restoration of that line was tantalizing to those who wished for a time before the Berber dynasties. Yusuf Muhammad though, never had any intentions of giving Abdullah I any real power. Once he was confident the Almohads had been driven out, and that his supporters (more loyal to him than to any sort of Umayyad nostalgia) were entrenched throughout the country, he politically neutered Abdullah I and by 1266, Abdullah I was little more than a pretty pet caged in Cordoba while Yusuf ruled the country. Most official histories of the time barely mention his name more than once. He was after all, a temporary prop until the emirs realized who the real power was.

    Yusuf Muhammad redrew his own genealogy to claim descent from Hasan Ibn Ali, Muhammads elder grandson, thus superseding the Umayyad claim to the Prophet. He also took the nickname of Saqr Ishbiliyya, the falcon of Seville, a clear nod to the famous title of ‘Abd al-Rahman I (Saqr Quraiysh, the Falcon of the Quraysh). Thus, he was simultaneously undermining the idea of a restoration of the Umayyads in Al-Andalus and creating a new version of it. A restored Caliphate of Cordoba, without the decadence that defined its fall. This sense of an Andalusian renaissance permeates the Early Ayshunids. Crucially, Yusuf never took the title of Caliph himself, settling for Sultan. This was likely a move to preserve his own integrity vis-à-vis the Umayyad lineage he claimed to represent, though not a part of himself. It would have been quite unseemly were he to try to usurp the title of Caliph from the same dynasty he had propped up only a few years before.

    After Yusuf’s death, he divided his kingdom into two states, with the bulk of it going to his eldest Sulayman, and the Algarve going to ‘Abd al-Aziz. Technically speaking, the Ayshunid state was still united, with a single capital (at Seville), and a single sultan in Sulayman. The state of ‘Abd al-Aziz was in a legal sense just a personal fiefdom operating under the supervision of his brother. Yusuf had hoped that this dual system would complement the personalities of his sons, with the warlike Portuguese frontier going to the notoriously pugnacious ‘Abd al-Aziz and the delicate sultanate itself to the bureaucratic and stoic Sulayman. What happened in reality was a quick division of the Ayshunids into two functionally independent states paying only lip service to each-other.

    ‘Abd al-Aziz, as the governor of the wilayat of the Algarve diverted taxes to his own stores, paying only slivers to Sulayman, and began to spend more and more of his time in Lisbon instead of Seville. Sulayman, who spent much of his early reign negotiating with the Christians became irritated by his brother’s insubordination and worked to isolate the Algarve from the rest of his kingdom. Were it not for ‘Abd al-Aziz, the reign of Sulayman I might be remembered as one of defining peace for the Iberian Peninsula. Sulaymans brainchild, the treaty of Segovia, negotiated painstakingly between 1292 – 94 promised to settle the border wars in Iberia for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, his brothers increasingly erratic behavior would poke holes in his foreign policy for decades.

    First ‘Abd al-Aziz refused to accommodate Portuguese envoys while they attempted to help negotiate the treaty. Then he grudgingly signed a secondary, piecemeal deal with King Denis, with the obvious intention of violating it whenever possible. ‘Abd al-Aziz, for all his military acumen was a fanatic, and prone to violent mood swings. The infamous Scouring of Portugal, the series of pogroms and massacres that took place under his reign from 1285 – 90 was allegedly all started because a Christian peasant spat near him while he traveled through the countryside. ‘Abd al-Aziz instituted some of the most puritanical, and cruel policies seen in Iberia since the early Almohad period. Jews were forbidden from living in all cities, and any without marketable skills were forced to flee the Algarve or face forced conversion. Christians deemed insufficiently amicable to conversion to Islam were persecuted at every turn, with quota systems set up where a certain percentage of Christian goods had to the be paid to the state on top of the standard jizya, as compensation for the wars of their compatriots in the north. The quotas increased each year, and any village that could not pay faced mass executions, imprisonment, and forced exile. Churches were sacked, priests were publicly tortured, and the legal rights of Christians were essentially nonexistent.

    In one, possibly apocryphal, incident in September 12th, 1286 reported by the Chronicler of King Denis, ‘Abd al-Aziz, while visiting a fortress near Santarem noticed a pilgrim had stopped nearby to pray at a shrine. He asked the pilgrim why he chose to pray while his king was passing by, knowing that the Muslims would have to tolerate seeing a Christian pray on Muslim land. The Christian responded by saying that he “prays when the mood strikes me, for there are no times that are not good for prayer.” ‘Abd al-Aziz, rankled by the response ordered his guards to seize the pilgrim, and on arriving at the fortress had bonds of hot iron made with which they locked the pilgrim’s hands together. ‘Abd al-Aziz, seeing the Christian whimper in pain, quipped “now you may never stop from praying, no matter what time of day it is.”

    Whatever the truth of these reported acts is, by 1290 the Christian population of the Algarve had dropped by perhaps as much as 70%, and Jews just as much. Those who could fled to Portugal. Those who couldn’t converted or were executed. This was a flagrant violation of the general peace and infuriated the Portuguese. Sulayman, recognizing a second war was imminent had ‘Abd al-Aziz murdered in 1315. From that point forward, Sulayman sub-partitioned the wilayat of the Algarve and reintegrated it into the larger sultanate. The last ten years of his reign were marked by peace and stability. He kept the system of regional qadis and governors but centralized power away from the noble families, borrowing from Christian models on centralized kingship. The tribal clans, so integral in Maghrebi politics, were marginalized and weakened, replaced by European style aristocratic houses. Some even took on family heraldry to be more Latin in appearance. Sulayman’s nephew, Fariq continued these trends.

    Unlike his predecessor, Fariq was far more interested in the navy over political reforms. Leaving much of the day to day running of the government to a series of regents, he obsessed over trade and maritime technology. Lavish stipends were granted to scholars to study in expansive new naval colleges, staffed by experts recruited from as far afield as Zanzibar. His was a policy intent solely on forcing a path where none had existed before. During the end of the Almohads, and the reign of Yusuf, Al-Andalus had been nearly strangled by the drying up of the Mediterranean trade routes and relentless piracy. The near-total dependence of this outpost of Islam on trade with distant, sometimes hostile, powers knawed at Fariq, who wished to find an escape outlet. A new pipeline of wealth, not beholden to a Mamluk Sultan nor Saharan tribesmen. The Atlantic seemed to be the natural solution to this, and he would indeed be ultimately vindicated, though long after his own death.

    It would take his successor Yaqub to fulfill his ambitions and eventually make Andalusia the most powerful trade empire in the entire Mediterranean. The discovery of the New World marks both the end of the Early Ayshunid period and also the beginning of the Islamic conquest of the Atlantic.

    The Material Culture of the Ayshunids

    Early Ayshunid material culture is indistinguishable from Almohad era artifacts, but as the first few Ayshunid sultans steered the state away from the Maghrebs cultural sphere, Andalusian material culture changed drastically. As Yusuf Muhammad marched north, his kingdom marched north with him. As the Andalusian state swelled to take newly conquered parts of Portugal and Toledo itself, it pulled away from the Berber culture that had dominated it for 400 years. Andalusians consciously attempted to reenter themselves in Europe, away from the Maghreb. Artwork took on an archaic, flowery appearance, like the famed ivory work of the Umayyads. Poetry, Literature and clothing all took on older Umayyad styles, with Egyptian and Syrian influences replacing Maghrebi. The thousands of Mozarabs and former Moriscos of Toledo re-injected European stylings into Al-Andalus. Castilian style fabrics, artwork and even Castilian vocabulary repenetrated Andalusian culture. The shifting cultural dynamics even penetrated northwards. As the political balance suddenly, and sharply tilted towards the south, noticeable elements of ‘Moorish’ fashion entered Latin Christian culture for the first time in centuries. These processes would only accelerate under Yusuf’s successors, especially pronounced during the reign of Fariq I, whose mercantilist expansionism led to the beginning of what is widely considered the Ayshunid golden age.

    As the markets of Africa began to dry up as the Qaranids flexed their muscles, Fariq began to seek goods from farther south. Backed by fleets of highly mobile galleys Ayshunid merchants could rely on the full weight of the state to sway local rulers away from the Qaranids, and the farther south the fleets went the weaker the Qaranid grip was. Goods from as far south as Benin soon entered Iberian ports as west Africa was cracked open to Andalusian commerce. Exotic goods like pelts, ivories and forest hardwoods decorated Fariqs sprawling palace outside Seville, and he even could boast a private menagerie complete with apes and giant jungle insects displayed in golden cages. There was little African cultural influence on Al-Andalus however, with the notable exception of kente cloth, which attracted Arab buyers with its bright colors and strong patterns. Soon faux-kente embroidery decorated the robes worn by upper-class merchants, and their meals were served by Igbo and Wolof servants. This style, called mulabbad mukhattam al-sudan, became very popular in the mid-14th century.

    A stronger factor in Andalusian society was the Christian kingdoms, long resented under the Almohads. As general peace settled in Iberia for the first time in half a millennium, there was again cultural room for adoption of northern styles, and vice-versa. Poets felt freed to write in Mozarabic again, freely mingling Arabic and Castilian verse to verse. Except for the Algarve and Valencia, where religious tensions remained high, some semblance of the old Convivencia of Cordoba had returned to Iberia. The Mozarabs, on the brink of extinction following the Almohad purges, reestablished themselves in Toledo, producing new literature and high art under the patronage of the Sultanate. One Mozarabic poem from the poet Alexo Bercio of Toledo (with the penname Al-Aleberia) describes the resurgent optimism of this period:

    “ 1 Come my love to my court

    2 The sun is a golden orange in God’s hands

    3 Fly my love to me

    4 We will have alfajores by the river

    5 Feel my voice singing songs to you

    6 Our clothes match like stones in a riverbed

    7 Come, we can see the market and hear the cobblers banging their hammers

    8 their faces are red in the evening sun

    9 Flush cheeks are the seal of your love on my face

    10 Let us embrace in the twilight “

    Clothing in Castilian style became quite popular, especially in the north. Turbans had long since fallen out of favor after the Almohad withdrawal, replaced by simple caps, sometimes with a thin wrap around the brow to show the wearers faith. Christian-style caps and jewelry were all the rage among the urban classes, to the point where some bemoaned the apparent degradation of Islamic fashion. One writer, Ibn Farha, bemoaned that in Jaen,

    “foreign clothing is abundant in the souq…it is difficult to find a single jubba [a long male robe], or a proper muslim shaya [a tunic worn primarily by the middle class]. Women strut like peacocks, their veils with golden edging in the Christian fashion…”

    As Andalusian fashion became less Maghrebi, it became more appealing to Europeans, who bought Andalusian textiles in copious quantities. This was most pronounced in Aragon, which became the most cosmopolitan of the Christian kingdoms, with colonies in the Balearics, Sardinia and even Ifriqya itself. The extent of Moorish influence in Aragon did unsettle the nobility, and after pressure Alfonso I passed a series of sumptuary laws aimed at limiting non-Latin styles of clothing among Christians. One such law, aimed at cutting back the popularity of cut robes in the Muslim style decreed the following:

    “VIII The King Commands: that no grandee, knight, nor squire nor man of Aragon shall wear costume in the Moorish style. No one shall wear their hats peaked on the temple with straps hanging freely, but must tie them, nor allow their caps to be embroidered in gold except at the mercy of the king.”

    New public works, built to reflect Umayyad style decorated the major cities. The foremost of these was the great mosque at Lisbon, which was finished in 1342. Designed to replace the previous mosque which was originally the converted cathedral of the city, it was based on the Great Mosque of Cordoba, with white arches decorated with vinework tilings and fine alabaster stonework around the courtyard. Much of the construction was carried out by Granadine masons and Mozárab artisans imported from Murcia. In the wake of the purges of the Algarve most of the native Christians around Lisbon had long since fled, leaving the territory to be repopulated by Andalusian Muslims from the east. This lent a distinctively Granadine taste to the new stonework flourishing in the Algarve.

    By the late 14th century, Ayshunid culture was vain in its pride, confident and self-assured as the jewel of Western Islam. There was a knowing neglect of Maghrebi customs, which saw themselves isolated and ignored, stuck as a backwater between Iberia and Egypt. New colonies in the Canary Islands and the Azores saw Ayshunid culture turn further to the west. The decline of Portuguese naval power allowed Ayshunid traders to fully exploit the Atlantic. Still quite young, the potential of the western islands was still not lost on the nobility, who enjoyed feasting on oranges from the Azores, and picking over primitive souvenirs from the Guanches, though there was a noticeable yearning for more. As the 14th would turn to the 15th, the Arabs who would settle these island territories would begin to develop a distinctive and rich culture and form the first crop of explorers for the impending explosion of expansion into the New World.

    Ayshunid Naval Technology

    “I arrived safely in Jinit, but found little to buy in the markets. The Wanj make excellent furs but they are expensive. I have used 75 dinars to buy 30 of them. After much prayer, I traveled to Lebuh [Senegal] and sold the corals you had given me. The corals sold for 1 1/2 mithqals [Egyptian dinars] each. I bought ivory and returned to Cadiz…”

    Yusuf bin Hassan, a Arabo-Jewish trader writing to his business partner in 1366.

    Early Ayshunid science is foremost defined by advances in naval technology. At the start of the dynasty, the navy was in a sorry state. Degraded, and withered by decades of neglect and piracy most ships were barely seaworthy. This fact constantly bothered Yusuf Muhammad, who was unable to solve the problem, leading to the near-collapse of his state only just after he had claimed it. Constant raids on the eastern coast and an unwillingness of merchants to provide loans for expeditions to once-familiar ports in Syria and Egypt crippled the Andalusian economy. To begin to fix the problem, the later sultans proposed increasingly radical solutions. Early Ayshunid ships were light galleys, of wholly Islamic style, with thin hulls and lateen sails. These ships, of the ghurab, and qata’i variety were well-suited for anti-piratical actions, but required constant, and expensive maintenance. Unfortunately, the breakdown of political stability in the mid-13th century meant that many of these ships were out of repair and out dated. Fariq worked to improve the navy by first investing heavily into new ship-building facilities and naval colleges, grooming a new cadre of capable admirals. Other investments were into new ship designs, ones that could be maintained more easily and weather the Atlantic, increasingly the focus of Ayshunid naval activities. The ship that was settled on was a derivation of the traditional sailing ship in the Maghreb, the qarib. These unassuming fishing vessels were expanded and refitted with a wider scantling to accommodate cargo for longer voyages. Early successes in the exploration of the Azores encouraged its wider adoption, and eventually Fariq decided to scuttle much of the existing navy in favor of similar vessels, built to accommodate crews of marines. This new navy was extremely light and highly self-sufficient, able to travel long distances through open ocean. Yet, as the Ayshunid navy transformed from a purely military navy to a colonial, exploratory navy its military capabilities were reduced. The lighter vessels simply could not carry as much firepower as heavier European ships, nor could their hulls withstand as much punishment. They could easily handle pirates, but as the naval actions in the Second Galician war showed, they were ill-equipped to engage a foreign fleet in an open naval battle.

    By the beginning of the 15th century, the root qarib form had diverged into several designs built for the various components of the Ayshunid trade network. There was the ultra-light ship, built for coastline exploration and scouting actions, known as the risha, the heavier Atlantic trade vessel, the safinah, and the warship, of the form most commonly described as the ‘ibra. Such innovations in ship design, combined with discoveries in navigation and cartography, like the discovery of the karr w farr trade winds, led to an explosion of Islamic exploration in the late 14th-15 centuries.

    [typed this up real quickly between updates, hope its interesting]
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2017
  16. snassni2 Well-Known Member

    Mar 3, 2015
    Great read. I really like the fast pace.
  17. Alexander the Average Anti-lion tamer

    Sep 19, 2015
    Loving the timeline so far. I have a soft spot for Muslim Spain and Islamic New World timelines. Looking forward to seeing where this goes.
  18. Contrary Well-Known Member

    Jun 24, 2017
    Love this!
  19. Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

    May 10, 2016
    Land of Rust and Snow
  20. mythmonster2 Well-Known Member

    Nov 2, 2013
    Houston, TX
    Awesome, I'm always up for an Andalusian timeline, especially when America gets involved
    Taloc13 and Planet of Hats like this.