Caliphate in the days of the Umayyads and Abbasids

In the second half of the VII century. As a result of the quarrels between supporters of Caliph Ali, Mohammed’s son-in-law, and representatives of the strong Meccan clan of the Umayyads, Islam split. In 661, Caliph Ali was killed. The throne was taken by a native of the Umayyad family, Syria’s deputy Mu’awiyah. He became the founder of the new Umayyad Dynasty. Muavia moved the capital of the caliphate from Mecca to Damascus, the main city of Syria. The Umayyad caliphate lasted about 90 years and significantly expanded its borders. In the middle of the VIII century, the Umayyads owned lands in Asia, Africa and Europe with a population of 70-80 million people. The Caliphs were recruited into the civil service mainly by Arabs. Office work was conducted in Arabic, began to mint their own coins.

However, they did not manage to stop intertribal discord. In 750, the commander Abul Abbas deprived the Umayyads of the throne and established a new dynasty – the Abbasids.

The capital of the caliphate was the city of Baghdad. It was founded in 762 under the Caliph Mansur. Today it is the capital of Iraq.

The Abbasid Caliphate was particularly strong in the 8th-9th centuries. Some caliphs of this period were so outstanding personalities that their names became legendary, even in Western Europe. Thus, the Caliph Harun al-Rashid gained fame as an extremely gifted ruler, a very rich man; he became one of the heroes of the tales of the collection “A Thousand and One Nights”. Under the Abbasids, an ancient oriental palace ritual is introduced. Previously available for communication with almost every Muslim, now the Caliph has alienated himself from his subjects by a huge palace and guard. Next to the caliph was a vizier – the first minister and head of the judiciary.

Abbasids did not fight actively, which contributed to the economic prosperity of the country.

Thanks to the irrigation system, high yields of rice, cotton, sugar cane. Arabs began to pay considerable attention to gardening and floriculture. From the petals of roses, a special substance

was prepared for the production of perfume. In addition, the Arabs bred rare breeds of horses and sheep.

In the caliphate, there were many large cities, where trade and crafts were concentrated. Persian carpets, jewelry, weapons from the famous Damascus steel were famous everywhere. In some cities of the caliphate lived hundreds of thousands of residents. The big and luxurious city was the capital of the state – Baghdad.

However, at the end of the 9th c. the power of the Abbasids began to decline. They lose their territories: Spain, Morocco, Transcaucasia, Central Asia, Armenia, Egypt. In 945 Baghdad was captured by the Iranian army. From that time the caliphs were deprived of secular power and retained only the authority of the supreme cleric over all Muslims as the governors of the Prophet. So the Abbasids lasted more than three centuries. In 1258, the Mongols captured Baghdad and killed the last caliph from the Abbasid dynasty. The Arab state ceased to exist. However, Islam was preserved and established on a significant territory of the former caliphate. The notion “the Arab world” appears.

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Caliphate in the days of the Umayyads and Abbasids