In this themed talk we will be looking at the Zirid Kingdom of Granada.
Who were the Zirids? Where did they come from? What was the legacy of the dynasty that founded the Kingdom of Granada and remained in power for 77 years?
In order to answer these questions we must first analyse the historical context in which they first appeared. It was the time of the fitna, the Civil War within the Islamic community, in which different factions disputed the Caliphate, which was ultimately abolished in November 1031. This led to the establishment of over 30 Kingdoms, known as the Taifa Kingdoms.
This was a key century in which the balance of power between Islam and Christianity shifted.
Within this context of civil war a group of Berbers from Ifriqiya (from the Talkata group, ½anhayi branch and members of the macro-tribe of the Baranis) came to the Iberian Peninsula: the Zirids were a Berber dynasty originally from Cabilia, a mountainous region of Algeria, who since the 10th century had governed the region of Ifr?qiya, firstly as the vassals of the Fatimids and from 1048 to 1163, as independent Emirs.
One branch of the Zirids led by Zawi ben Ziri moved to al-Andalus to serve as mercenaries under the command of Almanzor. In 1013, Ziwi ben Ziri founded the Taifa of Granada, an independent Muslim Kingdom that emerged in al-Andalus as a result of the disintegration of the Caliphate of Cordoba.
It is important to make clear that the Zirids settled first in Madinat Ilbira (Elvira) before deciding to found a new Medina nearby, which later became the city of Granada (1013).
The decision of the Zirids to settle in this area resulted from an agreement with the local people, as can be deduced from an analysis of the facts and by reading the memoirs of the Sultan ‘Abd Allah. Both parties benefited from this pact in that the people of Elvira, who had no army, secured a protector in times of great insecurity with the fitna, while the Zirids obtained a Kingdom, the right to raise taxes and the loyalty of their subjects (bay‘a)