Abd-al-Mumin of the Almohades (ruled 1133-1163 AD)
Moroccan Founder of the Almohad Empire that ruled in North Africa and Spain
Abd-al-Mumin was a Negro Berber from Morocco. He became the leader of the Almohades, a radical Islamic movement that eventually became the Third Islamic Dynasty in Moslem Spain. Abd-al-Mumin took control of the movement in 1133 AD. A brilliant organiser, he unified the various Berber groups, not just the Mesmuda (his own group), into a cohesive force. In time, a power struggle took place between the ruling Almoravid establishment, an African power that radiated from Senegal, and the newly rising Almohades. The newcomers triumphed. In 1147 they seized the Moroccan city of Marrakech and executed the last Almoravid monarch that ruled there. Abd-al-Mumin commissioned the great Koutoubia mosque to be built there as a symbol of his conquest over the Almoravides. By 1150 he became master of Spain. "Thus for a second time" wrote Lady Lugard, a great English historian, "a purely African dynasty reigned upon the most civilised throne of Europe". By 1160 his armies took control of Tunisia and penetrated Libya. These actions gained control of trade routes. Dr Basil Davidson, another great historian, explained that: "the Magreb blossomed once again." Furthermore, "cities like Fez and Tlemsen rivalled the urban beauty and learning of Granada and Cordova, unsurpassed by now throughout the western world".