The first four caliph
), combined spiritual (imam
) and temporal (amir al-mu`minin
) rulers in succession to Muhammad
, were chosen from among his companions. The third, Uthman
, was of the Umayyad family, descendants of one Umayya
, and Uthman reigned 644-656. After him came Ali
, but on Ali's death in 661
became hereditary in the Umayyad dynasty
, and with this came the split between the Sunni
branches of Islam
, the Umayyads commanding the dominant Sunni branch.
Already in their expansion from Arabia the new Muslim power extended from Egypt (captured 640) to Central Asia (the important city of Merv captured 651). Under the Umayyads the capital was moved out of Arabia to Damascus, and they continued to push both west and east.
Carthage fell in 698, the Berbers of North Africa were converted in 702, and in 711 General Tariq having crossed to Gibraltar, which now bears his name (jebel Tariq) conquered almost all of the Visigothic kingdom of Spain, leaving only the Basques and the northern coastal kingdom of Asturias under Christian control. The Berbers proved a valuable acquisition both as warrior allies and because they had recently discovered the trans-Saharan route to the Black African empire of Ghana, rich with gold, which the Berbers traded for salt they got from Saharan salt mines.
Eastward the Umayyad Caliphate reached as far as Tashkent in campaigns of 704-15 and took Sindh, now part of Pakistan, in 712-13, and northward they took all the Caucasus and some beyond. However, they could not make further progress against the Byzantine Empire, though their Middle Eastern heartland had come from Byzantine provinces recently captured by Persia. The Byzantines invented Greek fire and had naval superiority.
In 747 the Abbasid Dynasty, descendants of Abbas, an uncle of Muhammad, revolted in Persia, and began to take over, and the Umayyad Caliphate fell in 750.
The Abbasids never took Spain, and here the Umayyad line remained, with the title of emir from 756. It was this state that Charlemagne fought. Charlemagne did not get far in Spain, but the Christian north, now represented by the Kingdom of Galicia, gradually prised land from the Umayyad Emirate.
The Umayyads experienced a revival in the tenth century. In about 900 a Fatimid Caliphate was established in the Maghreb, and began to push eastward, eventually taking Egypt away from the weakened Abbasid Caliphate. The Umayyads of Spain took advantage by moving into the vacuum and occupying Morocco. They declared themselves caliphs once more in 929. But after 1031 they degenerated into a multitude of petty states.
Umayyad Caliphs of the main line:
Muawiya I 661-680
Yazid I 680-683
Muawiya II 683-684
Marwan I 684-685 (g-gr. of Umayya)
Abd al-Malik 685-705
al-Walid I 705-715
Sulayman 715-717 (br.)
Umar II 717-720 (gr. of Marwan I)
Yazid II 720-724 (s. of Abd al-Malik)
Hisham 724-743 (br.)
al-Walid II 743-744 (s. of Yazid II)
Yazid III 744 (s. of al-Walid I)
Ibrahim 744 (br.; deposed)
Marwan II 744-750 (gr. of Marwan I)
Umayyad Emirs then Caliphs of Andalusia or Cordoba:
Abd ar-Rahman I 756-788 (gr. of Hisham above)
Hisham I 788-796
al-Hakam I 796-822
Abd ar-Rahman II 822-852
Muhammad I 852-886
Abdallah 888-912 (br.)
Abd ar-Rahman III 912-961 (gr.; caliph from 929)
al-Hakam II 961-976
Hisham II 976-1009 (see note below)
Muhammad II 1009
Muhammad II again 1010
Hisham II again 1010-1013
Sulayman again 1013-1016
Ali ibn Hammud 1016-1018
Abd ar-Rahman IV 1018
al-Qasim again 1023
Abd ar-Rahman V 1023-1024
Muhammad III 1024-1025
Yahya again 1025-1027
Hisham III 1027-1031
Relationship to previous ruler is son except where otherwise marked, but after the deposition of Hisham II the succession in the Caliphate of Cordoba is too fractious to be worth marking. They were in terminal decline by then.
Colin McEvedy, The New Penguin Encyclopedia of Medieval History
John Morby, The Wordsworth Handbook of Kings and Queens