The Zanj rebellion took place in Southern Iraq starting in 869 CE and stands as an example of one of the most successful slave rebellions anywhere to this day, with the possible exception of the whole Moses thing. The Zanj were a group of African slaves used by Arabs in the marshes at the mouth of the Tigris river in South Iraq. Under a Khariji leader, they rose up in rebellion against their former masters, sacking Basrah and setting up their own state in Southern Iraq and Kuzistan. This state enslaved the former slaveowners in the service of the former slaves, logically enough. The rebels also built a city in the marshes that was nearly impregnable due to its watery location. The forces of caliph al-Muwaffaq were unable to breach the walls of this city without using special techniques to do so, thus leaving the Zanj to run their state unmolested for quite some time, until 883, when the caliph's forces managed to finally reduce the forces of the Zanj sufficiently to reestablish control over the area. The Zanj rebellion lasted fourteen years and was possibly the best-organized slave revolt in history.

All information in this writeup is taken from Marshall G. S. Hodgson's The Venture of Islam v.1, The Classical Age of Islam.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.