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==The Arab Invasion==
 
==The Arab Invasion==
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In 646 AD, after the Muslims finally finished their conquest of [[Egypt]], they soon turned their sights to Roman North Africa. The Exarchate of Africa found itself on the frontline of the war with the expanding Arab state. The Byzantine Empire, itself suffering defeats on almost all fronts, and further weakened by a constant civil war, could give no assistance to such a distant province. The Exarchate had to completely rely upon local, limited resources. That they managed to hold off the Muslim advance for so long speaks to the enthusiastic resistance of the local population against the Arabs.  
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In 646 AD, after the Muslims finally finished their conquest of Egypt, they soon turned their sights to Roman North Africa. The Exarchate of Africa found itself on the frontline of the war with the expanding Arab state. The Byzantine Empire, itself suffering defeats on almost all fronts, and further weakened by a constant civil war, could give no assistance to such a distant province. The Exarchate had to completely rely upon local, limited resources. That they managed to hold off the Muslim advance for so long speaks to the enthusiastic resistance of the local population against the Arabs.  
    
It was not until 680 AD that the Arabs finally broke through the defenses of the Exarchate. While Romans barricaded themselves in coastal cities, a Muslim commander named Oqba led a raid along the coast that reached the Atlantic Ocean in modern Morocco. It is said in the Muslims sources that Oqba slashed the waves of the ocean with his sabre, furious that there was no more land to conquer. Upon his return in 683 however, Oqba's army was annihilated by a coalition of Berber tribes, and he himself was slain.  
 
It was not until 680 AD that the Arabs finally broke through the defenses of the Exarchate. While Romans barricaded themselves in coastal cities, a Muslim commander named Oqba led a raid along the coast that reached the Atlantic Ocean in modern Morocco. It is said in the Muslims sources that Oqba slashed the waves of the ocean with his sabre, furious that there was no more land to conquer. Upon his return in 683 however, Oqba's army was annihilated by a coalition of Berber tribes, and he himself was slain.  
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Conversions threatened by force rarely have initial effect. For a long time local Muslim governors sent reports to the caliphs that the ever-rebellious Berbers were Muslims in name only, apostatizing at every possible occasion and starting mutinies time and time again.  
 
Conversions threatened by force rarely have initial effect. For a long time local Muslim governors sent reports to the caliphs that the ever-rebellious Berbers were Muslims in name only, apostatizing at every possible occasion and starting mutinies time and time again.  
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The fate of the mostly Christian settled population was initially similar to that of [[Syria]], Spain or Egypt. However, Christians had lost most of their intellectual elites who had either died in war or emigrated (most of old Roman aristocracy had fled to [[Italy]]). This accelerated the Islamization and Arabization of the local population.
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The fate of the mostly Christian settled population was initially similar to that of Syria, Spain or Egypt. However, Christians had lost most of their intellectual elites who had either died in war or emigrated (most of old Roman aristocracy had fled to [[Italy]]). This accelerated the Islamization and Arabization of the local population.
    
Small pockets of Christians however, survived up to 17<sup>th</sup> century. In addition, as late as the 12<sup>th</sup> century in some coastal cities, the Latin language could still be heard in the streets.  
 
Small pockets of Christians however, survived up to 17<sup>th</sup> century. In addition, as late as the 12<sup>th</sup> century in some coastal cities, the Latin language could still be heard in the streets.  
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==See Also==
 
==See Also==
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*[[The Story of Umm Qirfa]]
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*[[Umm Qirfa]]
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*[[Islam and Women]]
    
==References==  
 
==References==  
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