History of Islamic Tripolitania and Cyrenaica

History Of Islamic Tripolitania And Cyrenaica

History of Islamic Tripolitania and Cyrenaica

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Islamic rule in Tripolitania and Cyrenaica began as early as the 7th century. With tenuous Byzantine control over Libya restricted to a few poorly defended coastal strongholds, the Arab horsemen who first crossed into Pentapolis, Cyrenaica in September 642 encountered little resistance. Under the command of Amr ibn al-A'as, the armies of Islam conquered Cyrenaica, renaming the Pentapolis, Barqa.

Islamic conquest

From Barqa, Uqba bin Nafi led a campaign against Fezzan, marching to Zaweela, the capital of Fezzan. No resistance was offered, and the entire district submitted to the Muslims agreeing to pay Jizya. A clause was further inserted in the peace treaty that part of the Jizya coming from the district was to be spent on the poor of the area.

In 647 an army of 40,000 Arabs, led by ‘Abdu’llah ibn Sa‘ad, the foster-brother of Caliph Uthman ibn Affan, penetrated further into western Libya. Tripoli was taken from the Byzantines, followed by Sufetula, a city 150 miles south of Carthage, where the Exarch Gregory, was killed. The campaign lasted fifteen months, after which Abdallah's force returned to Egypt after Gregory's successor Gennadius promised them an annual tribute of some 330,000 nomismata. Gennadius also sent the usual surplus of revenues over expenditures to Constantinople, but otherwise administered Africa as he liked. The new Exarch's greatest source of strength was from the Amazigh tribes: the Sanhaja-Awrabi, Zenata, Shawia, Hoda and others. When...
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