Umayyad Caliphate History
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The Umayyad Caliphate (Arabic: الخلافة الأموية‎, trans. Al-Khilāfat al-ʾumawiyya) was the second of the four major Islamic caliphates established after the death of Muhammad. This caliphate was centered on the Umayyad dynasty (Arabic: الأمويون‎, al-ʾUmawiyyūn, or بنو أمية, Banū ʾUmayya, "Sons of Umayya"), hailing from Mecca. The Umayyad family had first come to power under the third caliph, Uthman ibn Affan (r. 644–656), but the Umayyad regime was founded by Muawiya ibn Abi Sufyan, long-time governor of Syria, after the end of the First Muslim Civil War in 661 CE/41 AH. Syria remained the Umayyads' main power base thereafter, and Damascus was their capital. The Umayyads continued the Muslim conquests, incorporating the Caucasus, Transoxiana, Sindh, the Maghreb and the Iberian Peninsula (Al-Andalus) into the Muslim world. At its greatest extent, the Umayyad Caliphate covered 15 million km2 (5.79 million square miles), making it the largest empire (in terms of area - not in terms of population) the world had yet seen, and the fifth largest ever to exist.

At the time, the Umayyad taxation and administrative practice were perceived as unjust by some Muslims. The non-Muslim population had autonomy; their judicial matters were dealt with in accordance with their own laws and by their own religious heads or their appointees, although they did pay a poll tax for policing to the central state.Muhammad had stated explicitly during his lifetime that each religious minority should be allowed to practice its own religion and govern itself, and the policy had on the whole continued. The welfare state for both the Muslim and the non-Muslim poor started by Umar ibn al Khattab had also continued. Muawiya's wife Maysum (Yazid's mother) was also a Christian. The relations between the Muslims and the Christians in the state were good. The Umayyads were involved in frequent battles with the Christian Byzantines without being concerned with protecting themselves in Syria, which had remained largely Christian like many other parts of the empire. Prominent positions were held by Christians, some of whom belonged to families that had served in Byzantine governments. The employment of Christians was part of a broader policy of religious tolerance that was necessitated by the presence of large Christian populations in the conquered provinces, as in Syria. This policy also boosted Muawiya's popularity and solidified Syria as his power base.

The rivalries between the Arab tribes had caused unrest in the provinces outside Syria, most notably in the Second Muslim Civil War of 680–692 CE and the Berber Revolt of 740–743 CE. During the Second Civil War, leadership of the Umayyad clan shifted from the Sufyanid branch of the family to the Marwanid branch. As the constant campaigning exhausted the resources and manpower of the state, the Umayyads, weakened by the Third Muslim Civil War of 744–747 CE, were finally toppled by the Abbasid Revolution in 750 CE/132 AH. A branch of the family fled across North Africa to Al-Andalus, where they established the Caliphate of Córdoba, which lasted until 1031 before falling due to the Fitna of al-Ándalus.

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