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Expansion of the Merinid Empire
Emblem of the Merinids

The Merinids ( Tifinagh script ⵉⵎⵔⵢⵏⴻⵏ , Arabic مرينيون, DMG Marīnīyūn ) were an Islamic Berber dynasty that ruled Morocco and other parts of the Maghreb as heirs of the Almohads from the first half of the 13th century to 1465 .


The Banu Marin were Zanata- Berber and immigrated in the 12th century from Ifrīqiya in the southeast of Morocco . The first battles with the Almohads took place as early as 1145, but they were subdued.

The conquest of northern Morocco began under Abu Yahya Abu Bakr (r. 1244–1258) ; Fez became the capital of the Merinids in 1248. Abu Yusuf Yaqub (r. 1259–1286) completed the fall of the Almohads and the subjugation of Morocco in 1269 with the conquest of Marrakech . At the same time he crossed over to Al-Andalus to support the Nasrids of Granada in the fight against Castile .

This was followed by internal power struggles among the Merinids, which, however, did not prevent Abu Said Utman II (r. 1310-1331) from undertaking extensive construction work in Fez. Several madrasas were founded as "secular universities" for the training of civil servants in order to promote the centralization of administration and to reduce the influence of the not always reliable marabouts and brotherhoods.

Under Abu l-Hasan (r. 1331-1348) an attempt was made to reunite the Maghreb. The Abdalwadid empire in what is now Algeria was conquered by 1337 and the Hafsid empire in Ifriqiya (now Tunisia ) in 1347 . However, the Merinids were defeated in the Battle of the Salado in 1340 by a Castilian-Portuguese coalition army and had to withdraw from the Iberian Peninsula for good. Abu l-Hasan was overthrown by his son Abu Inan Faris (r. 1348-1358). He tried to conquer the lost Algeria and Tunisia again. Despite some successes, the decline of the dynasty began after the assassination of Abu Inan Faris.

As a result of the restless Bedouin and Berber tribes, a lawless state increasingly spread in Morocco, which accelerated the decline of the empire. Support from the marabouts and religious brotherhoods (zaouias) also declined when the Merinids restricted their donations to these institutions due to a financial crisis in the 15th century.

The following rulers of the Merinids after 1358 came under the control of the Wattasids , who exercised actual power in the empire as viziers . They installed and removed the Merinid sultans, mostly in childhood, in quick succession. The Wattasids were also unable to consolidate the empire, so that Portugal was able to occupy the city of Ceuta in 1415 and all of the important ports on the Atlantic coast of Morocco by 1513 . After Abdalhaqq II (ruled 1421–1465) had tried in vain to break the power of the Wattasids, the Merinid dynasty was overthrown by them.


The Merinid madrasas in Fès, Meknes and Oujda are among the most important monuments of the Maghreb and among the highlights of the Moorish style . Some (inaccessible) Merinid mosques have filigree openwork rib domes above the square in front of the mihrab niche as a characteristic of the time .

Ruler list

Fez - Madrasa Bū ʿInānīya (14th century). In their heyday, the Merinid rulers had Koran schools (
madrasa ) built in the important cities of the country (Fès, Meknes , Salé , Taza , Oujda and Marrakech ) , which - with the architectural and aesthetic interplay of different materials (tiles, stucco, Wood) and their filigree decor - are among the highlights of the Moorish style .
  • Abdalhaqq I (1195-1217)
  • Uthman I. (1217-1240)
  • Muhammad I (1240-1244)
  • Abu Yahya Abu Bakr (1244–1258)
  • Umar (1258-1259)
  • Abu Yusuf Yaqub (1259-1286)
  • Abu Yaqub Yusuf (1286-1307)
  • Abu Thabit Amir (1307-1308)
  • Abu r-Rabi '(1308-1310)
  • Abu Said Uthman II (1310-1331)
  • Abu l-Hasan (1331-1351)
  • Abu Inan Faris (1351-1358)
  • Muhammad II as-Said (1358-1359)
  • Abu Salim Ali II (1359-1361)
  • Abu Umar Tashufin (1361)
  • Abd al-Halim (1361-1362)
  • Abu Zayyan Muhammad III (1362-1366)
  • Abu Faris Abd al-Aziz I (1366-1372)
  • Muhammad IV (1372-1374)
  • Abu l-Abbas Ahmad (1374-1384)
  • Musa (1384-1386)
  • Muhammad V (1386)
  • Muhammad VI. (1386-1387)
  • Abu l-Abbas Ahmad (1387-1393)
  • Abd al-Aziz II (1393-1396)
  • Abdullah (1396-1398)
  • Abu Said Uthman III. (1398-1420)
  • Abdalhaqq II. (1420-1465)