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“The Marches” (upper, middle and lower) were the names given to the frontiers under Muslim control. The lower Marche was the Extremadura with its center in Merida, which was and remains, located on the Guadiana River. Ibn Marwan al Jilliqi was able to hold this region independent from the central government.


Ibn Marwan al Jilliqi was a Muslim of Spanish decent; a “Muwallad.” He had, in the year 868, totally embarrassed the central government. He had just completed a retaliatory defeat of the emir’s army. He then captured the chamberlain. This humiliation was multiplied when al Jilliqi gave the chamberlain to the Christian, Alfonso III of Asturias, who in turn accepted a ransom of 100,000 dinars from the central government for the chamberlain’s return. Ibn Marwan al Jilliqi enjoyed the popular support of both muwallad’s and mozarab’s (Christians living under Islamic control). Ibn Marwan al Jilliqi and his sons held independent control of this area until 930 A.D.

However, before his death (889 A.D.) Ibn Marwan al Jilliqi built the fortress (Alcazaba) on the present sight of Badajoz on the Guadiana; thirty six miles west of Merida.

Jilliqi Castle in Badajoz

The Alcazaba was oval in shape and constructed of adobe. The Almohads, in the twelfth-century, rebuilt and expanded it with stone. The Alcazaba was further enhanced with Christian towers topped by crown shaped viewpoints.

Tomorrow: Ibn Abi Amir

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