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Some documents state that al Mutamid of Seville requested help from the Berbers of North Africa to put an end to Alfonso VI’s incursions. Other sources indicated that al Mutawakill was the actual voice in this request. Because of the well-established Berber ancestry in Islamic Extremadura it would appear more likely that al Mutawakill, an Arabised Berber, made the direct request.

The person whom this request was directed to was Yusuf ibn Tashufin, a very conservative Almoravid North African Chieftain.


Yusuf ibnTashfin


Yusuf ibn Tashufin was not immediately moved to protect his secular Islamic “brothers” in Iberia when the original request was received in 1085. However, when Alfonso VI had Saragossa under siege in 1086 A.D. Yusuf responded with a rapidly moving force. After coalescing his troops at Algeciras he promptly and directly moved them to Badajoz. Once there Yusuf bin Tashufin intimidated al Mutawakill into assigning a large number of his troops to join the North African forces.

            Alfonso VI quickly recognized this threat to the lower Marche and abandoned his siege on Saragossa. Alfonso VI’s troops met the combined force under Yusuf ibn Tashufin at a town near Badajoz; Zallaca. Alfonso was outmaneuvered and was routed. He retreated northward with his forces, nearly losing his life in the process.


Tomorrow: Yusuf ibn Tashufin’s Second Invasion

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