ALM-01 Yusuf Ibn Tashfin – The Almoravids
The Almoravids, also known as the Murabits, were a fundamentalist Islamic movement of the 11th and 12th Centuries. Founded by Ibn Yasin, in southern Morocco, they combined devotion to Islam with a fierce military tradition, and a desire to conquer. In 1070, the Almoravids established their capital city at Marrakesh, which at the time, was little more than a mosque in the desert surrounded by the tents of the faithful.
YUSUF IBN TASHFIN, who is better known to westerners as “Ben Yusuf”, was undoubtedly the greatest leader of the Almoravid movement. A pious and compassionate man, as well as a ruthless and charismatic leader in battle. He rose to prominence as the commander of the northern part of the Almoravid empire in the 1070’s and became sole leader of the movement upon the death of Abu Bakr in 1087.
Having conquered all of morocco, he turned his attention to Spain, and invaded in 1086. He led his army to a great victory over the Christians at the battle of Zalaca in October 1086.
By 1089 he had decided to depose the Andalusian Taifa kings, and take their kingdoms for the Almoravid empire. Following the fall of the Taifa kings, Yusuf concentrated his forces against the Christians, in particular the outpost castle of Aledo near Granada, and Valencia, which El Cid had conquered in 1094. Aledo finally fell in 1091, but Valencia held out against all of Yusuf’s attempts to retake it.
Yusuf was to outlive the Cid (who died in 1099) and finally saw Valencia fall into Almoravid hands in the spring of 1102. Yusuf was to eventually die in 1106, and was succeeded by one of his many sons, Ali Ibn Yusuf.