Umayyad dynasty (Scope note)
661-750 (AH 41-AH132). First Islamic dynasty of caliphs, founded by Muawiya after the murder of 'Ali. The capital of the Umayyads was Damascus and from here the caliphs ruled over vast heterogenious territories. They adopted adminstrative practices of the Greeks and the Persians, the former rulers of the conquered lands. They introduced Sasanian techniques and manners which were strengthened under the 'Abbasids. During the reign of Walid I (705-715/AH 86-AH 96) they expanded militarily. All of North Africa west of Egypt was occupied and Muslim raiders crossed the Straits of Gibraltar into Spain. Beyond the Caucasus contact was made with the Turkish Khazars. In eastern Iran Khwarazm was invaded and Transonania gradually conquered. There was opposition from native Iranian rulers and their Turkish allies. Within the heartlands the caliphs faced constant opposition of Arab tribesman of Iraq. The Umayyads saw themselves not just as successors of the Prophet but as god's own deputies hense their title Khalifat Allah meaning 'god's caliph'. After 746 (AH 128) a revoltutionary movement began in Khurasan under 'Abu Muslim and the anti Umayyad forces gained military victory. This resulted in the succession of the 'Abbasids to the caliphate in 750 (AH 132).