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Umayyads

Umayyads (Arab., al-dawlah al-Umawiyyah). The first hereditary dynasty of caliphs (khalīfa) in Sunni Islam. The founder of the dynasty was Muʿāwiyya, the son of Abu Sufyān, of the Umayyah (hence the name) clan of the Quraysh of Mecca. Under the Umayyads, the Muslim Empire increased at a rapid rate, stretching by 732 from the Atlantic and the borders between Spain and France in the West, to the borders of China and India in the East—in that year Charles Martel halted the Arab advance at Poitiers and Tours. In Spain, the foundations were laid for a great flourishing of trade, crafts, architecture, and learning—the final expulsion of the Muslims did not take place until the 17th cent. But elsewhere the Umayyads ruled more severely and autocratically. The last Umayyad caliph, Marwan II, ‘the wild ass of Mesopotamia’, was beheaded in Egypt in 750 (AH 132). The ʿAbbāsids succeeded, although an Umayyad dynasty continued in Spain, known as the Western Caliphate.

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Umayyads

Umayyads (Omayyads) Dynasty of Arabian Muslim caliphs (661–750). From their capital at Damascus, the Umayyads ruled a basically Arab empire, which stretched from Spain to India. They made little effort to convert conquered peoples to Islam, but there was great cultural exchange, and Arabic became established as the language of Islam. They were overthrown by the Abbasids.

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