In the 14th century the empire underwent a temporary decline. Although the Hafsids succeeded for a time in subjugating the empire of the Abdalwids of Tlemcen for a time, but between 1347 and 1357 it was twice conquered by the Merinids of Morocco. These however could not defeat the Bedouin, so that the Hafsids were able to regain their empire. As at the same time epidemics of plague caused a considerable fall in population, the rule of the Hafsids was weakened further.
Under the Hafsids, piracy against Christian shipping grew stronger in the 14th century, particularly under Abd al-Aziz II. (1394-1434). The profits were used for a great building programme and for the support of art and culture. However piracy also provoked retaliation from Aragon and Venice, which several times attacked Tunisian coastal cities. Under Utman (1435-1488) the Hafsids reached their last zenith, as the caravan trade through the Sahara and with Egypt was developed, as well as sea trade with Venice and Aragon. The Bedouins and the cities of the empire became largely independent, so that the Hafsids controlled only Tunis and Constantine.
In the 16th century the Hafsids increasingly became caught up in the power struggle between Spain and the Osman-supported Corsairs. The latter conquered Tunis in 1574 and toppled the Hafsids, who had at times accepted Spanish sovereignty over them.
After the split of the Hafsids from the Almohads under Abu Zakariya (1229-1249), Abu Zakariya organised the administration in Ifriqiya (the Roman province of Africa in modern Maghreb; today's Tunisia, eastern Algeria and western Libya) and built Tunis up as the economic and cultural centre of the empire.
Although the Hafsids succeeded for a time in subjugating the empire of the Abdalwids of Tlemcen for a time, but between 1347 and 1357 it was twice conquered by the Merinids of Morocco.
Under Utman (1435-1488) the Hafsids reached their last zenith, as the caravan trade through the Sahara and with Egypt was developed, as well as sea trade with Venice and Aragon.
The founder of the dynasty was the religious firebrand MUHAMMAD IBN TUMART (10801130).
The dynasty was founded by the Almohad governors of Tunis, who broke away when the caliph Abd al-Ma'mun renounced (1228) the religious doctrines of Ibn Tumart, the original leader of the Almohad movement.
Overthrow of the Almohaddynasty by the MARINIDS, a coalition of Berber tribes.
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