Yusuf Ibn Tashfin
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.
The Crusades were a series of religious wars initiated and often supported directly by the catholic church between the 11th and the 17th century.
The Crusades differed from other religious conflicts in that they were considered a penance by the participants that brought forgiveness for confessed sin.
In 1095 Pope Urban II proclaimed the First Crusade at the council of Clermont. He encouraged military support for the Byzantine Emperor against the Seljuk Turks, and an armed pilgrimage to Jerusalem