Emirate of Crete (824 CE – 961 CE)

April 1, 20240

The Arabo-Cretan Era: This period refers to the time when the Arabs controlled the island of Crete from 824 to 961 CE.

Foundation and Early Years: The Arab invasion of Crete began in 824 CE, led by Abu Hafs Umar al-Ikshidi. The Arabs established their capital at Chandax (modern-day Heraklion) and ruled the island for nearly a century.

Administration and Economy: During this period, the Emirate of Crete was an organized state with a stable economy, currency circulation, and extensive trade networks with the rest of the Islamic world, particularly with Egypt. The economy relied heavily on agriculture, with sugar cane being a significant crop.

Christian Population: There is limited information available about the Christian population during this period. Some sources suggest that many Christians either converted to Islam or were expelled from the island.

Coinage and Numismatic Evidence: The Arabo-Cretan era saw the introduction of new coinage, with the creation of a standardized currency system. This numismatic evidence provides valuable insights into the economy and trade networks during this period.

Later Years and Fall: By the mid-10th century, the Emirate of Crete began to decline due to internal strife and external pressures from the Byzantine Empire. In 961 CE, the Byzantines retook the island, marking the end of the Arabo-Cretan era.

Some notable figures mentioned in your text include:

  1. Abu Hafs Umar al-Ikshidi (fl. 824-855 CE): The founder of the Emirate of Crete.
  2. Suwayb ibn Umar (fl. 880-895 CE): A prominent emir who ruled Crete during this period.

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