Yacoub al Mansour


From Birth to Power: Life of Yacoub Al Mansour

Abou Yussuf Yacoub, also known as Yakub Al-Mansur, nicknamed “the Victorious”, led the Almohad dynasty, which ruled Morocco and much of the Maghreb and western North Africa from 1184 to 1199. He is one of the greatest rulers in the history of Morocco and North Africa.

Yacoub al-Mansour was born in 1160 in Morocco. Grandson of Abd al-Mumin. He ruled from 1184, when he succeeded his father Abu Yaqub Yusuf, who died during the siege of Santarém in the same year. Yacoub al-Mansour was educated in a royal court famous for its scholarship and arts. He received a comprehensive education in theology, law, literature and poetry, which allowed him to become a great intellectual and a fine scholar.

In 1184, at the age of 24, he was the new sultan and amîr al-mu’minîn (Prince of the believers). Under his rule, the Almohad Empire reached its peak, extending its territory over most of Muslim Spain and the Maghreb, as well as part of sub-Saharan Africa. He led several military campaigns to expand his empire, but also encouraged trade and cultural exchange between the different regions of his empire.

Yacoub al Mansour AI Photo - Midjourney
Yacoub al Mansour as imagined by AI

The Victorious, Ally of Saladin

During the reign of Abu Yusuf Yacoub, the Almohad Caliphate established a strategic partnership with Sultan Saladin’s Egypt.

This alliance was reinforced by the dispatch of a diplomatic mission by Saladin to the Caliphal Court of Marrakesh, which led to the recognition of Almohad Caliphal authority. The Almohad fleet also took part in maritime operations against the Crusaders on the coasts of the Near East and in the Red Sea.

After the capture of Jerusalem by Saladin in 1187, several Moroccan families came to participate in the repopulation of the holy city. They establish a district called “district of Magharibas” and of which one of the vestiges is the door of the Maghrébins (Morocco Gate).

By inflicting a severe defeat on King Alfonso VIII of Castile at Alarcos in 1195, Abu Yusuf Yacoub earned the nickname Al Mansour, which means “the Victorious”. This victory allowed the sultan to organize expeditions to the north, especially against Toledo and Madrid.

Jerusalem Raimond Klavins - Unsplash Licence
Al Mansour, Saladin's ally

Yacoub Al Mansour, le bâtisseur

Yacoub al Mansour supervised the construction of the famous Koutoubia mosque in Marrakech, in addition to that he launched the work of the Hassan Tower in Rabat. In addition, he gave more importance to the Kasbah of the Oudayas which is located on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.

Abou Youssef Yacoub al Mansour was also a great patron of arts and culture. He encouraged exchanges between artists, intellectuals and scholars from different regions of his empire. This allowed the dissemination of new ideas and new philosophical currents. He encouraged the production of many literary and poetic works.

It was under his reign that the famous Andalusian philosopher and physician Averroes and his friend Ibn Tufayl lived.

Yacoub el Mansour - Tour Hassan Licence Unspalsh
Yacoub al Mansour .. Builder of the Hassan Tower

The Sultan left behind an important legacy. His reign was marked by the expansion of the Almohad empire, the construction of famous monuments and the encouragement of cultural and philosophical exchanges. He was also known for his scholarship as well as his stories with the famous wise man Averroes.

Today, Yacoub al Mansour’s name is closely associated with the history and culture of Morocco. It is celebrated throughout the country for its contribution to Moroccan history and culture. His legacy continues to inspire future generations.