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ʿAnbasa ibn Suḥaym al-Kalbi (Arabic language: عنبسة بن سحيم الكلبي‎) was the Muslim wali (governor) of al-Andalus, from 721 to 726.

Immediately after his appointment, Anbasa doubled taxes on the Christians[1] and confiscated Jewish property.[citation needed] However, it is thought that this increase did not affect most of the recently conquered estates and towns, subdued by treaty on very specific conditions (taxes, land ownership, etc.), but lands under direct Arab rule and new towns being conquered in Septimania.[2]

Coincidentally, a dynastic struggle arose among Muslims in the Middle East. It was sparked by the death of Caliph Yazid II and the succession of his brother, Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik in 724. On this account, Anbasa tried to please the demands imposed by the Caliph to further tax exaction on non-Muslims, with attempts being made to enforce it on non-Arab Muslims too - popular rebellion in Egypt in 725 for increase in taxation.[3] On the other hand, this more rigorous approach may have provided legal shelter and security to ownership in al-Andalus.

These actions caused displeasure, scattered acts of disobedience, as well as some open revolts. In 722, a Visigothic nobleman of uncertain origin, Pelagius of Asturias, defied the Umayyad attempt to extract taxes in the mountains of Asturias, where he gathered a band of rebellious followers. An Umayyad patrol was sent to search for Pelagius and his men, and it was ambushed at the Battle of Covadonga at great loss of life according to heavily mythical Christian sources, a skirmish according to later Muslim chroniclers, who showed little concern for the episode.[4]

Word of a great victory (and a rumor that the victory had been the result of divine intervention)[citation needed] may have spread throughout occupied Hispania. However, the Mozarabic Chronicle of 754, a Christian and only almost contemporary account of the major events taking place in Hispania doesn't mention it. Duke Peter (Pedro in Spanish historiography) who governed Cantabria may have joined Pelagius. The Basques revolted, and, in 724, Aragon joined the cause as well.[citation needed] In retrospect, these events are viewed by some as the beginning of the Reconquista, an effort by Christian kingdoms to wrest control of Hispania from the Muslims.

Anbasa dispatched several military expeditions into Septimania as of 721, and managed to capture the Visigothic town of Carcassonne in 724 (or 725) as well Nîmes, the latter without resistance.[5] He went on to lead an expedition to the Kingdom of Burgundy, a Frankish territory, as far north as Autun. However, he died of natural causes in this campaign.[6] Meanwhile, a flow of refugees found shelter in southern Aquitaine and Provence.[7] He was succeeded as wali by Udrra ben Abd Allah al-Fihrí, who after a few months, was replaced by Yahya ibn Salama al-Kalbi. Yahya denounced the injustices of the policies of Anbasa, especially with respect to the collection of taxes and the confiscation of property.


  1. Khalid Yahya Blankinship (1994). The End of the Jihad State: The Reign of Hisham Ibn 'Abd al-Malik and the Collapse of the Umayyads. SUNY Press. p. 89. ISBN 978-0-7914-1827-7. 
  2. Collins, R. (1989) p. 81
  3. Collins, Roger (1989). The Arab Conquest of Spain 710-797. Oxford, UK / Cambridge, US: Blackwell. p. 82. ISBN 0-631-19405-3. 
  4. Collins, Roger (1983). Early Medieval Spain. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-22464-8. 
  5. Collins, R. (1989) p. 87
  6. Collins, R. (1989) p. 83
  7. Collins, R. (1989) p. 213

See also[]

Preceded by
Abd ar-Rahman ibn Abd Allah al-Gafiqi
Wali of al-Andalus
Succeeded by
Udrra ben Abd Allah al-Fihrí

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