Timeline Description: The Fatimid Caliphate was a Shia Muslim caliphate named after Fatimah, the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad, whom the Fatimids claimed as their ancestor. It controlled a large region in Northern Africa along the Mediterranean coast from 909 to 1171, and was ultimately centered in Egypt. This was a rare example of when the Ismaili branch of Shi'ism, the Fatimids, were united with the Caliphate. The dynasty was known for some religious tolerance, where advancement was based on merit, not class or faith.
|899||Ubayd Allah al-Mahdi Billah becomes leader of the Fatimids.
Ubayd Allah al-Mahdi Billah becomes the leader of the Ismaili Shia movement (the Fatimids) among the Berbers (today's Algerians).
|905||al-Mahdi Billah flees the Middle East.
Due to persecution from the Abbasids, al-Mahdi Billah is forced to flee to Sijilmasa (today's Morocco) where he starts spreading his Ismaili beliefs. He is later imprisoned. He is supported by Abu Abdullah al'Shi'i, who takes advantage of the Berber peasants' oppression under their current ruler, the Aghlabids. al'Shi'i quickly seizes control of many cities.
|909||al'Shi'I founds the Fatimid Dynasty.
al-Shi'i sends a large force to retrive al-Mahdi Billah, conquering the sate of Tahert on the way. He becomes both the imam and caliph of the growing state, thereby beginning the Fatimid Dynasty.
|910||al-Mahdi Billah formalizes the Shi'ah political state.
al-Mahdi Billah raises an army and defeats the Aghlabids in North Africa, overthrowing their rule and formalizing the Shi'ah political state.
|912||al-Mahdi Billah consolidates power.(c. 912)
al-Mahdi Billah has his military commander, Al-Shi'i executed, which consolidates his power.
|916||The Great Mosque of Mahdia is built.
The Fatimids construct the Great Mosque of Mahdia in Tunisia.
|921||The Fatimids found a new capital city.
A new capital city, al-Mahdia, named after al-Mahdi, is founded on the Tunisian coast due to its military and economic significance.
|934||Abu Al-Qasim Muhammad Al-Qaim becomes the new caliph.(March 4, 934)
Caliph al-Mahdi Billah dies and is succeeded by his son, Abu Al-Qasim Muhammad Al-Qaim.
|953||Abu Tamin Ma'add al-Mu'izz becomes the new caliph.
When Abu Al-Qasim Muhammad Al-Qaim dies, Abu Tamin Ma'add al-Mu'izz becomes the fourth Fatimah caliph.
|969||The Fatimids conquer Egypt.
Under the rule of Caliph Al-Muizz, Fatimid general Jawhar conquers the Egyptian Ikhshidid dynasty and builds a new capital there, called al-Qahira (Cairo).
|1011||The Manifesto of Baghdad is published.
Abbasid Caliph Al-Qadir orders the Manifesto of Baghdad to be published. The Manifesto, written by Muslim Sunni and Shiite genealogists, refutes the Fatimids' link to family of the prophet, and, therefore, their claim to power.
|1060||Riots break out between Black African and Turkish factions.(c. 1060)
Riots break out within the army, which is ethnically divided. The Berbers, who are often infantry and light cavalry, form an alliance against the Turks, who are often heavy cavalry and archers. This displeases the Black African elements of the army, who start serious riots. Multiple droughts and famines exacerbate the situation in the army, and civil war breaks out between the Black African and Turkish factions, with the Berbers switching sides.
|1072||Badr al-Jamali becomes vizier of the caliphate.
Fatimid Caliph Au Tamim Ma'ad al-Mustansir Billah recalls general Badr al-Jamali from Palestine to Egypt. He is able to successful suppress the rebelling armies and purge the Turkish factions. Badr al-Jamali is made vizier of the caliphate, starting a trend of military viziers that will dominate the Fatimid caliphate and turn the caliphs into figureheads.
|1070||The Fatimid region shrinks.(c. 1070)
Turkish invasions and the Crusades shrink the Fatimid region to consist solely of Egypt.
|1171||The Fatimid dynasty ends.
By this point, Zengid ruler Nur ad-Din has seized Egypt from the current vizier, Shawar. Saladin, Shirkuh's cousin, deposes the last of the Fatimid line and returns Egypt to Sunni rule.