Hisham III (Arabic: هشام الثالث in full المعتد بالله” هشام بن محمد‎) Was the fourth Caliph of Córdoba, of the Umayyad dynasty, taking over from his father Hisham II in 1013. His rule contained a number of notable events, including conflict with the neighbouring Fatimid Caliphate and internal political reforms forced upon by the nations Berber population.

Córdoba-Fatimid Conflicts

Main Article: Córdoba-Fatimid Border War

The drain of skilled labour in the Fatimid quarter of North Africa started to become evident in the 1020's. Hisham III purposely ignored diplomats that arrived in Córdoba in 1021, feeling it wasn't his problem that a rival nation was annoyed by outgoing work migrants. The Fatimids angered by the lack of response, sent troops across the border looking for ship builders in a sense of desperation. 'Tit for tat' attacks in response to the other would now escalate up to a highpoint in the year 1025. Distraction elsewhere would lead Hisham III's troops to gain ground on Fatimid North Africa as it desperately tried to defend its European holdings. Hisham III returns to Córdoba in celebration of these land gains and promises of development to his new citizens.

Political Reforms

By this point, the Berbers had already been given several political positions for their support in the Córdobian Civil War including the position of Chancellor, but felt that they were unfairly suffering the brunt of the Border conflicts at the expense of Moorish luxury. The new land gains had also brought in new blood, largely Arab which they felt might one day be involved against them. The Berber population was keep to keep its special status in Córdobian politics and demanded political compensations for the continued smooth running of the country. The compensations claimed were:

a) That the titles of Caliph and Chancellor remained Moorish-Berber respectfully as it had done in the past

b) That Berbers would always be represented at minimum according to their numbers in comparison to the population at large

c) That a Council chooses a new Caliph when one dies, rather than a hereditary system as it was felt to be under the Córdobian Caliphate so far

Moorish reactions of these requests were taken as a provocation, reeling in support for the Caliph Hisham III who had acted as a Socialite with many people of the Moorish High Society gaining their support (and to brag) at the end of the Border conflicts. Many concieted that they saw nothing wrong with the continued use of Berbers for the Chancellors position, and few argued over the issue of Berbers being somehow represented in proportion to their numbers; but the issue of having control over electing the next leader was often considered treasonous against Hisham III himself and his dynasty. Despite this however, Hisham III was pressured in, and with a number of concessions from the Berbers in other areas had agreed to the ideas in principle. The Córdobian Council would be formed in 1029, emulating a system of high society below the Caliph of 12 members, based on estimated populations of Berbers, Moors with Europeans and Arabs (largely from the new conquests). The Caliph forced a concession that candidates for next in line of the position must be nominated by at least 2 of the Council members which the Berbers agreed.


At his death, the system of reform put in place began to work. There were 3 candidates, with the Moors mostly supporting Hisham III's eldest son Muhammad, the Berbers nominating a new figure outside of Hisham III's immediate family and others offering a final middle way candidate. The Moors nomination after a vote of the council supported the son, and became the first elected Caliph of Córdoba.

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