Sayyida Alhurra: A forgotten North African queen and war leader

A forgotten North African queen and war leader


  • Amal El Haimeur University of Kansas



Sayyedda al-hurra, women and power, history of forgotten queen, empowering women


In this study I will focus on a forgotten North African queen of Andalusian origin, Sayyida al-Hurra, the governor of Tetouan in the sixteenth century. During a critical political period when the country had suffered from fragmentation and the attacks by both the Portugal and Spain, Alhurra emerged as a well-trained governor and ruler and the first Moroccan woman to rule the North for thirty years (Mernissi, 2000) without an objection.

            I adopted both historic and ethnographic approach.  Available data demonstrates that Alhurra is the daughter of the founder and governor of Chafchouan (Haki, 1983). Factors that helped her to be an exceptional leader include her Shariff decent, her family leadership in the region, excellent education in religion and science, as well as her intelligence, flexibility, fluency in Arabic and Spanish, and, finally, her strong personality. Both her marriages served as means to bring stability to the North. After her first husband death (1519), she became the governor of Tetouan. When Sultan Ahmad Al-watassi felt that his reign was threatened by the rise of Saadi dynasty, he married her (1541) because of her political status and her active role in the North. Marine warfare was central to her government.







How to Cite

El Haimeur, A. (2024). Sayyida Alhurra: A forgotten North African queen and war leader: A forgotten North African queen and war leader. Africana Annual, 1(1), 44-60.