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The Umayyad Dynasty presided over the Arab empire during a formative period in the development and expansion of Islamic religion and civilization (661–750). Later, Umayyad rule in Islamic Iberia (al-Andalus, 756–1031) fostered a flowering of Islamic and Jewish culture.

Civil war broke out within the Arab empire when the third caliph, ‘Uthmīn, was assassinated in 656. His successor, ‘Ali, faced several challengers, including Mu'āwiyah, the governor of Syria and a senior member of ‘Uthmān's family, the Umayyads. When ‘Ali was assassinated by the Kharijis in 661, Mu'āwiyah was acknowledged as caliph, with Damascus as his capital.

Under the Umayyads, Arab expansion continued westward through North Africa and, with the Berber troops, Iberia (it was checked near Poitiers in 732), as well as eastward to Central Asia and ...

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