Saadi dynasty

For other uses, see Saadi (disambiguation).
Saadi dynasty of Morocco
السعديون (ar)
Ruling dynasty of Morocco
(1509) 1549–1659


Extent of the Saadian empire during the reign of Ahmad al-Mansur[1]
Capital Marrakech
Religion Sunni Islam
Government 1509–49: Principality
1554–59: Sultanate
   1509–17 Abu Abdallah, Prince of Tagmadert
  1544–57 Mohammed Sheikh, first Sultan (1554)
  1655–59 Ahmad al-Abbas, last Sultan
   Established 1549
   Disestablished 1659
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Wattasid dynasty
Songhai Empire
Alaouite dynasty

The Saadi dynasty or Saadian dynasty (Arabic: سعديون; original name Bani Zaydan) was a dynasty that ruled Morocco from 1549 to 1659.

From 1509 to 1549 they had ruled only in the south of Morocco. While still recognizing the Wattasids as Sultans until 1528, Saadian's growing power led the Wattasids to attack them and, after an indecisive battle, to recognize their rule over southern Morocco[2] through the Treaty of Tadla.

Their reign over Morocco began with the reign of Sultan Mohammed ash-Sheikh in 1554, when he vanquished the last Wattasids at the Battle of Tadla. The Saadian rule ended in 1659 with the end of the reign of Sultan Ahmad el Abbas


They claimed descent from Muhammad through the line of Ali ibn Abi Talib and Fatima Zahra (Muhammad's daughter). The Saadi came from Tagmadert in the valley of the Draa River. The family's village of origin in the Draa was Tidzi (a qsar, some 10 km north of Zagora).[3] They claimed sharifian origins through an ancestor from Yanbu and rendered Sufism respectable in Morocco. The name Saadi or Saadian derives from "sa'ada" meaning happiness or salvation. Others think it derives from the name Bani Zaydan or that it was given to the Bani Zaydan (shurafa of Tagmadert) by later generations and rivals for power, who tried to deny their Hassanid descent by claiming that they came from the family of Halimah Saadiyya, Muhammad's wet nurse.[4] The most famous sultan of the Saadi was Ahmad al-Mansur (1578–1603), builder of the El Badi Palace in Marrakech and contemporary of Elizabeth I. One of their most important achievements was defeating the Portuguese at the Battle of Ksar El Kebir and defending the country against the Ottomans. Before they conquered Marrakech, they had Taroudannt as their capital city.

The Saadian Tombs were rediscovered in 1917 and can be seen in Marrakech.



1509–54: Saadian princes of Tagmadert

1554–1659: Saadian sultans of Morocco

1603–27: Succession war

Main Saadian rulers, based in Marrakesh:

Splinter faction based in Fes, with only local power:

1627–59: Reunified rule


Mohammed esh Sheikh es Seghir Al Walid ibn Zidan Abu Marwan Abd al-Malik II Zidan Abu Maali Abu Marwan Abd al-Malik II Mohammed esh Sheikh el Mamun Zidan Abu Maali Abou Fares Abdallah Ahmad al-Mansur Abu Marwan Abd al-Malik I Saadi Abu Abdallah Mohammed II Saadi Abdallah al-Ghalib Mohammed ash-Sheikh Mohammed ash-Sheikh Ahmad al-Araj Abu Abdallah al-Qaim List of rulers of Morocco List of rulers of Morocco Tagmadert

See also


  1. "Trade and empire in Africa, 1500–1800", Times Books 2007, on
  2. H. J. Kissling, Bertold Spuler, N. Barbour, J. S. Trimingham, F. R. C. Bagley, H. Braun, H. Hartel, The Last Great Muslim Empires, BRILL 1997, p.102
  3. The Saadian sultan Mohammed esh Sheikh es Seghir wrote in a letter to the a member of the Alaouite family (Moulay Mohammed ould Moulay Cherif ): "We are from Tidsi, one of the qsour of the Draa." (Nozhet el Hadi, p. 15). The geographical position of Tidzi is: Latitude: 30° 59' 52 N, Longitude: 7° 24' 49 W.
  4. The use of Analogy and the Role of the Sufi Shaykh in Post-Marinid Morocco, Vincent Cornell, International Journal of Middle East Studies, vol. 15, no. 1 (Feb. 1983), pp. 67–93

Further reading

Royal house
House of Banu Zaydan
Preceded by
Wattasid dynasty
Ruling house of Morocco
Succeeded by
Alaouite dynasty
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