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The Usfurids (Al-Asfour, Arabic: آل عصفور) were an Arab dynasty that in 1253 gained control of eastern Arabia, including the islands of Bahrain, They were a branch of the Banu Uqayl tribe of the Banu Amir group, and are named after the dynasty’s founder, Usfur ibn Rashid. They were initially allies of the Qarmatians and their successors, the Uyunids, but eventually overthrew the latter and seized power themselves.[1] The Usfurids' takeover came after Uyunid power had been weakened by invasion in 1235 by the Salghurid Atabeg of Fars.

The Usfurids had an uneasy relationship with the main regional power at the time, the Persian princes in Hormuz, who took control of Bahrain and Qatif in 1320. However, the Hormuzi rulers did not seem to have firm control of the islands, and during the 14th century Bahrain was disputed as numerous neighbours sought tribute from the wealth accumulated from its pearl fisheries. It the 15th century another branch of the Banu Amir emerged, the Jabrids, who built a more stable polity in eastern Arabia.[2]

See also


  1. Joseph Meri, Medieval Islamic Civilization, Taylor and Francis, 2006, p95
  2. Curtis E. Larsen. Life and Land Use on the Bahrain Islands: The Geoarchaeology of an Ancient Society University Of Chicago Press, 1984 pp66-8

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