Sayyida al-Hurra or Sitt al-Hurra (in Arab, السيدةالحرة or ستالحرة ) is a name that is equivalent to " great señora" and by that it is known, particularly, to a famous woman who governed the city of Tetuan ( Morocco ) between 1512 and 1542 and who is one of the more well-known and popular historical personages of the north of Morocco.
Sayyida al-Hurra, whose christian name is not known, was born around 1485, daughter of Jerife Mulay Ali ibn Rashid and of Zuhra Fernandez, one Mudejar (or perhaps one Elche or " renegada", as ) of Vejer of the Border were called then to the Christians turned to Islam . The father was governing of a small territory with capital in Chauen, semiindependent of sultanes Wattasíes of Fez . Sayyida al-Hurra had a brother, mulay Ibrahim, who happened to his father and was been worth of sultán.
Being adolescent, towards 1500, married with Ali al-Mandri, more known like Sidi Mandri, a granadino general exiled, governing of the city of Tetuan, that, like the rest of the region, had welcomed in numerous granadinos refugees who fled from the advance of the Castilian troops. The Hispanic presence in Tetuan was particularly important since these refugees had reconstructed and repopulated the city, almost left after to be devastated years back by Enrique III of Castile .
Sayyida al-Hurra had much influence in the government of its husband and as of a certain moment it even assumed his functions, since Al-Mandri, thirty or forty years greater than its wife, suffered one long disease fruit of its wounds military. Both maintained and financed privateering navigation through port of Martil, an activity to which many Hispanic refugees dedicated themselves, as much in Tetuan as in other places ( Republic of the Two Borders is an outstanding example). The privateering supposed a constant threat on Tetuan, that already had been devastated therefore by king III of Castile], and enemistades to Sayyida won many to him al-Hurra, when this one replaced its husband after the death.
In 1539 died Ibrahim, its brother and protector, been worth of sultán and governor of Chauen, and the following year passed away Sidi Mandri, and so Sayyida al-Hurra became position of the government who until then exerted in the name of his husband. Nevertheless, its position was weak: died his husband and died his protector, it was inside at the mercy of the enemies and outside Tetuan. They in particular watched its Muhammad stepbrother to him, who had replaced Ibrahim in the government of Chauen and that had expansionistic interests in Tetuan, and on the other hand Hasan Hashim, a member of the granadina and rival aristocracy of Sidi Mandri, with that nevertheless was related since his Ahmad son was married with a daughter of Mandri and Sayyida al-Hurra.
In 1541, when it surpassed the fifty, married with sultán of Morocco, Ahmad ibn Muhammad, which made him feel to defense of its enemies and have the power on all the region of particularly autocratic form. Nevertheless, 22 of October of 1542, Hasan Háshim, its in-law, took Tetuan with a group from soldiers and undressed to Sayyida al-Hurra of its power and its goods. Which was the position of sultán in this blow of being able and what participation had in the conspiracy the own daughter of the Great Lady, married with Ahmad, son of Hasan Hashim, they are circumstances that are not clear. It was Ahmad replaced that it the front of Tetuan.
The later destiny of Sayyida is not clear either al-Hurra. It is buried near his familiar house of Chauen, and so it is possible that one retired to her after his destitution and finished his days there.
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