The Islamic World to 1600
The Umayyad Dynasty, begun by Mu'awiya, was in place for nearly 100 years, with Mu'awiya ruling for the first 20 years. The Umayyads established the practice of hereditary succession for the caliph, the leader of the Muslim world. This change decreased the number of succession debates that had plagued the reigns of the first four caliphs. The Umayyads were also responsible for the Muslim conquest of North Africa, Spain, and Central Asia. The Islamic empire thus grew considerably during the Umayyad period, and can be considered the first real Islamic state. The caliphate grew more secular and less religious during this time, as administering the vast empire took precedence over the religious conversion of the conquered peoples. After nearly 100 years, however, some descendants of Muhammad's uncle, Abbas, succeeded in overthrowing the first Islamic dynasty and establishing their own dynasty, the Abbasid, which lasted in various forms until the Mongol invasion in 1258.
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