al.marri

Sayyida al Hurrah was the Pirate Queen of Tétouan between 1515 and 1542 CE. While she does not appear in many Islamic records, she was known to be a powerful force and an ally that was considered to be an equal to the pirate Barbarossa.  She was from the Spanish Islamic kingdom of Granada and fled with her family to Morocco in 1492. Sayyida married Abu al-Hasan al-Mandri, the King of Tétouan which was an area of Morocco that had existed since 300CE and one which they heavily fortified during their reign. Their marriage is the only example of history where the king of Morocco had married a woman who was from outside of the country, showing her importance. Following his death in 1515 and her claiming of the throne as a sole ruler, Sayyida became the final person in Islamic history to hold the title of ‘al Hurrah’, meaning ‘Queen’.

In 1520 CE, Sayyida turned to piracy in order to avenge the shame she and her family felt when they were forced to flee from the Christians. Under the guidance of Barbarossa, she assembled a pirate fleet and began striking against the shipping routes of the Mediterranean Sea which continued for over a decade. The money that she received from these ventures was put into the fortification of Tétouan, ensuring that the area was prosperous which resulted in her becoming a beloved ruler.