The invasion by the Muslims in the year 711 brought about the interruption of the feudalisation that had begun under the Visigoths. This phenomenon can be observed in Malaga where new inhabitants, Arabs and Berbers, settled and, simultaneously, there was an exodus of local inhabitants who escaped to the mountains.
In the year 711, Tariq ibn Ziyad led his army to victory against King Rodrigo and replaced Visigoth rule. During this new era, which was to last 8 centuries, Malaga formed part of the Islamic world. From these beginnings, an Islamic society developed with characteristics that were totally opposed to those of the feudal society forming in the rest of Europe at the time.
In opposition to this feudal society - public, rural and servile - the Islamic society was based on the hegemony of private and city life and on contractual relations. This same hegemony of the private can be observed in the architecture and layout of the houses, without façades and oriented towards the interior. The main economic activities of these new cities were crafts and commerce; however, the Islamic expansion would soon reach Central Asia and the frontiers of India, and with these contacts came an agricultural system capable of supplying the cities.
The islamisation process that took place during the 8th and 9th centuries, promoted by the recently appeared Umayyad dynasty, was to find resistance amongst the tribal groups, as well as from the successors of the Visigoth aristocracy, who fought against the Cordoba Caliphate during the last third of the 9th century.
The most important rebellion against the Umayyad Caliphate, which took place at the end of the 9th century, beginning of the 10th, was carried out by Omar ben Hafsun and his sons and was centred in the province of Malaga, specifically in Bobastro. This rebellion was Al-Andalus's last opportunity to conserve the feudal privileges of the hispanic-gothic aristocracy, although defeat was a foregone conclusion due to the lack of social foundations to support the cause, given the level of islamisation amongst the population as a whole.
With the surrender of Bobastro to Abd-al-Rahman III the islamic system was implemented in the whole of Malaga territory, bringing an era of peace and a different civil organisation, based on urban development and proliferation of farms in the rural areas. Hand manufacturing and commerce bloomed, as did intensive farming based on the use of irrigated land.
The Caliphate in Crisis
The system implemented under the Caliphate prospered brilliantly until the death of al-Hakam II, in the year 976, when he was succeeded on the throne by his only son Hisam II, who was still a minor. The anomalous events that occurred during his reign would, over time, be the downfall of the Caliphate. These abnormal events led to a crisis, which, in turn split the territory into kingdoms, called "Taifas", although the crisis was basically a political issue consisting in a battle for power, and the Islamic system, as such, was never really questioned.
The crisis of the Caliphate gave rise to the appearance of number of new Caliphs, backed by one group or another and which were recognised or not by the existing powers, depending on the latter's interests.
It is in this century, with the battles that took place, that Malaga's Alcazaba took form.
The integration of the successive Almoravid and Almohad Berber empires, from the end of the 11th century until well into the 13th century, brought about the definitive integration of the city of Malaga and its territories in the Western Mediterranean area, which was reflected not only in the progress of the city, but also in the economic control maintained over the rural environment which was to allow, in the long run, a pre-colonial type of exploitation.
Malaga had two suburbs outside the city walls and the city also traded, though within a discreet range, with Morocco. The was a middle class of citizens dedicated to hand manufacturing and commerce, this latter being regulated by the "Proper Governance of the Souk" treatise, drawn up by the Malaga citizen Al-Sagasti.