Photo of the Royal Mausoleum of Madghacen. Image Credit: WikiCommons

The area known as Mahgreb encompasses Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia, and Western Sahara. Regions within the Mahgreb have fallen under the control of several empires and dynasties throughout their histories, including the Roman Empire, Umayyad, Abbasid, and Fatimid Caliphates, Almoravid and Almohad dynasties, as well as the Ottoman Empire. For the purposes of this project the female rulers of the above regions will feature below, though they may not have ruled the entirety of the Mahgreb. Mahgreb has been utilised as it encompasses many of the states that fall under the control of those listed below. Due to the extent and diversity of countries in the Mahgreb, female rulership differed from place to place, and there are several fascinating female figures whose political careers are in need of further investigation.

You can find out about some of these female rulers in more detail below!


Cortese, Delia, and Simonetta Calderini. Women and the Fatimids in the World of Islam. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2006

Lourinho, Inês.“Queen Zaynab Al-Nafzawiyya and the Building of a Mediterranean Empire in the Eleventh-Century Maghreb.” In A Companion to Global Queenship, edited by Elena Woodacre, 159-170. Leeds: ARC Humanities Press, 2019

Mernissi, Fatima. The Forgotten Queens of Islam. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993

Rhorchi, Fatima. “Consorts of Moroccan sultans: Lalla Khnata Bint Bakkar, “a woman with three kings”.” In Queenship in the Mediterranean. Negotiating the role of the queen in the medieval and early modern eras, edited by Elena Woodacre, 229-246. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.

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