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The Umayyad Caliphate (, trans. Banu Umayyah; "Sons of Umayyah") (c. 661-750 CE/41–132 AH) was the second of the four major Arab caliphates established after the death of Muhammad. It was ruled by the Umayyad dynasty, whose name derives from Umayya ibn Abd Shams, the great-grandfather of the first Umayyad caliph. Although the Umayyad family originally came from the city of Mecca, their capital was Damascus. At its greatest extent, it covered more than five million square miles (13,000,000 km2), making it one of the largest empires the world had yet seen, and the seventh largest contiguous empire ever to exist. After the Umayyads were overthrown by the Abbasid Caliphate, they fled across North Africa to Spain (Al-Andalus), where they established the Caliphate of Córdoba, which lasted until 1031.
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After initially opposing Mohammed, the Umayyad family became strong Moslems. They became rulers of the Islamic Empire (as Caliphs ) from 661-750, after the death of Ali , the last of the Rightly Guided Caliphs . Headquartered in Damascus, they ruled the entire Islamic Empire--from Spain, across North Africa into the Middle East and beyond--until they were overthrown by the Abassids .
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