Queen Daya Ult Yenfaq Tajrawt, Dihya, or Damya
Dihya or Kahina (The title Kahina meant Prophetess) was a amazigh queen, religious and military leader who led indigenous resistance to Arab Islamic expansion in Northwest Africa, the region then known as Numidia. She was born in the early 7th century and died around the end of the 7th century in modern-day Algeria.
Egypt had already been conquered and conquering the rest of North Africa was decided by the head of the Omayyad dynasty, caliph Muawiya I. The king of the Amazigh ethnic group Djerawa, one of the most powerful in the Aures region, was Kusayla (ruled 660-686) and he fought against the Arabs.
When Dihya’s father (Kusayla) died in 686, Dihya became chief and lead the resistance.She was an only daughter and was elected or appointed chief by the ethnic group after the death of her father. Dihya proceeded to call many ethnic groups of North Africa to wage war against the Arabs. Dihya is the only woman in history to combat the Omayyad empire.
In the first battle Dihya won a victory over the forces of Hassan Ibn Numan, the Arab general,at Miskiana, Algeria. In the valley and dry desert Dihya concealed her army during the night and ambushed the troops of Ibn Numan. Ibn Numan was again defeated by Dihya in 695 near Tabarqa.
In 699 Ibn Numan took the city of Carthage and asked the caliph for more men to attack Dihya.She fought using a scorched earth policy to deter the invader thus alienating the urban and sedentary Amazigh.
Dihya fought one last time against Ibn Numan in 702. Khalid, a young Arab soldier captured by Dihya and whom she adopted as a son betrayed her. Khalid sent secret information to the Arab army and Dihya lost the battle and thus captured. It is written that she was beheaded in the amphitheater of El Jem, Tunisia and her head delivered to the caliph.
The amphitheater of El Jem was the biggest of the Roman Empire (30,000 spectators) after the Colosseum in Rome (50,000 spectators).
Note: please do not refer to Amazigh (singular: Imazighen) as Berbers. Berber is a deogratory term meaning barbarian
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