What Is Abbasid Caliphate AP World History?

The Abbasid Caliphate was the third Islamic caliphate that ruled from 750 CE to 1258 CE. It was founded by Abu al-Abbas, who overthrew the previous Umayyad Caliphate and moved the capital from Damascus to Baghdad, which became a center of learning and culture. The Abbasid Caliphate was known for its advancements in science, art, literature, and philosophy.

The Rise of Abbasid Caliphate

The Abbasids came to power by overthrowing the Umayyad dynasty in a revolution led by Abu al-Abbas in 750 CE. This revolution was supported by various groups, including non-Arab Muslims who were unhappy with the Umayyad’s Arab-centric policies.

Upon coming to power, the Abbasids moved their capital from Damascus to Baghdad. This move helped them consolidate their power and establish a new administration system that included Persian bureaucrats who were well-educated and skilled in governance.

Golden Age of Islam

The Abbasid Caliphate is often referred to as the Golden Age of Islam due to its significant contributions to science, art, literature, and philosophy. During this period, many scholars made groundbreaking discoveries and advancements in various fields.

One of the most notable achievements during this period was the establishment of House of Wisdom in Baghdad. It was a library and research center that housed many manuscripts on various subjects such as mathematics, astronomy, medicine, philosophy, and literature.

Advancements in Science

During this period, Muslim scientists made significant contributions to various fields such as mathematics, astronomy, chemistry, medicine among others. The famous mathematician al-Khwarizmi developed algebra while Ibn al-Haytham made significant contributions to optics.

Muslim scientists also made important discoveries in medicine such as Al-Razi’s discovery of smallpox vaccine and Ibn Sina’s work on medical treatments.

Advancements in Arts and Literature

Islamic art and literature flourished during the Abbasid era. The famous poet Rumi, who is still celebrated today, lived during this period. Islamic calligraphy also developed during this time, and many beautiful manuscripts were created.

Decline of Abbasid Caliphate

The Abbasid Caliphate began declining in the 10th century due to various factors such as political instability, corruption, and external threats from neighboring empires. The caliphate was also weakened by internal conflicts between different factions.

In the 13th century, the Mongols invaded Baghdad and destroyed the city. This event marked the end of the Abbasid Caliphate, although a few descendants of the caliphs continued to rule in Egypt until they were overthrown by the Ottoman Empire in 1517.


The Abbasid Caliphate was an important period in Islamic history that saw significant advancements in various fields such as science, art, literature, and philosophy. Although it eventually declined and fell to outside forces, its contributions continue to be felt today.