- The Umayyad Dynasty was the first great Muslim dynasty to rule the Empire of the Caliphate (AD 661-750).
- The Umayyads, under Abu Sufyan, were a merchant family of the Quraysh tribe at Mecca. After initially resisting Islam, they converted in 627, and became prominent administrators under Muhammad and his immediate successors.
- Following the murder of 'Uthman, the third caliph (644-656), Abu Sufyan's son Mu'awiyah, then governor of Syria, was victorious over 'Ali, Muhammad's son-in-law and fourth caliph, establishing himself as the first Umayyad caliph.
- Mu'awiyah I (661-680), with the help of his army, ruled as Caliph from Damascus.
- Under him, Muslim rule expanded to Khorasan, and operations begun into Central Asia and northwestern India, and the conquest of north Africa started.
- A new fleet of ships conducted a series of unsuccessful campaigns against Constantinople (669-678).
- Civil war and the deaths of Yazid I in 683 and Mu'awiyah II in 684 ended the Sufyanid branch of the dynasty, when Marwan I was proclaimed caliph.
- Under 'Abd al-Malik (685-705), the Umayyad caliphate reached its zenith. Muslim armies overran most of Spain and conquered Mukran and Sind in India, and in Central Asia, took Bukhara, Samarkand, Khwarezm, Fergana, and Tashkent.
- Arabic became the official language.
- The Syrian army suffered defeat by the Byzantine Leo III, the Isaurian in 717.
- The fiscal reforms of 'Umar II (717-720), intended to placate the non-Arab Muslims, led to a financial crisis.
- Under Hisham (724-743), the empire was reached it's limits. The Muslim advance into France was halted at Poitiers in 732 and Arab forces in Anatolia were defeated in 740.
- After revolts in Syria, Iraq, and Khorasan (745-746), the Hashimiyah proclaimed Abu al-'Abbas as-Saffah as caliph (749), who became the first of the 'Abbasid dynasty.
- The last Umayyad, Marwan II (744-750), was defeated at the Battle of the Great Zab River in 750. Members of the Umayyad family were killed, except 'Abd ar-Rahman, who escaped and established himself as a ruler in Spain (756), founding a new Umayyad dynasty there.