Yazīd ibn Mu‘āwiya (Arabic: يزيد بن معاوية بن أبي سفيان; 646 – 12 November 683), commonly known as Yazid I, was the second caliph of the Umayyad caliphate. He ruled for three years from 680 until his death in 683. His appointment was the first hereditary succession in Islamic history. His caliphate was marked by the death of Muhammad's grandson Husayn ibn Ali as well as the start of the crisis known as the Second Fitna.
His nomination in 676 (56 AH) by Muawiya was opposed by several prominent Muslims from the Hejaz. Following his accession, after Muawiya's death in 680, Husayn and Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr refused to recognize him and fled to sanctuary in Mecca. When Husayn was on his way to Kufa to lead a revolt against Yazid, he was killed with his small band of supporters by Yazid's forces in the Battle of Karbala. The killing of Husayn led to resentment in the Hejaz, where Ibn al-Zubayr centered his opposition to the rule of Yazid, and was supported by many people in Mecca and Medina. After failed attempts to regain the confidence of Ibn al-Zubayr and the people of the Hejaz through diplomacy, Yazid sent an army to end the rebellion. The army defeated the Medinese in the Battle of al-Harrah in August 683 and the city was given over to three days of pillage. Later, siege was laid to Mecca, which lasted for several weeks. The siege ended with the death of Yazid in November 683 and the empire fell to civil war.
Yazid is considered an illegitimate ruler and a tyrant by many Muslims due to his hereditary succession, the death of Husayn and the attack on the city of Medina by his forces. Modern historians present a milder view of him, and consider him a capable ruler, albeit less successful than his father.
Genealogical tree of the Sufyanids, the ruling family to which Yazid I belonged
Yazid was born in Syria in 646 to Muawiya ibn Abi Sufyan, then governor of Syria under Caliph Uthman (r. 644–656), and Maysun, the daughter of Bahdal ibn Unayf, a chieftain of the powerful Banu Kalb tribe. Yazid grew up with his maternal Kalbite tribesmen. Though during his youth he spent his springs in the desert with his Bedouin kin, for the remainder of the year he was in the company of the Greek and native Syrian courtiers of his father, who became caliph in 661. Yazid led several campaigns against the Byzantine Empire and in 670 participated in an attack on Constantinople. He also led the hajj (the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca) on several occasions.