Today is of course the Fourth of July, or US Independence Day, and best wishes to those who are celebrating that. But this is not a newsletter devoted to American history, so we’re here today to talk instead about the Battle of Hattin, an 1187 clash between the army of the Crusader kingdom of Jerusalem and the army of the Egyptian ruler Saladin that ended in a catastrophic defeat for the Crusaders that left Saladin with a clear path toward capturing Jerusalem. It took a few months, but he did indeed capture it. Which is a story for another time.
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