Today in European history: the Siege of Chandax ends (961)

The island of Crete has changed hands so many times over the past few centuries that it can be hard to keep track of all of its various owners and operators. Before it became Greek again (which includes a period of Axis occupation during World War II), Crete was (briefly) independent, and before that Ottoman, before… Continue reading Today in European history: the Siege of Chandax ends (961)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Massacre at the Citadel (1811)

Because the Mamluk dynasty wasn’t a “dynasty” in the traditional sense, when the Ottomans toppled it in 1516-1517, there were a lot of important mamluk aristocrats and officials still running around Egypt and Syria who had no particular loyalty to the sultan (Tuman Bey) who had just been overthrown. It was much simpler for the… Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Massacre at the Citadel (1811)

AFRICAN-AMERICAN HISTORY MONTH: Islam and the American Slave Experience

We are of course about to wrap up another African-American History Month, and maybe the one area where the general thrust of this blog sort of intersects with African-American history is in terms of African Muslims who were sold into slavery in North America. There aren’t great records as to the number of Muslims who… Continue reading AFRICAN-AMERICAN HISTORY MONTH: Islam and the American Slave Experience

Today in Chinese history: the Siege of Kaifeng ends (1233)

Chinese history isn’t really what we cover around here, but I’m making an exception for the 1232-1233 Siege of Kaifeng. Why? Well, partly because the Mongols were involved, but also because, from the standpoint of military history, there were some incredible things happening in China in this period. The Jin, who were the ruling dynasty… Continue reading Today in Chinese history: the Siege of Kaifeng ends (1233)

Today in South Asian history: the Battle of Karnal (1739)

Nader Shah played an important role in the demise of two of the three Islamic “Gunpowder Empires” of the early modern (16th-18th century) period. Obviously the Ottomans chugged along until World War I. But in addition to closing the book on the Safavids altogether, Nader Shah also hastened the downfall of India’s Mughal dynasty, and… Continue reading Today in South Asian history: the Battle of Karnal (1739)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the 1966 Syrian coup

Syria’s road from French colony (er, I mean “protectorate” or whatever) to the mess it is today was littered with coups d’état: three in 1949, one each in 1951, 1954, 1961, 1963, and 1966, and finally the 1970 Corrective Movement that brought Hafez al-Assad to power. I’m probably missing a couple somewhere along the way.… Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the 1966 Syrian coup

Today in Middle Eastern history: the 1921 Iranian coup

The fall of imperial Russia in the aftermath of the 1917 Russian Revolution should have been good news for Iran’s Qajar Dynasty, which had fought at least three wars with Russia and lost much of its Caucasian territory in the process. Instead, it upset the delicate balance of power in Iran and eventually led to… Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the 1921 Iranian coup