Today in European history: the Council of Clermont (1095)

The title of this post is a bit misleading. The Council of Clermont actually ran from November 18 through November 28, 1095, so November 27 is the anniversary of neither its beginning nor its end. It is, however, the anniversary of the day on which Pope Urban II (d. 1099) got to the point. It… Continue reading Today in European history: the Council of Clermont (1095)

Today in European history: the Treaty of Granada (1491)

The final curtain on the Muslim presence on the Iberian Peninsula came down on January 2, 1492, when the last Muslim ruler of Granada, the Nasirid Sultan Abu Abdullah Muhammad XII (“Boabdil” to the Spaniards, for whom “Abu Abdullah” was apparently too hard to pronounce), went into exile in Morocco. But the departure was a… Continue reading Today in European history: the Treaty of Granada (1491)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Montgisard (1177)

Although he’s well-regarded as a military leader for having retaken Jerusalem from the Crusaders in 1187, Saladin’s military career was certainly not without its setbacks. He appears, for example, to have been mostly outclassed as a battlefield commander by Richard the Lionheart during the Third Crusade, though Richard’s practical limitations in terms of men and… Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Montgisard (1177)

Another group claims responsibility for the Bamako hotel attack

A deadly attack on a hotel in Mali kills several people, many of them foreigners, and leaves the country unsettled. Very quickly, the al-Qaeda-affiliated terror group al-Mourabitoun claims responsibility for the attack in a statement delivered to the media. But in the aftermath of the attack, a second group comes forward to claim responsibility for… Continue reading Another group claims responsibility for the Bamako hotel attack

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of al-Qadisiyah (636)

There are battles throughout history that are decisive for purely military reasons, and then there are battles that are decisive for reasons that go far beyond that. Take two famous examples from the Second Punic War. Hannibal’s victory at the Battle of Cannae (216 BCE) was pretty damn decisive from a military perspective. It’s hard… Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of al-Qadisiyah (636)

Today in South Asian history: the Durand Line is drawn (1893)

The Durand Line, AKA “the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan,” is one of those legacies of colonial times that everybody’s still, unfortunately, living with today. Named after the guy who dreamed it up, British Foreign Secretary for India (at the time) Sir Mortimer Durand, it was meant to fix the border between British India and… Continue reading Today in South Asian history: the Durand Line is drawn (1893)

Today in European history: the Battle of Varna (1444)

Of all the 15th century Ottoman battles in the Balkans (or Rumelia, as the Ottomans called their European possessions) prior to the conquest of Constantinople, the most important was probably the Battle of Varna in 1444, particularly if you pair its effects with those of the (second) Battle of Kosovo in 1448. Varna broke a… Continue reading Today in European history: the Battle of Varna (1444)