Today in European history: the Siege of Syracuse ends (878)

The Aghlabid dynasty governed the province of Ifriqiya (which included modern Tunisia as well as eastern Algeria and western Libya) from 800 until 909. Although nominally they operated as vassals of the Abbasid caliphate, they were almost totally autonomous from Baghdad. Their reign is noteworthy for the growth of Ifriqiya as an economic center and … Continue reading Today in European history: the Siege of Syracuse ends (878)

Today in European history: the Treaty of San Stefano (1878)

Today we're commemorating the anniversary of a treaty that doesn't exist. By “doesn't exist,” I don't mean that it was in effect for a while but then got superseded by another treaty. I mean it never came into effect. I mean its terms were so unacceptable to so many European powers—states that hadn’t even participated … Continue reading Today in European history: the Treaty of San Stefano (1878)

Today in European history: the first Alpujarras Rebellion begins (1499)

When the Emirate of Granada, the last Islamic political entity on the Iberian peninsula, surrendered to the combined forces of Aragon and Castile in 1492, it did so under the terms of the Treaty of Granada, drawn up the previous year. Chief among that agreement’s terms were a series of guarantees for the emirate’s Muslim subjects, … Continue reading Today in European history: the first Alpujarras Rebellion begins (1499)

Today (sort of) in Middle Eastern/European history: the Ottomans get started (1299, or 1302)

If you’ve read The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire–and, you know, who hasn’t–then you may know that Edward Gibbon marks July 27, 1299, as the date of the founding of the Ottoman Empire. It was on this date, according to Gibbon, that Osman I (d. 1326), the Ottomans’ founder and … Continue reading Today (sort of) in Middle Eastern/European history: the Ottomans get started (1299, or 1302)

Today in European history: the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa (1212)

For a relatively small confrontation—probably fewer than 50,000 soldiers combined—the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa had far-reaching ramifications for the history of both Iberia and North Africa. The Almohad Caliphate, at or near the height of its territorial growth, suffered a defeat that helped send it into a decades-long spiral eventually ending with its … Continue reading Today in European history: the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa (1212)

Today in European/Middle Eastern history: Frederick Barbarossa drowns (1190) and more

Some days there are a bunch of little historical anniversaries to commemorate, but none that of themselves seem to warrant their own post. June 10 is one of those days. We’ve got four different anniversaries to note, so let’s take them in chronological order. This is just a placeholder. If you’d like to read the … Continue reading Today in European/Middle Eastern history: Frederick Barbarossa drowns (1190) and more

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

The island of Crete has changed hands so many times 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 that Venetian, Byzantine, Roman...and it … Continue reading Today in European history: the Siege of Chandax ends (961)

Today in European history: the Night Attack at Târgovişte (1462)

Being the Voivode of Wallachia in the 15th century couldn’t have been an easy gig. The principality was strategically located on both the shore of the Black Sea and the northern bank of the Danube, and also happened to sit on the frontier between Hungarian Transylvania and the Ottoman Empire. Successive Wallachian rulers tried to … Continue reading Today in European history: the Night Attack at Târgovişte (1462)