Today in Middle Eastern history: the North Yemen Civil War begins (1962)

Historians of the 20th century Middle East have to reckon with the impact of not one, but two cold wars. The main one was of course the Cold War, in which the United States and Soviet Union jockeyed for power and influence all over the world and particularly in the oil-rich Greater Middle East. The second was … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the North Yemen Civil War begins (1962)

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 By “doesn't exist,” I don't mean that it was in effect for a while but then got superseded by another treaty.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 Middle Eastern history: the Iranian Revolution ends (1979)

Right off the bat I should note that today's post is somewhat ahistorical. February 11 is generally considered the anniversary of the Iranian Revolution, and I'm not sure I agree with that. The date is not insignificant--it was on February 11, 1979, when the royal Iranian army surrendered, marking the end of organized resistance to … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Iranian Revolution ends (1979)

Today (?) in Middle Eastern history: Muhammad conquers Mecca (630?)

You've probably noted those question marks in the title to this post, and they aren't there to remind me to go back and check my facts later. The question marks are there because there's no compelling reason to believe that this event happened on the date that corresponds with January 11, 630, on our calendar. … Continue reading Today (?) in Middle Eastern history: Muhammad conquers Mecca (630?)

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 in South Asian history: the Battle of Delhi (1398)

I’m going to bail out here, because today’s anniversary doesn’t really do much to rehabilitate Timur’s image. It was on December 17, 1398 when the warlord led his armies into battle against the forces of the Delhi Sultanate, then under the Tughlaq dynasty, at the Battle of Delhi. Timur’s victory here was both brutal, in … Continue reading Today in South Asian history: the Battle of Delhi (1398)

Culture and Politics in Tokugawa Japan, Part 2: The Floating World

by Carson Rogers Ukiyo is Japanese for “the floating world.” It is a term that has multiple meanings and is used throughout most of Japan’s history. But it is most closely identified with the Tokugawa period, used to describe both its overall culture and its art. Before the Tokugawa period ukiyo was used by monks … Continue reading Culture and Politics in Tokugawa Japan, Part 2: The Floating World