Today in South Asian history: Nader Shah sacks Delhi (1739)

The good news is that I actually feel OK today for the first time since the flu hit last weekend. Since it's my birthday on Sunday, I'm going to give myself a couple more days to recover and, barring any setbacks, we'll be back to normal operations on Monday. Meanwhile, here's today's history post and … Continue reading Today in South Asian history: Nader Shah sacks Delhi (1739)

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Today in Middle Eastern history: the Shahnameh is completed (1010)

Obviously there are a lot of important works of literature that have been created over the years and across the many cultures of the world, so if I were to describe Abu’l-Qasim Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh as simply a great work of literature I would be doing it something of an injustice. It is a great work … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Shahnameh is completed (1010)

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 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

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Iranian Revolution (1979)

In all the time I've been running this blog and posting on important events in Islamic history, I haven't done a February 11 post to commemorate the Iranian Revolution. And to be honest, it's partly because I've never really been able to figure out why February 11 is considered the anniversary of the event. The … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Iranian Revolution (1979)

Today in Middle Eastern history: Khomeini returns from exile (1979)

For some period of time leading up to February 1, 1979, it can plausibly be argued that the most popular person in Iran wasn’t in Iran. That person, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, took a while to reach that level of fame. Khomeini had been critical of modernization (which he identified with Westernization) since the 1940s, when … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: Khomeini returns from exile (1979)