Today in Middle Eastern history: the Siege of Acre ends (1799)

Napoleon’s siege of Acre, which lasted for two months from March 20 to May 21, 1799, was the high water mark of his eastern campaign. The French general (his years as emperor were still to come) had arrived in the eastern Mediterranean with a splash, capturing Malta on the way to a crushing victory against … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Siege of Acre ends (1799)

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 By “doesn't exist,” I don't mean that it was in effect for a while but then got superseded by another treaty.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 Capture of Damascus (1918)

The Egyptian Expeditionary Force’s capture of Damascus in early October, 1918, marks the end of World War I in the Middle East. Some scattered fighting continued around Aleppo, but it took only two weeks after losing Damascus for the Ottoman Empire to undergo a complete political upheaval and reach out to the British government to … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Capture of Damascus (1918)

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 Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Abukir (1799)

Napoleon’s chances for a successful Middle Eastern campaign ended shortly after that campaign began, at the Battle of the Nile in early August 1798. We’ll talk about that battle and its repercussions later. But from Napoleon’s perspective, the British victory at the Battle of the Nile meant that he could no longer rely on offshore French … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Abukir (1799)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of the Pyramids (1798)

It is Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt to which we’re turning today, and specifically to one of the two major battles of that invasion, the July 21, 1798, Battle of the Pyramids. Here Napoleon’s forces almost annihilated an Ottoman army trying to defend Egypt and suddenly made France the new military power in the Middle East. … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of the Pyramids (1798)

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 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)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Wahhabi sack of Karbala (probably 1802)

Wahhabism has always taken a dim view of Shiʿism—really, denigrating the Shiʿa is at the core of the movement’s origins. Muhammad b. Abd al-Wahhab (d. 1792) based his teachings in large part on those of the very influential 13th-14th century Hanbali scholar Ibn Taymiyah, and Shiʿa were pretty much Ibn Taymiyah’s least favorite people in the … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Wahhabi sack of Karbala (probably 1802)