Today in South Asian history: the Battle of Diu (1509)

The appearance of Portuguese explorers in India in 1498 was, it’s safe to say, a world-altering event. When Vasco da Gama proved that it was possible for European ocean-going vessels to reach India by going around Africa, it meant changes not only for Europe and India, but for the kingdoms in between, whose economies had … Continue reading Today in South Asian history: the Battle of Diu (1509)

Today in European history: the Siege of Lisbon ends (1147)

Irony abounds when you’re talking about the Crusades, but it especially abounds on those occasions when our intrepid armed pilgrims to the Holy Land wound up making their mark somewhere else. Obviously the best example here is the Fourth Crusade, when instead of marching off to once again “liberate” Jerusalem from its Muslim overlords the Crusaders … Continue reading Today in European history: the Siege of Lisbon ends (1147)

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

For a relatively small confrontation—probably fewer than 50,000 soldiers combined—Las Navas de Tolosa had some 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 demise. On … Continue reading Today in European history: the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa (1212)

Today in North African history: the Battle of Tangier ends (1437)

Prince Henry the Navigator (d. 1460) is one of those Portuguese guys you spend a few minutes on in high school history class in the rush to get to Columbus. He’s an important figure. The explorations Henry sponsored were the first Portuguese voyages along the Atlantic coast of Africa, and later explorers like Bartolomeu Dias … Continue reading Today in North African history: the Battle of Tangier ends (1437)