From: Stephen Williamson
Sent: Thursday, November 01, 2012 8:47 AM
Subject: A Brief History with hyperlinks

Hi all

After Mohammed died in 633 AD, it’s generally agreed there were four Arabic Caliphates in the Middle East

Background Below

620 AD Emperor Heraclius in Constantinople switches the official language of Eastern Roman Empire back to Greek. From about 215 AD, the official language had been Latin, the language of Rome. But this move signalled to the Arab world and others there was a considerable breakdown in communication throughout the west.

622 AD Mohammed settles his community in Medina in Saudi Arabia (340 kms from Mecca).

633 AD Mohammed passes away. Start of Rashidun Caliphate (1st Caliphate) — Sunni — reigning from Medina.

637 AD Capture of Jerusalem

661 AD Umayyad Caliphate (2nd Caliphate) — Sunni — reigning from Damascus in Syria.

750 AD Abbasid Caliphate (3rd Caliphate) — Sunni — reigning from Baghdad in Babylon (Iraq). Generally on good terms with the West click here for more detail so long as they pay their taxes.
Click here for a map of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East at this time.

969 AD Fatimid Caliphate (4th Caliphate) — Shia Caliphate — rival to Baghdad — reigning from Cairo in Egypt.

1055 AD Seljuk Turks from Central Asia move into Baghdad, spread through the Middle East. The Seljuks were a clan of the Oghuz Turks who had settled in what is today modern Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, click here for a map.

1077 AD Seljuk Turks, calling themselves devout Muslims, capture Jerusalem. Forbid all Christian services, killing Christian pilgrims as they arrive.

1099 AD Holy War (later called the first Crusade) leads to the capture of Jerusalem by the West.

1118 AD Knights Templar forms in Jerusalem, a military "Harvey World Travel", with offices throughout Europe for pilgrims and business people everywhere. Grows enormously popular.

1171 AD Saladin (having a Kurdish background) restores the Abbasid (Sunni) Caliphate in Baghdad over Cairo.

1187 AD Saladin recaptures Jerusalem. Knights Templar shift their headquarters to Acre (Akko) in northern Israel where they survive another hundred years. But subsequent crusades only have an occasional impact.

1204 AD Venetian mercenaries led by Enrico Dandolo on so-called "Fourth Crusade", sack Constantinople, capital of the empire in revenge for

  1. the confiscation of their ships and goods that had occurred there following a riot over Genoa concessions in 1171, and
  2. the massacre of Western (Latin) merchants by a Constantinople mob in 1182.

The empire of Constantinople is now divided amongst the Western Latins and never reclaims its previous glory.

1258 AD Abbasid Caliphate in Baghdad falls to Hulagu Khan (Genghis Khan’s grandson). A surviving member forms a “shadow” Caliphate under the patronage of the Mamluk Turks in Cairo. And Venetian merchants Niccolò and Maffeo Polo, Marco Polo's father and uncle, leave Constantinople for China, joining up with an embassy from Hulagu Khan to his brother, Kublai Khan.

Note, Christian missionaries are recorded as visiting the East from earliest times, forming what became known as the Nestorian Church. Click here for some background on this "Church of the East". Hulagu Khan's wife and Kublai Khan's mother are both recorded as being Christians. Through the Polos, Kublai Khan sent a request to the Pope for 100 Christian teachers to come to China and, although the Pope was unable to fulfill that request, Niccolò does return with his son Marco.

1261 AD With the aid of Genoa, the Greek emperor Michael VIII retakes Constantinople, but is now fairly isolated as the Ottoman Turks based in Sogut steadily expand their power, taking Bursa in 1324, cross into Europe in 1354, take Thessaloniki in northern Greece in 1387, and Kosovo, political and spiritual centre of the Serbian Empire, in 1389.

1368 AD Meanwhile, the first year of the Ming Dynasty in China saw the expulsion of all church missions, as well as opposition to Islam. In Persia, Mongol warriors led by Timur (Tamburlaine the Great), calling himself the "Sword of Islam", demolishes the Church of the East. As his empire expanded, he captured the Ottoman Sultan who died in captivity in 1403. But Timur himself died two years later.

1453 AD Constantinople now fell to the Ottoman Turks, followed by Athens in 1458. Greeks engage in guerilla warfare from the mountains of Greece on and off during the following 370 years.

1517 AD In January, Cairo fell to the Ottoman Turks. They now reign for 400 years from Constantinople. And in the north, we now see Ivan the Terrible, first tsar (caesar) of Russia. Many there saw themselves as taking on the mantle of the "Third Rome" (after Constantinople) — a new Holy Roman Empire.

1317 AD (flashback) Meanwhile back in the West, while the Knights Templar had been disbanded in 1307, their leaders killed and their assets in England and France seized by the governments, they resurface in Portugal in 1317 as the Order of Christ. And next we see Portugal, establishing trading posts right around Africa (1415-1500) including the Cape of Good Hope in 1488, sailing west to Brazil in 1500 and then Newfoundland in 1501, visit Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in the east in 1505, settling in Goa in India in 1510, the Spice Islands in Indonesia in 1512 and Timor in 1520, Canton (Guangzhou) in China in 1517 and reaching Japan in 1542.

Spain, following Christopher Columbus's discovery and exploration of the Caribbean Islands (specifically The Bahamas, Cuba and Haiti) in 1492, now settle during the 1500s in Central America and Mexico and most of South America while leaving Brazil to the Portuguese. Sailing from Mexico, in 1545 they reached New Guinea, in 1565 the Philippines.

The Spanish and Portuguese trade route now went over the Atlantic Ocean, via Havana Cuba, to the port of Vera Cruz in Mexico. A 700km overland journey via Mexico City took them to the port of Acapulco in the west, from whence they sailed to Manila, capital of the Philippines, to conduct significant trade with China.

The Dutch, with their own military, travelling via the Indian Ocean in opposition to Portugal and Spain, set up trade agreements with Japan, colonise the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, move into Ceylon (Sri Lanka), parts of the United States and the Caribbean, and set up trade routes into Java and West Timor during the 1600s and 1700s. In Amsterdam its national symbol, the Tulip, became world famous for its market bubble and crash (1634-1637).

France settles in Africa, Canada, and Louisiana in the US, sending missionaries (and traders) into parts of India and south-east Asia and the Pacific islands during these years, the 1600s and 1700s.

At the same time, their chief rival England settle in North America and India. Following international wars with France (particularly 1754-1763), the British in 1788 set up a convict colony inside what became known as Australia. In 1795, with the rise of Napoleon and his annexing of the Dutch Empire, the British take over the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, the island of Ceylon (Sri Lanka), and Singapore as a gateway to the East. After peace came (after a fashion) to Europe in the 19th century, the British continue to send English traders, missionaries and anti-slavery governors into parts of Africa, much of India, all of Australia, New Zealand and Papua-New Guinea, along with ongoing influence into Malaysia Thailand and Burma. The French send Catholic missionaries, and traders into some parts of Africa, a small part of India, and a large part of Vietnam and Cambodia. The Dutch extend their trading influence inside Indonesia, which included a printing press for the Indonesian language. Portugal retained Goa (in India), and East Timor (in Indonesia).

Discovery of gold and diamonds and other precious stones in Africa during the 19th (and 20th) centuries became a source of war between these empires and the locals.

1917 AD Beersheba falls to the Aussies (in the British Army) on 31st October. Jerusalem falls two months later.

The United States then comes to the aid of Europe (and the rest of the world) during the next 90 years.

Blessings all Steve

Stephen Williamson Computing Services Pty Ltd