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

Hi all

After Mohammed died in 632 AD, itís generally agreed there were four Arabic Caliphates in the Middle East

Background Below

620 AD Emperor Heraclius in Constantinople switched 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 settled his community in Medina in Saudi Arabia (340 kms from Mecca).

632 AD Mohammed passed 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. This dynasty now took Jerusalem.

1055 AD Seljuk Turks from Central Asia moved 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.

1058 AD A rival mercenary Turk, fighting for the Fatimid dynasty, captured Baghdad briefly. After he was killed the following year, Baghdad recaptured in 1060 by Tughril Beg, generally acknowledged as the founder of the Seljuk Turk empire.

1071 AD Another Turkish commander, Atsiz ibn Uvaq captured Jerusalem and Palestine from the Fatimid dynasty, and Damascus in 1076. In 1077, following a rebellion, he retook Jerusalem with a massacre of the local population. However he was executed shortly afterwards by the new Seljuk emir of Damascus, Tutush.

1086 AD Artuq was appointed as governor of Jerusalem by Tutush. Artuq died in 1091 and in 1098 his sons Sokmen and Ilghazi were expelled from Jerusalem by the Egyptian Fatimid vizier al-Afdal Shahanshah.
Meanwhile word had come to the West that the Turks were forbidding all Christian services, killing Christian pilgrims as they arrived.

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

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

1164 AD Nur ad-Din, Turkish governor of Syria, sent a military officer, Shirkuh together with his nephew Saladin both having a Kurdish background, to defeat the weak rulers in Egypt and hold back the Crusaders in Jerusalem. Eventually they did so. After his uncle Shirkuh died in 1169, Saladin was appointed vizier (chief minister of Egypt) by the Fatimid (Shia) caliph, then after the caliph died in 1171, Saladin took full control, switching Egypt's allegiance back to the Baghdad-based Abbasid (Sunni) Caliphate.

1174 AD After Nur ad-Din died, Saladin's army was victorious in taking over Syria. His brother Al-Adil then governed Egypt on his behalf, mobilizing that country's resources in support of his brother's campaigns in Syria and in his war against the Crusaders (1175Ė1183).

1187 AD Saladin recaptured Jerusalem. Knights Templar shifted their headquarters to Acre (Akko) in northern Israel where they survived, just, another hundred years. But subsequent crusades only had an occasional impact.

1204 AD Venetian mercenaries led by Enrico Dandolo on so-called "Fourth Crusade", sacked 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 was now divided amongst the Western Latins and never reclaimed its previous glory.

1258 AD Abbasid Caliphate in Baghdad fell to Hulagu Khan (Genghis Khanís grandson). A surviving member formed 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, left 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, practising what became known as Syriac Christianity, its language the basis for Genghis Khan's Mongolian script. 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 retook Constantinople, but was now fairly isolated as the Ottoman Turks based in Sogut steadily expanded their power, taking Bursa in 1324, crossed into Europe in 1354, took 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", demolished 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 engaged 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 reigned for 400 years from Constantinople. And in the north, there came 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 resurfaced in Portugal in 1317 as the Order of Christ. And next we saw 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, visited Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in the east in 1505, settled in Goa in India in 1510, the Spice Islands in Indonesia in 1512 and Timor in 1520, Canton (Guangzhou) in China in 1517 and reached Japan in 1542.

Spain, following Christopher Columbus's discovery and exploration of the Caribbean Islands (specifically The Bahamas, Cuba and Haiti) in 1492, now settled 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, travelled via the Indian Ocean in opposition to Portugal and Spain, set up trade agreements with Japan, colonised the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, moved 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 settled 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 settled 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 took 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 continued 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 sent Catholic missionaries, and traders into some parts of Africa, a small part of India, and a large part of Vietnam and Cambodia. The Dutch extended 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 fell to the Aussies (in the British Army) on 31st October. Jerusalem fell two months later.

The United States then came 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