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Austro-Hungarian Empire – Late 1600s

By | 2017-08-05T00:36:18+00:00 August 5th, 2017|History, Modern Europe|

Leopold In the 1650s, most people in Europe thought of Austria as a place where instead of freedom they had rules that everyone had to be the same, and everyone had to be Catholic. But the Austrians saw themselves as the Holy Roman Empire, the core of civilization and God, with Islamic enemies on one side and [...]

Printing spreads around the world

By | 2017-07-27T22:15:06+00:00 July 27th, 2017|Literature|

Qing dynasty court lady reading a handwritten scroll (probably 1700s AD) Printing with movable type first began in China about 1000 AD. It caught on when European printers combined movable type with the alphabet. By 1500 AD Europeans were printing everything they could think of, from Bibles to ancient Greek philosophy to advertising leaflets and posters. Jewish refugees from Spain brought [...]

Ottoman Turks – Medieval Islamic history

By | 2017-07-25T10:41:41+00:00 July 25th, 2017|History, Islam|

Sultan Mehmed II (by the Venetian painter Gentile Bellini, 1479 AD) After the old Seljuk kingdom in Anatolia (Turkey) fell apart, one of these Seljuks, a man named Osman, started in 1299 AD to build a new kingdom - the Ottoman Empire. At this time, the Byzantine Empire was very weak from the Fourth Crusade. In 1347 AD, the Black Death weakened the [...]

Marinids – Medieval African history

By | 2017-10-29T17:45:20+00:00 July 25th, 2017|History, Islam|

Shirij Madrasa, Fez, Morocco, about 1350 AD By 1217 AD, the Almohad dynasty was collapsing. One of the generals, Abu Yusuf, took over control of Morocco and made himself Sultan. That started the Marinid dynasty. All the Marinid rulers were army men like Abu Yusef,. They were mostly cavalry riders. A tour of Fez The Marinids made [...]

The Mamluks – Medieval Islamic history

By | 2017-07-25T08:44:21+00:00 July 25th, 2017|History, Islam|

A Mamluk inn for merchants in Cairo The Mamluks were originally enslaved bodyguards of the Abbasid caliphs of the Islamic Empire (the word "mamluk" just means "slave" in Arabic). Starting around 850 AD, the Abbasid caliphs captured or bought young boys who were not Muslims as slaves. The caliphs brought the boys up to be Sunni Muslim soldiers in a slave army. These [...]