Middle East 1215 CE

Islam has by now become the majority religion in the Middle East.

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What is happening in Middle East in 1215CE

The Seljuqs

The preceding two centuries have seen the rise and decline of Seljuq power in the Middle East.

The Seljuqs were a group of Muslim Turks from central Asia who, swooping down from their homeland, overran Iran, Iraq, Syria and much of Asia Minor, where they took much territory from the Byzantine empire. They were careful not to usurp the spiritual position of the caliphs, but ruled in their name with the title of “sultan”, or governor.

Asia Minor

Seljuq power soon broke up, however, giving way to regional states ruled by sultans of Turkish origin. The sultanate of Rum, in Asia Minor, was the most notable of these (“Rum” means “Rome”, because this sultanate lay in former Byzantine, or Roman, territory).

Egypt

Turkish sultans also came to power in Egypt, which had never been conquered by the Seljuqs. These were the Ayyubids, and they have succeeded in conquering up into Syria and far into the Arabian peninsula.

Syria

The Seljuq conquests, and the stricter conditions they placed on Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem, led to a succession of campaigns from Europe, which attempted to set up a number of Christian states in Syria. These “Crusades” met vigorous resistance, and have all but failed. The Europeans now control only a narrow strip of coast. They will soon lose even this.

Iran

In recent years, another Muslim Turkish group, the Khwarizm Shah, have taken control of Iran, and the Middle East will see new waves of invaders from central Asia during the next two centuries.

Next map: Middle East 1453

 

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The Islamic Caliphate

The Byzantine Empire

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