Middle East 750 CE

The Middle East has been conquered by Arab armies under the banners of a new religion, Islam.

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What is happening in Middle East in 750CE

The past two and a half centuries have seen the map of the Middle East change radically. In the 7th century, a prophet, Muhammed, originally a merchant from an Arabian town called Mecca, started preaching a new religion, Islam. By his death he had converted most of the Arab tribes to the new faith. Thus united under the banner of Islam, and freed from their interminable quarrels, the Arabs swept outwards in a surge of conquests: Iraq and Iran, Syria and Palestine, Egypt and North Africa, Spain – all fell to them. By this date, Arab armies have penetrated as far as central Asia, western India and, briefly, into France.

The Persian empire vanished under the onslaught, and the Byzantine empire lost its most valuable provinces. In their place, the Arabs established a vast empire, called the “Caliphate” (“caliph” means “successor”, in this case to the Prophet Muhammed).

Up until now the Caliphate has been ruled from Damascus, in Syria. This has been the capital of the Umayyad dynasty of caliphs. The overbearing rule of these caliphs has spawned a number Islamic break-way movements, seeking to install a purer form of rule. One of these is Shi’ism, which will remain an important force within Islam to the present day.

The days of the Umayyads are numbered. Already a great rebellion has broken out which will bring a new dynasty to power, the Abbasids. With the change of dynasty, the Caliphate’s capital will very soon move to a new city, Baghdad, in Iraq.

Next map: Middle East 979

 

Dig Deeper:

The Sasanian Empire

The Byzantine Empire

The Islamic Caliphate

 

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