The Crusades – 101


Following his death, Muhammad’s successors–the caliphs–continued an aggressive campaign of expansion. In less than a century they had seized control–among other lands–of Syria, Palestine, and North Africa. Though today we are used to thinking of these lands as Muslim, at the time they were Christian. It has been said that the expanding Muslim empire consumed half of Christian civilization. Even Europe itself was threatened. Muslims seized control of southern Spain, invaded France, and were threatening to invade Rome itself when their advance was defeated by Charles Martel at the battle of Poitiers in 732.

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