Saturday, August 20, 2016

Spread of religion(s) in the world from 3000 BCE to 2000 CE (5000 years)

Last modified on 24th August 2016

Animated map shows how religion spread around the world, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvFl6UBZLv4, 2 min 35 secs, published on Jul 14th 2015 by Business Insider.

The main description on youtube page above:
Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are five of the biggest religions in the world. Over the last few thousand years, these religious groups have shaped the course of history and had a profound influence on the trajectory of the human race. Through countless conflicts, conquests, missions abroad, and simple word of mouth, these religions spread around the globe and forever molded the huge geographic regions in their paths.
--- end main description of youtube video ---

Ravi: There may be quite some detail level inaccuracies in the video but it does give a bird's eye view of spread of the main five religions of the world today, from 3000 BCE to 2000 CE (5000 years) within a two and a half minute video!

I viewed it multiple times. Here are some of my observations and supporting information on it:

1) As a believer in divine revelations of Sri Sathya Sai Baba regarding Hinduism & Vedic religion, my belief is that Hinduism & Vedic religion are very old and have its origins far before 3000 BC as shown in the above video. However, leading academic scholars of history of ancient India seem to have the view that Vedic religion started only in 1750 BCE, and that was preceded by Indus Valley Civilization (3300 - 1700 BCE). See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Hinduism

2) Abraham is the patriarch of Judaism and is revered by Christianity and Islam as well (Abraham is referred to as Ibrahim in Islam, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham_in_Islam). Judaism, Christianity and Islam are referred to as Abrahamic religions as they trace their common origin to Abraham. The birth date of Abraham is considered to be around 1800 BCE by Jewish tradition; see http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/abraham.html.

3) Buddha's birth year is considered by most historians today to be around 563 BCE; see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gautama_Buddha.

4) Jesus' crucifixion year is considered to be between the years 30 and 33 AD (CE); see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crucifixion_of_Jesus.

5) In 70 AD (CE) the Romans brutally sacked Jerusalem; see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Jerusalem_(AD_70). Many of the Jews seem to have been forced into exile. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/revolt.html states referring to the revolt of Jews against the Romans, in the period 66 to 70 AD which led to the destruction of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem and sacking of Jerusalem in 70 AD, "When people today speak of the almost two-thousand-year span of Jewish homelessness and exile, they are dating it from the failure of the revolt and the destruction of the Temple."

6) Jesus was crucified around 30 AD and Jerusalem was brutally sacked by the Romans (neither Jewish nor Christian then) in 70 AD. How then did Christianity manage to survive and spread?

Details on it from Wikipedia extracts are given later on in this post.

7) Muhammad was born in Mecca in 570 and started his mission around 610. The Islamic Era is considered to have started in 618 with Muhammad's flight from Mecca to Medina (then known as Yathrib) where he was joined by his followers.

Details on spread of Islam from Wikipedia extracts are given later on in this post.

8) Age of Discovery begins in the 15th century. European (Christian) powers discover new lands like Americas and Australia as well as discover new sea routes to Asia. European colonization of new lands leads to Christianity being spread to these new lands and also to some parts of Africa and Asia.

Details on spread of Christianity in the Age of Discovery from Wikipedia extracts are given later on in this post.

9) Partition of Africa/Scramble for Africa by European (Christian) powers begins in 1881. Christianity spreads to countries/territories colonized by European powers in Africa.

Details on spread of Christianity in the Partition of Africa from Wikipedia extracts are given later on in this post.

10) The state of Israel (Jewish faith i.e. Judaism prominently) is established in 1948.
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Details of points 6 to 9 are given below.

6) Jesus was crucified around 30 AD and Jerusalem was brutally sacked by the Romans (neither Jewish nor Christian then) in 70 AD. How then did Christianity manage to survive and spread?

Some extracts from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_early_Christianity :

The history of early Christianity covers the period from the its origins to the First Council of Nicaea in 325.
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Historians commonly use the First Council of Nicaea in 325 and the toleration/promotion of Christianity by Emperor Constantine I (reigned 306-337) in the Roman Empire to mark the end of early Christianity and the beginning of the era of the first seven Ecumenical Councils (325-787).
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According to the Gospel writers, Jesus preached for a period of one to three years when he was in his early 30s, in the early 1st century AD. The gospels give Jesus' method of teaching as involving parables, metaphor, allegory, proverbs, and a small number of direct sermons such as the Sermon on the Mount. His ministry of teaching, healing the sick and disabled and performing various miracles culminated in his execution at the hands of the Roman authorities in Jerusalem (but see also Responsibility for the death of Jesus). Shortly thereafter, a strong belief in Jesus' bodily resurrection spread rapidly through Jerusalem, beginning with his closest disciples, which led up to the traditional Day of Pentecost. This event provoked the Apostles to embark on a number of missionary campaigns to spread the "Good News", following the Great Commission handed down by Jesus.
Most New Testament scholars agree that Peter had some sort of special position among the Twelve.
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The Christian church sees "the Apostolic Age" as the foundation upon which its whole history is built. This period, roughly dated between the years 30 and 100 AD, produced writings traditionally attributed to the direct followers of Jesus Christ (the New Testament and Apostolic Fathers collections) and is thus associated with the apostles and their contemporaries.
Earliest Christianity took the form of a Jewish eschatological faith. The apostles traveled to Jewish communities around the Mediterranean Sea, and attracted Jewish converts. Within 10 years of the death of Jesus, apostles had spread Christianity from Jerusalem to Antioch, Ephesus, Corinth, Thessalonica, Cyprus, Crete, and Rome.
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In the mid-1st century, in Antioch, Paul of Tarsus began preaching to Gentiles. The new converts did not follow all "Jewish Law" (generally understood to mean Mosaic Law as the Halakha was still being formalized at the time) and refused to be circumcised, as circumcision was considered repulsive in Hellenistic culture.
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The disciples were first called "Christians" in Antioch (as related in Acts 11:26). Accordingly, "Christians" (with the variant "Chrestians") was by 49 already a familiar term, mostly in the Latin-speaking capital of the Roman Empire. As the church spread throughout Greek-speaking Gentile lands, the appellation took prominence, and eventually became the standard reference for followers of the faith. Ignatius of Antioch was the first known Christian to use the label in self-reference and made the earliest recorded use of the term Christianity (Greek --snip--), around 100 AD.
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Christians were initially identified with the Jewish religion by the Romans, but as they became more distinct, Christianity became a problem for Roman rulers. Around the year 98, the emperor Nerva decreed that Christians did not have to pay the annual tax upon the Jews, effectively recognizing them as distinct from Rabbinic Judaism. This opened the way to Christians being persecuted for disobedience to the emperor, as they refused to worship the state pantheon.
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The original church communities were founded by apostles (see Apostolic see) and numerous other Christians soldiers, merchants, and preachers in northern Africa, Asia Minor, Armenia, Arabia, Greece, and other places. Over 40 were established by the year 100, many in Asia Minor, such as the seven churches of Asia. By the end of the 1st century, Christianity had already spread to Greece and Italy, some say as far as India, serving as foundations for the expansive spread of Christianity throughout the world. In 301 AD, the Kingdom of Armenia became the first to declare Christianity as its state religion, following the conversion of the Royal House of the Arsacids in Armenia.

Despite sporadic incidents of local persecution and a few periods of persecution on an empire-wide scale, the Christian religion continued its spread throughout the Mediterranean Basin. There is no agreement as for how Christianity managed to spread so successfully prior to the Edict of Milan and Constantine favoring the creed and it is probably not possible to identify a single cause for this.
--- end extracts from History of early Christianity wiki ----

Extract from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Christianity :

Christianity emerged in the Levant in the mid-1st century AD. Christianity spread initially from Jerusalem throughout the Near East, into places such as Aram, Assyria, Mesopotamia, Phoenicia, Asia Minor, Jordan and Egypt. In the 4th century it was successively adopted as the state religion by Armenia in 301, Georgia in 319, the Aksumite Empire in 325, and the Roman Empire in 380. After the Council of Ephesus in 431 the Nestorian Schism created the Church of the East. The Council of Chalcedon in 451 further divided Christianity into Oriental Orthodoxy and Chalcedonian Christianity. Chalcedonian Christianity divided into the Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church in the Great Schism of 1054. The Protestant Reformation which began in the 1500s created new Christian communities that separated from the Roman Catholic Church and have evolved into many different denominations.

Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christianity spread to all of Europe in the Middle Ages. Christianity expanded throughout the world during Europe's Age of Exploration from the Renaissance onwards, becoming the world's largest religion. Today there are more than two billion Christians worldwide.
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Early Christianity may be divided into 2 distinct phases: the apostolic period, when the first apostles were alive and led the Church, and the post-apostolic period, when an early episcopal structure developed, and persecution was periodically intense. The Roman persecution of Christians ended in AD 313 when Constantine the Great decreed tolerance for the religion. He then called the First Council of Nicaea in AD 325, beginning of the period of the First seven Ecumenical Councils.
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Galerius, who had previously been one of the leading figures in persecution, in 311 issued an edict which ended the Diocletian persecution of Christianity. After halting the persecutions of the Christians, Galerius reigned for another 2 years. He was then succeeded by an emperor with distinctively pro Christian leanings, Constantine the Great.

The Emperor Constantine I was exposed to Christianity by his mother, Helena. At the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312, Constantine commanded his troops to adorn their shields with the Christian symbol in accordance with a vision that he had had the night before. After winning the battle, Constantine was able to claim the emperorship in the West. In 313, he issued the Edict of Milan, officially legalizing Christian worship.
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Christianity as Roman state religion (380 AD)

On 27 February 380, with the Edict of Thessalonica put forth under Theodosius I, the Roman Empire officially adopted Trinitarian Christianity as its state religion. Prior to this date, Constantius II (337-361) and Valens (364-378) had personally favored Arian or Semi-Arian forms of Christianity, but Valens' successor Theodosius I supported the Trinitarian doctrine as expounded in the Nicene Creed.

After its establishment, the Church adopted the same organisational boundaries as the Empire: geographical provinces, called dioceses, corresponding to imperial governmental territorial division. The bishops, who were located in major urban centres as per pre-legalisation tradition, thus oversaw each diocese. The bishop's location was his "seat", or "see". Among the sees, five came to hold special eminence: Rome, Constantinople, Jerusalem, Antioch, and Alexandria. The prestige of most of these sees depended in part on their apostolic founders, from whom the bishops were therefore the spiritual successors. Though the bishop of Rome was still held to be the First among equals, Constantinople was second in precedence as the new capital of the empire.

Theodosius I decreed that others not believing in the preserved "faithful tradition", such as the Trinity, were to be considered to be practicers of illegal heresy, and in 385, this resulted in the first case of capital punishment of a heretic, namely Priscillian.
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Western missionary expansion

The stepwise loss of Western Roman Empire dominance, replaced with foederati and Germanic kingdoms, coincided with early missionary efforts into areas not controlled by the collapsing empire. Already as early as in the 5th century, missionary activities from Roman Britain into the Celtic areas (current Scotland, Ireland and Wales) produced competing early traditions of Celtic Christianity, that was later reintegrated under the Church in Rome.

Prominent missionaries were Saints Patrick, Columba and Columbanus. The Anglo-Saxon tribes that invaded southern Britain some time after the Roman abandonment, were initially pagan, but converted to Christianity by Augustine of Canterbury on the mission of Pope Gregory the Great. Soon becoming a missionary center, missionaries such as Wilfrid, Willibrord, Lullus and Boniface would begin converting their Saxon relatives in Germania.

The largely Christian Gallo-Roman inhabitants of Gaul (modern France) were overrun by the Franks in the early 5th century. The native inhabitants were persecuted until the Frankish king Clovis I converted from paganism to Roman Catholicism in 496. Clovis insisted that his fellow nobles follow suit, strengthening his newly established kingdom by uniting the faith of the rulers with that of the ruled.

After the rise of the Frankish Kingdom and the stabilizing political conditions, the Western part of the Church increased the missionary activities, supported by the Merovingian kingdom as a means to pacify troublesome neighbor peoples. After the foundation of a church in Utrecht by Willibrord, backlashes occurred when the pagan Frisian king Radbod destroyed many Christian centres between 716 and 719. In 717, the English missionary Boniface was sent to aid Willibrord, re-establishing churches in Frisia continuing missions in Germany.
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Conversion of the Scandinavians

Early evangelisation in Scandinavia was begun by Ansgar, Archbishop of Bremen, "Apostle of the North". Ansgar, a native of Amiens, was sent with a group of monks to Jutland Denmark in around 820 at the time of the pro-Christian Jutish king Harald Klak. The mission was only partially successful, and Ansgar returned two years later to Germany, after Harald had been driven out of his kingdom.

In 829 Ansgar went to Birka on Lake Mälaren, Sweden, with his aide friar Witmar, and a small congregation was formed in 831 which included the king's own steward Hergeir. Conversion was slow, however, and most Scandinavian lands were only completely Christianised at the time of rulers such as Saint Canute IV of Denmark and Olaf I of Norway in the years following AD 1000.

Conversion of the Slavs

Though by 800 Western Europe was ruled entirely by Christian kings, East and Central Europe remained an area of missionary activity. For example, in the 9th century SS. Cyril and Methodius had extensive missionary success in the region among the Slavic peoples, translating the Bible and liturgy into Slavonic. The Baptism of Kiev in 988 spread Christianity throughout Kievan Rus', establishing Christianity among the Ukraine, Belarus and Russia.

--- end extracts from History of Christianity ---

7) Muhammad was born in Mecca in 570 and started his mission around 610. The Islamic Era is considered to have started in 618 with Muhammad's flight from Mecca to Medina (then known as Yathrib) where he was joined by his followers.

Extracts from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Islam:

According to tradition, the Islamic prophet Muhammad was born in Mecca around the year 570. His family belonged to the Quraysh. When he was about forty years old, he began receiving what Muslims consider to be divine revelations delivered through the angel Gabriel, which would later form the Quran, enjoining him to proclaim a strict monotheistic faith, warn his compatriots of the impending Judgement Day, and castigate social injustices of his city. Muhammad's message won over a handful of followers and was met with increasing opposition from notables of Mecca. In 618, after he lost protection with the death of his influential uncle Abu Talib, Muhammad took flight to the city of Yathrib (subsequently called Medina) where he was joined by his followers. Later generations would count this event, known as the hijra, as the start of the Islamic era.

In Yathrib, where he was accepted as an arbitrator among the different communities of the city under the terms of the Constitution of Medina, Muhammad began to lay the foundations of the new Islamic society, with the help of new Quranic verses which provided guidance on matters of law and religious observance. The surahs of this period emphasized his place among the long line of Biblical prophets, but also differentiated the message of the Quran from Christianity and Judaism. Armed conflict with Meccans and Jewish tribes of the Yathrib area soon broke out. After a series of military confrontations and political maneuvers, Muhammad was able to secure control of Mecca and allegiance of the Quraysh in 629. In the time remaining until his death in 632, tribal chiefs across the peninsula entered into various agreements with him, some under terms of alliance, others acknowledging his prophethood and agreeing to follow Islamic practices, including paying the alms levy to his government, which consisted of a number of deputies, an army of believers, and a public treasury.
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After Muhammad died, a series of four Caliphs governed the Islamic state: Abu Bakr (632-634), Umar ibn al-Khattab (Umar I, 634-644), Uthman ibn Affan, (644-656), and Ali ibn Abi Talib (656-661). These leaders are known as the "Rashidun" or "rightly guided" Caliphs in Sunni Islam. They oversaw the initial phase of the Muslim conquests, advancing through Persia, Levant, Egypt, and North Africa.

After Muhammad's death, Abu Bakr, one of his closest associates, was chosen as the first caliph (Arabic: --snip-- khalifah, lit. successor). Although the office of caliph retained an aura of religious authority, it laid no claim to prophecy. A number of tribal leaders refused to extend agreements made with Muhammad to Abu Bakr, ceasing payments of the alms levy and in some cases claiming to be prophets in their own right. Abu Bakr asserted his authority in a successful military campaign known as the Ridda wars, whose momentum was carried into the lands of the Byzantine and Sasanian empires. By the end of the reign of the second caliph, Umar I, Arab armies, whose battle-hardened ranks were now swelled by the defeated rebels and former imperial auxiliary troops, conquered the Byzantine provinces of Syria and Egypt, while the Sassanids lost their western territories, with the rest to follow soon afterwards.

Umar improved administration of the fledgling empire, ordering improvement of irrigation networks and playing a role in foundation of cities like Basra. To be close to the poor, he lived in a simple mud hut without doors and walked the streets every evening. After consulting with the poor Umar established the Bayt al-mal, a welfare institution for the Muslim and non-Muslim poor, needy, elderly, orphans, widows, and the disabled. The Bayt al-mal ran for hundreds of years under the Rashidun Caliphate in the 7th century and continued through the Umayyad period and well into the Abbasid era. Umar also introduced child benefit for the children and pensions for the elderly. When he felt that a governor or a commander was becoming attracted to wealth or did not meet the required administrative standards, he had him removed from his position. The expansion of the state was partially terminated between 638–639 during the years of great famine and plague in Arabia and Levant, respectively.

During Umar's reign, within 10 years, Levant, Egypt, Cyrenaica, Tripolitania, Fezzan, Eastern Anatolia, almost the whole of the Sassanid Persian Empire, including Bactria, Persia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Caucasus and Makran, were incorporated into the Islamic State.
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Early Muslim armies stayed in encampments away from cities because Umar feared that they may get attracted to wealth and luxury, moving away from the worship of God, accumulating wealth and establishing dynasties. Staying in these encampments away from the cities also ensured that there was no stress on the local populations which could remain autonomous. Some of these encampments later grew into cities like Basra and Kufa in Iraq and Fustat in Egypt.

When Umar was assassinated in 644, Uthman ibn Affan became the next caliph.
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The Qur'an and Muhammad talked about racial equality and justice (notably in Muhammad's Farewell Sermon), discouraging tribal and nationalistic differences . But after Muhammad's passing the old tribal differences between the Arabs started to resurface. Following the Roman–Persian Wars and the Byzantine–Sassanid Wars deep-rooted differences between Iraq (formerly under the Persian Sassanid Empire) and Syria (formerly under the Byzantine Empire) also existed. Each wanted the capital of the newly established Islamic State to be in their area.

As Uthman ibn Affan became very old, Marwan I a relative of Muawiyah I slipped into the vacuum, becoming his secretary and slowly assuming more control. When Uthman was assassinated in 656, Ali ibn Abi Talib, a cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad, assumed the position of caliph and moved the capital to Kufa in Iraq. Muawiyah I, the governor of Syria, and Marwan I demanded arrest of the culprits. Marwan I manipulated every one and created conflict, which resulted in the first civil war (the "First Fitna"). Ali was assassinated by Kharijites in 661. Six months later in 661, in the interest of peace, Ali's son Hasan, made a peace treaty with Muawiyah I. In the Hasan–Muawiya treaty, Hasan ibn Ali handed over power to Muawiya on the condition that he would be just to the people and not establish a dynasty after his death. Muawiyah subsequently broke the conditions of the agreement and established the Umayyad dynasty, with a capital in Damascus. Husayn ibn Ali, by then Muhammad's only living grandson, refused to swear allegiance to the Umayyads. He was killed in the Battle of Karbala the same year, in an event still mourned by Shia on the Day of Ashura. Unrest, called the Second Fitna continued, but Muslim rule was extended under Muawiyah to Rhodes, Crete, Kabul, Bukhara, and Samarkand, and expanded in North Africa. In 664, Arab armies conquered Kabul, and in 665 pushed into the Maghreb.
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At its largest extent, the Umayyad dynasty covered more than 5,000,000 square miles (13,000,000 km2) making it one of the largest empires the world had yet seen, and the fifth largest contiguous empire ever.
Muawiyah beautified Damascus, and developed a court to rival that of Constantinople. He expanded the frontiers of the empire, reaching the edge of Constantinople at one point, though the Byzantines drove him back and he was unable to hold any territory in Anatolia.
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The Abbasid dynasty rose to power in 750, consolidating the gains of the earlier Caliphates. Initially, they conquered Mediterranean islands including the Balearics and, after, in 827 the Sicily. The ruling party had come to power on the wave of dissatisfaction with the Umayyads, cultivated by the Abbasid revolutionary Abu Muslim. Under the Abbasids Islamic civilization flourished. Most notable was the development of Arabic prose and poetry, termed by The Cambridge History of Islam as its "golden age". Commerce and industry (considered a Muslim Agricultural Revolution) and the arts and sciences (considered a Muslim Scientific Revolution) also prospered under Abbasid caliphs al-Mansur (ruled 754 — 775), Harun al-Rashid (ruled 786 — 809), al-Ma'mun (ruled 809 — 813) and their immediate successors.

The capital was moved from Damascus to Baghdad, due to the importance placed by the Abbasids upon eastern affairs in Persia and Transoxania. At this time the caliphate showed signs of fracture amid the rise of regional dynasties. Although the Umayyad family had been killed by the revolting Abbasids, one family member, Abd ar-Rahman I, escaped to Spain and established an independent caliphate there in 756. In the Maghreb, Harun al-Rashid appointed the Arab Aghlabids as virtually autonomous rulers, although they continued to recognise central authority. Aghlabid rule was short-lived, and they were deposed by the Shiite Fatimid dynasty in 909. By around 960, the Fatimids had conquered Abbasid Egypt, building a capital there in 973 called "al-Qahirah" (meaning "the planet of victory", known today as Cairo). In Persia the Turkic Ghaznavids snatched power from the Abbasids. Abbasid influence had been consumed by the Great Seljuq Empire (a Muslim Turkish clan which had migrated into mainland Persia) by 1055.

Expansion continued, sometimes by force, sometimes by peaceful proselytising. The first stage in the conquest of India began just before the year 1000. By some 200 (from 1193 — 1209) years later, the area up to the Ganges river had fallen. In sub-Saharan West Africa, Islam was established just after the year 1000. Muslim rulers were in Kanem starting from sometime between 1081 and 1097, with reports of a Muslim prince at the head of Gao as early as 1009. The Islamic kingdoms associated with Mali reached prominence in the 13th century.
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The Crusades
Beginning in the 8th century, the Iberian Christian kingdoms had begun the Reconquista aimed at retaking Al-Andalus from the Moors. In 1095, Pope Urban II, inspired by the conquests in Spain by Christian forces and implored by the eastern Roman emperor to help defend Christianity in the East, called for the First Crusade from Western Europe which captured Edessa, Antioch, County of Tripoli and Jerusalem.

In the early period of the Crusades, the Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem emerged and for a time controlled Jerusalem. The Kingdom of Jerusalem and other smaller Crusader kingdoms over the next 90 years formed part of the complicated politics of the Levant, but did not threaten the Islamic Caliphate nor other powers in the region. After Shirkuh ended Fatimid rule in 1169, uniting it with Syria, the Crusader kingdoms were faced with a threat, and his nephew Saladin reconquered most of the area in 1187, leaving the Crusaders holding a few ports.

In the Third Crusade armies from Europe failed to recapture Jerusalem, though Crusader states lingered for several decades, and other crusades followed. The Christian Reconquista continued in Al-Andalus, and was eventually completed with the fall of Granada in 1492. During the low period of the Crusades, the Fourth Crusade was diverted from the Levant and instead took Constantinople, leaving the Eastern Roman Empire (now the Byzantine Empire) further weakened in their long struggle against the Turkish peoples to the east. However, the crusaders did manage to damage Islamic caliphates; according to William of Malmesbury, preventing them from further expansion into Christendom and being targets of the Mamluks and the Mongols.
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Mongol invasions

After the Crusades the Mongols invaded in the 13th century, marking the end of the Islamic Golden Age. Some historians assert that the eastern Islamic world never fully recovered. Under the leadership of Genghis Khan, The Mongols put an end to the Abbasid era. The Mongol invasion of Central Asia began in 1219 at a huge cost in civilian life and economic devastation. The Mongols spread throughout Central Asia and Persia: the Persian city of Isfahan had fallen to them by 1237.

With the election of Khan Mongke in 1251, Mongol targeted the Abbasid capital, Baghdad. Mongke's brother, Hulegu, was made leader of the Mongol Army assigned to the task of subduing Baghdad. The fall of Bagdhad in 1258 destroyed what had been the largest city in Islam. The last Abbasid caliph, al-Musta'sim, was captured and killed; and Baghdad was ransacked and destroyed. The cities of Damascus and Aleppo fell in 1260. Plans for the conquest of Egypt were delayed due to the death of Mongke at around the same time. The Abbasid army lost to the superior Mongol army, but the invaders were finally stopped by Egyptian Mamluks north of Jerusalem in 1260 at the pivotal Battle of Ain Jalut.

Islamic Mongol empires

Ultimately, the Ilkhanate, Golden Horde, and the Chagatai Khanate - three of the four principal Mongol khanates - embraced Islam. In power in Syria, Mesopotamia, Persia and further east, over the rest of the 13th century gradually all converted to Islam. Most Ilkhanid rulers were replaced by the new Mongol power founded by Timur (himself a Muslim), who conquered Persia in the 1360s, and moved against the Delhi Sultanate in India and the Ottoman Turks in Anatolia. Timur's ceaseless conquests were accompanied by displays of brutality matched only by Chinggis Khan, whose example Timur consciously imitated. Samarqand, the cosmopolitan capital of Timur's empire, flourished under his rule as never before, while Iran and Iraq suffered large-scale devastation. The Middle East was still recovering from the Black Death, which may have killed one third of the population in the region. The plague began in China, and reached Alexandria in Egypt in 1347, spreading over the following years to most Islamic areas. The combination of the plague and the wars left the Middle Eastern Islamic world in a seriously weakened position. The Timurid dynasty would found many branches of Islam [Ravi: should be Islamic empires, I guess], including the Mughals of India.
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Indian Subcontinent

On the Indian subcontinent, Islam first appeared in the southwestern tip of the peninsula, in today's Kerala state. Arabs traded with Malabar even before the birth of Muhammad. Native legends say that a group of Sahaba, under Malik Ibn Deenar, arrived on the Malabar Coast and preached Islam. According to that legend, the first mosque of India was built by Second Chera King Cheraman Perumal, who accepted Islam and received the name Tajudheen. He traveled to Arabia to meet Muhammad and died on the trip back, somewhere in today's Oman. Historical records suggest that the Cheraman Perumal Mosque was built in around 629.

Islamic rule came to the Indian subcontinent in the 8th century, when Muhammad bin Qasim conquered Sindh. Muslim conquests expanded under Mahmud and the Ghaznavids until the late 12th century, when the Ghurids overran the Ghaznavids and extended the conquests in Northern India. Qutb-ud-din Aybak conquered Delhi in 1206 and began the reign of the Delhi Sultanates.

In the 14th century, Alauddin Khilji extended Muslim rule south to Gujarat, Rajasthan and Deccan. Various other Muslim dynasties also formed and ruled across India from the 13th to the 18th century such as the Qutb Shahi and the Bahmani, but none rivalled the power and extensive reach of the Mughal Empire at its peak.

--- end extracts from History of Islam wiki ---

8) Age of Discovery begins in the 15th century. European (Christian) powers discover new lands like Americas and Australia as well as discover new sea routes to Asia. European colonization of new lands lead to Christianity being spread to these new lands and also to some parts of Africa and Asia.

Extracts from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_Discovery :

The Age of Discovery is an informal and loosely defined European historical period from the 15th century to the 18th century, marking the time in which extensive overseas exploration emerged as a powerful factor in European culture and globalization. Many lands previously unknown to Europeans were discovered during this period, though most were already inhabited and from the perspective of many non-Europeans it marked the arrival of settlers and invaders from a previously unknown continent. Global exploration started with the Portuguese discoveries of the Atlantic archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores, the coast of Africa, and the discovery of the sea route to India in 1498; and, on behalf of the Crown of Castile (Spain), the trans-Atlantic Voyages of Christopher Columbus between 1492 and 1502, and the first circumnavigation of the globe in 1519–1522. These discoveries led to numerous naval expeditions across the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans, and land expeditions in the Americas, Asia, Africa, and Australia that continued into the late 19th century, and ended with the exploration of the polar regions in the 20th century.

European overseas exploration led to the rise of global trade and the European colonial empires, with the contact between the Old World (Europe, Asia and Africa) and the New World (the Americas and Australia) producing the Columbian Exchange: a wide transfer of plants, animals, food, human populations (including slaves), communicable diseases and culture between the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. This represented one of the most-significant global events concerning ecology, agriculture, and culture in history. The Age of Discovery and later European exploration allowed the global mapping of the world, resulting in a new world-view and distant civilizations coming into contact, but also led to the propagation of diseases that decimated populations not previously in contact with Eurasia and Africa, and to the enslavement, exploitation, military conquest, and economic dominance of Europe and its colonies over native populations. It also allowed for the expansion of Christianity throughout the world, becoming the world's largest religion.

--- end extract from Age of Discovery wiki ---

Extract from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_and_the_Age_of_Discovery :

The Catholic Church during the Age of Discovery inaugurated a major effort to spread Christianity in the New World and to convert the Native Americans and other indigenous people. The evangelical effort was a major part of, and a justification for the military conquests of European powers such as Spain, France and Portugal. Christian Missions to the indigenous peoples ran hand-in-hand with the colonial efforts of Catholic nations. In the Americas and other colonies in Asia and Africa, most missions were run by religious orders such as the Franciscans, Dominicans, Augustinians, and Jesuits. In Mexico the early systematic evangelization by mendicants came to be known as the "Spiritual Conquest of Mexico."

--- end extract from Catholic church and the Age of Discovery wiki ---

9) Partition of Africa/Scramble for Africa by European (Christian) powers begins in 1881. Christianity spreads to countries/territories colonized by European powers in Africa.

Extracts from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scramble_for_Africa :

The "Scramble for Africa" was the invasion, occupation, division, colonization and annexation of African territory by European powers during the period of New Imperialism, between 1881 and 1914. It is also called the Partition of Africa and the Conquest of Africa. In 1870, only 10 percent of Africa was under European control; by 1914 it had increased to 90 percent of the continent, with only Ethiopia (Abyssinia), the Dervish state and Liberia still being independent.

The Berlin Conference of 1884, which regulated European colonization and trade in Africa, is usually referred to as the starting point of the scramble for Africa. Consequent to the political and economic rivalries among the European empires in the last quarter of the 19th century, the partitioning of Africa was how the Europeans avoided warring amongst themselves over Africa.

--- end Scramble for Africa wiki extract ---
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Given below is a mail exchange I had with Terry Reis Kennedy on above post contents:

Terry wrote:
Thanks, Ravi, for this magnificent work you've done.  What "religion" was Mohammed before he created Islam?  I would like to find that information in quotable form.
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I (Ravi) responded (slightly edited):

Thanks Terry. My work was selection of the appropriate extracts from the appropriate FREELY SHAREABLE wikipedia pages and stitching them together in the post. I believe in reusing such FREELY SHAREABLE knowledge sources when possible and when appropriate.

(For the question on Muhammad's religion before Islam) Perhaps this may be of help. From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad

In pre-Islamic Arabia, gods or goddesses were viewed as protectors of individual tribes, their spirits being associated with sacred trees, stones, springs and wells. As well as being the site of an annual pilgrimage, the Kaaba shrine in Mecca housed 360 idols of tribal patron deities. Three goddesses were associated with Allah as his daughters: Allāt, Manāt and al-‘Uzzá. Monotheistic communities existed in Arabia, including Christians and Jews. Hanifs – native pre-Islamic Arabs who "professed a rigid monotheism" – are also sometimes listed alongside Jews and Christians in pre-Islamic Arabia, although their historicity is disputed among scholars. According to Muslim tradition, Muhammad himself was a Hanif and one of the descendants of Ishmael, son of Abraham.
--- end wiki on Muhammad ---
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Terry wrote:
Thanks!  This research is so helpful to me.
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I (Ravi) responded:
Glad to know it has been of help to you.
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[I thank Wikipedia and Business Insider and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above extracts from their websites (short youtube video description from Business Insider) on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

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