Explain the political, economic, and social impact of Islam on Europe, Asia, and Africa Describe the interactions among Muslim, Christian, and Jewish societies in Europe, Asia, and North Africa Describe the interactions between Muslim and Hindu societies in South Asia
Muslim invaders, known as the Moors, had significant influence in Spain and Portugal during the 8 th -10 th centuries By the 1200’s the Reconquista of Spain had pushed the Moors into Granada, the southernmost part of the region. Eventually the Moors were expelled from Spain in 1492 during the Reconquista.
While in Spain, Muslim advances in medicine, science and technology spread to the region. Jews were brought to Spain with the Muslims and the two groups were persecuted and forced to leave at the same time. The city of Córdoba was one of Europe’s great centers of learning during the medieval period because of the Muslim influence in Spain. Muslim architectural influences are evident in Córdoba most notably the Alhambra.
In the Muslim libraries of Spain, the knowledge from the Greeks and Romans was preserved. In the 13 th century the Turks began to consolidate an empire in Anatolia, known as the Ottoman Empire. As the Ottomans conquered territory in Eastern Europe, Muslims and Christians in Eastern Europe had more contact. In 1453 the Ottomans took control of Constantinople thereby ending the final Christian outpost of Byzantium.
By the early 700’s Muslims had built an empire that stretched from Spain to India. Arabic language was spread, trade was facilitated, and scientific and technological advances spread across the region. By 1258 the Mongols had invaded the Islamic heartlands in the Middle East, but an Islamic state survived in India-the Delhi Sultanate
In 1206, Muslim warriors captured the city of Delhi and consolidated most of northern India under their control. Muslims generals established the Delhi Sultanate (1206-1520). While Islam was introduced to India via these conquerors, it did not supplant Hinduism.
Islam spread to North Africa in the 7 th century and over the next hundred years spread through the Sahara and to sub-Saharan Africa via trade routes. Islam spread to Africa overland across the Sahara and to the east coast of Africa via the Indian Ocean trade complex. Trade across the Sahara was centered around a gold and salt trade and trade from the east coast of Africa centered around the trade of slaves.
In north Africa the most significant converts to Islam were the nomadic Berbers. In sub-Saharan Africa, by the 1300’s and 1400’s Islamic states emerged. The biggest and most powerful was the state of Mali founded by Sundiata. Mali’s most famous Muslim ruler was Mansa Musaa (1312-1337), who was famous throughout the region for his great pilgrimage to Mecca
Most converts to Islam in sub-Saharan Africa were merchants or ruling elites, who gained political and economic advantage by conversion.
Interactions at this time were generally brought about by conflict, trade, and/or pilgrimages. These interactions resulted in cultural diffusion, the spread of ideas and the spread of technologies.
Al Andalus refers to the territory occupied by the Muslims in southern Spain. Muslims controlled this region from the 8 th century- 15 th century. The Muslims living in this region who eventually made up 80% of the population were called Moors, although they themselves did not use this negative term that was used to refer to the “dark” people from Morocco.
Initially the Jewish populations living in Spain welcomed the invading Muslims and the period of Muslim rule in Spain is also known as the Golden Age of Jewish History, as this time was characterized by freedom and tolerance for Jews.
Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities flourished in Spain, where Muslim knowledge about science and mathematics was spread. Both Jews and Christians held government positions and paid higher taxes than Muslims, yet paid lower taxes than under the rule of the Franks. Jews in European communities operated as moneylenders, since the practice of usury, charging interest, was forbidden in both Christianity and Islam. At its height around 1000 in Andalusia Christians, Jews and Muslims peacefully coexisted.
The Delhi Sultanate established a Muslim ruling class in India, yet Hinduism still thrived in the region. Hindu and Muslim population did not mix during the Post-Classical period and periodically conflicts between the two groups broke out.
Islam’s influence was greatest in northern India. Most converts to Islam came from the lowest castes of Hindus. It was from the Hindus that Muslims learned about the so-called Arabic numerals.
Christians clashed with Jews and Muslims during the Crusades. Christian peasant crusaders attacked Jewish communities on their march towards Constantinople. In North Africa Islam spread widely, yet Axum remained a predominately Christian society. Most interactions between Muslims and Christians in this area were through trade.
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