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Religious Timelines

Chronology of Early Islam

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Below is timeline of events in the early history of Islam, up to the end of the European Middle Ages. There are three different types of color-coded dates:

  • Important events in the history of Islam
  • Other dates in history for comparison & context

Words in red are linked to our glossary - so clicking on them will take you to much more information than can be included in brief chronology like this.

Medieval Islam: 900 - 1500
900 The Fatimids of Egypt conquered north Africa and included the territory as an extension of Egypt until 972 CE.
909 Sicily came under the control of the Fatimids' rule of North Africa and Egypt until 1071 CE. From 878 until 909 CE, their rule of Sicily was uncertain.
935 Until 969 CE, the rule of Egypt was under the Ikhidid dynasty.
945 A Shi'ite group invaded Baghdad and the Abbasid Empire was reduced to a powerless symbol. Legitimate authority reverted to the Muslim community. Until the sixteenth century, rule of Islamic civilization was decentralized with different sects being ruled by different leaders.
950 Al-Farabi, the greatest of the faylasufs (Arabic for philosopher), lived most of his life in Baghdad and taught that an enlightened individual could perfect his life through philosophy.
c. 950 Catholicism became prevalent and dominant religion throughout Europe.
962 Afghanistan became stabilized by the rule of the Ghaznavid dynasty which lasted until 1186 CE.
969 The Fatimid dynasty (Shi'ite) assumed the title of caliphate in Egypt until 1171 CE.
972 North Africa came under the control of the Zayri rulers in Tunis. Their control would last until 1148 CE.
981 Eric the Red settled in Greenland.
995 A Japanese literary and artistic golden age began under emperor Fujiwara Michinaga (ruled 995 - 1028).
c. 1000 Chinese perfected gunpowder.
1002 Leif Ericsson explored North American coast.
997 Mahmud, ruler of a Turkish dynasty in Gujarat, conducted numerous raids into northwestern India before his death in 1030.
1010 Firdawsi completed his Epic of Kings, widely considered the great epic poem of Persia.
1021 Caliph al-Hakim proclaimed himself to be divine and founded the Druze sect.
1037 Avicenna, a faylasuf, taught a rationalistic philosophy which borders Sufi mysticism. Also a physician, Avicenna discovered that disease can be spread through the contamination of water and that tuberculosis is contagious.
1054 Schism between the Western Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches finalized long-standing split between East and West.
1056 The Al-Moravi rulers of Morocco assumed control over North Africa (lasting until 1147 CE).
1066 William the Conqueror invaded England and asserted his right to the English throne at the Battle of Hastings.
1076 The Mizamiyya mosque-university was established in Baghdad.
1077 The Seljuk, a Turkish dynasty, disrupted political and social structures formed by the Abbasids.
1085 The First Crusade (out of a total of eight official crusades) was launched against Muslims in the Holy Lands by Pope Urban II (c. 1035 - 1099).
1085 Christians conquered Toledo and began the process of re-Christianizing the Iberian Peninsula.
1096 Sufi mysticism was made part of Islamic orthodoxy with the help of Islamic theologian Abu Hamid Mohammed al-Ghazali (1058 - 1111), author of The Revival of the Religious Sciences.
1100 Islamic rule was weakened because of power struggles among Islamic leaders and the Christian crusades.
1100 Polynesian islands were colonized.
1123 Persian poet Umar Khayyam was born. His poem The Rubaiyat became popular in the West because of its use by Victorian Edward Fitzgerald.
1126 In Spain, the Aristotelian Averroes of Cordova was the last important Islamic philosopher. He supported the official faith in public and was an extreme rationalist outside of the public realm. He died in 1198 CE.
1130 Until 1269, the Al-Mohad dynasty ruled North Africa.
1149 - 1290 Life of Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, who wrote about important theological themes in orthodox Sunni theology.
1151 The Toltec Empire in Mexico ended.
1161 Explosives were first used in China at the Battle of Ts'ai-shih.
1168 The Ayyubid dynasty ruled Egypt until 1250 CE.
1187 Muslim general Salah al-Kin al-Ayyubi, in Egypt, ended the Christian crusades.
1192 Muslim forces conquered Delhi, India, establishing a Dehli sultanate.
1198 - 1216 The power of the medieval papacy reached its apex with the reign of Pope Innocent III (1161 - 1216) who managed to excommunicate both Holy Roman emperor Otto IV (1182 - 1218) and King John of England (c. 1167 - 1216) in 1209.
1204 Constantinople was sacked by Western Crusaders on the Fourth Crusade. Latin domination of the Eastern Church begins. Thomas Morosini of Venice is installed as patriarch of Constantinople, increasing the rivalry between Eastern and Western churches.
1215 The Magna Carta was signed and English barons forced King John to agree to a statement of their rights.
1219 Mongol armies lead by Genghis Khan invaded Muslim territories, reaching Persia by 1221 and were only stopped in Syria in 1260.
1232 The earliest known use of rockets occurred in a war between Mongols and Chinese.
1248 Muslim control of Spain was reduced to the Kingdom of Granada, which survived for over two more centuries.
c. 1250 Nasir al-Din Tusi's teachings became part of Shi'ite theology.
1251 The last of the Egyptian-based dynasties, the Mamluk dynasty, took over the caliphate until 1517 when Egypt fell under the control of the Ottoman Turkish Empire.
1258 The Abbasid period was finally ended with the destruction of Baghdad by the Mongols.
1271 Marco Polo set off to visit the court of Kublai Khan.
1299 - 1326 Reign of Osman, founder of the Ottoman Turkish Empire. He defeated the Seljuks.
c. 1300 Fundamentalist leader Ahmad ibn Taymiyyah gained a following. He taught a "science of the oneness of God" and his ideas later influenced the Wahabbi movement.
1325 Aztecs founded Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City).
1327 With the disintegration of the Seljuk Empire, the Arab and Persian regions were fragmented into several military kingdoms until 1500. The Ottoman Turkish Empire established its capital at Bursa.
1347 The Black Death (bubonic plague) reached Cyprus from eastern Asia.
1348 The Black Death (bubonic plague) first reached England.
1396 Ottoman Turks conquered Bulgaria.
1453 The Ottomans defeated the Byzantine Empire and continued expanding into the Balkans. The Ottoman Turkish Empire moved its capital from Bursa to Istanbul (Constantinople). After 1500, the Moguls (1526-1857 CE) and the Safavids (1520-1736 CE) followed the military example set by the Ottomans and created two new empires.
1465 The Signs of the Blessings, a famous book of prayers, was written by Muhammad ibn Sulayman al-Jazuli.
1483 Inca Empire was established in Peru.
1492 Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile, later benefactors of Christopher Columbus, ended Muslim rule in Spain by conquering Granada, last Muslim stronghold.
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