"The reason Columbus headed West was because the Muslims had blocked all trade routes to the East. Yet, we are never told this."
The above was written by Mike Konrad in a very interesting piece in the America Thinker.
Just think of it, America's purple mountains' majesty and fruited plains are ours because Mohammed's successors gave Europeans a hard time getting their tea.
[...]Shortly before he died in June 632 AD, Mohammed ordered Muslims to prepare to wage war against the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire.The rest of the article is well worth reading as it castigates those who would rewrite history to make Islam the victim of Christian (specifically Catholic) excesses. That is just not the case. The Crusades were a reaction to the Muslim invasion of Europe, it took Christian Europe over 900 years to reverse the process at the Battle of Vienna in 1683. We celebrate the 330th anniversary of that victory on September 12th.
Upon his death, Mohammed's successor, Abu Bakr, planned to fulfill those instructions. Plans were also made to conquer Zoroastrian Sassanid Persia.
This vainglorious troop of bandits should have been easily dispatched,
However. Persia and Byzantine Rome had just come out of a savagely vicious war which ended in 628 AD. Emperor Heraclius had finally imposed the total defeat over Persia that had eluded the earlier Roman Republic and the Caesars -- but Byzantine Rome, though victorious, was severely mauled. Persia was reduced to a state of anarchy; and forced to pay indemnities to Constantinople.
The Persian and Eastern Roman empires were attacked almost simultaneously around 633 AD, while both were still licking their wounds. So frightening were the Islamic advances that these former blood enemies made a sadly futile alliance. By 644, Persia fell anyway.
By 634 AD, Byzantine Palestine and Syria were being attacked. The Battle of Yarmouk in August 636 AD would see Eastern Roman forces beaten. Emperor Heraclitus, the victorious warrior, a mere 8 years earlier, would have to sneak out back to Constantinople in a boat.
In my mind, nothing ever occurs in a vacuum. Jesus was crucified, suffering under a Roman method of execution. Paul was sent to Rome, the capital of the Empire, because he appealed to Caesar as a Roman citizen after being arrested. Christianity would never have spread as far and as fast as it did if the Roman Empire did not exist to provide a safe transportation and commercial network that encompassed nearly a quarter of the world's population. Until the invention of the steam engine, no one traveled faster than the Romans. Their roads are still being used today.
And so it is with Islam. Six hundred years after His death, our Savior provided the circumstances under which a band of murderous thieves initiated a religion that has grown to over a billion and a half souls. We may ask why and bemoan the apparent capriciousness of these events, but still we trust Him. The entire universe is subject to His will and so are the Muslims.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
I fear we are concentrating on the wrong targets.