Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb - better known in the Western world as Saladin, was the first Sultan of Egypt and Syria and the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty. A Muslim of Kurdish origin, Saladin led the Islamic opposition against the European Crusaders in the Levant. At the height of his power, his sultanate included Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia, Hejaz, Yemen, and parts of North Africa.
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November 27, 1095: Pope Urban II Orders First Crusade On this day in 1095, Pope Urban II gave rise to the Crusades by calling all Christians in Europe to wage war against Muslims in order to reclaim the Holy Land. Pope Urban’s brutal and bloody war was the first of seven major military campaigns, known as the Crusades, fought over the next two centuries.