8 February 1250

Seventh Crusade: Crusaders engage Ayyubid forces in the Battle of Al Mansurah.

Seventh Crusade
Part of the Crusades
Seventh crusade.jpg
Louis IX during the Seventh Crusade
Date1248–1254
Location
Result Decisive Muslim victory
Territorial
changes
Status quo ante bellum
Belligerents
  • Ayyubids
  • Bahris
  • Commanders and leaders
    Strength

    15,000 men[2]

    • 2,400–2,800 knights
    • 5,000 crossbowmen
    Unknown
    Casualties and losses
    • Almost the entire christian army destroyed or captured
    • King Louis IX captured
    Unknown

    The Seventh Crusade was a crusade led by Louis IX of France from 1248 to 1254. Louis' Christian army was defeated by the Ayyubid army led by Fakhr al-Din ibn Shaykh al-Shuyukh and their allies, the Bahriyya Mamluks, led by Faris ad-Din Aktai, Baibars al-Bunduqdari, Qutuz, Aybak and Qalawun. Shaykh al-Shuyukh was killed in the war, and Louis was captured. Approximately 800,000 bezants were paid in ransom for his return.[3][4][5]

    Background

    In 1244, the Khwarezmians, recently displaced by the advance of the Mongols, took Jerusalem on their way to ally with the Egyptian Mamluks. This returned Jerusalem to Muslim control, but the fall of Jerusalem was no longer a crucial event to European Christians, who had seen the city pass from Christian to Muslim control numerous times in the past two centuries. This time, despite calls from the Pope, there was no popular enthusiasm for a new crusade. There were also many conflicts within Europe that kept its leaders from embarking on the Crusade.

    Pope Innocent IV and Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor continued the papal-imperial struggle. Frederick had captured and imprisoned clerics on their way to the First Council of Lyon, and in 1245 he was formally deposed by Innocent IV. Pope Gregory IX had also earlier offered King Louis' brother, count Robert of Artois, the German throne, but Louis had refused. Thus, the Holy Roman Emperor was in no position to crusade. Béla IV of Hungary was rebuilding his kingdom from the ashes after the devastating Mongol invasion of 1241. Henry III of England was still struggling with Simon de Montfort and other problems in England. Henry and Louis were not on the best of terms, being engaged in the Capetian-Plantagenet struggle, and while Louis was away on crusade the English king signed a truce promising not to attack French lands. Louis IX had also invited King Haakon IV of Norway to crusade, sending the English chronicler Matthew Paris as an ambassador, but again was unsuccessful. The only king interested in beginning another crusade therefore was Louis IX, who declared his intent to go east in 1245. A much smaller force of Englishmen, led by William Longespée, also took the cross.

    Fighting

    Map of Seventh Crusade
    Engraving representing the departure from Aigues-Mortes of King Louis IX for the crusade (by Gustave Doré)

    France was one of the strongest states in Europe at the time, as the Albigensian Crusade had brought Provence into Parisian control. Poitou was ruled by Louis IX's brother Alphonse of Poitiers, who joined him on his crusade in 1245. Another brother, Charles I of Anjou, also joined Louis. For the next three years Louis collected an ecclesiastical tenth (mostly from church tithes), and in 1248 he and his approximately 15,000-strong army that included 3,000 knights, and 5,000 crossbowmen sailed on 36 ships from the ports of Aigues-Mortes, which had been specifically built to prepare for the crusade, and Marseille.[2] Louis IX's financial preparations for this expedition were comparatively well organized, and he was able to raise approximately 1,500,000 livres tournois. However, many nobles who joined Louis on the expedition had to borrow money from the royal treasury, and the crusade turned out to be very expensive.

    They sailed first to Cyprus and spent the winter on the island, negotiating with various other powers in the east. The Latin Empire, set up after the Fourth Crusade, asked for his help against the Byzantine, Empire of Nicaea, and the Principality of Antioch, and the Knights Templar wanted his help in Syria where the Muslims had recently captured Sidon.

    Nonetheless, Egypt was the object of his crusade, and he landed in 1249 at Damietta on the Nile. Egypt would, Louis thought, provide a base from which to attack Jerusalem, and its wealth and supply of grain would keep the crusaders fed and equipped.

    On 6 June Damietta was taken with little resistance from the Egyptians, who withdrew further up the Nile. The flooding of the Nile had not been taken into account, however, and it soon grounded Louis and his army at Damietta for six months, where the knights sat back and enjoyed the spoils of war. Louis ignored the agreement made during the Fifth Crusade that Damietta should be given to the Kingdom of Jerusalem, now a rump state in Acre, but he did set up an archbishopric there (under the authority of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem) and used the city as a base to direct military operations against the Muslims of Syria.

    Louis IX being taken prisoner at the Battle of Fariskur (Gustave Doré)

    In November, Louis marched towards Cairo, and almost at the same time, the Ayyubid sultan of Egypt, as-Salih Ayyub, died. A force led by Robert of Artois, alongside the Templars and the English contingent led by William Longespée, attacked the Egyptian camp at Gideila and advanced to Al Mansurah where they were defeated at the Battle of Al Mansurah. Robert and William were killed, and only a small handful survived. Meanwhile, Louis' main force was attacked by the Mameluk Baibars, the commander of the army and a future sultan himself. Louis was defeated as well, but he did not withdraw to Damietta for months, preferring to besiege Mansourah, which ended in starvation and death for the crusaders. In showing utter agony, a Templar knight lamented:

    Rage and sorrow are seated in my heart ... so firmly that I scarce dare to stay alive. It seems that God wishes to support the Turks to our loss ... ah, lord God ... alas, the realm of the East has lost so much that it will never be able to rise up again. They will make a Mosque of Holy Mary's convent, and since the theft pleases her Son, who should weep at this, we are forced to comply as well ... Anyone who wishes to fight the Turks is mad, for Jesus Christ does not fight them any more. They have conquered, they will conquer. For every day they drive us down, knowing that God, who was awake, sleeps now, and Muhammad waxes powerful.[6]

    In March 1250 Louis finally tried to return to Damietta, but he was taken captive at the Battle of Fariskur, where his army was annihilated. Louis fell ill with dysentery, and was cured by an Arab physician. In May he was ransomed for 800,000 bezants, half of which was to be paid before the King left Egypt, with Damietta also being surrendered as a term in the agreement. Upon this, he immediately left Egypt for Acre, one of few remaining crusader possessions in Syria.[7][8]

    Aftermath

    Louis made an alliance with the Mamluks, who at the time were rivals of the Sultan of Damascus, and from his new base in Acre began to rebuild the other crusader cities, particularly Jaffa and Saida.[9] Although the Kingdom of Cyprus claimed authority there, Louis was the de facto ruler. In 1254 Louis' money ran out, and his presence was needed in France where his mother and regent Blanche of Castile had recently died. Before leaving he established a standing French garrison at Acre, the capital of the Kingdom of Jerusalem after the loss of Jerusalem, at the expense of the French crown; it remained there until the fall of Acre in 1291.[10] His crusade was a failure, but he was considered a saint by many, and his fame gave him an even greater authority in Europe than the Holy Roman Emperor. In 1270 he attempted another crusade, though it too would end in failure.

    The history of the Seventh Crusade was written by Jean de Joinville, who was also a participant, Matthew Paris and many Muslim historians.

    Literary response

    The failure of the Seventh Crusade engendered several poetic responses from the Occitan troubadours. Austorc d'Aorlhac, composing shortly after the Crusade, was surprised that God would allow Louis IX to be defeated, but not surprised that some Christians would therefore convert to Islam.[11]

    In a slightly later poem, D'un sirventes m'es gran voluntatz preza, Bernart de Rovenac attacks both James I of Aragon and Henry III of England for neglecting to defend "their fiefs" that the rei que conquer Suria ("king who conquered Syria") had possessed. The "king who conquered Syria" is a mocking reference to Louis, who was still in Syria (1254) when Bernart was writing, probably in hopes that the English and Aragonese kings would take advantage of the French monarch's absence.

    Bertran d'Alamanon criticized Charles of Anjou's neglect of Provence in favor of crusading. He wrote one of his last works, which bemoans Christendom's decline overseas, between the Seventh and Eighth Crusades (1260–1265).

    See also

    • Eighth crusade - also launched against Egypt in 1270 by Louis IX.
    • Jean de Joinville - an account of the life of Louis IX and the logistics of the Seventh Crusade.

    References

    1. ^ Hinson, p.393
    2. ^ a b J. Riley-Smith, The Crusades: A History, 193
    3. ^ Abu al-Fida
    4. ^ Al-Maqrizi
    5. ^ Ibn Taghri
    6. ^ Howarth, p.223
    7. ^ Watterson, Barbara. The Egyptians. Blackwell Publishing, 1998. page 261
    8. ^ Al-Maqrizi
    9. ^ Joinville and Villehardouin: Chronicles of the Crusades, translated by M.R.B. Shaw, pages 295-316, Penguin Classics: New York, 1963
    10. ^ Keen, p. 94
    11. ^ Alfred Jeanroy, "Le troubadour Austorc d'Aurillac et son sirventés sur la septième Croisade," Romanische Forschungen, 23 (1907), p. 82.

    Primary sources

    • Abu al-Fida, The Concise History of Humanity.
    • Al-Maqrizi, Al Selouk Leme'refatt Dewall al-Melouk, Dar al-kotob, 1997. In English: Bohn, Henry G., The Road to Knowledge of the Return of Kings, Chronicles of the Crusades, AMS Press, 1969
    • Ibn Taghri, al-Nujum al-Zahirah Fi Milook Misr wa al-Qahirah, al-Hay'ah al-Misreyah, 1968
    • Jean de Joinville, Histoire de Saint Louis, 1309

    Secondary sources

    External links

    8 February 1971

    The NASDAQ stock market index opens.

    The New York Stock Exchange has been around for a long time – it was officially formed in 1792, and is home to many of the world’s biggest and most successful companies. For a long time, it was the Big Daddy of American – indeed, world – stock exchanges. But at the beginning of the 1970s, it found itself with an upstart competitor.

    America’s National Association of Securities Dealers was a body set up to regulate the OTC market ‘over the counter’ securities which were not traded on traditional stock exchanges.

    To enable investors to trade more efficiently, it set up its own speedy and transparent trading system – the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations, or Nasdaq. It began trading on this day in 1971, providing trading for over 2,500 securities. It was a very different beast to the venerable old stock exchanges of yore. It didn’t have a big building full of men in silly coats shouting at each other. This was the future – this was an electronic exchange.

    It expanded rapidly, and soon gained a reputation where tech stocks would list. And while it is very tech heavy, it counts car hire firms, airlines, banks and food companies among its listings.

    It trades around two billion shares a day – more than any other exchange. Since the millennium it has overseen over a thousand stockmarket flotations. It is the second-largest exchange in the world by market capitalisation. With companies including Apple and Google – each with a market cap of some $500bn – and Microsoft, with a market cap of over $400bn, that’s hardly surprising.

    Its flagship index, the Nasdaq Composite, began life at 100 in 1971, shot up to over 5,000 before the spectacular dotcom crash of 2000, when it lost some 78% of its value. It peaked again in the summer of 2015. It is currently some 15% below its peak.

    8 February 1879

    The England cricket team is attacked during a riot during a match in Sydney.

    February 8, 1879. Riots broke out at the Sydney Association Ground over a decision against the home team during a match between New South Wales and the visiting Englishmen. Arunabha Sengupta recalls the sensational events that led to the cancellation of the Test match that was scheduled to follow.

    George Robert Canning, the fourth Lord Harris, captain of the England cricket team to Australia In 1878-79, later Governor of Bombay and perhaps the most influential person in English cricket for half a century.

    During the unfortunate tour Down Under at the helm of a very ordinary England side, this very same Lord Harris found himself plunged into the centre of tumultuous controversies. He was struck with a stick, surrounded by a rioting mob and finally became instrumental behind the cancellation of the second scheduled Test match. It has gone down in the pages of history as the first Test match to be cancelled because of problems with bookmakers. And we must remember that had it been played, it would have been only the fourth ever Test match. The history of the noble game is actually as murky as it gets.

    Gathering clouds

    After being humiliated in the Test match at Melbourne, the England team played a few easy tour matches, the only tough game coming against New South Wales in which they triumphed by five wickets. On February 7, they returned to Sydney to play their return match against strong New South Wales outfit led by Dave Gregory, the captain of Australia. The setting was the Association Ground, soon to be renamed and renowned as the Sydney Cricket Ground.

    The match was besieged by controversy even before it started. Gregory was physically and mentally exhausted after travelling around four countries and playing cricket non-stop for over fifteen months. He had been dropped from the side during the first match against England after missing practice and failing to supply an adequate reason. When he returned, he was both tired and bitter. Additionally, after his many rather ugly confrontations with umpires around the world, he now had to face the dubious decision making of George Coulthard. This staff bowler from MCG had been travelling around Australia as an umpire engaged by England.

    Harris himself was shocked when he saw the ground. He later recalled: “The turf was so rotten that special arrangements were made to avoid playing on the same wicket all through a match. A parallelogram was marked and within that each Captain would choose a new wicket.”

    The match got off to an inauspicious start. First Harris was given not out by Coulthard after an obvious snick was taken behind the wicket. Even the sober papers of the day reported it as ‘admittedly a mistake.’ When Harris was finally bowled for 41, he did not really endear himself to the crowd by throwing his bat across the length of the pavilion. It does seem incredible now that this very same Lord Harris later became a leading snake oil salesman peddling the curious make-believe myths surrounding the supposed glorious spirit of the game.

    England scored a respectable 267 against Fred Spofforth and Edwin Evans, thanks mainly to the start given by AN ‘Monkey’ Hornby and Bunny Lucas. Billy Murdoch responded by carrying his bat scoring 82 not out, but the home team could manage just 177 as Tom Emmett, the Yorkshire professional, bagged eight wickets. The partisan crowd sat dismayed and rather disgruntled. Much of their chagrin stemmed from the large amounts they had staked on their own cricketers. Betting was carried out openly inside the pavilion, although according to the emphatic signs planted around the ground, such practices were strictly prohibited.

    The riots

    According to the rules of the day the New South Welshmen had to follow on since they trailed by more than 80 runs. In the second innings, Murdoch and Charles Bannerman started solidly enough. But at 19, Murdoch, who looked like the only batsman capable of putting up a fight, was run out. The fateful finger was once again raised by Coulthard.

    Emmett later recalled, “Murdoch walked away like a man.” However, the decision sparked off an unprecedented saga of incidents. The gamblers had staked heavily on Murdoch and now they demanded their pound of flesh. Coulthard the umpire was the centre of their ire. Firstly, he had given Harris not out, next he had given Murdoch out and, most importantly, he was a Victorian.

    According to the Sydney Morning Herald, “there was a large betting element and it was from that quarter that the first shouts of ‘not out’ proceeded… the player, who had quietly accepted the obnoxious decision, was greeted with shouts of ‘go back’.” The version of George Ulyett however says that Murdoch was run out by a good two yards.

    As Murdoch made his way to the dressing room, a furious Gregory came out and stood at the door, blocking his way. “Go back, you are not out,” he said, much to the consternation of the batsman.

    The English players meanwhile waited in the field with the other batsman Charles Bannerman, and the two umpires. Along with Coulthard, the other umpire for the match was Edmund Barton. Twenty-two years down the line, even as Victor Trumper would spread runs and magic around the cricket world, Burton would become Australia’s first Prime Minister.

    Now, as Murdoch waited in confusion and no new batsman emerged, Harris walked purposefully to the fence and asked Gregory if he was going to send out a new man. The New South Wales captain’s answer was short and negative.

    On being asked the grounds for his displeasure, Gregory cited incompetence of the umpiring in no uncertain terms. Harris later said, “I implored Gregory as a friend, and for the sake of the New South Wales Cricket Association

    And suddenly confusion and chaos cascaded around the field. Hundreds jumped over the picket fence and advanced towards the players. Harris ran towards Coulthard, the man most likely to be attacked. And now some larrikin struck the peer from behind his back with a stick. Ulyett, the second Yorkshire professional in the team, rushed to his aid and implored, “Let me have a go at him my lord,” but Harris responded, “No no, George, we are going to do nothing wrong.

    However, AN ‘Monkey’ Hornby, standing close at hand, sought no such permission. He grabbed the lout and carried him to the pavilion. But an associate of the man struck Hornby on the face, and some others nearly tore the shirt off his back. Hornby, however, was made of sterner stuff. He carried the assailant to the pavilion and put him in custody of the committee members.

    The version of Ulyett’s fellow Yorkshire professional, however, adds an interesting facet to the scene. According to him, after being struck on the head, “I saw his Lordship let go with his fist.”

    For a long time Harris and his men remained surrounded by the mob. Some of them barracked the players, asking them to go back to the pavilion. Even some well-wishers in the crowd advised the same. But, Harris and his men stood firm on the ground. The crowd on the field swelled, but the Englishmen did not budge. Harris later said, “I was determined to obey the laws of cricket.”

    The English captain did not think that Gregory would forfeit the match. Negotiations continued between the skippers, not all of it carried out with the spirit that Harris would bestow on the era later in his life. Within the next hour and a half, the police had cleared the ground of invaders — most of them rowdy young locals. At the same time, there were also some members identified among the throng of troublemakers. The youth who had struck Harris with his stick had been locked up in the committee room.

    The Englishmen even discussed whether they should reinstate Murdoch at the wicket. Not many were willing, though. Emmett was particularly vehement, “Not likely. We ought to go straight home if we did and never play another match.”

    Harris informed Gregory about his team’s unanimous decision. And Gregory responded exclaiming, “The game is at an end.”

    Barton now stepped in, honing his diplomatic skills, informing Gregory with polite firmness that they stood the risk of forfeiting the match. It worked. Gregory’s competitive instincts were piqued. He sent out Nat Thompson. But, just as the game was about to resume, the crowd came rushing into the field once again. The batsmen rushed to the shelter of the pavilion.

    After waiting for aeons after the crowd had been cleared for the second time, Harris now asked Barton if they could claim a victory. The future Prime Minister replied, “I’ll give it to you in two minutes if [the batsmen] don’t return.”

    By this time, Gregory and Harris were no longer on speaking terms. They started using Barton as the messenger for communication. Barton ran to Gregory saying Harris had asked what he intended to do. Then he rushed back with the message that the Australian captain had said that the batsmen would resume. As Bannerman and Thompson walked out again, the crowd rushed in for the third time. Harris and his men remained surrounded till the stumps were drawn.

    What followed?

    A fuming Harris wrote his report to Lord’s during Sunday’s rest that followed, informing the headquarters about the atrocious incident. According to his account, the riot was started by the bookmakers and accelerated by Gregory. The attitude of New South Wales Cricket Association was dismissed as ‘uncricketlike’.

    Rain poured through Sunday night — perhaps heaven’s way of dealing with the red-hot situation. New South Wales had to resume their innings on an atrocious sticky on Monday morning. Nat Thomson fell without another run being added. The side was bundled out, losing the last 6 wickets with the score unwaveringly fixed on 49. Five batsmen fell for ducks.

    Emmett was vocal about the divine justice. According to him, the riot had saved England from likely defeat. If New South Wales had batted through the last part of Saturday and set England a target of 80 or so, “… eleven Graces could not have got them on that wicket … it was another instance of an unruly mob doing harm to the side they desire should succeed.” Ulyett and Emmett, the two professional bowlers in the side, had significantly more reasons to be happy. They had put £20 at 2-1 on an England win, placing their bet with the very same bookmakers in the pavilion so vehemently criticised by Harris.

    However, another incident followed after the match was over. A couple of hundred miscreants stormed in to ambush Coulthard. The umpire asked the Englishmen to stand behind him as he prepared to fight the best man in the crowd. An old fashioned bare knuckle duel was about to commence. It was at this juncture that the Sydney Commodore’s men, placed in the crowd in groups of twenties as a precautionary measure, poured out in a coordinated wave and fell upon the hoodlums. The trouble-makers were beaten out of the ground with fists that carried the weight of relish and authority. There was no further trouble for the umpire or the players.

    The Sydney Morning Herald called the incident on Saturday ‘a national humiliation.’ The front pages of the papers were full of condemnation of the rioters. The Herald continued to say that a large majority of the public were deeply humiliated by what had happened, especially because it had originated among the members.

    Steps were taken against the bookmakers. Betting was banned at the ground. Two men, one of them a bookie from Victoria, were charged and banned from the venue. What made the situation particularly murky was the allegation that Gregory had egged the rioters on because of some association with the bookmakers himself. According to a Sydney Mail reporter: “I believed Gregory was coerced by certain persons in the pavilion not to send another man in when Murdoch was given out.” The same was alleged by Charles Abolsom, the Kent and England all-rounder.

    NSWCA were in a placating mood. Referring repeatedly to the kindly hospitality showered on the Australian cricketers in England, they expressed deep regret that Lord Harris and his team should have suffered such a traumatic experience. An NSWCA delegation was sent to apologise to Harris, but the captain refused to be mollified. He was adamant that England would not play the scheduled second Test. The match was cancelled — the first ever Test to fall victim to perennial problems surrounding bookmakers. Through the remaining tour, Harris remained petulant, refusing to play after 6 PM against Victoria, citing bad light as the rather flimsy reason.

    Later many Australians did venture opinions that Harris had overreacted. The target of the mob had always been the umpire and never the English players. They had cried, “Let an Englishman stand umpire … we won’t have a Victorian.”

    Fred ‘Demon’ Spofforth, who later became a close friend of Harris, observed that he doubted, “if Englishmen would ever understand the spirit of rivalry that runs high between the colonies of Victoria and New South Wales. The spirit is not limited to the field, it extends to politics, to society, to every side of life, indeed, in which the two are brought into contact with one another.”

    However, Emmett was one Englishman who seemed to comprehend the curious dynamics between the two colonies. “If it were a game of marbles they would fight over it almost to the death,” he said.

    There were also allegations that the crowd had been provoked by offensive remarks from some members of the English eleven. The taunts had predictably run: “sons of b**** convicts.”The report sent by Harris, which was later published and made available, had branded the NSWCA authorities as irresponsible. This was not appreciated by the committee members who had taken every step to smooth things over with the English peer.

    The refusal to play a second Test match was seen as unsporting and rather unnecessary. The report of Harris was widely adjudged to be a document that could prevent the resumption of international matches for a long time.

    Fortunately, Harris played the Australians when they toured in 1880, and with this gesture Test cricket managed to overcome this early stumble.

    8 February 1950

    The secret police of East Germany, the Stasi, is established.

    The Ministry for State Security, commonly known as the Stasi, was the official state security service of the German Democratic Republic, colloquially known as East Germany. It has been described as one of the most effective and repressive intelligence and secret police agencies to have ever existed.The Stasi was headquartered in East Berlin, with an extensive complex in Berlin-Lichtenberg and several smaller facilities throughout the city.  Erich Mielke was its longest-serving chief, in power for thirty-two of the GDR’s forty years of existence.

    One of its main tasks was spying on the population, mainly through a vast network of citizens turned informants, and fighting any opposition by overt and covert measures, including hidden psychological destruction of dissidents. Its Main Directorate for Reconnaissance was responsible for both espionage and for conducting covert operations in foreign countries. Under its long-time head Markus Wolf, this directorate gained a reputation as one of the most effective intelligence agencies of the Cold War.

    Numerous Stasi officials were prosecuted for their crimes after 1990. After German reunification, the surveillance files that the Stasi had maintained on millions of East Germans were laid open, so that any citizen could inspect their personal file on request; these files are now maintained by the Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Records.