A painting by the Estonian artist Amandus Adamson depicting Vlad III, the Impaler of  ‪Wallachia in modern day Romania receiving an Ottoman envoy.  Vlad the Impaler born in Transylvania, Romania who’s personality later inspired the creation of Count Dracula the vampire, is seen here arguing with the envoy sent by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II requesting him to pay the state’s annual tax to the Ottomans.

Vlad III refused and executed the messengers of Mehmed II by nailing their turbans to their heads since they refused to take them off in his presence.  Vlad III was known for his cruelty towards his own people and opponents, he dinned while watching executions and often executed his enemies in a cruel, slow and inhumane manner; and that’s how the legend of Count Dracula eventually developed.

After a series of internal unrest the Ottomans assassinated him, presumably in 1476.

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A sketched illustration by Rembrandt Harmensz, depicting the renowned Muslim Historian and Philosopher Ibn Khaldun (lifetime: 1332 – 1406) pleading with Tamerlane the Mongolian ruler (reign: 1370 – 1450) to hault any possible attacks targeting the city and people of Damascus after the Mamluks retreated from the city upon the arrival of the Mongols.  Tamerlane did not head to Ibn Khaldun’s advice and destroyed the city.

He later marched to Turkey where he confronted and defeated the Ottomans who sheltered previous rulers who Tamerlane wanted.  The battle of Ankara resulted in the fall of Sultan Bayezid in captivity and the re-establishment of the Baylik States in Asia Minor thus resulting in the first and only Ottoman Civil War.  No other medieval ruler is despised by medieval and modern Arab Muslim historians like Tamerlane.

The sketch is found today at the Louvre in France.

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An illustration by the Boucicaut Master (Flemish or French) who’s real name is unknown from the 15th century depicting Mongolia’s Hulaku with the imprisoned last Abbasid Caliph in Baghadad Al-Musta’sim Billah as the Mongols escort him amongst their treasures!


Baghdad fell in 1258 to the Mongols following ill advise to the caliph which prompted him not to defend the city at full strength.  The caliph was later placed in a sack and horses trampled over him until he died on 20 February 1258.


Arab historians reported numerous massacres committed by the Mongols, including the destruction of the “House of Wisdom” library, which contained priceless books, documents and archives.  The remaining ruling family of the Abbasid dynasty later fled to Egypt under the Mamluks rule, others moved to Bastak south of modern day Iran.

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Today in the history of Bahrain marks the anniversary of three disasters which all coincided on the 23rd of August, the disasters are as follows:

1- The first civil airplane crash in the history of Bahrain, when a British plane owned by the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) crashed off of the shores of Bahrain prior to landing in 1947.  The plane was bound to Bahrain from Karachi.  The crash claimed the lives of 7 people.

2- The Gulf Air disaster in 2000, the worst air disaster in the history of Bahrain when a flight bound to Bahrain from Cairo crashed a few kilometers off of the shores of the island of Muharraq.  The crash claimed the lives of 143 passengers from various nationalities.

3- In 2004 Bahrain suffered a near-complete electrical blackout, the blackout continued for hours and gradually returned to various parts of the islands.  Never in the history of Bahrain did the country suffer such a electrical/technological disaster.  Businesses suffered the most on that day.

For more information on those disasters and others that hit the Kingdom of Bahrain please read the book entitled, “Tears on an Island” (2009), by Dr. Abdul-Aziz Yusuf Hamza.  The book is available in book stores in Arabic and English.

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