Saladin Captures Jerusalem – Oct. 2, 1187
This week marks the anniversary of when Muslim warrior and ruler An-Nasir Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub, commonly called Saladin, took the city of Jerusalem from its Christian crusader owners.
Roughly eighty years after the First Crusade, the Kurdish-born Sultan Saladin made war on the crusader state known as the Kingdom of Jerusalem.
"The siege began to the north and the west of the walled city on Sept. 20: Saladin's army included some 200,000 fighters, who faced a defending force of some 160 Christians," noted Haaretz in a 2012 article.
"Over the course of six days, the tiny Christian force held off the Muslims, causing them significant casualties, until Saladin's army began an assault from the Mount of Olives, to the east."
While known for destroying Christian control of the Holy Land, Europe maintained a mostly positive portrayal of Saladin as a worthy adversary, in part because of his allowing the defeated Christians to leave Jerusalem following the conquest.