610 - 1258
The Muslim Empire included Mecca, the Middle East, India, North Africa, and Spain.
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The Muslim Empire can be traced back to around 610 CE. This was the time when Muhammad introduced the religion to other people after he claimed to have talked with an angel. Islam began in Mecca, but soon spread through out area. The religion went east to India, west across North Africa, and into Spain. The empire grew quickly because of military conquest and trade. In 732, the Muslim army tried to move into France, but the French Christians, under Charles Martel, stopped them. They defeated the Muslims in southern France and stopped their advance into Europe.
- The Muslim Empire made many advances in astronomy. They initially learned from the Greek ideas. But soon, the Muslims were correcting their collection of previous astronomical data. The Muslims studied the stars and created astronomical tables. Also, some Muslim astronomers had an idea that the Earth rotated on an axis and possibly knew about the heliocentric solar system.
- Medicine was also an area that the Muslims studied. Muslim doctors improved the ideas of the Greek and Roman physicians such as Hippocrates, Dioscorides, Soranus, Celsus, and Galen, in areas like anatomy and surgery. The Muslims created the earliest hospitals and medical schools. Muslims also wrote medical textbooks.
- The Muslim Empire contributed many things to our society in several different areas. They spread Gupta math ideas as well as created algebra and trigonometry. In the field of architecture, the Muslims were influenced by Byzantine and Indian styles. The Muslim Empire used money and also allowed credit to be used. The Muslim Empire preserved Roman and Greek ideas that they got from their contacts with the Byzantine Empire and then they improved them. For example, they translated the Roman writing. Some physics concepts were discovered during this time, such as the law of inertia and the concept of momentum, by several Muslim scientists, including Ibn al-Haytham (Alhacen).
During the 11th and 12th centuries, the Crusades put the Muslim Empire under pressure, but this was a small threat compared to the threat that came in the 13th century. In 1206, the Mongol Empire was established and throughout the century, they conquered much of Europe and Asia. In 1258, the Mongols destroyed Baghdad, a city in the Muslim Empire, and to many, this is seen as the end of the golden age of the Muslim Empire.