- Saladin, pronounced Salah al-Din in Arabic, was a Kurd born in Tikrit, Iraq in 1137. In 1174 he became Sultan of both Egypt and Syria after the death of Nur ad-Din, who was once Saladin’s political rival and once-mentor.
- Following a year long truce with the Crusaders, on July 4, 1178 Saladin defeated the Crusaders at the Battle of Hattin.
- During this battle Saladin captured the King of Jerusalem Guy de Lusignan.
- The fall of Jerusalem led to the calling of the Third Crusade, and soon Saladin’s famous rival Richard I of England was on his way to the Holy Land along with the King of France and the Hly Roman Emperor. The armies of Richard and Saladin soon fought several times and the two leaders had a great respect for each other. Before Richard surrounded the city, Saladin burnt all the crops in the fields outside of the city walls so Richard and his army would have no food.
- Eventually Richard realized that even if he did capture Jerusalem, he would not be able to defend it against Saladin, so in 1192 the two kings agreed to a truce. Saladin would remian in control of Jerusalem, so long as he allowed safe passage to and from the city for Christian pilgrims.
- The following year, in the city of Damascas in Syria, Saladin passed away on March 4. When his advisors opened his treasury there was not enough money to even bury the great Sultan, he had long since given nearly everything away to charity.
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