Anglo-Turkish Encounters from Middle Ages to 18th Century The term Anglo refers to England as Angles who invaded Britannia, as Romans called it, in the fifth century along with Saxons and Jutes, and the term Turkish refers to the people who lived in Anatolia and some parts of the Middle East and whose origins can be traced back to Gokturks who lived in Asia Minor as nomadic tribes. Even though, the encounters of Turkic tribes with Europeans can be seen from the start of the middle ages, this paper will be merely focusing on the encounters of Anglo and Turkish. One of the first encounters, although it is controversial, is during the First Crusades. The First Crusade was a response from Europeans to the capture of Jerusalem in 1071 by Seljuk Turks. The Crusade began in 1095, and Jerusalem was taken back from ‘infidels’ in 1099. The controversial part is the participation and attributions of England to the crusade.
The records are insufficient and based on eye witness reports, however, it is stated that either England didn’t take in part in the First Crusade at all or they only sent ships which the crew were either European sailors or sailors from England. Tyerman stated in his book England and The Crusades, 1095-1588:References to Englishmen on the crusade of Peter the Hermit in 1096 are too vague to carry conviction. However, William II’s brother, Robert Curthose, duke of Normandy, led an army to Palestine which included some who had English connections, like the Fleming Arnulf of Hesdin, who died at Antioch, and William Percy, who according to the traditions of his foundation, Whitby Priory, died at Montjoie, the hill outside Jerusalem where the crusaders had their first sight of the Holy City on 7 June 1099.
(15) During the Second Crusade on the behalf of Seljuk Turks Nur ad-Din, who was a member of the Turkish Zengid dynasty, defeated the Crusaders when they sieged Damascus in 1148. However, as far as the records states the Crusaders who were fighting were formed by French and German troops, thus the encounter cannot be listed as Anglo-Turkish. Though there were Englishmen who were fighting in the Second Crusade in Lisbon along with Portuguese against the Almoravid Muslims in 1147 in the name of the Reconquista of Iberian peninsula by the Pope. Yet again another controversy lies behind the Third Crusade regarding Anglo-Turkish encounters. The Third Crusade, which occurred during 1189-1192, was an attempt to reconquer the Holy Land, Jerusalem, from Saladin founder of the Ayyubid dynasty, even though the Crusade was successful in capturing important cities, Jerusalem wasn’t one of them, which eventually led to the Fourth Crusade. Richard I King of England, also known as Richard the Lionheart, led an army during the Third Crusade, and fought with the Ayyubid army in the name of religion. To be able to list this clash as an encounter, the Ayyubid dynasty and Saladin has to considered as Turkish, however Saladin origins is controversial, some historians believes that he is Turkish, some say he is Kurdish, or Arabic.
Because of that, it isn’t possible to consider these encounters as Anglo-Turkish. England did not take part in the Fourth Crusade (1202-1204) because the island was in conflict after the dead of Richard I in 1199. As Runciman states in his book A History of the Crusades:Richard of England was killed in March 1199, and his brother John and his nephew Arthur were disputing the inheritance, with King Philip of France actively taking part in the quarrel. With the Kings of France and England so occupied, with Germany distracted by civil war and Papal authority restored in southern Italy, Innocent could proceed in confidence to preach his Crusade.
(109) They also didn’t take part in the Fifth Crusade (1217-1221) as England was fighting with France in Normandy, Magna Carta was signed in 1215 between King John and nobles, and King John died in 1216. After the death of Saladin in 1193 the Ayyubid Empire fall into a civil war, and his sons claimed various parts of his empire which weakened the empire and got the ball rolling for an invasion by Mongols during 1258 to 1260. The ones who defeated Mongols in 1260 were Mamluks, whom were from Bahri dynasty of mostly Cuman-Kipchak Turkic origin that ruled the Egyptian Mamluk Sultanate from 1250 to 1382. The very first uncontroversial encounter of Anglo-Turkish is when Edward I of England joined the Ninth Crusade and fought with Memluk troops under the leadership of Baibars, sultan of the Mamluk Bahri dynasty.