World roundup: September 8 2023
Stories from Lebanon, India, Ethiopia, and elsewhere
I’m sending out today’s roundup early due to a prior commitment this evening.
TODAY IN HISTORY
September 8, 617: Rebels led by the Duke of Tang, Li Yuan, defeat an imperial Sui Dynasty army by luring it out of the city of Huoyi in northern China. The victory left Li Yuan preeminent among the many nobles who were in rebellion against the Sui, and the following June he had himself crowned Emperor Gaozu of the new Tang Dynasty. The Tang ruled China for almost 300 years, from 618 to 907, with a brief 690-705 interregnum during which Empress dowager Wu Zetian declared herself the ruler of China at the head of a “restored” Zhou Dynasty.
September 8, 1380: With a well-timed cavalry charge against the Mongolian flank, an army of united Russian principalities under the command of Prince Dmitry of Moscow defeats the Mongolian Golden Horde army under the command of a tribal warlord named Maimai at the Battle of Kulikovo. The Golden Horde actually grew stronger despite this setback, but the battle is nevertheless noteworthy in that it showed a relative decline of Mongolian power and the corresponding rise of Moscow as a center of resistance to the “Tatar yoke.”
September 8, 1566: An Ottoman siege of the Hungarian city of Szigetvár ends with the Habsburg garrison, under the command of Croatian Ban Nikola IV Zrinski, defeated (and almost completely wiped out) and the Ottomans in control. Szigetvár is remembered today as a tactical victory for the Ottomans but a significant strategic setback, and is especially commemorated in both Hungarian and Croatian national histories. The badly outnumbered garrison (perhaps as many as 3000 men, of whom some 600 survived, against an Ottoman force of around 100,000) put up surprising resistance, holding out for over a month and causing the deaths of more than 20,000 Ottomans through a combination of combat and disease.
The Syrian Democratic Forces group announced on Friday that its nearly two week long battle with Arab tribes in eastern Syria is at an end. According to the SDF some 54 combatants were killed since the clashes began on August 27 along with at least nine civilians. Despite the SDF pronouncement it remains to be seen whether the violence is actually over and whether the SDF and those tribes will be able to address the grievances that underpinned the conflict. SDF officials also announced on Friday the capture of an Islamic State “financier” they allege was supporting IS cells in the region.
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