The Rise of the Turks
The rise of the Turks began with nomadic tribes of warriors that gained power in new regions. By the 9th century the Islamic Empire was weakening under the division and conflict between Sunni and Shiite Muslims. As a result, many regions created their own identities and empires began to form. One group of Turkic nomadic warriors from central Asia called the Seljuks, gradually migrated towards Arab and northern Persian territory. They were the first tribe to accepted Islam and gained the trust of people in the region. They were excellent warriors and highly skilled at combat on horseback and with bows. They provided protection to rising empires and were used in Arab and Persian armies. Over time the Turks would gain more power and eventually take control over different regions.
By the 11th century the Seljuks occupied and conquered Iran, Syria, and Palestine. They established the Seljuk Empire by creating an elaborate bureaucratic hierarchy that provided the foundation for governmental administration. However, the empire was experiencing internal conflict and division and eventually split. A powerful Seljuk tribe came to power and established the Sunni Muslim controlled state called The Sultinate of Rum. It was established in the part of Anatolia which had been conquered from the Byzantine Empire by the Seljuk Turks. It reached the height of its power during the late 12th and early 13th century when it succeeded in taking Byzantine, key ports on the Mediterranean, and Black Sea coasts.
In 1095, the First Christian Crusade was launched to help remove the Seljuk Turks from Anatolia. This was part of a larger goal to reclaim holy land taken during Muslim conquests. During the first crusade from 1095-1099, the fractured states of the Seljuks were more concerned with unifying their own territories and gaining control of their neighbors than with cooperating against the crusaders. Hence, the Seljuks lost a lot of land in the first crusade. In the Second Crusade, from 1147-1148, the Seljuk Turks defeated the Holy Roman Emperor to retake the Country of Edessa. The Sultanate of Rum continued to rule Anatolia but was eventually overthrown by the Mongols in 1243.