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News from a wargamer with a special interest in the military history of the Balkans. It mainly covers my current reading and wargaming projects. For more detail you can visit the web sites I edit - Balkan Military History and Glasgow & District Wargaming Society. Or follow me on Twitter @Balkan_Dave
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Sunday 11 January 2015

The Last Crusaders

My latest reading is the ‘The Last Crusaders’ by Barnaby Rogerson. It tells the story of 15th and 16th Century conflicts between the Christian states of Europe, mostly led by the Habsburg’s, and the Ottoman Empire and fellow Islamic states in North Africa.

While the Ottoman invasions of the Balkans have been well covered, this book also covers the crusades of Portugal and Spain in North Africa. Both countries had a foothold on the coast and fought a series of wars against the local rulers and later against the corsairs. These are wars I was much less familiar with.

His choice of final conflict is the Battle of the Three Kings1578.  The young King Sebastian of Portugal invaded Morocco. Facing him was the dying Sultan Abdul Malik who had to be strapped into his saddle his horsemen attacked the Christian square. In a renaissance version of Custer’s Last Stand, the flower of Portugal’s nobility was wiped out with 26,000 men dead or captured.

The author writes a narrative history of the period in the best tradition of the historical storyteller. A very good read.

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