The Battle of Tours, fought in 732 CE, was a momentous event in the history of Europe. This epic battle, which took place near the city of Tours in France, marked a decisive turning point in the conflict between the Islamic empire and the Christian kingdoms of Europe. Led by Charles Martel, the Frankish army faced off against the Umayyad Caliphate in what would become one of the most significant battles of the medieval period.
The Battle of Tours has been celebrated as a landmark victory for the forces of Christianity and a critical turning point in the history of Western Europe. In this article, we will explore the details of this historic battle and examine its profound impact on the development of Europe.
The Battle of Tours was a bloody battle between more than 20,000 Franks with more than 80,000 troops led by Abdul Rahman al-Ghafiqi, which took place in 732 near the border between the cities of Tours and Poitiers, also near the border between the kingdoms. Kingdom of Frank and Aquitaine at that time
After Rome took the last steps in its history, the Muslim empire led by the Umayyads grew stronger. That prosperity led to their ambition to grow. This empire gradually gradually annexed the surrounding countries, North Africa, the Caucasus, the Middle East or even Rome and Persia.
The powerful Muslim warriors in the Arabian desert began to turn to conquer the countries of Western Europe, where most of them were Christian.
If this plan is successfully implemented, it is the empire holding the largest military and economic potential in the world at that time. And with more than 80,000 troops, Abdul – the leader of the Islamic empire believes he can make history when he only has to face up to about 30,000 opponents.
In 719 assigned a great responsibility, commander Al-Malik ibn Samh al-Khawlani of the Umayyad army invaded Septimania and won many jubilant victories on the Western-Portuguese peninsula, then in turn conquered other major cities such as Alet, Béziers, Agde, Lodève, Maguelonne and Nîmes…
The winning streak only stopped when Al-Malik met an unexpected defeat at the Battle of Toulouse (721). But the death of Al-Malik as well as this painful defeat could not stop the Umayyad army’s offensive plan.
In fact, the Umayyad side was quite subjective and didn’t put much emphasis on military capabilities as well as understanding the true strength of the Franks, they still thought this was just an ordinary Germanic people. Even during the operation, the Muslim generals were so confident that they did not bother to conduct any reconnaissance, intelligence or information gathering plans about the opponent.
More specifically, the Franks were also led by a talented general named Charles Martel, who was fully capable of raising an entire nation from the ashes of Western Rome.
In 732, the Umayyad vanguard approached the Loire. Because they did not encounter too much resistance when advancing into the Gaul region, their troops divided into several small groups to organize looting and raiding villages first, while the core force advanced more slowly in the rear.
At the same time, Charles Martel quickly gathered his army and prepared a plan to be able to deal with the overwhelming number of enemies. With the intention of using the Phalanx formation, Charles actively chose a place with suitable terrain as the battlefield.
It is not too difficult to realize that the land near Tours is a flat, densely wooded place, suitable for the above requirements. Charles had secretly marched and arrayed here to “give” the Umayyads a big surprise.
With the terrain with too many trees, the Muslim cavalry could not promote their full strength. The vanguards of the Umayyad fought only a few small battles in the early days to wait for the main force to arrive and be ready for a major battle.
Patiently waiting, arranging troops into a large Phalanx formation, having the advantage of terrain, the Franks were very confident in their ability to win, putting their faith in the talented general despite the enemy. Enemies are much more numerous.
Similar to the other side, Abdul was also very confident in his command ability, cavalry strength and overwhelming number of troops. But the reality was not so many attacks broke out, but the infantry on the Frank side was very resilient against the skilled Muslim cavalry.
The Moors – Arab historian, once wrote:
“And in the ferocity of the battle, the soldiers of the North seemed like an unshakable sea, standing firmly, one standing close to the other, forming a wall of stone. .
And swung their great swords and cut down the Arabs. Forming a formation before their men, the men of Austrasia did it all. Their tireless arms steered the swords that pierced the enemy’s chest.”
The Umayyad commander also tried and wrong many single soldiers infiltrating the Frankish formation to attempt to kill the commander Charles but failed. In contrast, the reconnaissance force on the Frank side launched numerous attacks on the enemy’s grain reserves, released slaves, and burned tents to cause chaos on the Umayyad side.
In the end, Charles also achieved his goal when waiting patiently and then counterattacking at the right time. In one such incident, he and his army killed the commander-in-chief of the army on the Umayyad side, Abd-al-Raḥmân, the remnants of the Muslim army fled to the barracks because the commander was dead.
European historians say: First and foremost, this victory at Tours helped the Franks as well as Europe to prevent the expansion of the Islamic empire as well as help Christianity retain its position. their own in Europe.
Secondly, this victory inadvertently became a stepping stone to help the Franks create a later power in Europe, greatly contributing to the formation of a powerful empire under Charlemagne later.
It was the first careful preparation steps that helped Charles’s army win, especially the choice of tactics as well as the initiative in finding a suitable battlefield.
Not only that, the Battle of Tours was ranked by the famous historian Edward Creasy in the top 15 most significant battles in history. If its results were reversed, surely the world as we know it would change very differently.
In conclusion, the Battle of Tours was a pivotal moment in European history, and its significance cannot be overstated. The victory of Charles Martel over the Umayyad Caliphate ensured the continuation of the Frankish kingdom and the survival of Christianity in Europe. It also marked the beginning of the decline of the Islamic empire in Europe and halted the expansion of Islam into Western Europe.
The Battle of Tours had a profound impact on the development of Western Europe and paved the way for the Carolingian Renaissance and the emergence of modern Europe. As we reflect on this historic battle, we are reminded of the importance of individual leadership and military strategy, and the critical role that they can play in shaping the course of history. The legacy of the Battle of Tours lives on to this day, and it serves as a reminder of the power of human determination, bravery, and sacrifice in the face of adversity.