Europe’s oldest Muslim minority and its largest indigenous Muslim
people, the Tatars are presumed to be the Bulgars, a Turkic people who
inhabited a flourishing medieval kingdom in the mid-Volga and Kama River
region and were conquered by the Golden Horde Mongols in 1236. The
Bulgars converted to Islam in 922 by emissaries of the Baghdad Caliph, Ja’far al-Muktadir.
Tatars thus can rightly claim to be not just the first Muslims of
Russia but also the first Russian monotheists, with Russian Islam
preceding Russian Christianity by more than six decades.
That line about Russia being Muslim before Christian just fucked me up.
Because I have always seen the christianization of Denmark as something really far back in time and only today, right now, do I realize that the vikings were post-Mohammad. Islam was already a major world religion by the time Denmark became Christian.
What the fuck.
HOW DID IT TAKE a famously evangelical religion like Christianity almost a THOUSAND YEARS to get to Denmark? The direct line from Bethlehem to Denmark is less than two thousand miles. That’s about two miles of spread per year for a whole millenium what the fuck. Did Christians not have ships? Did none of them hitch a ride back with the northmen who visited the mediterranean?
Not only that, the Baltic states were only Christianized by the Northern Crusades in the 1200s, so between then and conquest by the atheist Soviet Union, a country like Estonia was only Christian for less than 700 years. Really not that long. (It’s majority non-religious today.)
it makes you think.
Still fucks me up two years later, but no longer in a surprising fashion.