1187 (The People's Chronology)
Bulgarian forces check a Byzantine army in Thrace and sign an armistice (see 1186). Asen II and his brother Peter send their younger brother Kaloyan to Constantinople as a hostage to guarantee the peace, he escapes, and a war ensues that will continue off and on until 1196 as Hungary's Béla III comes to the support of the Byzantine emperor Isaac II Angelus.
The sultan Saladin cuts down a small group of Templars and Hospitalers at Tiberias in May after being provoked by an attack on a caravan (see 1185); he lays siege to Tiberias, a Christian army of about 15,000 men leaves its camp at Sepphoria west of the Sea of Galilee July 3 to relieve the siege, the Crusaders run out of water half way as temperatures soar, and Saladin's 12,000 mounted warriors slaughter most of the thirst-crazed Christians July 4 in the Battle of Hattin. Saladin immediately begins a campaign to recover the Kingdom of Jerusalem that has been in Frankish hands for 88 years, and he soon regains Acre, Beirut, Sidon, Nazareth, Caesarea, Jaffa, and Ascalon; he lays siege to the city of Jerusalem September 20 and retakes it October 2 without sacking it or shedding a single drop of blood (the Koran forbids killing innocent people). In an impressive show of magnanimity that differs sharply from the Crusaders' barbarism in 1099, the Muslims let Christians and Jews who want to leave the city go in peace, taking with them their worldly goods. European folklore will depict Saladin as having been secretly baptized, a tacit acknowledgment that he was far more "Christian" in his conquest of the Holy City than were the Crusaders in 1099 (see 1229; Teutonic Knights, 1190).
Georgia's Queen Tamara marries George Bobolyubski, son of the Grand Prince of Kiev; she has ruled under the guardianship of her father's sister Rusudani, but the overbearing prince devotes himself to waging war against the Muslims, drinking, and debauching with slaves and concubines.
The Afghan general Muizz-ud-Din of Ghur completes his conquest of the Punjab and rules at Ghazni as governor for his elder brother, the sultan Ghiyas-ud-Din (see 1175; 1191).
China's former emperor Gaozong (Kao-tsung) dies at age 80 (approximate), having abdicated 25 years ago after a reign in which he reestablished the Southern Song (Sung) dynasty that will rule until 1279.
Pope Urban III dies at Ferrara while en route to Venice October 19 or 20 after a 2½-year reign and is succeeded October 21 by the Cistercian Alberto Cardinal de Morra, who reigns until his death December 17 as Gregory VIII, taking steps to begin reforms in the Curia and to reconcile differences between Genoa and Pisa so that both may be used to expedite shipments to the Holy Land if Jerusalem is to be restored to Christian rule. Gregory is succeeded December 19 by Paolo Cardinal Scolari, who will reign until his death in 1191 as Clement III. He calls upon the Western princes to undertake a Third Crusade (see 1188).