Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb, known as Saladin to the Western world, was founder of the Ayyūbid dynasty and united the Muslim regions of Syria, northern Mesopotamia, Palestine and Egypt.
Saladin recaptured Jerusalem in 1187 from the Crusaders after it had been held by the Franks for 88 years. He had originally planned to kill all Christians in the city of Jerusalem as revenge for the massacre of Muslims following the siege and capture of Jerusalem in 1099. However, Saladin allowed Christians to purchase their freedom, showing his savvy and fair-mindedness as a ruler.
The recapture of Jerusalem prompted European monarchs, including Richard I, to begin the Third Crusade, a long and arduous conflict which ultimately ended in a draw, despite the odds being against Saladin and his men. During peace negotiations, Saladin was able to concede only a small portion of land along the Levantine coast.
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