Middle East Primer 2: Early Islam

The place to begin this story is about 570 CE, with the birth of Muhammad, in Mecca.

At the time Mecca was a site of ritual pilgrimage for people from all over Arabia, largely nomadic tribes. The people of Mecca were involved in trade, especially the long-distance caravan trade to the north, Syria and the Mediterranean. Some histories have argued that Mecca was key in the spice trade, an entrepot between…