Arabs on the Mediterranean Sea

It was necessary to defend and to expand the new Islamic empire by creating a naval power. Other nations in the region had access to the sea, and if the Arabs were to keep control of their waters and extend their territory, they needed to keep up with their neighboring rivals. Eventually, Arabs gained firm control of the western Mediterranean, while the navy of the Byzantine Empire held the eastern Mediterranean. To fight naval battles, many different resources must be put to work in concert: shipbuilders, trained sailors, and naval bases. The technology and talent of Alexandria in Egypt were brought together with the wood resources of Syria to create Arab fleets of ships.