The Origin of the Bagel
Bagels and a Cup of Coffee
German word Bügel means stirrup. It can also mean clothes hanger or it can
refer to ironing, as in: "Ich bügel”, i.e. “I iron” (my
the American language does not include the “ü” sound, the word Bügel is
here pronounced bagel.
first bagel was baked by a Jewish baker in Vienna, Austria in 1683. He did so in
honor of the Polish king Jan Sobieski, who is credited with contributing the
pivotal strategy leading to the defeat of the Turks at the Battle of Vienna on
September 12, 1683. No doubt that battle marked the final turning point in a 250
year fight between Christians and Muslims over the fate of Europe.
will be remembered that the Turks overran Constantinople in 1453 after a 100
year campaign to achieve that goal. The Turkish sultan Mehmet II renamed the
city Istanbul, a name it has retained to this day. Prior to 1453, the Turks had
already defeated the Serbs at the Battle of Kosovo in 1389. Their victory over
the Christians in 1453 led the Turks to occupy most of the Balkans, so they were
able to besiege Vienna for the first time in 1529. Having failed to occupy
Vienna that time, they tried again and again and finally were within sight of
Austria's capital in 1683. There they were met by an Austrian and German army of
100,000 troops. The commander of the Turks, Pasha Kara Mustafa, commanded an
army of 140,000 men. The battle between the German forces and the Turks seesawed
all day until the Polish king Sobieski arrived with a heavy cavalry force of
20,000 men and charged the Turks downhill. The Turks lost about 15,000 men in
the fighting. One of the principal reasons for the Turkish loss was the failure
of their cavalry to use the stirrup, which the Polish cavalry was using.
Obviously, a man using a stirrup has a better chance of remaining on his horse
than someone without a stirrup. It is surprising that the Turks did not use the
stirrup, which had been introduced into Europe as early as the eighth century
when the Christian Franks defeated the Muslims at the Battle of Tours in 732.
The Franks won and prevented the expansion of Islam into France because their
knights were using the stirrup and the Muslims were not.
you can see why the Jewish baker in Vienna baked the “bügel” bagel in honor
of the Polish king.
you're drinking a cup of coffee with your bagel, understand that you owe the
coffee to the Battle of Vienna as well. When the Turks lost the battle and ran
from the scene they left behind numerous bags of hard brown beans which had not
been seen in Europe before. The Austrians did not know what to make of these
beans until Turkish prisoners told them that the beans could be cooked to make
what the Turks called khafir.
the Arabic word for unbeliever or infidel. The Arabs first found coffee among
the Zulus of southeast Africa with whom they traded. They called the people Zulu
Khafirs and hence the word coffee, which passed into the Turkish language first
and from there into all other European languages. Remember that Turkish is an
Indo-European language and is in no way related to Arabic, which is a Semitic
language related to Hebrew.
the Pope, Benedict XVI, worried publicly about the possible entrance of Turkey
into the European Union. His worry stems from the fact that there are now
millions of Muslims in Europe. In France alone, Muslims constitute 10% of the
population. Italy is not far behind in accommodating a large number of Moslems.
So large is Europe's Muslim population that it is today the second-largest
religion in that continent even while Christianity is shrinking every year. The
Pope, formerly a professor of history, is undoubtedly acquainted with the events
of 1683. At that time Europeans believed that the Moslem threat had been
defeated once and for all. As the recent events in London have demonstrated,
this is not the case because, as the philosopher George Santayana said:
"All we ever learn from history is that we learn nothing from