The Muslim world was divided into two big religious tendencies:
The Fatimid caliphate in Cairo, from Shiite ritual, occupied Egypt, Palestine and Syria
The Abbasid caliphate in Baghdad, from Sunni ritual, stretched from the banks of the Euphrates to the Indus plain
The Abbasid caliphs were subject to the power of their Buyids' Emirs and as such powerless. The latter acted as Merovingian Palace Mayors. Their decadence, and infightings between the two groups provoked the end of Abbasid hegemony and the emergence of a new power : the Seljuk Turkoman from the Aral plains.
After he invaded Khorassan (a region between Turkmenistan and Iran), the Seljuk leader, Tughril Beg, seized Ispahan and made it his capital.
The Byzantine empire fell prey to violent infighting leaving it disorganised and unable to keep intact its eastern borders. These borders were constantly under attack through Buyid emirs.
In Western Europe, a mosaic of little feudal estates formed. Allies one moment and enemies the next, the coalition was headed by the Henri I, the grandson of Hugh Capet. He tried to strengthen his own authority and uphold the Capetian dynasty against numerous rival barons, including his own brother Robert and Count Eudes II de Blois. In England, successive fights between rival Saxon dynasties brought Edward the 'Confessor' to the throne. He would be the last representative of the Wessex lineage. In Germany, Emperor Henri III intervened in Church affairs adding to the schism between the three popes: Benoit IX, Sylvestre III and Gregoire VI. Henri organised a mission to Italy to settle the problems and restore order in the Holy See.
On the Iberian Peninsula the Visigoth kingdom had collapsed long ago as a consequence of the Ommeyad invasions. The Ommeyad emirs, close to Abbasids in Baghdad, had installed their capital in Cordoba. At the beginning of the Xth century, emir abd er Rhaman III proclaimed himself caliph and thus created a spiritual division between Baghdad and Cordoba.
Less than a century later, the Ommeyads devolved into anarchy as a result of by Taifa's revolt. This saw the creation of numerous little independent and rival Muslim kingdoms. In the North, taking advantage of this anarchy, the three small Christian kingdoms of Castile, Navarre and Aragon joined together against the Muslim threat.
On the great plains in Northern and Eastern Europe, the banks of the Baltic Sea were divided into kingdoms derived from Viking and Slavonic tribes plus feudal states of the Germanic empire. Each fought for possession of land and power. More to the east, Kiev and Novgorod became seats for two important slavonic principalities whose borders stretched from the Baltic to the Black Sea.