The definition that is used to define all the crusades is that it was a series of religious wars undertaken by the Catholic Church that took place approximately in a 400 period between 11th and 15th Centuries. When most people think of the Crusades, think of Christians and Muslims fighting for the holy land, especially Jerusalem. However, there would have been several other minor Crusades used to combat the conflict between Catholics, to gain territorial or political advantages and to combat paganism and heresy perceived by other groups. This article, however, will discuss issues concerning the major European Christian Crusades that occurred and made their way to the Holy Land.
- Background and initiation
At the end of the 11th Century, Western Europe had completely emerged from the fall of the Western Roman Empire to become a power, although it was still lagging behind the Byzantine Empire (330-1453), the Fatimid caliphate (909-1171 ), to the Abbasid Caliphate (750-1517) and the Selijuk Empire (1037-1194). In 1095 Alexios I Komnenous (1056-1118) emperor of the Byzantine empire sent envoys to Pope Urban II (1042-1099) asking troops from the West to help the Byzantines to face the threat. From the Selijuk Turks. In November of that year, at the Council of Clermont in France, the Pope asked Christians to take up arms to help the Byzantines and reconquer the Holy Land. The pope’s message was received with a great response, especially among the lowest levels of the military elite and ordinary citizens. It was decided that all those who joined the crusade would wear the cross as a symbol of the church. Thus began the first crusader.
- Crusades worthy of note
There were many Crusades during the period between 11th and 15th Centuries that were undertaken, but the most important Crusaders were the nine Crusaders to try to conquer the Holy Land. The first crusade (1096-1099) was launched in response to Pope Urban II’s request for help. In three years the crusaders had conquered the whole Holy Land, culminating with their victory over the Fatimid caliphate during the siege of Jerusalem in 1099. After the victory of the Crusaders, they divided the territory between them, established themselves as rulers and created the Crusader states of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the Principality of Antioch, the Country of Tripoli and the Country of Edessa.
The Second Crusade (1147-1149) was called to resume the land of Edessa, which fell into the Zengid dynasty (1127-1250). In 1148 the crusaders failed to resume Damascus during the siege. The following year the crusaders’ leaders had left the Holy Land and the crusade ended by not having done anything. The Third Crusade (1189-1192) was launched in response to the fall of Jerusalem in 1187 to Saladin (1137-1193) the leader of the Ayyubid dynasty (1171-1260). The crusade was mostly successful and they managed to recover the cities of Acre and Jaffa, but failed in their ultimate goal of reconquering Jerusalem.
The fourth crusade (1202-1204) began with Pope Innocent III (1161-1216), pushing for a crusade to take back Jerusalem. On the way to the Holy Land they took the city of Zadar to Venice. The fourth crusade never arrived in Jerusalem when it was involved in the struggle for the throne of Byzantium. It ended with the Sack of Constantinople (1204) and the formation of the Latin Empire (1204-1261) as a Crusader state. The fifth crusade (1217-1221) began with the successor of Pope Innocent III, Pope Honorius III (1150-1227), who wanted a new expedition to the Holy Land. This expedition began in Egypt and from 1219 the crusaders took the main port city of Damietta and were offered to all the holy cities in exchange for leaving Egypt. The crusaders refused because they were too encouraged by their success, but then failed to capture Cairo and ended up withdrawing from Egypt on their way home with nothing.
The sixth crusade (1228-1229) was begun without papal authority by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II (1194-1250) who led the crusade while he was excommunicated. There were few fights in this crusade when Frederick succeeded in concluding a successful negotiation with the Ayyubic Sultan of Egypt Al-Kamil (1177-1238), when he ceded Jerusalem, Nazareth, Sidon, Jaffa and Bethlehem to the crusaders. In return, the Muslims retained control of the Temple Mount, al-Aqsa Mosque, the Dome of the Rock and the castles of Transjordan. The negotiated treaty was to last ten years and then expire.
The seventh crusade (1248-1254) came after the losses in the Holy Land after the decade since the treaty negotiated by Frederick expired. This crusade was launched by the king of France Louis IX (1214-1270) who landed in Egypt, took Damietta and then failed to take Cairo. Louis was captured at the battle of Al Mansurah and was released for a ransom. Louis then spent the next four years in the Crusader kingdom using his wealth to help rebuild defenses and conduct diplomacy before returning to France.
The Eighth Crusade (1270) was again launched by Louis IX but this time the crusader began in Tunis. The disease erupted shortly after the Crusaders landed and the king died a month later. The king’s brother, Charles of Anjou (1227-1285), then negotiated with the Caliph of Tunis to ensure the safe departure of the army. The Ninth Crusade (1271-72) was launched by Prince Edward of England (1239-1307) and started in Acre. Edward failed to gain support for his crusade and was forced to return to England because of reports of his father King Henry III’s illness.
- Tolls and death contrasts
It is not known how many people actually died during the crusades, since the keeping of soldiers on both sides was not exact, non-existent or was lost over time. The number of civilian deaths is completely unknown. Historical estimates estimate that between 1 and 3 million people died during the Crusaders. In 1099 during the first crusade, after the siege of Jerusalem, the crusades ran violently through the streets of the city, killing all Muslim and Jewish men, women and children. In 1191 during the third crusade, after the fall of Acre, Richard the Lionheart (1157-1199) ordered the massacre of over 3,000 prisoners, including women and children. He grew tired of waiting for Saladin to be agreed with his negotiating terms and so took the prisoners to the Ayyadieh hill and had them killed in full view of the nearby Muslim army camp. The Muslim army then charged the crusaders, but was rejected.
- Reject and Demi
The ninth crusade is one of the last great attempts to reclaim the Holy Land due to disunity and conflict along Christian interests in the region, as well as the loss of papal authority and spiritual lucidity due to numerous centuries-old crusades forced because of political reasons in 1280. In 1281 the Mamluk sultan, Qalawan (1222-1290), had defeated the Mongolian threat and then turned his attention to the defeat of the crusaders who occupied the Holy Land. In 1285 he fired the Hospitalier fortress of Margat and the castle of Maraclea. In 1287 he captured Latakia and in 1289 he captured Tripoli, ending the country of the Crusaders.
In 1290 Qalawan began the siege of Acre, but died in November. His son al-Ashraf Khalil (1262-1293), ended the siege, taking the city in 1291. Acre was the last remaining power base of the Crusaders in the Holy Land and from 1302 the Crusaders lost the last foothold in the Holy Land, when the Isle of Ruad fell to the Mamluks. After the Church lost the Holy Land they focused on organizing other minor Crusades with limited goals, such as pushing Muslims from conquered territory or conquering pagan regions.
By the 16th Century, support for any kind of Crusade had disappeared with the rise of the Reformation and the decline of papal authority. organizing other minor Crusades with limited goals, such as pushing Muslims from conquered territory or conquering pagan regions. By the 16th Century, support for any kind of Crusade had disappeared with the rise of the Reformation and the decline of papal authority. organizing other minor Crusades with limited goals, such as pushing Muslims from conquered territory or conquering pagan regions. By the 16th Century, support for any kind of Crusade had disappeared with the rise of the Reformation and the decline of papal authority.
- Historical meaning and inheritance
One of the main impacts of the Crusades was that, not since the Roman Empire, Western Europe had been exposed to so many new military, economic, cultural and political ideas, and had been able to expand its horizons as they did . This was due to their immense and prolonged contact with the Byzantine Empire, the Mongol empire and the various Muslim empires in North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. Through this the crusades were one of the various key factors that historians claim to have helped to later inspire the Renaissance, the exploration of the new world and colonialism. The crusaders also increased the authority of the kings, diminished the power and influence of the pope and contributed to the East-West schism in 1054 between the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic churches.