The Albigensian Crusade was spearheaded by Pope Innocent III Read more about the Albigensian Crusades *1209 – 1229 >>
The Children's crusade is a very strange tale in which children from across Europe were encouraged to join a crusade! Read more about the Children’s Crusade 1212 >>
Crusader Knights Templar, Hospitaller and Teutonic Knights were a famous religious order of Knights Read more about the Crusader Knights – Magnificent Holy Warriors >>
The Holylands and Jerusalem were of major significance to three major religions Read more about the HolyLands – Battle for Jerusalem >>
The Knights Hospitaller built Hospitals and cared for Injured and Dying Crusaders during the Crusades Read more about the Knights Hospitaller >>
Saladin a legendary Muslim leader led Muslim armies during the Crusades era Read more about the Legendary Saladin and the Crusades >>
The Peoples crusade ended in the death and slavery of most of the 100,000 commoners and other people who took part! Read more about the Peoples Crusade 1096 >>
The Fourth Crusade of 1202 and Pope Innocent III Read more about the The Fourth Crusade 1202: Unraveling the Controversy and Chaos of a Medieval Epic >>
Discover the most important events of the medieval Crusades Read more about the Top 10 Events of The Crusades >>
Pope Innocent III ordered the Fifth Crusade Read more about the Unleashing the Fury of the Fifth Crusade: The Epic Clash of Empires in the Holy Land >>
A ‘Holy War’ was a Christian concept and the Crusades provided medieval people with a spiritual purpose and opportunity to serve ‘God’ as ‘The Warriors of God’
The crusades were actioned to defend Catholic Christendom and to regain Christian lands that had previously been lost.
Crusaders were also active in their battles against heretics and Pagans in different parts of medieval Europe.
This defeat made Christian pilgrim routes to Holy places throughout the Middle East dangerous and this situation could not be allowed to stand from a Christian perspective.
“Dues vult!” translated as God wills it, or it is God’s will.
On November 27 in the year 1095 Christians from all over Europe heard the Pope’s cry and were united in their mission to return the Holylands to Christian rule.
The crusades were ordered by the Pope Urban II and took place in the high and late medieval period, the goal was to return the Holylands to Christian rule using military force by driving out the Muslims who currently controlled it.
The Holylands are the names given to describe the religious lands claimed by Christians, Jews, and Muslims.
The Holylands position is between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, The Holy Land is divided between Palestinian and Jewish lands and incorporates parts of the river Jordan.
Today the Holylands are part of the land of Israel and Palestine and currently the area is considered part of Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria.
There were many Crusades to the Holylands during the middle ages, the first Crusade started in 1095, the intention of this crusade was to drive out the Muslims from the Holyland.
Nobles from France, Germany, and Italy brought together their armies of knights and set off on a journey that would take three years.
The Pope had called on Christians from all over Europe to fight to take the Holylands back from the Muslims, the church was highly respected in medieval times and people were eager to answer the Pope’s call.
Many ordinary people even women and children joined medieval knights in this quest.
The journey to the Holylands was long, hard, and treacherous, as the crusaders had to travel through many different lands, the knights’ Templar offered protection to many people making the journey – but people who joined the Crusades still died before even reaching the Holylands.
People would also die of starvation, and disease and were victim to the harsh weather conditions on the long journey to the Holylands which could take years.
By June 1098, the Christian crusaders attacked the Syrian city of Antioch.
Antioch eventually fell to the Christians when a traitor opened the gates to the city and let them in, the Following year the Christian crusaders surrounded the Holy city of Jerusalem, scaling the cities walls, and finally, in the summer of 1099, the city surrendered to the invading Christian army.
This victory by the crusaders was to be short-lived as many of them had returned home leaving Outremer vulnerable to Muslim attacks.
The Seljuk Empire was already breaking up, and the Muslim armies had decided to join forces to fight the common enemy the Christian crusaders in 1144 the Muslim armies managed to capture Edessa, which was at the time the capital of the most northern part of the crusaders’ kingdom.
The Christians responded to the Muslims’ capture of Edessa by mounting a second crusade.
The second crusade was a disaster, both armies sent were badly beaten and the second army sent and led by the King of France did not even make it to Edessa – they were defeated at the city of Damascus with the Muslim army sending them back retreating to France.
Saladin was the legendary Muslim leader who was a very courageous and clever warrior – he led the Muslim troops to victory repeatedly, finally capturing the prized city of Jerusalem.
Pope Gregory had made it a priority to recapture Jerusalem and had ordered yet another crusade against the Muslim occupiers.
Pope Gregory has masterfully managed to persuade the newly crowned King Richard (Richard the Lionheart) to join the third Crusade – King Richard had a brilliant military brain and was held in the same esteem as the Muslim leader Saladin.
Richard the Lionheart set off immediately to confront Saladin in the Holylands, Both were military masters, and both were well-respected men considered to be military geniuses, in fact, they had so much mutual respect for each other that it almost led to the negotiation of a truce before the battle even began.
Richard the Lionheart was having some great victories during the third Crusade battles against Saladin – however, his progress was suddenly halted when news from England came that his brother John had started rebelling against him in England, this meant that Richard had to leave the Crusades and return to England to take care of business at home.
The Christian armies led by King Richard in their conquest to recover the Holylands made great advances during the third Crusade as Saladin’s armies lost many strategic locations such as Acre Jaffa.
Saladin and the Muslim armies had managed to retain the most important prize of all, however, the spiritual city of Jerusalem that the Christian armies had wanted and this led to the last and final fourth crusade being launched.
The focus of the fourth Crusade was as before to recapture the Holy City of Jerusalem from the Muslim armies. Many strategic gains in the previous Crusades strengthened the Christian’s resolve and this was a final push to recapture the spiritual city of Jerusalem.
Initially, the crusaders had intended to take back Jerusalem via Egypt however for whatever reason these plans were changed and the crusaders of western Europe decided to invade the city of Constantinople instead which at that time was the capital of the Byzantine Empire, these peoples were on the same side as the crusaders before this attack.
The crusaders were not able to hold this territory that they had captured for long due to its location and the resistance from surrounding countries.
The fourth Crusade weakened the crusaders’ armies and led to their eventual decline, morale was low and this led to the collapse of any serious attempts by the crusaders to capture the Holylands again during medieval times. Other Crusades followed but they were not deemed as historically important as the first four Crusades.
The Muslim armies continued to defeat the crusaders and they managed to win back Acre in 1291 which was the last Crusader-held city and the medieval period of the crusades came to a complete end.
CRUSADES FAST FACTS
The Crusades encouraged religious hatred in England against Jewish people living in London
Crusaders learned new skills and ideas that they brought back from the Muslim Lands
New materials and products like silk were brought back from the Crusades
The Crusades were a war of religions, Christians against Muslims
The Christian Crusaders won the First Crusade Battles and Took Jerusalem
CRUSADES FAST FACTS
The Crusaders captured Acre in the Third Crusade but the Muslims retained Jerusalem