The Crusades

Learn about the Crusades *It was the Year 1095 when Pope Urban II called on Europe's Christians to drive the Muslims out of the Holylands and called for the First Crusade to re-capture Jerusalem which was retaken by Crusaders in 1099.

Albigensian Crusades *1209 – 1229

Albigensian Crusade

The Albigensian Crusade was  spearheaded by Pope Innocent III Read more about the Albigensian Crusades *1209 – 1229 >>

Children’s Crusade 1212

Childrens Crusades

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 – Magnificent Holy Warriors

Teutonic Knights - Crusader Knights - Knights Crusades

Crusader Knights Templar, Hospitaller and Teutonic Knights were a famous religious order of Knights Read more about the Crusader Knights – Magnificent Holy Warriors >>

HolyLands – Battle for Jerusalem

The Holylands and Jerusalem were of major significance to three major religions   Read more about the HolyLands – Battle for Jerusalem >>

Knights Hospitaller

The Knights Hospitaller Flag & Colours

The Knights Hospitaller built Hospitals and cared for Injured and Dying Crusaders during the Crusades Read more about the Knights Hospitaller >>

Legendary Saladin and the Crusades

Saladin Muslim Leader

Saladin a legendary Muslim leader led Muslim armies during the Crusades era Read more about the Legendary Saladin and the Crusades >>

Peoples Crusade 1096

Peoples Crusade

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 >>

Top 10 Events of The Crusades

Discover the most important events of the medieval Crusades Read more about the Top 10 Events of The Crusades >>

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.


Jerusalem *Temple Rock Dome

Crusaders were also active in their battles against heretics and Pagans in different parts of medieval Europe.

The First Crusade (1095 – 99) was a direct response to an appeal from the Byzantine emperor Alexios I Komnenos who had been defeated by Muslim Turkish armies at Manzikert.

Map of First Crusade Leaders and Route to Jerusalem

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.

And so it began, Many military expeditions to the Holylands followed which became known as ‘The Crusades‘.


The Crusades | Pope Urban II

After the Byzantine emperor’s defeat at Manzikert the Byzantine Emperor asked Pope Urban II for help and he set the crusades in motion with his cry of

“Dues vult!” translated as God wills it, or it is God’s will.

Pope Urban II - Crusades

Pope Urban II

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 Crusades *Holylands Location

The Holylands are the names given to describe the religious lands claimed by Christians, Jews, and Muslims.

The holylands jerusalem medieval

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.

Ancient Jerusalem Model

Ancient Jerusalem Model

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.


First Crusade (1095-1099)

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.

Knights Templar

Knights Templar

Pope Urban II instructed medieval knights across Europe such as the Knights Templar to re-capture the Holylands for the Christians.

Pope Urban II

The image shows a Statue of the Famous Pope Urban II

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.

Crusaders Journey

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.

Map Crusader States after the First Crusadessvg

Holyland Capture (1095 -1099)

In the first crusade, up to 30,000 crusaders led by four noblemen made the three-year journey to the Holylands, they initially battled through Anatolia heading southwards towards Palestinian lands.

By June 1098, the Christian crusaders attacked the Syrian city of Antioch.

Leaders of First Crusade Gustave Dore Crusades Bohemond Rampart 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.


Muslim Fight Back *Saladin

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.

Saladin ready for war

Saladin *Muslim Leader

Second Crusade (1147-1149)

The Christians responded to the Muslims’ capture of Edessa by mounting a second crusade.

Map of 2nd Crusade

2nd 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.

Second Crusade Baldwin of Boulogne Enters Edessa 1098

Baldwin of Boulogne Enters Edessa 1098

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.

Saladin Leader of the Muslim armies

Great Muslim Leader Saladin

Third Crusade *Kings Crusade (1189 to 1192)

The new pope Gregory VIII instigated the third crusade also known as the king’s crusade.

Pope Gregory had made it a priority to recapture Jerusalem and had ordered yet another crusade against the Muslim occupiers.

Richard The LionHeart & Saladin Third Crusades

Pope Gregory VIII | *Richard Lionheart | *Saladin

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 and the Crusades

Richard The Lionheart

Richard The Lionheart & 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.

Medieval King Richard the Lionheart with his brother John

Richard the Lionheart & Brother John

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.

King RIchard I Coat of Arms

Richard The Lionheart Coat of arms

Saladin Retains Jerusalem

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.

Third Crusades Saladin attacks Jaffa crusades

Third Crusade *Saladin Attacks 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.

Fourth Crusade (1202 – 1204)

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.

The Fourth Crusade Attack on Constantinople

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.


Constantinople Middle Ages

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.

Timeline Crusades

Crusades Timeline 

Crusades End

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.

Fourth Crusade

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.


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


  • The Muslims recaptured Edessa which leads to a Second Crusade

  • The Second Crusade was a disaster and Saladin Captures  Jerusalem for the Muslims

The Crusaders captured Acre in the Third Crusade but the Muslims retained Jerusalem

  • The Fourth Crusade ended in defeat for the Crusaders

  • Saladin The Great Muslim Leader Captured the Holy City of Jerusalem

                  • King Richard was a great warrior and leader known as Richard the Lionheart
                  • King Richard made great progress in his attempts to recapture Jerusalem
                  • The first Crusade started in 1095

Pope Urban ll Famous Medieval Popes

                  • Pope Urban II called on medieval knights to drive out the Muslims from Jerusalem
                  • The crusaders captured Jerusalem briefly in 1099 in the third crusade

Saladin Muslim Leader

                  • Richard The Lionheart got his name because of his bravery in battle
                  • The fourth Crusade was the final Crusade to recapture the holy city of Jerusalem

Richard Lionheart Famous Norman Kings

                  • The Muslim armies retained control of Jerusalem after the final fourth crusade
                  • The Knights Templar offered protection to travelers to the Holylands

Christian and Muslim Battle Third Crusades

                  • Groups of Knights who were also Monks formed groups to fight the Muslims
                  • The main groups of Monks who were knights were the Knights Templar, Teutonic Knights, and Knights Hospitaller
                  • The main Crusades finally ended in 1291 when the Muslims recaptured Acre.

King RIchard I Coat of Arms

Learn More about the Crusades at Wikipedia

The Crusades: The Authoritative History of the War for the Holy Land Paperback – March 8, 2011