“Forging a New Frontier: The Extraordinary Story of the First Crusade

Learn about the First Crusades of 1096 -1099 and the Epic Battle for the Holy lands between Christian and Islamic Warriors!

First Crusades Maps, Timelines, People and Important events of the First Crusade - Discover how Fatimid Muslims were defeated in the main battle for Jerusalem.

First Crusade Maps

See 3 maps of that show the journey taken by the crusader armies during the First crusade! Read more about the First Crusade Maps >>

Who Took Part in the First Crusade?

The Nobility of Europe were in charge of the First Crusades, not Kings Read more about the Who Took Part in the First Crusade? >>

Learn about the History and Timeline of the First Crusades!

There were many Crusades to re-capture the Holylands over many centuries and the First Crusade would be one of the most successful of them all.

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“The First Crusade was a uniquely powerful and transformative event, which fundamentally changed the course of European and Middle Eastern history.”

Jonathan Riley-Smith, British historian and leading authority on the Crusades.

The Crusades

Main Events of The First Crusades

In 1095, Pope Urban II called for a holy war to retake Jerusalem and the Holy Land from the Muslims.

The First Crusade officially began in 1096, with multiple armies of European knights, soldiers, and commoners setting out on the long journey eastward.

The Crusaders faced a number of obstacles along the way, including difficult terrain, hostile locals, and lack of supplies.

In 1098, the Crusaders captured the city of Antioch after a long siege, but the Muslim forces soon launched a counter-attack and retook the city.

In 1099, the Crusaders finally arrived at Jerusalem, and after a five-week siege, they breached the walls and took the city. The Crusaders massacred many of the city’s inhabitants, both Muslim and Jewish.

The Crusaders established several Crusader states in the Holy Land, including the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the County of Tripoli, and the Principality of Antioch.

In 1101, a new wave of Crusaders arrived in the Holy Land, but their efforts were largely unsuccessful, and most were killed or captured by Muslim forces.

In subsequent years, the Crusader states faced numerous challenges, including attacks by Muslim forces, internal conflicts, and the ongoing difficulty of maintaining their territories so far from Europe.

Despite these challenges, the Crusader states would survive for nearly 200 years before finally falling to the Muslim forces of Saladin in the late 12th century.

First Crusade Map *Leaders and Route to Jerusalem

The First Crusade would be led by important Nobles from across Europe and not by Kings as was the case in many of the later crusades of the medieval period.


The 1st Crusade 1096

The 1st crusade to the Holy Land was led by Bishop Adhemar also known as Adémar or Aimar under the instruction of Pope Urban II.


Adhemar was one of the most important figures of the first crusades and was heavily involved in important crusader victories such as the Siege of Antioch and the Battle of Dorylaeum.


“The First Crusade represented a clash of civilizations between the Christian West and the Islamic East, which would shape the course of world history for centuries to come.”

Christopher Tyerman, British historian and author of “God’s War: A New History of the Crusades.”

There were five main bodies of troops for the first crusade and each army was led by a nobleman. There were many wealthy noblemen across Europe that were sympathetic to the Christian cause of reclaiming the Holylands from Muslim rule.


It was therefore easy to recruit armies to fight for the Christian cause during the first crusade.

“The First Crusade was an extraordinary undertaking, in which thousands of people from across Europe risked everything to fight for their faith and their ideals.”

Thomas Asbridge, British historian and author of several books on the Crusades.

First Crusade Army

Many people wanted to be soldiers in the first crusade and there were many volunteers. The Pope had told criminals and ex-communicated people that they would be given a pardon if they came back alive from fighting the Muslim armies in the first crusade.

There were criminals. knights and former barbarian soldiers among others within the first crusade armies.
First Crusades Battle

“The First Crusade was a brutal and violent conflict that left a lasting impact on the peoples and cultures of the medieval world.”

Jay Rubenstein, American historian and author of “Armies of Heaven: The First Crusade and the Quest for Apocalypse.”

First Crusade *Main Battle

The armies of the 1st crusade were truly heroic and fought against almost impossible odds. Just 30,000 crusaders troops were commanded by a warrior named Bohemond, under his direction these first crusade armies were able to keep at bay a much larger army of Muslim Turks.


The Crusader armies were very disciplined and organized and fought as one, however, the Turkish armies were disorganized and undisciplined and there was much infighting within the Muslim armies’ ranks.

First crusade *Holy lance

During the first crusade, the Crusader armies were under immense pressure from the sheer numbers of Muslim Turk soldiers, and at one point they were struggling to hold them back.


“The First Crusade was not only a military campaign, but also a complex social and cultural movement that reflected the changing nature of medieval society.”

Alan V. Murray, British historian and author of “The Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem: A Dynastic History, 1099-1125.”

Legend has it that in a particularly bad point of the battle for the crusader armies the <a href=”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_Lance” data-mce-href=”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_Lance”>holy lance </a>that pierced the body of Jesus when he was crucified was found

this was considered to be a miracle among the Christian troops and this renewed and strengthen their resolve to win the battle.

First Crusade *Infighting

There was a lot of rivalry and infighting among the Muslim armies who throughout history have never trusted one another.

Before the Christian crusaders could even reach the walls of Jerusalem, the Muslim Turks who were in control of Jerusalem at that time had been defeated in battle by Fatimid Muslims

First Crusade *Fatimid Muslims

The 1st crusade had been started to reclaim the Holy lands from Muslim Turks, it had not been decided to fight all Muslims many of whom had very different views on the world.

Portrait of the great Muslim leader Saladin

In fact, the Fatimid Muslims were quite tolerant of Christian people are more willing to share the Holy city with the crusaders and give them safe passage to Jerusalem and Mount Zion Fatimid Muslims.


The battle hardened crusaders however were in no mood for negotiation and decided that they would capture the Holy lands of Jerusalem for the Christian faith against all Muslims, this would escalate the first crusades into a Holy war against all Muslims and the Islamic religion.

First Crusade | Taking of Jerusalem

In 1099 the Christian crusaders were finally at the walls of Jerusalem and were in no mood to take any prisoners . The crusaders used battering Rams and Siege towers to break through and scale the walls of Jerusalem.


Once inside the walls the crusaders went on a rampage slaughtering everyone in their path, it is described as being a bloodbath with bodies knee deep and blood everywhere.


At the end of the battle over 70,000 Muslims and Jews had been killed and Jerusalem was now officially a Christian city.

Saladin Meets Richard Lionheart

5 Good Books about the First Crusades

“The First Crusade: A New History” by Thomas Asbridge
This book offers a comprehensive and engaging account of the First Crusade, drawing on both Western and Eastern sources.

“God’s War: A New History of the Crusades” by Christopher Tyerman
This book provides a detailed examination of the First Crusade within the broader context of the Crusades as a whole.

“The First Crusade: The Call from the East” by Peter Frankopan
This book offers a fresh perspective on the First Crusade, emphasizing the role of the Byzantine Empire and the Eastern Christian world.

“The First Crusade: A Short History” by Jonathan Riley-Smith
This book provides a concise and accessible overview of the First Crusade and its significance.

“The Crusades Through Arab Eyes” by Amin Maalouf
While not solely focused on the First Crusade, this book offers a unique perspective on the Crusades from the Arab point of view, providing a valuable counterbalance to Western-centric accounts.


10 historic Sites you can Visit to Experience the First Crusades

1. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem: This church is believed to be the site of Jesus’ crucifixion and burial, and was a major focal point of the First Crusade.

2. Citadel of Raymond de Saint-Gilles, Tripoli: Built by one of the leaders of the First Crusade, this citadel is now a major tourist attraction in modern-day Lebanon.

3. Krak des Chevaliers, Syria: This fortress was built by the Knights Hospitaller in the 12th century and played a key role in the Crusaders’ defense against Muslim forces.

4. Antioch Citadel, Turkey: The citadel in Antioch was a major battleground during the First Crusade and changed hands several times before finally falling to the Crusaders.

5. Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem: This mosque was one of the main targets of the Crusaders during their siege of Jerusalem in 1099.

6. Church of Saint Peter, Antioch: This church was originally built in the 1st century and was a major site of worship for the early Christians. During the First Crusade, it was turned into a hospital for wounded Crusaders.

7. Kerak Castle, Jordan: This castle was built by the Crusaders in the 12th century and played a key role in their defense against Muslim forces in the region.

8. Citadel of Salah Ed-Din, Cairo: This citadel was built by the Muslim general Salah Ed-Din (also known as Saladin) in the 12th century and played a major role in the defense of Cairo against Crusader attacks.

9. Tower of David, Jerusalem: This fortress dates back to the 2nd century BC and was used by the Crusaders during their siege of Jerusalem in 1099.

10. Beaufort Castle, Lebanon: This fortress was built by the Crusaders in the 12th century and was a key strategic point in their defense against Muslim forces in the region.