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The Crusades, An Overview

The Crusades were Christian military expeditions to recapture the Holy Land from the Muslims. They began shortly before A.D. 1100 and lasted into the 1400's. Christians were aroused to organize the Crusades primarily by religious faith, but the expeditions were also part of the larger effort by Europeans to increase their powers, territory, and riches.

Crusaders

Timeline of Events

638 Jerusalem was captured by Muslims.

641 Muslims conquered Persia.

827-840 Muslims conquered much of southern Italy.

1071 Jerusalem was captured by the Turks.

1095 Pope Urban II called the Council of Clermont, at which he urged the knights of Europe to stop fighting each other and work together to free the Holy Land from the Turks.

Peter the Hermit1096-1099 The First Crusade was led by Count Raymond IV of Toulouse, Count Robert of Flanders, Godfrey of Bouillon, and Lord Bohemund of Sicily. Jerusalem was captured in the summer of 1099, and the Latin States of the Crusaders were established on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. The Turks recaptured the County of Edessa, one of the Latin States established by the first Crusaders.

left:Peter the Hermit preaching to peasants just before they left on the First Crusade

1147-1149 The Second Crusade, led by Holy Roman Emperor Conrad III and King Louis VII of France, was defeated before it reached Edessa.

1187 Muslims, under Saladin, recaptured all of the Holy Land except for the cities of Tyre, Tripoli and Antioch.

Richard and Saladin at the Battle of Arsur1187-1192 The Third Crusade was led by Richard the Lionheart of England, Philip II of France, and Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I. Frederick died before reaching the Holy Land, and Philip returned to France soon after arriving in the Holy Land. Richard defeated Saladin in several battles and recaptured Acre, but failed to retake Jerusalem. He made a truce with Saladin to allow Christian pilgrims to enter the city freely.

right: Richard the Lion-Hearted and Saladin at the Battle of Arsur, by Gustave Dore

1202-1204 The Fourth Crusade, led by Fulk of Neuil, removed the Byzantine Emperor from his throne but never made any attempt to retake the Holy Land.

Children's Crusade1212 The Children's Crusade was led by Stephen of Cloyes, a French peasant boy. None of the children reached the Holy Land.

left: Children crowd an Italian street as they embark on their Crusade

1217-1221 The Fifth Crusade, led by King Andrew II of Hungary, Duke Leopold VI of Austria, and John of Brienne, captured the town of Damietta at the mouth of the Nile River in Egypt, but the crusaders quickly gave up the city in exchange for a truce with the Muslims.

1228-1229 The Sixth Crusade, led by Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, resulted in Jerusalem being given to the Christians by negotiation, rather than conquest.

1244 The Muslims again captured Jerusalem.

King Louis IX being captured1248-1254 King Louis IX of France led the Seventh Crusade in an effort to recapture Jerusalem, but the crusaders were captured at Damietta. Louis and his noblemen were not released until after a huge ransom was paid by the Christians.

right: King Louis IX being captured by the Saracens

1268 The Muslims captured Antioch.

1270 Louis IX led the Eighth Crusade to seek revenge for his earlier capture, but he died of illness at Carthage and his army returned to Europe.

1271-1272 Ninth Crusade led by Prince Edward of England.

1291 The Muslims captured Acre.

1492 The Spaniards drove the last Muslim Moors out of Europe.

Results of the Crusades

The Crusades never succeeded in driving the Muslims out of the Holy Land, but they did prepare Europe for expansion into America and elsewhere. They acquainted Westerners with the way of life of the East, gave them a taste for new foods and clothing styles, and increased their desire to explore and travel. During the Crusades, Europe learned how to make better ships and more accurate maps, and taught it new ways to make war.

SEE ALSO
Saladin
Richard the Lionheart

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The Robinson Library >> General and Old World History >> General History >> Middle Ages

This page was last updated on 05/17/2017.