The Crusades Begin

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02.03 The Crusades: Assessment

The Crusades Begin

1096 – A wave of religious enthusiasm has swept across Europe. Peter the Hermit, a French monk, pulled together an army of peasants and soldiers with his sermons. This army charged eastward toward Constantinople in what people are calling the “People’s Crusade”. Peter stayed behind in Constantinople as his army crossed over into Anatolia. Unfortunately, this Crusade did not turn out well as nearly all of the crusaders were killed by Turkish soldiers.

The First Crusade

1096 - Godfrey of Bouillon and other French lords pulled together an army and then marched from Constantinople to Antioch through lands held by the Seljuk Turks. They battled Turk forces along the way and the Crusaders have captured Edessa and Antioch .The Crusaders surrounded Jerusalem for more than a month before its keepers surrendered.

The Death of Godfrey of Bouillon

August 1098 -Godfrey of Bouillon died soon after the Crusader’s siege of the Holy Land of Jerusalem. On Godfrey’s death, Baldwin, Godfrey’s brother, left Edessa and became the first king of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Although many stayed behind to defend European rule of the Holy Land, most of the Crusaders who had survived the expedition returned home.

The Second Crusade

1147 – Since the First Crusade, Muslim forces have regrouped and attacked Edessa. Two monarchs, King Louis VII of France and Emperor Conrad III of Germany, have led armies to the Holy Land, but rather than focusing on Edessa, the Crusaders have turned their sights on Damascus. Their poorly organized attack on Damascus resulted in failure. Most Crusaders returned home. Meanwhile, Muslim forces became more powerful and began encircling Jerusalem.

Turk and Muslim Forces Unite

1187 - Turkic ruler Saladin rose to lead the Seljuk Turks and united the split Muslim armies of Southwest Asia and North Africa. Saladin felt that the Christian armies were the infidels that had to be evicted. When Saladin’s forces eventually took Jerusalem, Europe was rumored to launch yet another Crusade to retake the Holy Land of Jerusalem.

The Third Crusade

1187 - Emperor Frederick Barbarossa of Germany, King Phillip II of France, and King Richard I of England launched a Crusade to conquer Jerusalem. However, Frederick Barbarossa died along the way, and Phillip returned to Europe after the capture of Acre. Only King Richard I remained to lead the Christian armies and he led many campaigns against Jerusalem, however, he failed to retake the city. King Richard I became known as "Richard the Lionheart" for his bravery and leadership in battle.

The Truce of the Third Crusade

1192 - Richard and Saladin, the two foes fighting over control of the Holy Land, have reached a truce. These two have apparently struck up a curious relationship with each other during the Third Crusade which started in 1187. According to this peace treaty, Saladin’s Muslim empire kept control of Jerusalem but granted Christians the right to visit the city and their shrines. The Crusaders kept control of their lands north of the city of Jaffa.

The Fourth Crusade

1198 - Pope Innocent III called for a new Crusade. Led by French knights, the Crusade set out for the Holy Land in 1202, but they were convinced by Venetian lords to capture the wealth and glory of Eastern Orthodox Constantinople instead. So, rather than retake the Holy Land from Muslim rule, the Crusaders sacked and conquered the capital of the Byzantine Empire. However, the Crusaders’ control of Constantinople lasted briefly.

The Fifth & Sixth Crusades

1217 - The Fifth Crusade, led by King Andrew II of Hungary, went first to the Holy Land and then to Egypt, but failed. Frederick II of the Holy Roman Empire led the Sixth Crusade, angry about the outcome of the Fifth Crusade. They succeeded in reclaiming the Kingdom of Jerusalem but the kingdom was prone to Muslim attack, which eventually conquered the Holy Land again.

The Final Crusades

1244 – The Muslims conquered Jerusalem yet again, and since then, the Crusaders were never able to retake the Holy Land. King Louis IX of France led two more expeditions, grouped together as the Seventh and Eighth Crusade, but failed to make any territorial gains. The last grip of the Holy Land fell to the Mamluk Empire in 1291.

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