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crusades, a series of religious wars launched against Muslims by European Christians.

Christians mounted a number of crusades between 1096 and 1291. A major purpose of the crusades was to gain control of Palestine. This area between Egypt and Syria was the ancient homeland of Jews and the place where Jesus had lived. Christians called it the Holy Land. The spiritual heart of Palestine was the city of Jerusalem. As you will learn, the city was sacred to Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike.

In the 11th century, Palestine came under the rule of a rising Muslim power, the Seljuk Turks. The Seljuks were building a huge empire. Their growing strength alarmed the Byzantine emperor in Constantinople. In 1095, the emperor asked Pope Urban II for help. The pope called on Christians to go on a crusade, or religious war, to turn back the Seljuks and win control of the Holy Land.

The next year, armies of crusaders set out from Europe. A series of wars began in which Christians fought with Muslims over Palestine and nearby lands.

Muslims were not the only targets of these religious wars. Crusaders also mounted violent campaigns against Jews and against Christians who were considered heretics. Crusades were waged in Europe and North Africa as well as the Middle East.

In this chapter, you will read the story of the crusades. You will explore the impact of these wars on Christians, Muslims, and Jews. You’ll also learn how new Muslim empires arose after the crusades and how Islam continued to spread to new parts of the world.

Use this map as a graphic organizer to help you learn about the crusades.
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11.2 Events Leading Up to the Crusades

Why did European Christians begin going on crusades at the end of the 11th century? To answer this question, we need to look at what was happening in Muslim lands at this time.

During the 11th century, the Seljuk Turks established a new Muslim dynasty. The Turks were a Central Asian people who had been migrating into Muslim lands for centuries. The Seljuks were named for a Turkish chieftain who converted to Islam in the mid-10th century. In 1055, his descendants took control of the Abbasid capital of Baghdad. A Seljuk sultan now ruled the old Abbasid Empire.

The Seljuks were eager to expand their territory. Moving westward, they took Syria and Palestine from the Fatimid dynasty. They also overran much of Anatolia (Asia Minor), which was part of the Byzantine Empire. In 1071, they defeated a large Byzantine army at Manzikert in present-day Turkey.

The Seljuk advance alarmed Christians in Europe. They feared for the safety and property of Christians living in the east. The Seljuks’ growing power seemed to threaten the Byzantine Empire itself. Christians also worried about the fate of the Holy Land, especially the city of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem was a sacred city to Jews, Christians, and Muslims. It was the spiritual capital of the Jews, where their great temple had once stood. For Christians, it was the city where Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead. For Muslims, it was the place where Muhammad rose to heaven during his Night Journey.

Jerusalem and the rest of Palestine first came under Muslim rule during the Arab conquests of the seventh century. Muslims built a shrine in Jerusalem, called the Dome of the Rock, to mark the spot where they believed Muhammad rose to heaven. Under Muslim rule, Jews, Christians, and Muslims usually lived together peacefully. People of all three faiths made pilgrimages to Jerusalem and built houses of worship there. Depending on the policies of various Muslim rulers, however, non-Muslims’ rights and freedoms varied from time to time. Some Muslim rulers allowed the destruction of important Christian churches.

After the Seljuks took control of Palestine, political turmoil made travel unsafe for a time. Tales began reaching Europe of highway robbers attacking and even killing Christian pilgrims. Christians feared they would no longer be able to visit Jerusalem and other sacred sites in the Holy Land. Together with concern over the Seljuk threat to Christian lands, this fear helped pave the way for the crusades.

Two important shrines stand near each other in Jerusalem. The Dome of the Rock is where Muslims believe Muhammad rose to heaven. The Western Wall, what remains of the ancient Jewish Temple, is where Jews have gathered to pray throughout history. It is the holiest place in the world for Jews.

sultan the sovereign ruler of a Muslim state

Anatolia a large peninsula at the western edge of Asia; also called Asia Minor
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11.3 The Story of the Crusades

The crusades began as a response to the threat posed by the Seljuks. By 1095, the Seljuks had advanced to within 100 miles of the Byzantine capital of Constantinople. The emperor appealed to Pope Urban II for help.

The pope called nobles and church leaders to a council in Clermont, France. There he called for a crusade to drive the Muslims back and reclaim Jerusalem. He promised entry to heaven to all who joined the fight.

French-speaking nobles quickly organized armies to fight in the Holy Land. In addition to trained knights, thousands of townspeople, craftsmen, and peasants joined the crusade.

Throughout the crusades, Christian faith inspired many to put on the red cross worn by crusaders. But people joined the crusades for other reasons as well. Merchants saw the chance to earn money through trade. Younger sons of nobles hoped to gain estates in the Holy Land.

The First Crusade (1096–1099) Four nobles led the First Crusade. Close to 30,000 crusaders fought their way through Anatolia and headed south toward Palestine. In June 1098, the crusaders laid siege to the city of Antioch in Syria. After nine months, a traitor let them through an opening in the city walls. Antioch fell to the Christians.

The next June, the crusaders surrounded Jerusalem and scaled the city walls. In July 1099, the city surrendered. The victorious crusaders massacred Muslims and Jews throughout the city. The survivors were sold into slavery. With Jerusalem taken, most of the crusaders went home. Some, however, stayed behind. They established four crusader kingdoms in Palestine, Syria, and modern-day Lebanon and Turkey.
(Map Title)

The Major Crusades, 1096-1192
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The Second Crusade (1146–1148) The crusaders owed their early victories in part to a lack of unity among Muslims. When the crusades began, the Seljuk Empire was already crumbling into a number of smaller states. Muslims had trouble joining together to fight the invaders.

As Muslims started to band together, they fought back more effectively. In 1144, they captured Edessa, the capital of the northernmost crusader kingdom. Christians answered by mounting the Second Crusade.

The crusade ended in failure. An army from Germany was badly beaten in Anatolia. A second army, led by the king of France, arrived in Jerusalem in 1148. About 50,000 crusaders marched on the city of Damascus, which was on the way to Edessa. Muslims from Edessa came to the city’s aid and beat back the crusaders. Soon after this defeat, the French army went home, ending the Second Crusade.

The Third Crusade (1189–1192) Over the next few decades, Muslims in the Middle East increasingly came under common leadership. By the 1180s, the great sultan Salah al-Din, called Saladin by Europeans, had formed the largest Muslim empire since the Seljuks. Salah al-Din united Egypt, Syria, and lands to the east. He led a renewed fight against the crusaders in the Holy Land.

Salah al-Din quickly took back most of Palestine. In 1187, his armies captured Jerusalem. Salah al-Din did not kill his prisoners, as the crusaders had done. Instead, he freed many captives or sold them for ransom. Others were sold into slavery.

The loss of Jerusalem shocked Europeans and sparked the Third Crusade. King Richard I of England, known as Richard the Lionheart, led the fight against Salah al-Din.

In 1191, Richard’s army forced the surrender of the Palestinian town of Acre. Afterward, arrangements were made between the two sides to exchange prisoners. After waiting for a time, Richard felt that Salah al-Din was taking too long to meet his end of the bargain. Growing impatient, he ordered his men to kill all 2,700 of his Muslim prisoners.

Richard then fought his way toward Jerusalem, but his army was not strong enough to attack the city. Salah al-Din’s forces had also grown weaker. In September 1192, the two leaders signed a peace treaty. The crusaders kept a chain of cities along the coast of Palestine. Muslims agreed to let Christian pilgrims enter Jerusalem.

Later Crusades The crusades to the Middle East continued for another 100 years. Some crusades were popular movements of poor people rather than organized military campaigns. In 1212, for example, tens of thousands of peasant children from France and Germany marched in a “Children’s Crusade.” Few, if any, ever reached the Holy Land. Some made it as far as European port cities, only to be sold into slavery by merchants. Some returned home. Many disappeared without a trace.

Richard the Lionheart of England led the Third Crusade to try to regain Christian control of Jerusalem from the Muslims.

ransom money paid in exchange for the release of prisoners
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None of the later crusades succeeded in recapturing Jerusalem. Muslims, meanwhile, were gaining back the land they had lost. In 1291, they took Acre, the last crusader city. This victory ended some 200 years of Christian kingdoms in the Holy Land.

The Reconquista Crusaders warred against Muslims in Europe and North Africa as well as the Middle East. One important series of wars was called the Reconquista (reconquest). Christians launched these wars to retake the Iberian Peninsula (modern-day Spain and Portugal) from Muslims.

As you have learned, the Umayyads established a Muslim dynasty in Spain in the eighth century. A unique culture flourished in cities like Cordoba and Toledo, where Muslims, Jews, and Christians lived together in peace. However, non-Muslims had to pay a special tax.

Over time, Christian rulers in northern Iberia chipped away at Muslim lands. The pace of reconquest quickened after the Umayyad caliphate in Cordoba broke up into rival kingdoms in 1002. Christians tried to take advantage of the Muslims’ weakness. In 1085, they scored a key victory by capturing Toledo, in central Spain.

Muslims gradually gave up more and more territory, and new Muslim dynasties were not tolerant of Jews and Christians. In 1139, Portugal became an independent Christian kingdom. By 1248, only the small kingdom of Granada, along the southern coast of Spain, remained in Muslim hands.

Many Jews and Muslims remained in areas ruled by Christians. In the late 1400s, Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand wanted to unite Spain as a Catholic country. They used the Inquisition, a church court, against Muslims and Jews who had converted to Christianity. The Spanish Inquisition was extremely harsh. Judges, called inquisitors, sometimes used torture to find out whether supposed converts were practicing their old religion. Thousands of people were burned at the stake.

Isabella and Ferdinand also sent armies against Granada. In 1492, the city fell, and Muslims lost their last stronghold in Spain. In that same year, Jews were told to become Catholics or leave the country. More than 170,000 Jews left their homes forever. Muslims remained in Spain, but many were forced to accept baptism as Catholics. Spain expelled its remaining Muslims beginning in 1609. The expulsion of Muslims and Jews ended centuries of cooperation between these groups and Christians in Spain.

Later crusades, such as the Children’s Crusade, were unsuccessful movements by poor people rather than the military.

Iberian Peninsula a peninsula in southwestern Europe that today is divided between Spain and Portugal

Inquisition a judicial body established by the Catholic Church to combat heresy and other forms of religious error

expulsion removal by force
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11.4 Christians and the Crusades

For crusaders, the religious wars were a costly ordeal. But European Christians also reaped many benefits from the crusades.

Impact on Christians as a Group Crusaders suffered all the terrible effects of war. Many were wounded or killed in battle. Others died from disease and the hardships of travel.

The impact of the crusades reached far beyond those who fought in the wars. The crusades brought many economic changes to Europe. Crusaders needed a way to pay for supplies. Their need increased the use of money in Europe. Some knights began performing banking functions, such as making loans or investments. Kings started tax systems to raise funds for crusades.

The crusades changed society as well. Monarchs grew more powerful as nobles and knights left home to fight in the Middle East. The increasing power of monarchs helped to end feudalism.

Contact with eastern cultures had a major impact on Christians’ way of life. In the Holy Land, Christians learned about new foods and other goods. They dressed in clothing made of muslin, a cotton fabric from Persia. They developed a taste for melons, apricots, sesame seeds, and carob beans. They used spices like pepper. After crusaders returned home, European merchants earned enormous profits by trading for these goods.

The Experiences of Individuals You have already learned how Richard I of England led the Third Crusade. Richard was devoted to the Christian cause and to knightly ideals of courage and honor. To pay for his armies, he taxed his people heavily. Both ruthless and brave, Richard spent most of his reign on the crusades.

Anna Comnena, the daughter of a Byzantine emperor, wrote about her experiences during the First Crusade. She expressed mixed feelings about the crusaders. She respected them as Christians, but she also realized that many were dangerous. She questioned whether all of the crusaders were truly fighting for God. She thought that some sought wealth, land, or glory in battle. Her suspicions proved to be justified. During the Fourth Crusade, a force of crusaders sacked and looted Constantinople.

New foods and fabrics from Arabian seaports were introduced to Christians through the travels and trading of crusaders.
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11.5 Muslims and the Crusades

The crusades brought fewer benefits to Muslims than they did to Christians. Muslims did drive the crusaders from the Middle East, but they lost their lands in Iberia. In addition, the contact between cultures benefitted Muslims less than Christians. Muslim society was more advanced, so Muslims had less to gain.

Impact on Muslims as a Group The crusades were a terrible ordeal for many Muslims. An unknown number of Muslims lost their lives in battles and massacres. Crusaders also destroyed Muslim property.

Muslims did gain exposure to some new weapons and military ideas during the crusades. Like Europeans, they began to adopt a standing (permanent) army. Muslim merchants, especially in Syria and Egypt, earned riches from trade with Europe. This money helped to fund projects such as new mosques and religious schools. The crusades also brought political changes as Muslims banded together to fight their common foe. The Ayyubid dynasty founded by Salah al-Din ruled Egypt and parts of Syria and Arabia until 1250.

The Experiences of Individuals Salah al-Din was the greatest Muslim leader during the crusades. His experiences taught him many valuable lessons. As a boy in Damascus during the Second Crusade, he saw that Muslims needed to defend themselves and Islam. As a soldier, he realized that Muslims had to be organized and to cooperate with one another. He unified Muslim groups under his fair and strong leadership.

Salah al-Din was famed for his courtesy as well as his military skill. Unlike the crusaders, he ransomed or freed most prisoners he took.

Usamah ibn-Munqidh also grew up during the crusades. Believing it was the will of God, Usamah fought fearlessly against crusaders. At the same time, he respected both Christians and Jews because of their faith in one God. This attitude served him well when he negotiated with crusaders.

Usamah wrote a valuable account of the crusades from a Muslim point of view. He told how Muslims and Christians observed and sometimes admired each other. He also described how the Muslims were willing to give their lives to protect their families, lands, and property from the crusaders.

Christian crusaders took the city of Jerusalem during the First Crusade, murdering both Muslims and Jews in their victory.
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11.6 Jews and the Crusades

The violence unleashed by the crusades caused great suffering for Jews. Crusaders in the Holy Land slaughtered Jews as well as Muslims. Other Jews became slaves. The crusades also dramatically worsened the lives of Jews in Europe.

Impact on Jews as a Group During the First Crusade, European Jews suffered a series of violent persecutions. As crusaders crossed northern France and Germany, some of them murdered whole communities of Jews. They destroyed synagogues and holy books. They looted homes and businesses. Some crusaders tortured Jews to make them accept Christianity.

Anti-Semitism, or prejudice against Jews, spread among non-crusaders as well. Religious prejudice combined with envy of Jews who had become prosperous bankers and traders. Riots and massacres broke out in a number of cities in Europe.

By the end of the crusades, Jews’ place in society had worsened. Jews could not hold public office. Christians took over trading businesses that had been run by Jews. In 1290, England expelled all Jews. France did the same in 1394. Many Jews relocated to eastern Europe.

Segregation of Jews spread throughout Europe during the 14th and 15th centuries. Jews were forced to live in crowded neighborhoods called ghettos. Typically, walls and gates separated the ghettos from the rest of the town or city.

The Experiences of Individuals A German Jew named Eliezer ben Nathan experienced some of the horrors that took place in Europe during the First Crusade. Later, Eliezer wrote about the violent destruction of his community. He described Jews who killed their children and themselves rather than give up their religion. Eliezer admired the devotion of these people. He wondered how God could let so many Jews die. He also expressed his hatred for the crusaders.

Eleazar ben Judah, a Jewish scholar, also lived in Germany. During the Second Crusade, he and other Jews were forced to flee their town. They had to leave behind their belongings, including their holy books.

Several years later, two crusaders attacked Eleazar’s home. The men killed his wife and three children. Eleazar survived the attack, although he was badly injured. This horrible event led him to wonder if his people would survive in Europe. Despite his suffering, he continued to preach love for all humanity as a Jewish leader in the city of Worms.

Crusaders rampaged through Jewish communities across Europe, killing and looting and destroying sacred buildings and books.

synagogue a Jewish house of worship

anti-Semitism prejudice toward Jews

segregation the forced separation of one group from the rest of a community
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11.7 The Mongol Invasion

As you have learned, Muslims succeeded in driving the crusaders from the Holy Land. Even as the crusades were taking place, other changes were happening in Muslim lands. By the mid 1200s, Muslims faced a greater threat than European crusaders—the Mongols.

The Mongols were a nomadic people whose homeland was to the north of China. In the 13th century, Mongols began wars of conquest under their leader, Genghis Khan. After attacking northern China, Genghis Khan turned his eyes west. The Mongols swept across central Asia, destroying cities and farmland. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims were slaughtered. Many were carried off to Mongolia as slaves.

Under Genghis Khan’s successors, the Mongols built an empire that stretched across much of Asia. They defeated the Seljuk Turks in Anatolia and seized parts of Persia. In 1258, they destroyed Baghdad and killed the caliph, ending the Abbasid dynasty.

In the west, Muslims were able to stop the Mongol advance. The Muslim resistance was led by the Mamluks, whose capital was in Cairo. The Mamluks were Muslims of Turkish descent. In the mid 1200s, they had overthrown the dynasty begun by Salah al-Din. In 1260, they defeated the Mongols in an important battle in Palestine. The Mamluks continued to rule Palestine, Egypt, Syria, Arabia, and parts of Anatolia until 1517.

The Mongols still ruled a huge empire in Asia, including China. Toward the end of the 1200s, they began converting to Islam. The adoption of Islam helped bring unity to their empire. The Mongols made Persian the language of government. They rebuilt the cities they had destroyed and encouraged learning, the arts, and trade.

The Mongol Empire was one of the largest the world had ever seen. It suffered, however, from fighting among rivals. Local rulers controlled different regions. By the mid 1300s, the empire was badly weakened. In the next section, you will learn about new empires that arose in Muslim lands during the next few centuries.

Mongol leader Genghis Khan is shown in a ceremony in this 14th-century illustration.
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11.8 New Muslim Empires and the Expansion of Islam

New empires grew up in Muslim lands after the decline of the Mongols. Islam also continued its spread to new lands.

The Ottoman Empire In the early 1300s, a Turk named Osman I started the Ottoman dynasty in northern Anatolia. The Ottomans quickly conquered new lands in Anatolia and southeastern Europe.

The Ottomans’ advance was stopped for a time by a new enemy, Timur Lang. Timur came from a Mongol tribe in central Asia. He claimed descent from Genghis Khan.

Timur began building his own empire in the late 1300s. His armies overran much of central Asia, including present-day Iraq. They then invaded India, Syria, and Anatolia. In 1402, Timur defeated an Ottoman army at Ankara in Anatolia. The Ottomans were on the brink of collapse. But after Timur’s death in 1405, they regained control of their lands.

Turning back toward Europe, the Ottomans set out to expand their empire. In 1453, they captured Constantinople, bringing an end to the Byzantine Empire. The city was renamed Istanbul. It became the Ottoman capital.

In the 1500s, the Ottomans destroyed the Mamluk Empire. They conquered Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and Arabia. At its height, their empire also took in parts of southeastern Europe, North Africa, and Persia, as well as Turkey.

The Ottomans allowed their subjects considerable freedom. Jews, Christians, and Muslims had their own local communities, called millets. Millets were allowed to govern themselves. A ruling class collected taxes and protected the sultan and the empire. In the empire’s European provinces, some young Christian men were drafted and then raised in the sultan’s palace. After most of them converted to Islam, they became elite soldiers and government officials.

The Ottoman Empire slowly declined after about 1700. It finally came to an end in the 20th century.

The Safavid Empire Ottoman expansion to the east was stopped by another Muslim power. In 1501, Muslims in Persia founded the Safavid dynasty. Their

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