The Crusades were a series of wars in the Middle Ages between Christians and Muslims. the Christians of Europe tried to retake control of Jerusalem and the Holy Land from the Muslims.
WHY DID CHRISTIANS WANT TO RETAKE JERUSALEM?
Jerusalem was important to the three monotheistic religions in the Middle Ages. It was important to Jewish people as it was the site of the original temple to God built by King Solomon. It was important to the Muslims because it was where they believe Muhammad ascended to heaven. It was important to Christians as it is where Christ was crucified and rose again.
WHO FOUGHT IN THE CRUSADES?
The Crusades were fought by Christian armies from Europe and by the Arabs who controlled Jerusalem. In the first Crusade the Sljuk Turks fought against an army of 30.000 European solidiers mainly knights and peasants.
HOW DID THE CRUSADES START?
The first Crusade started when the Seljuk Turks controlled Holy Land. Before they conquered, the Arabs controlled Jerusalem. However, the Arabs allowed Christians to pilgrimage Jerusalem. In 1070, The Turks conquered Jerusalem and did not permit pilgrimages. Then the Byzantine emperor Alexius I asked for help from the Pope to defend his empire from the Turks and to send them away from the Holy Land. The Pope brought together an army made up of soldiers and knights from the Franks and the Holy Roman Empire.
TIMELINE OF THE CRUSADES
The most important Crusades were:
The First Crusade (1095-1099): The First Crusade was the most successful. Armies from Europe drove out the Turks and took control of Jerusalem.
The Second Crusade (1147-1149): In 1146 the city of Edessa was conquered by the Turks. The entire population was killed or sold into slavery. Then a second Crusade was launched, but it did not succeed.
The Third Crusade (1187-1192): In 1187 Saladin, the sultan of Egypt, recaptured the city of Jerusalem from the Christians. A third Crusade was launched led by Emperor Barbarossa of Germany, King Philip Augustus of France, and King Richard the Lionheart of England. Richard the Lionheart fought Saladin for several years. In the end he could not conquer Jerusalem, but he did win the right for pilgrims to visit the holy city again.
The Fourth Crusade (1202-1204): The Fourth Crusade was formed by Pope Innocent III with the hope of taking back the Holy Land. However, the Crusaders got sidetracked and greedy and ended up conquering and plundering Constantinople instead.
Children’s Crusade (1212): Started when a French child named Stephen of Cloyes and a German kid named Nicholas recruited thousands of children to march to the Holy Land. It was a total disaster. None of the children reached the Holy Land and many were never seen again. They were likely sold into slavery.
Crusades Five through Nine (1217 – 1272): Over the next several years there would be 5 more Crusades. None of them was completely successful in terms of gaining control of the Holy Land.