Crusades


     Crusades were military expeditions planned and carried out by western European

Christians. The crusades started around 1095. The purpose of these crusades was
to overtake and gain control of the Holy Land from the Muslims. The Holy Land
was Jerusalem and the Christians believed that gaining control of it was their
fate. The pope would gather the people together and incite them. The origin of
the crusades was a result of the expanding Turks in the middle east. These

Turkish forces invaded Byzantium, a Christian empire. The crusaders were a
militia, sent out to recover what they thought was theirs. The first crusades
were essentially started by Pope Urban II. On November 27, 1095, he gathered his
followers outside the French city of Clermont-Ferrand. He preached to these
people and told them that action needed to be taken. In response, the people
cheered and planned their attack. Urban II brought together all of the bishops
and urged them to talk to their friends and fellow villagers and to encourage
them to participate in the crusades. Small groups started to form and each group
would be self- directing. All the groups planned their own ways to the

Constantinople, where they would meet and regroup. They would attack the Turkish
forces in Constantinople and hope to regain control of the city. The large

Christian armies talked to Alexius I Comnenus, the Byzantium emperor, and agreed
to return any of his old land that was recaptured. The armies were skeptical of
this demand but agreed anyway. The first attack by the crusaders was on

Anatolian, the Turkish capital. Meanwhile the Byzantians were also trying to
recapture Anatolian, and later that year, the city surrendered to the Byzantians
instead of the crusaders. The Byzantians were using the crusaders as pawns to
achieve their own goals. The crusaders again met and crushed the Turkish army.

The crusaders scored a great victory and boosted the troops' moral. The
crusaders captured Antioch and also held off relief forces sent to help the

Turks. The crusaders then moved on to their main goal-Jerusalem. The city was
under Egyptian control and was heavily guarded. The crusaders set up siege
machines and called for reinforcements, finally forcing the Egyptians to
surrender. Everyone in the city was massacred in the belief that the blood of
the former holders purified it. The crusaders kept control of the city for the
next generation or so and brought in people to inhabit the Holy Land. Slowly the

Muslim forces started to rebuild and soon came back to take the Holy Land. After
the defeat of the Egyptians in Jerusalem, the crusaders started to colonize. The

Latin colonists set up four states: Tripoli, which was on the Syrian coast,

Antioch, centered near the Orontes Valley, Edessa, a far east state which held
most of the Christians, and the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, the most powerful
and centered between the other three states. The crusaders' strategy during the
first crusade was to isolate the Muslims and Egyptians, and to cut off any
supplies or reinforcements from strengthening their status. Once the original
generation of crusaders died, their children were not as determined. They forgot
about the Muslims that had escaped, and because of that, the Muslims had a new
leader and were regaining power. Under their leader, Imad ad-Din, the Muslims
regrouped and planned their attack against the colonies. After the passing of

Imad ad-Din, a new radical leader emerged-Zangi. Zangi led his troops to a
victory against the crusaders and their colonies by capturing the state of

Edessa. The Muslims destroyed the Christians churches, buildings, and killed the
crusaders. Back home, the Pope saw what was happening and declared a second
crusade to recapture the territory that had been lost. King Louis VII, from

France, set out to meet Conrad III army. The Holy Roman Emperor, Conrad III, set
out from Germany and soon met up with Louis' men. With their armies, they left
from their homeland to meet in Jerusalem. Conrad's army began their voyage, only
to be ambushed. Afterwards, their supplies and cavalry were drastically
depleted. The better half of the French army reached Jerusalem and met up with
the small remains of the Germans and the old crusaders. Together they ventured
to Damascus, but failed to take the city and were badly defeated. The French
army and king had had enough and returned home. The small remnants of the

Germans stayed with the colonies, along with the old crusaders. Slowly but
surely, the states the crusaders had set up were systematically being destroyed.

The failure of the second crusade brought on the third crusade. The Muslims had
named a new leader, Nur ad-Din, who regrouped the Muslims and motivated them to
take back what believed was theirs. Their leader died a few years later, and was
succeeded by their military leader, Saladin. In 1187, Saladintook his now
revived and recuperated army to recapture Jerusalem. In July, he crushed the
crusaders front line army in Galilee. Saladin then led his troops throughout the
area of Jerusalem and finally took Jerusalem in early October. This led to Pope

Gregory VIII starting a third crusade. The people in the west knew that their
time had come to defeat the Muslims onceand for all. Included in the ranks of
men going on the crusade were Fre*censored* I, the Roman emperor; Philip II, the

French king; and Richard I, of England. These forces were thought to be one of
the most powerful armies assembled during the middle ages. Again, this crusade
suffered misfortune. On his journey to Jerusalem, the Roman emperor died, and
his army accompanied the body back home for burial. Even with the size of

Richard's and Frederick's remaining armies, they were not able to recapture

Jerusalem. When the armies left Jerusalem and its surrounding areas to return
home, they accomplished none of their goals. Since none of the following
crusades were successful or even important, not much is known about them. The
later crusades also provided almost nothing for the Christians therefore much
time and money was wasted on them.