The Crusades

How can religion unite people?

Time period: 1096-1204

The reason for the crusades is, the ongoing fighting between the Christians and Muslims and the constant thirst for more power and land.

1st Crusade

The First Crusade was an attempt by European Christians to re-take the city of Jerusalem from the Muslims, who had captured Jerusalem in 1076.

There were several reasons why Christians volunteered to fight the Muslims. One, was to reclaim the city of Jerusalem for the Christians. Secondly, many volunteers believed that they would be relieved of their sins if they volunteered to fight a holy war in God’s name. In addition, if they were killed while on crusade, they would go straight to heaven.

The First Crusade was very difficult as the warriors had to travel great distances across land to reach the Middle East. The launching of the Crusade began in Constantinople, by 1097 there were 10,000 Crusaders gathered, making up four large armies.

They succeeded in overtaking the Muslims and recapturing the city of Jerusalem. The Crusaders created the Kingdom of Jerusalem and elected a king to rule.

The Crusades did not end with the recapture of Jerusalem. Many Christians feared the expansion of the Muslims across the Middle East and not only wanted the Muslims out of Jerusalem, but from the entire region.

2nd Crusade

Thus began the Second Crusade in 1147. The County of Edessa was captured by the Muslims in 1144, which was a passage for whose making the pilgrimage to the Holy Land. It was seen as a necessity to recapture Edessa from the Muslims and provide reinforcements for Jerusalem. England, France and Germany amassed large armies for the Second Crusade. Both the King of France, and the King of Germany led their armies, but due to poor communication, they were quickly defeated by the Turks. This defeat was the beginning of the end for the Crusades.

The King of Jerusalem was defeated by Saladin and his army in 1187, putting the Holy City back in the hands of the Muslims. The loss of Jerusalem into Muslim hands brought another call to arms by the Christians. The Pope, Gregory III, ordered another crusade to recapture Jerusalem. King Richard I of England, King Frederick of Germany and King Phillip II of France, led the Third Crusade, which lasted from 1182 to 1192

3rd Crusade

King Richard was determined to reach Jerusalem, but the battle for Jerusalem was long and hard, many men became ill, were tired and worn out from the long struggle. King Richard did defeat Saladin in battle, but did not have the manpower to retake control of Jerusalem. The two men agreed on a truce. Pilgrims from the west could travel to Jerusalem without fear of harassment by Muslims. After the truce was made, King Richard sailed back to England.

4th crusade

The fourth crusades began in the early 1200's. There was rarely a time where crusaders were not fighting somewhere. The 4th crusades started after the 3rd crusades failed to regain Jerusalem. They began to be involved with the affairs of the Byzantine empire. French nobles were persuaded to join the crusades by the pope (innocent lll). Leaders of the crusades decided to attack Egypt to split Muslim power. The crusaders got traders from Venice to take them by ship over to Egypt, they could not pay the cost of the ships. But the Venetians offered to transport them if they helped attacked Zara. A Greek prince named Alexius said that his father, Isaac, was the Byzantine ruler. The crusaders agreed to help him get the empire back, in return he would give them money and aid in reconquering the Holy Land. In 1203 they captured the city of Constantinople and made Isaac and Alexius co-emperors. This empire lasted until 1261.

Children crusades

The children's crusades (1212) became when thousands of 10-18 year olds thought that they could really get Jerusalem. They believed God would give it to them because they were poor and faithful. Children from France formed one part and children from Germany formed the other. They also thought God would part hype waters for them so they could cross safely to Jerusalem. None of the children made it to the Holy Land. Many froze or starved to death, the others that made it to the Mediterranean sea bordered ships going east since the miracle didn't happen. These children either drowned from rough sea storms or were sold into slavery by the Muslims.

5th crusades

In the fifth crusades (1217,1229) Christians captured Damietta, but had to give it up in exchange for a truce. Frederick ll, the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, made a peace with the Muslim who later gave Jerusalem to the Christians. Jerusalem was Christian until the Muslims seized it again in 1244. This caused King Louis lX of France to lead a crusade from 1248 to 1254. He tried to regain the Holy Land by attacking Egypt, but the Muslims captured Louis and most of his army. The Muslims exchanged them which caused them to return to Damietta. Louis then spent 4 years in the Holy Land trying to strengthen the Christian forces. In 1270 he led another crusade against the Muslims. He soon died because of disease that was spreading throughout his troops. Muslims took over the Byzantine empire and they occupied far more territory in Europe. The crusaders did a good job defending Western Europe, and recaptured Spain and Portugal.


Saladin was a Kurd born to a prominent family and grew up in Damascus. His uncle was a military leader and took Saladin with him to battle the Christians and prevent them from taking over Egypt. The Muslims feared that the Kingdom of Jerusalem would try to expand their powers into other parts of the Middle East. His uncle’s sudden death left Saladin in charge of the Syrian troops in Egypt. Saladin was able to unite Muslims across the Middle East. In 1187 Saladin traveled to Syria to help free Palestine from the Crusaders from England and France, and managed to free most of Palestine from Christian control. Even after the Third Crusade and the battle for Jerusalem, Saladin was considered a great and just ruler. Saladin is best known for building the Citadel, a military fortress in Cairo. He died in 1193.

Reasons and effects of the crusades

The crusaders failed to accomplish their main goals. The Western Christians and the Eastern Orthodox Christians joined forces to fight against the Muslims, but they soon became bitter of each other. The fourth crusades practically destroyed Constantinople. But the crusades also enriched European life. Western Europeans learned how to build better ships and make more accurate maps. Finally the Europeans were in introduced to items such as sugar, silk, velvet, and glass mirrors.

What differences in religion were responsible for the issues and length of the wars?

Sources Cited

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"Crusades." History. N.p., n.d. Web. Dec.-Jan. 2014.

"The Crusades." History World. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2014.

"The Crusades." The Crusades. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2014.

"Riley-Smith, Jonathan. "Crusades." World Book Student. World Book, 2014. Web. 18 Dec. 2014. "

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