The Crusades were expeditions taken by the Western and European Christians to take back Jerusalem and other Palestine places of pilgrimage away from Muslim control.
These expeditions occurred during the years 1095 and 1270 ad. It started on November 27, 1095 just outside a French city called Clermont-Ferrand. The Pope, Urban II preached a sermon to the many clergy at the church council that day in Clermont. He discussed his plans for a Crusade. The clergy liked the idea.
The Pope then ordered for the Bishops to return to their homes and recruit other volunteers.The Pope set up individual groups of Crusaders who were to set forth in August of 1096. The groups would follow different paths and meet up in the Byzantine capital, Constantinople where they would meet up with each other along with Byzantine army and their emperor Alexius Comnenus.
From there, they would launch a counterattack against the Seljuk conquerors of Antolia. Once that religion was under control by the Christians, they would then attack the Muslims in Syria and Palestine, with capturing Jerusalem as their main priority.In May 1097 the Crusaders attacked Antolia Turkish capital at Nicaea.
After their victory they encountered the Seljuk field army. The crusaders nearly annihilated them. Then they started towards Antioch and defeated them also. Immediately after their victory they were attacked by the late reinforcements. After the summer and early fall the Crusaders moved on for their main priority, Jerusalem.By May of 1099, they reached the borders of Palestine. In June they camped outside the border of Jerusalem.
At the time Jerusalem was under control by readily and prepared Egyptians. The Crusaders attacked and with help from reinforcements from Genoa conquered the Egyptians and by July 15 captured Jerusalem. To purify it they washed the town with the blood of the defeated Egyptians. The ruler Imad ad-Din Zangi and the Muslim forces took over the city Edessa from the Crusades. The papacys response to this was to plan another Crusade, The Second Crusade.
This idea attracted many new recruits including the king of France Louis VII and the Holy Roman Emperor, Conrad III. Conrad and the German army set out for Antolia. The French force followed about a month later. On the way the Germans got ambushed and only a few escaped. The French were a bit more fortunate, however they did have many casualties and only few of the original army actually made it to Jerusalem in 1148. Together with King Baldwin III of Jerusalem and his nobles, the Crusaders decided to attack the city of Damascus in July. The Crusade failed and the King and the remains of his army returned home.
The failure of the Second Crusade gave the Muslims enough time to revive and although Zangi had died, his successor Nur ad-Din was able to expand and gain power. In 1169 his forces took lead by Saladin took over Egypt. Nur ad-Din later on dies leaving his power to Saladin. Saladin finally invaded the city of Jerusalem and Jerusalem surrendered on October 2. The only major city left in Crusader hands was Tyre in Lebanon. On October 29, 1187, Pope Gregory VIII proclaimed the Third Crusade.
The three major European Monarchs involved were the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick I Barbarossa, the French King, Philip II Augustus, and the English King, Richard I Lion-Heart. Together they formed the largest Crusade since 1095. Later on Barbarossa died on his way to the Holy Land and his army left to Germany soon after his death. Lion Heart and Augustus reached the Palestine borders intact but they could not recapture Jerusalem. But they did capture a chain or cities on the Mediterranean coast.
The Latin Kingdom was reconstituted in October of 1192, but was much weaker than it was.The Fourth Crusade had many financial problems. In order to alleviate these problems the set a Crusade to capture Constantinople with help from the Venetian. They succeeded however the Latin Empire of Constantinople survived for less then 60 years and had no contribution to the Holy Land. The Fifth Crusade started off good when they captured the Egyptian sea port Damietta in 1219.
The strategy was to capture Cairo and control Sinai, to cut off the remaining Muslim powers from the wealth and grain supplies of Egypt. However the attempt to capture Cairo failed and soon they were forced to surrender Damietta.When judged by military standards, the Crusades were a failure.
One of the many Crusades was successful. And the victory of that one Crusade didnt hold up. However the largest effect the Crusades had was economical. The Italian cities gained from the transportation of Crusaders and replaced Byzantine and Muslims as merchants in the Mediterranean. The Italians were involved in trades to Western Europe and made a good profit. It also provoked Spain and Portugal on the Atlantic coast to find trade routes to India and China.
Although the Crusades did not fulfill its purpose, it did open up the trading system from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean.