The crusades

What were the crusades and why did they start?

The Crusades were a series of Holy Wars launched by the Christian states of Europe against the Saracens. The term ‘Saracen’ was the word used to describe a Muslim during the time of the Crusades. The Crusades started on November 27, 1095 when Pope Claremont preached the First Crusade at the Council of Claremont. The Pope’s preaching led to thousands immediately affixing the cross to their garments – the name Crusade given to the Holy Wars came from old French word ‘crois’ meaning ‘cross’. The Crusades were great military expeditions undertaken by the Christian nations of Europe for the purpose of rescuing the holy places of Palestine from the hands of the Mohammedans. They were eight in number, the first four being sometimes called the Principal Crusades, and the remaining four the Minor Crusades. In addition there was a Children’s Crusade. There were several other expeditions which were insignificant in numbers or results.

How many crusades were there?

There were nine crusades in total. The first four were the major ones also called the principal crusade, four of them were minor crusades the ninth crusade was called the children’s crusade.

What was the main goal or objectives for the crusades?

The main goal was to restore back the holy land from the Muslims in place near and in Jerusalem and bring back the peace of the land. Releasing the holy land was the first thing that the crusades were meant to do the next goals for them to do was to seize Spain for the Moors and the Slavs and Pagans from Eastern Europe. Then take over islands of the Mediterranean.

Were the crusades successful?

The answer to this question is yes and no.

Yes, becuase the First Crusade achieved it’s objective of freeing the “Holy Places” from the Muslims. Despite the manpower shortages and the increasing threats from other rivals, both the Muslims and Christains. The Crusader States of Outremer survived  almost for 200 years.

No, because the Crusading movement was a system of periodic campains.They were largely fought by forces with short-term aims.


This diorama shows the Crusades and Muslims on separate sides of the bridge Crusades on the left and Muslims on the right. As in one of the Crusades the Crusades had to cross a bridge to get to the Muslims.

By Timothy Trevett


The Crusades

Describe the successes and failures of the various crusades.

The first crusade was the most successful crusade out of all nine. They army of the First Crusade were able to capture Jerusalem in 1099 destroying cities and slaughtering men, women and children without any mercy.

They Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth were all failures but the Sixth Crusade achieved some small amount of success. Though, both Seventh and Eighth Crusades were also complete failures.

When and why did the crusades stop?

The crusades finally ended in 1270 because the crusading spirit had faded away and they lost interest in gaining back the Holy Land. The men who were part of the Crusades had started to concentrate more on their current responsibilities. The crusades also ended because they were unable to keep power over a long period of time in the areas that they had tried to recapture.

How did they start?

For a while, Jerusalem had been owned by the Muslims, but only let the Christian pilgrims stay because they supported and helped the wealth and resources. But in the 1070’s, some Muslims took over the Holy Land and treated Christians badly. They also threatened the Byzantine Empire which made Emperor Alexius request the Pope for help in which he eventually did.

Who started them?

Pope Urban II and the Byzantine Emperor Alexius Comnenus started the Crusades. The Byzantine Emperor Alexius Comnenus urged the Pope to send help to fight against the armies of Muslim Turks. On November 27, the Pope asked the assembly of warriors of Europe to free the Holy Land from the Muslims. The reply from the assembly was incredibly beneficial, therefore starting the first of many crusades against the Muslim Turks.

Who was involved in the Crusades?

Both Christians and Muslims were involved in the Crusades. The Christians wanted the Holy Land after it was invaded by the Turks. At the start, the Turks only wanted more land giving the reason why they invaded the Holy Land, but they didn’t like the presence of Christians in the city, so they persecuted them wherever they could be found which led to the start of the crusades.



This diorama shows the First Crusade where Jerusalem was captured.


The Crusades

How did contact between Western European and Islamic culture effect both of them and what lasting affect did the crusade have?

   The loss of life during the crusade is around 4,000,000 (though there are split ideas about this), but the effects of the crusades were more deep than just loss of life. The effects that the crusade had on the European society were rather large. The crusades brought lots of wealth to Europe. With many nobles and knights leaving on the crusades and not returning, their land and wealth went to the crown. The Church gained more and more power throughout the conflicts as more people began to believe in Christ. Men from all over England came to fight in the crusades because they believed that returning Jerusalem to Christianity would redeem themselves and earn a place in the book of life. Because of this, the church acquired more followers in their cause. Feudalism could not be sustained any longer because of the lack of noble men and lesser clergy’s to keep influence over the people. The constant growth of power of the crown also made it unnecessary for feudalism to be used. The effect on Muslim society was little and hardly any change was made to their society or their religion. The Muslims saw the crusaders as nothing more than invaders. But there were good things that would not have started if the crusade hadn’t happen. For example many people came to Christ because of the crusade. Another example is when the crusaders needed transport, ship building was increased and because the crusaders passed through different countries to get to the Holy city, they encountered many different cities and ports, opening up European trade routes, transporting silk, ivory, perfumes and precious medals around Europe.

How has the crusade affected Christian/Muslim relationship?

   There is no denying that there are still disputes over who had “won” the crusades and who should be the rightful owners of the Holy city of Jerusalem. This is not to say that Muslims and Christians have never got along, there has been times when both religions have come together for example when Francis of Assisi a Christian who went to Jerusalem during the crusades to talk peace and even though he wasn’t successful he was still treated well. Many believe that the crusades were the cause of the opposition between the Christian and Muslim religions.

Why is Jerusalem so important?

   For the Muslims it is the place where Muhammad is said to have risen to heaven, here is where the Muslims built the dome of the rock for their place of worship. For Christians it is the place where Jesus Christ was crucified. 


The diorama depicts the crusader’s attack of the Holy city of Jerusalem which occurred between June 7 and July 15 in the year 1099. It shows a battle between a crusader and a Muslim warrior, outside the city walls of Jerusalem.



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