Islam A Muslim is a follower of Islam. Islam was founded in 622 CE by Muhammad the Prophet. He lived from about 570 to 632 CE).
Prelude to the Crusades Islam spread from its origin in today’s Saudi Arabia. By 1095CE Muslim territory included the land where Jesus lived. Christian warriors believed they should control this area. They considered this to be holy land.
The Crusades The crusades were a series of eight wars initiated by the Christians to win back their holy lands ( Jerusalem and other sites) from the Muslims. Around this time the kingdoms of Europe had one thing in common – Christianity. Muslims and Arabs had controlled the Holy Land since the 7 th century, but tolerated Christian pilgrims.
The 1 st Crusade (1096-1099) Pope Urban II called for a “war of the cross”, or Crusade, to take back the holy lands. He persuaded 34,000 knights and peasants to join in the expedition.
The war offered knights a chance for glory and wealth. Urban suggested that the knights fight Muslims instead of continuing to fight one another. It was a success. In 1099 the crusaders captured the holy land. It was then recaptured by the Muslims.
The Second Crusade (1147-1149) Led by the king of France and the Holy Roman Emperor, this Crusade was a disaster. They utterly failed in their mission.
The 3 rd Crusade (1187-1192) Three kings led by Richard I of England mounted to recapture Jerusalem which was under the control of Saladin, the Islamic forces greatest general. A truce was called in 1192, allowing Christian pilgrims to visit Jerusalem.
The 4 th Crusade Led by Venetian merchants (who owned the ships that the crusaders traveled on) crusaders sacked Christian Constantinople, a commercial rival of theirs.
The crusaders sacked the city and killed untold of its citizens. The attack permanently weakened the Eastern Roman Empire. This Crusade was viewed as an embarrassment to the church.
Results of the Crusades The Crusaders were unable in the long run to reclaim their holy lands, but the wars had other lasting effects:
Western Europeans left their homes to fight in distant wars. The stories of returning Crusaders opened the eyes of people at home to the broader world.
Exotic goods like spices and clothes that Crusaders were exposed to created new desires, and encouraged long distance trade.
The Crusades helped reintroduce books of philosophy, etc. from Classical Greece and Rome, which had been preserved and translated by the Muslims. This helped lead to a revival of Classical learning in the Renaissance.
The need to transfer large sums of money for troops and supplies led to the development of banking and accounting techniques.
Islamic science, medicine, and architecture were transferred to the west. For example, European castles became massive stone structures rather than smaller wooden ones.