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What were the Crusades?

  • Dictionary Definitions
    1. A medieval military expedition, one of a series made by Europeans to recover the Holy Land from the Muslims in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries
    2. A war instigated by the Church for alleged religious ends
    3. An organized campaign concerning a political, social, or religious issue, typically motivated by a fervent desire for change
  • In This Instance
    1. Pope Urban II lead the first Crusade 1095. Urban said in a speech that the holiest place, Christendom, were in the hands of Turks. This caused many people to join the first Crusades. Urban II died on July 29, 1099, fourteen days before the fall of Jerusalem. The first crusade was the most successful of the crusades and Latin Christians took control of the western coast of the Mediterranean Sea from Antioch to Jerusalem.
    2. Pope Gregory VII start the third Crusade.
    3. During the fourth Crusade, the Pope wanted the crusaders to travel by boat knowing the route over land was dangerous from previous crusades. They had the Venetians built 500 ships, and when they were complete, the crusaders were unable to pay for them. Only 11,000 crusaders made it to Venice. Due to the fact the crusaders were unable to pay for the ships and the Venetians offered them a deal. The Venetians wanted the crusaders to capture the city of Zara, which was a Christian city, eventually concluding with the excommunication of the crusaders and Venetians. The crusaders failed in the end to capture the city of Zara so they ended up still being broke. Alexius III soon came to the crusaders and made a deal with them. Alexius III promised he would pay them if they helped him fight for behalf of the Orthodox Alexius. Alexius III became the emperor of Constantinople. Alexius III was soon overthrown by Mourtzouphlos. In the end, the crusaders attacked and stole from the largest city of Christendom, Constantinople, and killed a bunch of people along the way. The crusaders never retrieved any of the holy land on the fourth crusade.

Related Images

The first picture here is of Pope Urban II speaking to Europeans.

This second image is an artist's rendering of the crusaders.

The one on the right is of Jerusalem present day.

Why did the Crusades happen?

In 11th century to 13th century, Alexius I, the Byzantine Emperor asked the Europeans for aid against the Turks. Pope Urban II responded to his request providing an opportunity to for liberation of Jerusalem from the Muslims. This was the push of the beginning of the series of wars. People have speculated whether if the crusades were for religion, colonization, or social reasons.

Related Images

Left is a map of the routes to the Holy world.

Center is representation of the crusades.

Third picture is of another map of Europe and its expeditions.

Crusade Videos

The Crusades - Pilgrimage or Holy War?: Crash Course World History #15
Medieval Europe and the Crusades, Christianity and Islam


  1. 1096 - 1099 The First Crusade: led by Count Raymond IV of Toulouse and was helped by Peter the Hermit.
  2. 1144 -1155 The Second Crusade: led by Holy Roman Emperor Conrad III and King Louis VII of France
  3. 1187 -1192 The Third Crusade: led by Richard the Lionheart of England, Philip II of France, and Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I.
  4. 1202 -1204 The Fourth Crusade:led by Fulk of Neuil French/Flemish advanced on Constantinople
  5. 1212 Children's Crusade: led by a French boy, Stephen of Cloyes
  6. 1217 - 1221 The Fifth Crusade: led by King Andrew II of Hungary, Duke Leopold VI of Austria, John of Brienne
  7. 1228 - 1229 The Sixth Crusade: led by Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II
  8. 1248 - 1254 The Seventh Crusade: led by Louis IX of France
  9. 1270 The Eighth Crusade: led by Louis IX of France
  10. 1271 - 1272 The Ninth Crusade: led by Prince Edward or Edward I of England
  11. 1291 Last Latin outpost defeated

More detailed timeline in link below.

The Crusades' Impact on the Future


In the years that follow, the regions slowly recover from war. The stories of bloodthirsty Christians are passed down in the Middle East. The crusades were destructive to the relationship between Christians and Muslims. The Christians looked down on the Muslims causing more conflict while Muslims were generally more accepting and allowing other religions inside their borders. War was extremely destructive to the land, due to the fact that wells were poisoned, local food supplies were plundered to feed the armies, and poor sanitation created a haven for diseases to spread. Who was going to bury all those dead bodies after a battle? Fields used for agriculture were claimed by nature and the native people left in the region after the war had to rebuild society from scratch. The Bubonic plague was also a result of increased trading between Asia and Europe.


  • The Europeans brought home silk and spices. This brought more flavor into their lives. It was found that silk was much more comfortable than the animal hides and linen they were wearing. This demand for spices from Asia and silk from China caused the second part of the Silk Road that linked the Middle East with Europe to restart. (takeoff)

  • China knew how to do business, and was able to keep the process of making silk a secret for 400 years. This brought in money from Europe into other parts of the world such as the Middle East and the Far East. Even though the crusades were damaging to the area in most aspects, it boosted the economy when it introduced Europe to silk and Asian spices.

Video on the Silk Road

The Silk Road and Ancient Trade: Crash Course World History #9

Related Images

First image is a map of the Silk Road

Center image is of a silk worm

Last graphic is of Constantinople the European stop of the Silk Road.


Essential Question

How did the crusades impact the economy and the lifestyle of the Middle East and Europe for future generations?