The Crusades

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What triggered the Crusades?

The Crusades were a response to a threat posed by the Seljucs. By 1095, they had gotten within 100 miles of the Byzantine capital; Constantinople. The Emperor went to the Pope for help. The Pope told nobles and church leaders that they needed to a crusade to drive back the Muslims and reclaim the holy city, Jerusalem. The Pope promised entry to heaven if you fought in the holy land. Thousands of townspeople, craftsmen, and peasants joined the fight. Plus, skilled knights jumped into the crowd. In addition, merchants saw it as a trading opportunity. Plus, nobles sent their heirs to claim estates in the holy land.


The First Crusade

The first Crusade started in 1096. A group of 4 nobles lead the first Crusade. 30,000 Crusaders pushed their way through the Muslims who were fighting not only among the Crusaders, but themselves. As 30,000 people and 4 nobles pushed their way through Anatolia, they headed south towards Palestine. And, in June 1098, just 2 years after they started, they took Antioch in Syria. Soon they surrounded the walls of Jerusalem. Finally, in 1099, 3 years from the start of the Crusade, Jerusalem was theirs. They massacred the Muslims and Jews. The survivors were sold into slavery. Most went home, but some stayed behind. They then established 4 crusader kingdoms.

The Second Crusade

Crusaders mostly won the early victories to the fact that Muslims were not exactly united. They were separating into smaller states, fighting among each other, etc. Meanwhile the crusaders are winning the early fights. They had trouble joining as one to fight the invaders. As they started to band together, the Muslims successfully took the northern Crusader capital, Edessa. Christians were furious. In 1146, they launched the second Crusade. Unfortunately they failed. Badly. An army in Germany was badly beaten in Anatolia. The king of France launched an army. They soon came back after the Muslims pushed against them. The second Crusade ended 2 years after it started in 1148.

The Third Crusade

Muslims soon came under 1 leader. By the 1180s, Salah al-Din formed the largest Muslim empire since the Seljucs. He took back most of Palestine. In 1187 armies captured Jerusalem. The loss shocked Europeans and started the third crusade in 1189. King Richard the 1st launched the attack against Salah al-Din. In 1191, Richard and his army made a couple of cities surrender, but he could not attack Jerusalem because they were too strong. In 1192, the 2 leaders signed a peace treaty. Muslims agreed to let Christians into Jerusalem.

The Reconquista (In Short)

Christians launched the Reconquista to retake the Iberian Peninsula. Muslims started giving up more and more. Causing later dynasties to despise the Christians and Jews.


  • Costly
  • Still reaped many benefits.
  • Many Crusaders wounded or killed in war
  • Others died from disease
  • Kings started taxing to raise funds for the Crusaders
  • Contact helped Christains learn new cultures, foods, and inventions.


  • Fewer Benefits
  • Lost lands in Iberia
  • Contact benefits Christians more than Muslims
  • Muslim society was more advanced, so they had less to gain.


  • Violence caused great suffering
  • Many were slaughtered in Jerusalem
  • Crusades dramatically worsened life Jewish lives.