Chapter 10 Lesson 2 The Crusades

The Crusades

The Crusades

Build on What You Know In Chapter 4, you read about how the Seljuk Turks took control of Palestine and came into conflict with Orthodox Christians of eastern Europe. In Lesson 2, you will read more about that conflict. 


But First a short Video from Horrible Histories



Battle For Palestine

The Crusades Crusades were military expeditions from Christian Europe to Palestine between the 11th and 13th centuries. They had a lasting impact on European politics and society.

Causes of the Crusades European Christians began the Crusades for several reasons. Jerusalem and the area around it was, and still is, sacred to Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Christians called this area the Holy Land. The Seljuk takeover of Jerusalem in 1071 made Christian pilgrimages to the Holy Land nearly impossible. Additionally, European feudal princes often used success in warfare as one way to gain power. As a result, many princes were eager to go on the Crusades. European merchants were also willing to finance the Crusades because they might gain access to the rich trade routes that connected with Asia to the east. 

The Seljuk takeover of Jerusalem in 1071 made pilgrimages to the Holy Land nearly impossible.

The First Crusade

Finally, Seljuk forces attacked the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantine emperor asked the pope for help. By 1096, the pope responded, and the First Crusade began (see map below).

The First Crusade In 1096, several European armies started out for the Byzantine capital of Constantinople. From there they planned to attack Palestine. Many Crusaders did not take enough supplies. Tens of thousands died on the way, and many were captured and enslaved. Still, a large Crusader force was prepared to attack Palestine.

Christian forces captured the cities of Nicaea and Antioch, and in 1099, they captured Jerusalem. They divided the conquered land into four Crusader states: Edessa, Antioch, Tripoli, and Jerusalem.

ESSENTIAL QUESTION 1 Why did the Christians begin a series of wars to conquer Palestine?

Christian pilgrimages were ; European feudal princes’ path to power and access to eastern trade were ; the emperor asked the pope for help.

What were the results of the First Crusade?

The cities of Nicaea, Antioch, and Jerusalem were , and the Crusader states were established.

Muslims Return to Power

The Second Crusade (1147–1149) began after Muslim Turks recaptured the Crusader state of Edessa in 1144. A French army and a German army went on the Crusade. They marched separately to Palestine and were weakened by a difficult journey. Muslim forces defeated the Crusaders at Damascus.

Christians kept control of the other Crusader states. They survived in part because of continued disagreements among the Muslim leadership. But the Muslim disagreements ended in the late 1100s with the rise of Salah-al-Din, a Muslim political and military leader.


 In what ways were the Second and Third Crusades similar and different? 

Many Crusaders on the Third Crusade traveled largely by and crossed the Mediterranean Sea to arrive at their destination. Both Crusades ended in ,

Saladin’s Rise to Power

Saladin’s Rise to Power Salah-al-Din was known to Europeans as Saladin (SAL•uh•dihn). As a young man, Saladin was more interested in studying Islam than warfare. But he eventually joined an uncle who was a military leader in Syria. Saladin went with a Syrian army to defend Egypt against the Crusaders. After the war, he took over the Egyptian government. Saladin began to unify Muslims in the region, and then he turned his attention to the Crusaders still in Palestine.

In 1187, Saladin gathered a large force to attack the Crusader states. Saladin’s forces won many victories and recaptured Jerusalem. It did not take long for news of Saladin’s victories to reach Europe. 

Saladin went with a Syrian army to defend Egypt against the .

Third and Fourth Crusade

The Third Crusade After the fall of Jerusalem, the pope called for another Crusade. Some of Europe’s most powerful leaders went on the Third Crusade (1189–1192). Among them was the English king Richard the Lion-Hearted. Richard became the Crusaders’ leader because of his courage and skill in battle. The Crusaders were successful at first, but they did not achieve their main goal of retaking Jerusalem. In 1192, Saladin and Richard agreed to a truce. Jerusalem would remain under Muslim control. However, in return, Saladin agreed to allow Christian pilgrims to visit the city’s holy places.

The Fourth Crusade The truce did not last, and a Fourth Crusade (1202–1204) was launched. To pay the Italian traders who were transporting them, the Crusaders agreed to attack the Byzantine city of Zara. The Crusaders then sacked Constantinople to put a political ally in charge of the Byzantine Empire. The pope was furious with the Crusaders for attacking Christian cities, but he could not stop them. The Crusaders did not continue the  the Crusade. The Byzantine Empire was further weakened as a result of the Fourth Crusade.

Essential Question 2 How successful were Muslim armies after the First Crusade?

They were successful.

What was the key to the success of the Muslim armies?

consolidation of leadership and skill on the battlefield,

Muslims Recapture Palestine

Europe began more Crusades, but by 1270, the Muslims had driven the Crusaders out of Palestine, and the wars ended. The Crusades did not have a permanent effect on Muslims in Palestine. People’s daily lives continued much as they had before the Crusades.

But Christian traders remained in Palestine, and European pilgrims continued to visit their religion’s Holy Land. Both the traders and the pilgrims maintained a cultural exchange with the Turkish, Arab, Persian, and African cultures present in the region.

Effects of the Crusades

Effects of the Crusades European contact with the cultures of the Eastern Mediterranean grew during the Crusades. Crusaders brought back Asian goods, resulting in increased trade. These goods included spices, furs, cloth, cane sugar, rice, and different fruits. Increased trade across the Mediterranean helped European towns to grow and made the role of urban merchants more important.

Another legacy of the Crusades was rising Christian hostility toward Jews. More and more Christians believed that all non-Christians were their enemy. On their way to Palestine, some Crusaders massacred European Jews and continued the killing in Palestine. After the Crusades, Jews were expelled from England in 1290 and from France in 1306 and again in 1394. Many of these Jews moved to eastern Europe.

Muslims, however, allowed Jews and Christians to live in peace in most cases. Many Crusaders who stayed in Palestine came to respect Muslims, but Christian intolerance toward Jews continued. 

Another legacy of the Crusades was rising Christian hostility toward .

The Reconquista

The Reconquista Muslim leaders drove the Crusaders out of Palestine. But in Spain just the opposite occurred. Here, it was Christian armies that drove out the Muslim rulers. This reconquest is called the Reconquista  (reh•kawn•KEES•tah) in the Spanish language.

In the early 700s, Muslims had conquered the Iberian Peninsula, which includes present-day Spain and Portugal (see the map below). In Chapter 4, you read about how Spain experienced a golden age of cooperation among Muslims and Jews during this period.

By the 1000s, however, Muslim unity on the peninsula broke down. Spanish and Portuguese kingdoms rose to defeat Muslim forces. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella unified Spain through military and religious authority. Their armies captured cities, and their Church officials used a court to punish people opposed to Church teachings. This court, which was used throughout Europe, was called the Inquisition. Many Jews and Muslims in Spain and Portugal were tortured and executed by the Inquisition. In 1492, Ferdinand and Isabella completed the Reconquista by forcing out the last Muslim rulers and their followers and many Jews as well.

ESSENTIAL QUESTION 3 What were some effects of the Crusades on Europe?

contact with the cultures of the eastern Mediterranean; trade; persecution of populations throughout Europe

Review How are the Crusades and the Reconquista related?

They were both conflicts between and Muslim powers during the same time period inspired by similar, if not identical, motivations.

Vocabulary Quiz

  • Seljuk Turks
    people from central Asia
  • Crusade
    military expedition from Christian Europe to Palestine
  • Reconquista
    reconquest of Spain by Christian armies
  • Salidin
    Muslim leader who defeated the Crusaders
  • Inquisition
    a court used by Church officials to try people opposed to Church teachings