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THE CRUSADES. A Quest for the Holy Land. After Muslims(Seljuk Turks) were threatening the Byzantine Empire (Christians), Pope Urban II calls for Christians from Western Europe to protect the Byzantine Empire and to capture the Holy Land from its Muslim inhabitants . Asia Minor. Crusades.

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the crusades


A Quest for the Holy Land


After Muslims(Seljuk Turks) were threatening the Byzantine Empire (Christians), Pope Urban II calls for Christians from Western Europe to protect the Byzantine Empire and to capture the Holy Land from its Muslim inhabitants

Asia Minor

  • A long series or Wars between Christians and Muslims
  • They fought over control of Jerusalem which was called the Holy Land because it was the region where Jesus had lived, preached and died

About 4000 knights took up the Cross. The word Crusade comes from the Latin CRUX, meaning Cross.

Sign of the Crusade - The Red Cross: Each crusader had a huge red cross, made out of fabric, stitched onto their shirts or armor. It made all crusaders, irrespective of rank or background, appear to be a unified army. It reminded the crusaders that they were fighting a holy cause. The red cross was added to flags and banners

the call to arms
The Call to Arms
  • Historians believe that 30,000 crusaders left Western Europe to fight in the first crusade.
  • About 4,000 of those were knights, who were happy to try out their fighting skills.
  • The rest of the crusaders were foot soldiers, archers (soldiers with bows and arrows), and cooks.
  • Women and priests also traveled with the men in the army.
who answered the call
Who Answered the Call?
  • Feudal Lords
  • Knights
  • Peasants

Religious zeal and other factors motivated the crusaders. Many knights hoped to win wealth and land. Some crusaders sought to escape troubles at home. Others yearned for adventure.


The pope, too, had mixed motives. Urban hoped to increase his power in Europe and perhaps heal the schism, or split, between the Roman and Byzantine churches. He also hoped that the Crusades would set Christian knights to fighting Muslims instead of one another.

the first crusade 1096 1099
The First Crusade (1096-1099)
  • Peasant army
    • Untrained
    • Lacked military equipment
    • Many killed by Muslim Turks
  • Knights
    • Succeeded in capturing Jerusalem

Only the First Crusade came close to achieving its goals. After a long, bloody campaign, Christian knights captured Jerusalem in 1099. They capped their victory with a massacre of Muslim and Jewish residents of the city.


The Crusades continued, off and on, for over 200 years. The crusaders divided their captured lands into four small states. The Muslims repeatedly sought to destroy these Christian kingdoms, prompting Europeans to launch new crusades.

second crusade 1147 1149
Second Crusade (1147-1149)
  • After victory many Christians went back home.
  • The Turks eventually took back much of the territory.
  • King of France and Emperor of Germany sent troops to stop the Turks.
second crusade 1147 11491
Second Crusade (1147-1149)
  • Saladin leads the Muslim Turks to victory, defeating the Christians
  • * He was considered a very wise ruler. He was known for his sometimes kind treatment of fallen enemies. Many Christians saw him as a model of knightly chivalry.
third crusade 1189 1192
Third Crusade (1189-1192)
  • King Richard of England convinces the Turks to allow Christians to visit the Holy Land

On the Third Crusade, Europeans tried but failed to retake Jerusalem. After negotiations, Saladin did reopen the holy city to Christian pilgrims.


Europeans mounted crusades against other Muslim lands, especially in North Africa. All ended in defeat. During the Fourth Crusade, the crusaders were diverted from fighting Muslims to fighting Christians.

crusades continue through 1200 s
Crusades Continue Through 1200’s
  • Several more crusades attempted with no victories for the Christians
  • Children’s crusade, - 30,000 soldiers - many of them under 12 years old – Never made it to the Holy Land. They died of starvation and cold
results of the crusades
Results of the Crusades
  • Improvements–Ships, Maps, Explorers
  • Feudalismdeclines because Feudal lords die or spend too much money on military.
  • Turksstill rule the Holy Land
  • Travel– Europeans want to travel more
  • Trade– Europeans want product from the East such as sugar, cotton, silk, spices, etc.

Even before the Crusades, Europeans had a taste for luxuries from the Byzantine empire. The Crusades increased trade. Crusaders, introduced fabrics, spices, and perfumes from the Middle East to Europe.


Merchants in Venice and other northern Italian cities built large fleets to carry crusaders to the Holy Land. They later used those fleets to carry on trade with the Middle East.


The Crusades further encouraged the growth of a money economy. To finance a journey to the Holy Land, nobles needed money. They allowed peasants to pay rents in money rather than in grain or labor, which helped undermine serfdom.


The Crusades helped to increase the power of feudal monarchs.Rulers won new rights to levy, or collect, taxes in order to support the Crusades. Some rulers, including the French king Louis IX led crusades, which added to their prestige.


Enthusiasm for the Crusades brought papal power to its greatest levels. This period of enhanced prestige was short-lived. Popes were soon involved in bitter clashes with feudal monarchs.


Also, the Crusades did not end the split between the Roman and Byzantine churches. In fact, Byzantine resentment against the West intensified as a result of the Fourth Crusade.

the crusades an 11 minute clip
The Crusades: An 11 minute Clip