The Crusades
Siege of Ascalon (CC)

The Crusades were a long series of Holy Wars between the Christians (Catholics) of Western Europe and the Muslims (Islam) to gain control over the Holy Land. The Holy Land consisted of Jerusalem and surrounding areas. This area is a sacred place to all three major monotheistic religions: Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. The Crusades had many direct and indirect impacts on not only the Middle East, but on civilization in Western Europe as well.

Causes of the C
This is a Wordle that was organized by Grant and collaborated by over 300 students from two middle schools.
There were many causes of the Crusades. The Turkish Muslims, also known as the Turks, invaded and captured the Holy Land . While the Muslims allowed Christian pilgrims to enter Jerusalem, tension between the two religions had been growing for several decades in the region. The Turks were also threatening the eastern boarders of the Byzantine Empire, which caused the Byzantines to become fearful that the Turks would attack (and capture) Constantinople. The Byzantine Empire was not large enough to protect themselves against the growing Turkish army and asked for help to make sure that Constantinople wouldn't be attacked. Pope Urban II, realized that if the Byzantine Empire fell, the Muslim Turks would have a clear path into Europe, and thus he called for the first Crusade.

Important People
  • Pope Urban II was the Pope that authorized the First Crusade at the request of the Byzantine Emperor. He stated that "Deus Vult!" or "God wills it!," and that if you die by a Muslim or kill a Muslim, you will go to heaven, even if you were destained to go to hell.
  • King Richard I was the king of England at the time of the Third Crusade. Nicknamed Richard the Lionheart, he was a general and soldier. He tried to recapture Jerusalem from Saladin. Although he didn't succeed, he is still a legend for the battles and negotiations he had with Saladin.
  • Saladin was the leader of the Muslim forces. He was one of the greatest generals of the Middle Ages. He was very well respected because he was very kind to his enemies. Saladin united Muslim tribes in North Africa and the Middle East. Saladin defeated Richard the Lionheart in the Third Crusade, but made concessions that allowed Christian pilgrims safe travel throughout his kingdom and the Holy Lands.

First Crusade

This is a Wordle that was organized by Grant and collaborated with over 300 students from two middle schools.

In 1096, about 5,000 Crusaders left for the First Crusade. These Crusaders were a mix of soldiers and peasants. Most of the Crusaders died before they reached the Holy Land because of disease, starvation and the many small battles that happened along their route. On their way to the Crusades, the Crusaders attacked the Jews in Germany because they believed it was their fault that Jesus died. Once they reached Jerusalem in 1099, they found a disorganized Muslim army that was not ready to fight. Both armies were very disorganized during The First Crusade, but after decades of fighting, the Christians gained control of the Holy Land. The First Crusade was the only crusade won by the Christians.

The Second Crusade
The Second Crusade began in 1147. The German and French kings were fighting to take the Holy Land back from the Muslims. They planned poorly and lost a lot of people traveling to the Holy Land. The Crusaders returned to the Holy Land for The Third Crusade within a year.

Third Crusades
The Third Crusade began in 1189 after the Muslims took back the Holy Land. The kings of England (Richard I), France (Philip), and the Holy Roman Empire brought their armies to the Holy Land to fight and try to retake Jerusalem. The German king Frederick II, who was already seventy years old, died before he reached the Middle East and the French king abandoned the Crusade soon after. This left King Richard I, the king of England, to lead the armies of Europe on Crusade. He gained control of important towns along the Mediterranean Sea and fought for protection of Christian pilgrims. Though Richard I won territory for the Europeans, he was no match for Saladin and his Muslim Army. Richard I eventually returned to England without gaining control of the Holy Land.
During this pilgrimage, the Crusaders traveled mostly over water. The trip was long and full of suffering. Horses and other animals were brought along with people, and the people had to try and calm down some of the animals that were too wild. People got sick, the food runs out, animals die, and people even try to throw themselves overboard because it was a horrible time in history.

Fourth Crusade
The Fourth Crusade started in 1201. The French had the idea of traveling to the Holy Land via the Mediterranean Sea, instead of walking across Europe. Unfortunately, they could not afford to pay Venetian ship captains to ferry them across. To pay for the voyage, the Venetians asked the Crusaders to conquer their rival trade city, Zara. The knights attacked Constantinople and gained many treasures. Although the Christians gained control of Jerusalem for a little while, overall, the Muslims won the Crusade. There were many more Crusades after this, but the Muslims won all of them and they aren't very important compared to the first three. People say there were up to 14 Crusades.

Effects of the Crusades
There were many long lasting effects of the Crusades. Trade grew between Asia and Europe. Europe learned about new products such as apricots, rice, and cotton cloth. The tension between Christians, Jews, and Muslims grew to be much higher than before. Tied in with that tension was the distrust that Jews now had against Christians. The Roman Catholic Church also lost power during the Crusades because they were not able to defeat the Muslims. The cultural diffusion that began because of the interaction between the Christians and Muslims helped to bring an eventual end to the Middle Ages in Europe. This cultural diffusion has helped more religions to learn more about other religions. Europeans were exposed to the knowledge that the Muslim world had been collecting for the past several hundred years. The relationships between the people changed during the Crusades. Learning new ideas, new medical practices, and new techniques in math and science helped spark the light that would eventually become the Renaissance.

By Emily and Sammy: June 2010
Edited by Mike: May 2011
Edited by Auryon: March 2014
Edited by Sanchari: March 2014
More editing by Jing: March 2014
Edited by Heather: March 2014