5 May 2023

What are the Crusades? – History and objective of the Religious Crusades

By Donald

Various events marked the history of the Catholic Church in the world, one of them was the Crusades. A holy war for the recovery of Lands of Jesus Christ, which brought with it many changes for Christians and Muslims.

Concept and definition of Crusades

The name of these military campaigns comes from the Red Cross that they put on the suits. In such a way, that the entire army that participated in this religious war promoted by the papacy in order to take back jerusalem It was called the Crusades. Throughout 1095 and 1291 nine expeditions were made to rescue the Holy Land from the Muslims.

The most important were the first, third and sixth, where the Templar army managed to temporarily recover Jerusalem. During these campaigns they were able to establish different kingdoms of the Christian religion in the Near East. The members of the crusades varied between laymen, religious or any supporter of a religious-military order.

Among these orders we can find the following:

Although they know each other officially eight crusades which took place in the Middle East and North Africa. Similarly, other political-religious wars They were called Crusades. Among these military campaigns that occurred in the Middle Ages we have the following:

  • The reconquest In the Iberic Peninsule.
  • The persecution of the Albigensians from the south of France, who were declared heretics by the Pope of the Holy Catholic Church.
  • The clashes with pagans and muslims in Baltic areas and Eastern Europe.

It is worth noting the main protagonists of the crusadesAmong these we have the following:

  • Urban II, who was Pope of the Catholic Church in the years of 1088 and 1099. Which had a French origin and called the first crusade.
  • Peter of Amiens, In 1096, he organized a crusade made up mostly of peasants.
  • Frederick BarbarossaHoly Roman Emperor, was key in the third crusade defeating Muslims twice.
  • Saladin, Sultan of Syria and Egypt, founded the dynasty, defeated the Christians and recovered Jerusalem on behalf of the Muslims.
  • Richard the Lionheartruled England in 1189 and 1199, was in the third crusade and thanks to him a truce agreement was signed with Saladin.
  • Louis IX of France, He was king of that country. He participated in the seventh crusade in Egypt, where he was taken prisoner. Then, being free from him, he organized the eighth crusade, but he died due to the plague that was in the territory of Tunisia.

What was the goal of the Crusades?

The objective that caused the initial reaction of the crusades It comes from the end of the 11th century. Which, occurred at the time when Pope Urban II summoned the Council of Piacenza in 1095, where the ambassador of the Byzantine empire was received. In this way, assistance was requested to stop the advance of the Seljuk Turks. Which, had taken almost entirely to Anatolia and showed a hatred of the evangelical and Christian religion.

For this reason the Pope Urban II quoted the Council of Clermont in 1095, thus giving rise to the start of the first crusade. In this way, the main objective promulgated by the papacy was to recover the Holy Land where the Holy Sepulcher of Jesus Christ lies. Because Jerusalem and its adjacent areas represent a religious character for the Christians and Muslims groups that clashed. With the purpose of safeguarding the reasons that prompted them, these being to protect their ideals, their faith and the holy sites for their religion.

Otherwise, not only were the crusades given for religious reasons, but they fulfilled another important function. For this reason, the feudal lords of Europe wanted conquer different territories, to increase trade and the commercial networks that connected different countries.

It is worth noting the different causes that led to Papacy and the followers of Christianity to start the crusades. Among these we have the following:

  • The main mission of reclaim the holy land from jerusalemthis was in the power of the Muslims.
  • The Catholic Church had great concern about the great territorial expansion who was carrying out Islam.

What characterized the war of the Crusades?

different events and causes characterized religious and military campaigns called crusades. Among these we have the following:

  • They were mainly prompted by the papacy and the support of the Christian kingdoms most relevant in Europe, such as France and England.
  • They responded to the request for help sent by the Byzantine Empire.
  • were performed nine campaigns in total, between the end of the 11th century and the end of the 13th century.
  • The geographical scenario where they were carried out was in the coasts of the Eastern Mediterranean.
  • Its primary objectives were the fervor of the evangelistic religion in order to recover the Holy Land.
  • was searched expand European feudal territoryin order to have new lands, slaves, wealth and increase trade.
  • Accounted for hunts and numerous deaths of Muslims, Jews, and Christians.
  • With these events the Papacy granted a indulgence for sins committed by the Templars and other participants in the crusades.

Start date

At the beginning of the first crusades, people who belonged to Christianity marched armed or unarmed towards the Holy Land. The first crusade took place in 1095 and ended in 1099.. Which was made up of French and Norman knights, forming different battalions with leaders accredited by the Pope. Among these were Prince Bohemond of Taranto and Duke Godfrey of Bouillon.

This crusade resulted in a great victory for christians, thus conquering Antioch and later capturing the Holy Land. This is because it was in the hands of the Fatimid Muslims, who had to withdraw after the defeat.

In such a way, it was possible to recover certain territories by the Byzantine Empire and likewise the establishment of Syria and Palestine into four Crusader states. These became known as the Latin States of the East, being ruled by several of the military leaders of the Crusader campaigns. The territories that were part of these states are the following:

  • Kingdom of Jerusalem.
  • Principality of Antioch.
  • Tripoli County.
  • Edessa County.

Religions involved

The crusades were held for liberate the holy land of those who were in control of Jerusalem. Therefore, the religions that were involved in these historical events are the following:

  • Christian religion.
  • The Islam.

political impact

In addition to great human losses and destruction, the political and social impact was quite significant. Among the main consequences are the following:

  • The popes became absolute leaders of the church.
  • It was given the end of the byzantine empire.
  • Investments of many economic resources in wars.
  • The birth of military orders.
  • Problems with the markets east and west of the Mediterranean.
  • Rich families became much more influential.
  • Increase in tripsespecially those of pilgrimages.
  • Xenophobia among followers of various religions.
  • The stories and songs on heroes in the crusades increased.
  • These religious events justified wars, terrorism and colonization in different regions.

Furthermore, the crusades were more than just a war for the holy land. Since you’re brought with you greater domination of the Mamluks, even the Island of Cyprus had to recognize them as sovereign. However, the confrontations did not end there, because in the year 1517, they were besieged and overthrown by another Muslim army, the ottomansunder the power of Sultan Selim I.

How was the end of the Crusades?

After many hard and bloody battles for the sacred territories between Christians and Muslims, at last the time of the crusades arrived in 1291, with the fall of Acre.

Territories that they were still under the power of the Christiansafter the last crusade:

  • Saint John of Acre
  • Shot
  • sidon
  • tripoli
  • tortosa
  • Other minor places, in addition to the island of Cyprus.

By the middle of the year 1280, Acre was the most important stronghold of Christendom in the Holy Land. There the mandate was in charge of the Knights Templar. However, there were indications that Acre would not hold out much longer against the rompers, who ruled from Egyptian lands to Syria. Therefore, King Henry II of Cyprus, in 1282, decided to seek a truce with the sultan of the Mamluks, Qalaun. However, the fighting would not stop there.

What was the reason that Acre was besieged?

The reason was that crusading knights who came from abroad presented troubles with the Muslims in the mid-1290s. These events were reason enough for the sultan, who made the decision to wipe out the Christian settlers, so that, in April 1291, on the outskirts of Acre, a huge army was waiting with all the weapons to bring down the Christian fortress. Some say that it was a great army, however, the battle took time, since, from Cyprus, armies arrived in favor of the crusaders, although these they did not equal in numbers to the sultan’s troops.

Given such a scenario, they once again tried to reach an agreement with the Muslims, but without success. Later, part of the walls that protected them began to fall, giving way to the army that would face the Templars in the Saint Anthony Gatethen the one known as cursed tower also perished, increasing the entry routes during the siege.

Several important men fell in battle, such as William of Beaujeu, the Grand Master and Matthew of Clermont. Everything indicated that Acre was lost by May 18, however, the knight Otto de Grandson, gathered all the men he could, resisting until May 28, 1291, the date on which San Juan de Acre finally fell under power. of the Muslims. This region was very significant for Christians, being one of the last places in the Holy Land that they conserved.

What consequences did the crusades leave?

Undoubtedly, this tragic chapter in history brought with it much sadness and desolation to the followers of Jesus Christ. In addition to Acre falling, most of the places they had by 1291 were lost. However, on the European continent, the Christian religion was preserved, contrary to Islam.

Likewise, the influence of the church went through a great test of power, being able to connect to the East with the followers of the area. The problem was the conflicts that occurred with the orthodox, causing great resentment that even led them to say that “the sultan’s turban was better than a pope’s tiara.” In this regard, Muslims and Christians began to be seen as enemies that had to be eliminated. and the respect that once existed was lost.