The Crusades

The Crusades

The Crusades were a series of military campaigns that took place in the Middle East between the Muslims and Christians, instigated by the capture of Jerusalem in 1076.

Jerusalem is considered the most holy city in the world for Christians, being both the place where Jesus spent most of his life and where he was crucified.

However, the city is also very important to Muslims as the founder of their faith, Muhammad, had also spent much time there.

After the Muslims took Jerusalem in 1076, they constructed the Dome of the Rock around the rock that Muhammad is believed to have prayed on, and so marked the beginning of a war between the Muslims and the Christians that would last almost 200 years.

Crusaders Thirsting near Jerusalem by Francesco Hayez, 1836-1850
Crusaders Thirsting near Jerusalem by Francesco Hayez, 1836-1850

A Timeline of the Crusades

Historians frequently argue over the start dates of the crusades. This is due to an ongoing debate over whether they begin as soon as they are called for or only begin once the troops set off on their journey. However, the dates are widely agreed to be the following:

The First Crusade: 1096 to 1099
The Second Crusade: 1147 to 1149
The Third Crusade: 1189 to 1192
The Fourth Crusade: 1201 to 1204
The Fifth Crusade: 1217 to 1221
The Sixth Crusade: 1228 to 1229
The Seventh Crusade: 1248 to 1254
The Eighth Crusade: 1270

Once they had set off on their journey, the first crusaders referred to themselves as pilgrims and wore large red crosses. It was this that prompted the name ‘crusade’, which derived from the latin work ‘crux’.

The taking of this crux to Jerusalem was seen by the crusaders as a symbol of their vows, which they believed would only be fulfilled once they had concluded their armed mission and reached their destination.

See also:

The Children's Crusade
What was the Legacy of the Crusades?

MLA Citation/Reference

"The Crusades". HistoryLearning.com. 2015. Web.