The Crusades

The Crusades were a series of military adventures carried out by Europeans through the 11th to 14th centuries. The campaigns began in France when Pope Urban II, at the Council of Clermont in 1095, called upon Christians to retake the Holy Land, particularly Jerusalem, from the Islamic people who then occupied it. While the Crusades began under religious considerations, they were often guided by typical human politics.

The First Crusade (1095-1099), also known as "The People's Crusade" began with a mass of German and French peasants. After a disastrous beginning, they conquered Jerusalem in 1099. It was followed by the so-called Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem which lasted for a short time.

The Second Crusade (1147-1149) was began by Emperor Conrad III and Louis VII of France after the Christians lost Edessa. It was unsuccessful.

The Third Crusade (1189-1192) was launched after Saladin captured Jerusalem 2 years earlier. It was led by Emperor Frederick I, Philip II of France, and Richard I (the "Lion-Hearted"). It failed to recover Jerusalem, but Richard I negotiated a truce in which Christians were permitted to visit the Holy Sepulcher.

The Fourth Crusade (1202-1204) began in France but was diverted from its original purpose for the benefit of Venice. The Crusaders captured Constantinople instead.

The Children's Crusade (1212) was the most tragic and outrageous. It began when thousands of French children set out for Jerusalem, but most were sold into slavery along the way. Another group, that of German children, also set out, but most of them died of hunger and disease.

The Fifth Crusade (1217-1221) was urged by Pope Innocent III. It was directed primarily at Egypt, but was not successful.

The Sixth Crusade (1228-1229) was led by Emperor Frederick II. He secured a surrender to the holy places, but the peace did not last.

The Seventh Crusade (1244) began after the Christian defeat by the Egyptian Marelukes at Gaza. It was not successful.

The Eighth Crusade (1270) was cut short by the death of King Louis IX of France.

The Ninth Crusade (1271-1272) was led by Prince Edward (later King Edward I) of England. It was abandoned.

The term crusade was also used for a number of other expeditions at various times, proclaimed by popes, against supposed "heretics and heathens." Most were simply a struggle to obtain, or keep, political power.

Fact Finder: What did Jesus Christ say about conditions in Jerusalem just prior to His Return?
Matthew 24:1-35
See also Prophecy

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