Crusades: First Crusade and New Paragraph

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The Crusades were a series of religiously sanctioned military campaigns waged by much of Western Christian Europe, particularly the Franks of France and the Holy Roman Empire. The specific crusades to restore Christian control of the Holy Land were fought over a period of nearly 200 years, between 1095 and 1291. There are several reasons for the Crusades, but the importance and relevance of some are debated by scholars even to this day. (NEW PARAGRAPH) In the Middle Ages, Christians considered Palestine the Holy Land because it was where Jesus had lived and taught. The Arabs had conquered Palestine in the 600s. Most Arabs were Muslims, but they usually tolerated other religions. Jews and Christians who paid their taxes and observed other regulations were free to live in Palestine and practice their own religion. The Arab rulers didn’t usually interfere with Christian pilgrims visiting Palestine, and European traders could generally do business there. During the 1000s the Seljuk Turks, people from central Asia who had adopted the Muslim faith, conquered Palestine and attacked Asia Minor, which was part of the Byzantine Empire. (NEW PARAGRAPH) When the Turks threatened the capital city of Constantinople, the Byzantine emperor appealed to the pope in Rome. Because Christian pilgrims going to Palestine came home with reports of persecution from the Turks, the Byzantine emperor’s appeal for help found a reception in Europe. (NEW PARAGRAPH) Pope Urban I wanted to regain the Holy Land from the Muslims. He called a great meeting of church leaders and French nobles at Clermont France in 1095. At the meeting he encouraged the powerful feudal nobles to stop fighting with each other, and to join in one big war against the “unbelievers.” Urban’s request made his listeners very enthusiastic and they joined in one big cry, “God wills it!” (NEW PARAGRAPH) From Clermont people traveled through France preaching the cause. The people who joined the expeditions sewed a cloth...
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