The Three Crusades
There were three Crusades and they all took different
routes from western Europe to Palestine.
THE FIRST CRUSADE - The first crusade began in A.D. 1095.
Pope Urban II mounted a platform outside the church at
Clermont, France. The crowd shouted "Deus vult!" in response to the pope's plea. Knights and peasants alike vowed to join the expedition to the Holy Land. For knights, the Crusade was a welcome chance to employ their fighting skills. For peasants, the Crusade meant freedom from feudal bonds while on the
Crusade. All were promised immediate salvation in heaven if they were killed freeing the Holy Land from non-Christians. Adventure and the possibility of wealth were other reasons to join the Crusade. The First Crusade heightened already existing hatred of non-Christians and marked the onset of a long period of Christian persecution of the Jews. During the First Crusade, which began in A.D. 1096, three armies of Crusader knights and volunteers traveled separately from western Europe to the
eastern Mediterranean. On the way, many of them killed Jews and sometimes massacred entire Jewish communities. The
three armies finally met in Constantinople in A.D. 1097. From there the Crusaders made their way to Jerusalem, enduring the hardships of desert travel as well as quarrels among their
leaders. In June A.D. 1099, the Crusaders finally reached the city. After the siege of almost two months Jerusalem fell. Crusaders swarmed into the city and killed most of its Muslim and Jewish inhabitants. The success of the First Crusade
reinforced the authority of the Church and strengthened the
self-confidence of western Europeans. The religious zeal of the Crusaders soon cooled, however, and many knights returned
home. Those who stayed set up feudal states in Syria and
Palestine. Contact between the Crusaders and the relatively more sophisticated civilizations of the Byzantines and the
Muslims would continue for the next...
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