Crusaders escort Christian pilgrims in the Holy Land (XII-XIII centuries). | ©Angus McBride


1100 Jan 1
, Jerusalem

In 1095 at the Council of Piacenza, Emperor Alexios I Komnenos requested support from Pope Urban II against the Seljuk threat. What the Emperor probably had in mind was a relatively modest force, and Urban far exceeded his expectations by calling for the First Crusade at the later Council of Clermont. Within a year, tens of thousands of people, both commoners and aristocrats, departed for the military campaign. Individual crusaders' motivations to join the crusade varied, but some of them probably left Europe to make a new permanent home in the Levant.

Alexios cautiously welcomed the feudal armies commanded by western nobles. By dazzling them with wealth and charming them with flattery, Alexios extracted oaths of fealty from most of the Crusader commanders. As his vassals, Godfrey of Bouillon, nominally duke of Lower Lorraine, the Italo-Norman Bohemond of Taranto, Bohemond's nephew Tancred of Hauteville, and Godfrey's brother Baldwin of Bologne all swore that any territory gained which the Roman Empire had previously held, would be handed to Alexios' Byzantine representatives. Only Raymond IV, Count of Toulouse refused this oath, instead promising non-aggression towards Alexios.

The crusaders marched along the Mediterranean coast to Jerusalem. On 15 July 1099, crusaders took the city after a siege lasting barely longer than a month. Thousands of Muslims and Jews were killed, and the survivors sold into slavery. Proposals to govern the city as an ecclesiastical state were rejected. Raymond refused the royal title, claiming only Christ could wear a crown in Jerusalem. This may have been to dissuade the more popular Godfrey from assuming the throne, but Godfrey adopted the title Advocatus Sancti Sepulchri ('Defender of the Holy Sepulchre') when he was proclaimed the first Frankish ruler of Jerusalem.

The foundation of these three crusader states did not change the political situation in the Levant profoundly. Frankish rulers replaced local warlords in the cities, but large-scale colonisation did not follow, and the new conquerors did not change the traditional organisation of settlements and property in the countryside. The Frankish knights regarded the Turkic mounted warlords as their peers with familiar moral values, and this familiarity facilitated their negotiations with the Muslim leaders. The conquest of a city was often accompanied by a treaty with the neighbouring Muslim rulers who were customarily forced to pay a tribute for the peace. The crusader states had a special position in Western Christianity's consciousness: many Catholic aristocrats were ready to fight for the Holy Land, although in the decades following the destruction of the large Crusade of 1101 in Anatolia, only smaller groups of armed pilgrims departed for Outremer.

Baldwin I takes Arsuf and Caesarea

Baldwin I takes Arsuf and Caesarea

1101 Apr 29
, Caesarea

Always in need of funds, Baldwin concluded an alliance with the commanders of a Genoese fleet, offering commercial privileges and booty to them in the towns that he would capture with their support. They first attacked Arsuf, which surrendered without resistance on 29 April, securing a safe passage for the townspeople to Ascalon. The Egyptian garrison at Caesarea resisted, but the town fell on 17 May. Baldwin's soldiers pillaged Caesarea and massacred the majority of the adult local population. The Genoese received one third of the booty, but Baldwin did not grant areas in the captured towns to them.

Crusade of 1101

Crusade of 1101

1101 Jun 1
, Anatolia

The Crusade of 1101 was initiated by Paschal II when he learned of the precarious position of the remaining forces in the Holy Land. The host consisted of four separate armies, sometimes regarded as a second wave following the First Crusade. The first army was Lombardy, led by Anselm, archbishop of Milan. They were joined by a force led by Conrad, constable to the German emperor, Henry IV. A second army, the Nivernois, was commanded by William II of Nevers. The third group from northern France was led by Stephen of Blois and Stephen of Burgundy. They were joined by Raymond of Saint-Gilles, now in the service of the emperor. The fourth army was led by William IX of Aquitaine and Welf IV of Bavaria. The Crusaders faced their old enemy Kilij Arslan and his Seljuk forces first met the Lombard and French contingents in August 1101 at the Battle of Mersivan, with the crusader camp captured. The Nivernois contingent was decimated that same month at Heraclea, with nearly the entire force wiped out, except for the count William and a few of his men. The Aquitainians and Bavarians reached Heraclea in September where again the Crusaders were massacred. The Crusade of 1101 was a total disaster both militarily and politically, showing the Muslims that the Crusaders were not invincible.

First Battle of Ramla

First Battle of Ramla

1101 Sep 7
, Ramla

While Baldwin and the Genoese were besieging Caesarea, the Egyptian vizier, Al-Afdal Shahanshah, started mustering troops at Ascalon. Baldwin moved his headquarters to nearby Jaffa and fortified Ramla to hinder any attempt at a surprise attack against Jerusalem.

The First Battle of Ramla took place between the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem and the Fatimids of Egypt. The town of Ramla lay on the road from Jerusalem to Ascalon, the latter of which was the largest Fatimid fortress in Palestine. According to Fulcher of Chartres, who was present at the battle, the Fatimids lost around 5,000 men in the battle, including their general Saad al-Daulah. However, Crusader losses were heavy too, losing 80 knights and a large amount of infantry.

Rise of the Artuqids

Rise of the Artuqids

1102 Jan 1
, Hasankeyf

The Artuqid dynasty was a Turkoman dynasty originated from Döğer tribe that ruled in eastern Anatolia, Northern Syria and Northern Iraq in the eleventh through thirteenth centuries. The Artuqid dynasty took its name from its founder, Artuk Bey, who was of the Döger branch of the Oghuz Turks and ruled one of the Turkmen beyliks of the Seljuk Empire. Artuk's sons and descendants ruled the three branches in the region:

  • Sökmen's descendants ruled the region around Hasankeyf between 1102 and 1231
  • Ilghazi's branch ruled from Mardin and Mayyafariqin between 1106 and 1186 (until 1409 as vassals) and Aleppo from 1117–1128
  • and the Harput line starting in 1112 under the Sökmen branch, and was independent between 1185 and 1233.
Fakhr al-Mulk ibn Ammar submitting to Bertrand of Toulouse | ©Charles-Alexandre Debacq

Siege of Tripoli

1102 Jan 1 - 1109 Jul 12
, Tripoli

The siege of Tripoli lasted from 1102 until July 12, 1109. It took place on the site of the present day Lebanese city of Tripoli, in the aftermath of the First Crusade. It led to the establishment of the fourth crusader state, the County of Tripoli.

Second Battle of Ramla

Second Battle of Ramla

1102 May 17
, Ramla

Due to faulty reconnaissance Baldwin severely underestimated the size of the Egyptian army, believing it to be no more than a minor expeditionary force, and rode to face an army of several thousand with only two hundred mounted knights and no infantry.

Realizing his error too late and already cut off from escape, Baldwin and his army were charged by the Egyptian forces and many were quickly slaughtered, although Baldwin and a handful of others managed to barricade themselves in Ramla's single tower. Baldwin was left with no other option than to flee and escaped the tower under the cover of night with just his scribe and a single knight, Hugh of Brulis, who is never mentioned in any source afterwards. Baldwin spent the next two days evading Fatimid search parties until he arrived exhausted, starved, and parched in the reasonably safe haven of Arsuf on May 19.

A siege tower in action; French depiction of the 19th century

Crusaders take Acre

1104 May 6
, Acre

The Siege of Acre took place in May 1104. It was of great importance for the consolidation of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, which had been founded only a few years earlier. With the help of a Genoese fleet, King Baldwin I forced the surrender of the important port city after a siege that lasted only twenty days. Although all defenders and residents wishing to leave the city had been assured by the king that they would be free to leave, taking their chattels with them, many of them had been massacred by the Genoese as they left the city. Moreover, the attackers had also sacked the city itself.

Soon after its conquest, Acre became the main trading center and main port of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, in which it can transport merchandise from Damascus to the West. With Acre being heavily fortified, the kingdom now had a safe harbor in all weathers. Although Jaffa was much closer to Jerusalem, it was only an open roadstead and too shallow for large ships. Passengers and cargo could only be brought ashore or unloaded there with the help of small ferry boats, which was a particularly dangerous undertaking in stormy seas. Although Haifa's roadstead was deeper and protected from south and west winds by Mount Carmel, it was particularly exposed to north winds.

Battle of Harran

Battle of Harran

1104 May 7
, Harran

During the battle itself, Baldwin's troops were completely routed, with Baldwin and Joscelin captured by the Turks. The Antiochene troops along with Bohemond were able to escape to Edessa. However, Jikirmish had only taken a small amount of booty, so he purloined Baldwin from Sokman's camp. Although a ransom was paid, Joscelin and Baldwin were not released until sometime before 1108, and 1109 respectively.

The battle was one of the first decisive Crusader defeats with severe consequences to the Principality of Antioch. The Byzantine Empire took advantage of the defeat to impose their claims on Antioch, and recaptured Latakia and parts of Cilicia. Many of the towns ruled by Antioch revolted and were re-occupied by Muslim forces from Aleppo. Armenian territories also revolted in favour of the Byzantines or Armenia. Furthermore, these events caused Bohemund to return to Italy to recruit more troops, leaving Tancred as regent of Antioch. Edessa never really recovered and survived until 1144 but only because of divisions among the Muslims.

Tancred recovers lost ground

Tancred recovers lost ground

1105 Apr 20
, Reyhanlı

After the great Crusader defeat at the Battle of Harran in 1104, all of Antioch's strongholds east of the Orontes River were abandoned. In order to raise additional Crusader reinforcements, Bohemond of Taranto embarked for Europe, leaving Tancred as regent in Antioch. The new regent began to patiently recover the lost castles and walled towns.

In mid-spring 1105, the inhabitants of Artah, which is located 25 miles (40 km) east-northeast of Antioch, may have expelled Antioch's garrison from the fortress and allied with Ridwan or surrendered to the latter upon his approach to the fortress. Artah was the last Crusader-held fortress east of the city of Antioch and its loss could result in a direct threat to the city by Muslim forces. It is unclear if Ridwan thereafter garrisoned Artah.

With a force of 1,000 cavalry and 9,000 infantry, Tancred laid siege to the castle of Artah. Ridwan of Aleppo tried to interfere with the operation, gathering a host of 7,000 infantry and an unknown number of cavalry. 3,000 of the Muslim infantrymen were volunteers. Tancred gave battle and defeated the army of Aleppo. The Latin prince is supposed to have won by his "skillful use of ground." Tancred proceeded to consolidate the Principality's control of its eastern frontier regions, precipitating the flight of local Muslims from the areas of the Jazr and Loulon, although several were slain by Tancred's forces. After his victory, Tancred expanded his conquests east of the Orontes with only minor opposition.

Bataille de Ramla (1105)

Third Battle of Ramla

1105 Aug 27
, Ramla

As at Ramla in 1101, in 1105 the Crusaders had both cavalry and infantry under the leadership of Baldwin I. At the third battle, however, the Egyptians were reinforced by a Seljuk Turkish force from Damascus, including mounted archery, the great menace of the Crusaders. After they withstood the initial Frankish cavalry charge the battle raged for most of the day. Although Baldwin was once again able to drive the Egyptians from the field of battle and loot the enemy camp he was unable to pursue them any further: "the Franks appear to have owed their victory to the activity of Baldwin. He vanquished the Turks when they were becoming a serious threat to his rear, and returned to the main battle to lead the decisive charge which defeated the Egyptians

Viking Armada | ©Edward Moran

Norwegian Crusade

1107 Jan 1
, Palestine

The Norwegian Crusade, led by Norwegian King Sigurd I, was a crusade or a pilgrimage (sources differ) that lasted from 1107 to 1111, in the aftermath of the First Crusade. The Norwegian Crusade marks the first time a European king personally went to the Holy Land.

Fakhr al-Mulk ibn Ammar submitting to Bertrand of Toulouse,

County of Tripoli

1109 Jul 12
, Tripoli

The Franks besieged Tripoli, led by Baldwin I of Jerusalem, Baldwin II of Edessa, Tancred, regent of Antioch, William-Jordan, and Raymond IV's eldest son Bertrand of Toulouse, who had recently arrived with fresh Genoan, Pisan and Provençal troops. Tripoli waited in vain for reinforcements from Egypt.

The city crumbled on July 12, and was sacked by the crusaders. The Egyptian fleet arrived eight hours too late. Most of the inhabitants were enslaved, the others were deprived of their possessions and expelled. Bertrand, Raymond IV's illegitimate son, had William-Jordan assassinated in 1110 and claimed two-thirds of the city for himself, with the other third falling to the Genoans. The rest of the Mediterranean coast had already fallen to the crusaders or would pass to them within the next few years, with the capture of Sidon in 1110 and Tyre in 1124. This led to the establishment of the fourth crusader state, the County of Tripoli.

Sultan declares Jihad

Sultan declares Jihad

1110 Jan 1
, Syria

The fall of Tripoli prompted Sultan Muhammad Tapar to appoint the atabeg of Mosul, Mawdud, to wage jihad against the Franks. Between 1110 and 1113, Mawdud mounted four campaigns in Mesopotamia and Syria, but rivalry among his heterogeneous armies' commanders forced him to abandon the offensive on each occasion. As Edessa was Mosul's chief rival, Mawdud directed two campaigns against the city. They caused havoc, and the county's eastern region could never recover. The Syrian Muslim rulers saw the Sultan's intervention as a threat to their autonomy and collaborated with the Franks. After an assassin, likely a Nizari, murdered Mawdud, Muhammad Tapar dispatched two armies to Syria, but both campaigns failed.

Siege of Beirut

Siege of Beirut

1110 Mar 13
, Beirut

By 1101, the Crusaders had controlled the southern ports including Jaffa, Haifa, Arsuf and Caesarea, hence they managed to cut off the northern ports including Beirut from Fatimid support by land. In addition, the Fatimids had to disperse their forces including 2,000 soldiers and 20 ships in each of the remaining ports, until the main support could arrive from Egypt. Beginning on 15 February 1102, the Crusaders began harassing Beirut, until the Fatimid army arrived in early May.

In late autumn 1102, ships carrying Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land were forced by storm to land in the vicinity of Ascalon, Sidon and Tyre. The pilgrims were either slain or taken as slaves to Egypt. Hence, controlling the ports became urgent for the safety of pilgrims, in addition to the arrival of men and supply from Europe.

The siege of Beirut was an event in the aftermath of the First Crusade. The coastal city of Beirut was captured from the Fatimids by the forces of Baldwin I of Jerusalem on 13 May 1110, with the assistance of Bertrand of Toulouse and a Genoese fleet.

King Sigurd and King Baldwin ride from Jerusalem to the river Jordan

Siege of Sidon

1110 Oct 19
, Sidon

In the summer of 1110, a Norwegian fleet of 60 ships arrived in the Levant under the command of King Sigurd. Arriving in Acre he was received by Baldwin I, King of Jerusalem. Together they made a journey to the river Jordan, after which Baldwin asked for help in capturing Muslim-held ports on the coast. Sigurd's answer was that "they had come for the purpose of devoting themselves to the service of Christ", and accompanied him to take the city of Sidon, which had been re-fortified by the Fatimids in 1098.

Baldwin's army besieged the city by land, while the Norwegians came by sea. A naval force was needed to prevent assistance from the Fatimid fleet at Tyre. Repelling it was however only made possible with the fortunate arrival of a Venetian fleet. The city fell after 47 days.

Battle of Shaizar | ©Richard Hook

Battle of Shaizar

1111 Sep 13
, Shaizar

Beginning in 1110 and lasting until 1115, the Seljuk Sultan Muhammad I in Baghdad launched annual invasions of the Crusader states. The first year's attack on Edessa was repelled. Prodded by the pleas of some citizens of Aleppo and spurred by the Byzantines, the Sultan ordered a major offensive against the Frankish possessions in northern Syria for the year 1111. The Sultan appointed Mawdud ibn Altuntash, governor of Mosul, to command the army. The composite force included contingents from Diyarbakir and Ahlat under Sökmen al-Kutbi, from Hamadan led by Bursuq ibn Bursuq, and from Mesopotamia under Ahmadil and other emirs.

In the Battle of Shaizar in 1111, a Crusader army commanded by King Baldwin I of Jerusalem and a Seljuk army led by Mawdud ibn Altuntash of Mosul fought to a tactical draw, but a withdrawal of Crusader forces. This allowed King Baldwin I and Tancred to successfully defend the Principality of Antioch. No Crusader towns or castles fell to the Seljuk Turks during the campaign.

Knights Hospitaller | ©Mateusz Michalski

Knights Hospitaller formed

1113 Jan 1
, Jerusalem

The monastic Knights Hospitaller order was created following the First Crusade by Blessed Gerard de Martigues whose role as founder was confirmed by the papal bull Pie postulatio voluntatis issued by Pope Paschal II in 1113.Gerard acquired territory and revenues for his order throughout the Kingdom of Jerusalem and beyond. Under his successor, Raymond du Puy, the original hospice was expanded to an infirmarynear the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Initially, the group cared for pilgrims in Jerusalem, but the order soon extended to provide pilgrims with an armed escort before eventually becoming a significant military force. Thus the Order of St. John imperceptibly became militaristic without losing its charitable character.

Raymond du Puy, who succeeded Gerard as Master of the Hospital in 1118, organized a militia from the order's members, dividing the order into three ranks: knights, men at arms, and chaplains. Raymond offered the service of his armed troops to Baldwin II of Jerusalem, and the order from this time participated in the crusades as a military order, in particular distinguishing itself in the Siege of Ascalon of 1153. In 1130, Pope Innocent II gave the order its coat of arms, a silver cross in a field of red (gueulles).

Battle of al-Sannabra

Battle of al-Sannabra

1113 Jun 28
, Beit Yerah

In 1113, Mawdud joined Toghtekin of Damascus and their combined army aimed to cross the Jordan River south of the Sea of Galilee. Baldwin I offered battle near the bridge of al-Sannabra. Mawdud used the device of a feigned flight to entice Baldwin I into rashly ordering a charge. The Frankish army was surprised and beaten when it unexpectedly ran into the main Turkish army.

The surviving Crusaders kept their cohesion and fell back to a hill west of the inland sea where they fortified their camp. In this position they were reinforced from Tripoli and Antioch but remained inert. Unable to annihilate the Crusaders, Mawdud watched them with his main army while sending raiding columns to ravage the countryside and sack the town of Nablus. In this, Mawdud anticipated the strategy of Saladin. As in these campaigns, the Frankish field army could oppose the main Muslim army, but it could not stop raiding forces from doing great damage to crops and towns. While the Turkish raiders roamed freely through Crusader lands, the local Muslim farmers entered into friendly relations with them. This deeply troubled the Frankish land magnates, who ultimately depended upon rents from cultivators of the soil. Mawdud was unable to make any permanent conquests after his victory. Soon afterward, he was assassinated and Aq-Sunqur Bursuqi took command of the failed attempt against Edessa in 1114.

Baldwin of Bourcq, count of Edessa and king of Jerusalem

Battle of Sarmin

1115 Sep 14
, Sarmin

In 1115, the Seljuk sultan Muhammad I Tapar sent Bursuq against Antioch. Jealous that their authority would be diminished if the Sultan's forces proved victorious, several Syrian Muslim princes allied themselves with the Latins.

Early on September 14, Roger received intelligence that his opponents were carelessly going into camp at the Tell Danith watering point, near Sarmin. He rapidly advanced and took Bursuq's army by complete surprise. As the Crusaders launched their attack, some Turkish soldiers were still straggling into the camp. Roger marshalled the Frankish army into left, center, and right divisions. Baldwin, Count of Edessa led the left wing while Prince Roger personally commanded the center. The Crusaders attacked in echelon with the left wing leading. On the Frankish right, the Turcopoles, who were employed as archers, were thrown back by a Seljuk counterattack. This disrupted the knights who faced tough fighting before repulsing their enemies on this part of the field. Roger decisively defeated Bursuq's army, ending the long campaign. At least 3,000 Turks were killed and many captured, along with property worth 300,000 bezants. Frankish losses were probably light. Roger's victory preserved the Crusader hold on Antioch.

Baldwin I dies

Baldwin I dies

1118 Apr 2
, El-Arish

Baldwin fell seriously ill in late 1116. Thinking that he was dying, he ordered that all his debts be paid off and he started to distribute his money and goods, but he recovered at the start of the following year. To strengthen the defence of the southern frontier, he launched an expedition against Egypt in March 1118. He seized Farama on the Nile Delta without a fight as the townspeople had fled in panic before he reached the town. Baldwin's retainers urged him to attack Cairo, but the old wound that he had received in 1103 suddenly re-opened.

Dying, Baldwin was carried back as far as Al-Arish on the frontier of the Fatimid Empire. On his deathbed, he named Eustace III of Boulogne as his successor, but also authorised the barons to offer the throne to Baldwin of Edessa or "someone else who would rule the Christian people and defend the churches", if his brother did not accept the crown. Baldwin died on 2 April 1118.

Battle of Ager-Sanguinis, 1337 miniature

Field of Blood

1119 Jun 28
, Sarmadā

In 1118 Roger captured Azaz, which left Aleppo open to attack from the Crusaders; in response, Ilghazi invaded the Principality in 1119. Roger marched out from Artah with Bernard of Valence, the Latin Patriarch of Antioch. Bernard suggested they remain there, as Artah was a well-defended fortress only a short distance away from Antioch, and Ilghazi would not be able to pass if they were stationed there. The Patriarch also advised Roger to call for help from Baldwin, now king of Jerusalem, and Pons, but Roger felt he could not wait for them to arrive.

Roger camped in the pass of Sarmada, while Ilghazi besieged the fort of al-Atharib. Ilghazi was also waiting for reinforcements from Toghtekin, the Burid emir of Damascus, but he too was tired of waiting. Using little-used paths, his army quickly surrounded Roger's camp during the night of June 27. The prince had recklessly chosen a campsite in a wooded valley with steep sides and few avenues of escape. Roger's army of 700 knights, 500 Armenian cavalry and 3,000 foot soldiers, including turcopoles, hastily formed into five divisions. During the battle, Roger was killed by a sword in the face at the foot of the great jewelled cross which had served as his standard. The rest of the army was killed or captured; only two knights survived. Renaud Mansoer took refuge in the fort of Sarmada to wait for King Baldwin, but was later taken captive by Ilghazi. Among the other prisoners was likely Walter the Chancellor, who later wrote an account of the battle. The massacre led to the name of the battle, ager sanguinis, Latin for "the field of blood."

Ilghazi was defeated by Baldwin II of Jerusalem and Count Pons at the Battle of Hab on August 14, and Baldwin took over the regency of Antioch. Subsequently, Baldwin recovered some of the lost towns. Even so, the defeat at the Field of Blood left Antioch severely weakened, and subject to repeated attacks by the Muslims in the following decade. Eventually, the Principality came under the influence of a resurgent Byzantine Empire.

Battle of Hab

Battle of Hab

1119 Aug 14
, Ariha

After his great victory at the Battle of Ager Sanguinis, Ilghazi's Turco-Syrian army captured a number of strongholds in the Latin principality. As soon as he heard the news, King Baldwin II brought a force north from his Kingdom of Jerusalem to rescue Antioch. On the way, he picked up a contingent from the County of Tripoli under Count Pons. Baldwin assembled the remnants of Antioch's army and added them to his own soldiers. Then he moved toward Zerdana, 65 kilometers east-southeast of Antioch, which was besieged by Ilghazi.

With adroit use of his reserve knights, Baldwin saved the day. By intervening at each threatened sector, he held his army together during the long and bitter fight. Eventually, the Artuqids admitted defeat and withdrew from the battlefield. Strategically, it was a Christian victory which preserved the Principality of Antioch for several generations. Baldwin II managed to re-take all of the castles conquered by Ilghazi and prevented him from marching on Antioch.

Knights Templar founded

Knights Templar founded

1120 Jan 1
, Nablus

After the Franks in the First Crusade captured Jerusalem from the Fatimid Caliphate in 1099 A.D., many Christians made pilgrimages to various sacred sites in the Holy Land. Although the city of Jerusalem was relatively secure under Christian control, the rest of Outremer was not. Bandits and marauding highwaymen preyed upon these Christian pilgrims, who were routinely slaughtered, sometimes by the hundreds, as they attempted to make the journey from the coastline at Jaffa through to the interior of the Holy Land.

In 1119, the French knight Hugues de Payens approached King Baldwin II of Jerusalem and Warmund, Patriarch of Jerusalem, and proposed creating a monastic order for the protection of these pilgrims. King Baldwin and Patriarch Warmund agreed to the request, probably at the Council of Nablus in January 1120, and the king granted the Templars a headquarters in a wing of the royal palace on the Temple Mount in the captured Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Temple Mount had a mystique because it was above what was believed to be the ruins of the Temple of Solomon. The Crusaders therefore referred to the Al-Aqsa Mosque as Solomon's Temple, and from this location the new order took the name of Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon, or "Templar" knights. The order, with about nine knights including Godfrey de Saint-Omer and André de Montbard, had few financial resources and relied on donations to survive. Their emblem was of two knights riding on a single horse, emphasizing the order's poverty

Siege of Aleppo

Siege of Aleppo

1124 Jan 1
, Aleppo

Baldwin II decided to attack Aleppo to free the hostages, including Baldwin's youngest daughter Ioveta, who were handed over to Timurtash to secure the release payment. Therefore, he made an alliance with Joscelin I of Edessa, a Bedouin leader, Dubais ibn Sadaqa from Banu Mazyad and two Seljuq princes, Sultan Shah and Toghrul Arslan. He laid siege to the town on 6 October 1124. In the meantime, the qadi of Aleppo, Ibn al-Khashshab, approached Aqsunqur al-Bursuqi, atabeg of Mosul, seeking his assistance. Upon hearing of al-Bursuqi's arrival, Dubais ibn Sadaqa withdrew from Aleppo, which forced Baldwin to lift the siege on 25 January 1125.

Battle of Azaz | ©Angus McBride

Battle of Azaz

1125 Jun 11
, Azaz

Al-Bursuqi besieged the town of Azaz, to the north of Aleppo, in territory belonging to the County of Edessa. Baldwin II, Leo I of Armenia, Joscelin I, and Pons of Tripoli, with a force of 1,100 knights from their respective territories (including knights from Antioch, where Baldwin was regent), as well as 2,000 infantry, met al-Bursuqi outside Azaz, where the Seljuk atabeg had gathered his much larger force. Baldwin pretended to retreat, thereby drawing the Seljuks away from Azaz into the open where they were surrounded. After a long and bloody battle, the Seljuks were defeated and their camp captured by Baldwin, who took enough loot to ransom the prisoners taken by the Seljuks (including the future Joscelin II of Edessa).

The number of Muslim troops killed was more than 1,000, according to Ibn al-Athir. William of Tyre gave 24 dead for the Crusaders and 2,000 for the Muslims. Apart from relieving Azaz, this victory allowed the Crusaders to regain much of the influence they had lost after their defeat at Ager Sanguinis in 1119.

War with the Zengids | ©Gustav Dore

War with the Zengids

1127 Jan 1
, Damascus

Zengi, son of Aq Sunqur al-Hajib, became the Seljuk atabeg of Mosul in 1127. He quickly became the chief Turkic potentate in Northern Syria and Iraq, taking Aleppo from the squabbling Artuqids in 1128 and capturing the County of Edessa from the Crusaders after the siege of Edessa in 1144.

Zengids take Aleppo

Zengids take Aleppo

1128 Jan 1
, Aleppo

The new atabeg of Mosul Imad al-Din Zengi seized Aleppo in 1128. The two major Muslim centres' union was especially dangerous for the neighbouring Edessa, but it also worried Damascus's new ruler, Taj al-Muluk Buri. He quickly became the chief Turkic potentate in Northern Syria and Iraq.

Battle of Ba'rin

Battle of Ba'rin

1137 Jan 1
, Baarin

In early 1137, Zengi invested the castle of Ba'rin, about 10 miles northwest of Homs. When King Fulk marched with his host to raise the siege, his army was attacked and scattered by Zengi's forces. After their defeat, Fulk and some of the survivors took refuge in Montferrand castle, which Zengi surrounded again. "When they ran out of food they ate their horses, and then they were forced to ask for terms." Meanwhile, large numbers of Christian pilgrims had rallied to the army of Byzantine Emperor John II Comnenus, Raymond of Antioch and Joscelin II of Edessa. With this host approaching the castle, Zengi suddenly granted Fulk and the other besieged Franks terms. In return for their freedom and evacuation of the castle, a ransom was set at 50000 dinar. The Franks, unaware of the imminent arrival of the large relieving army, accepted Zengi's offer. Ba'rin was never recovered by the Franks.

Byzantines takes Armenian Cilicia

Byzantines takes Armenian Cilicia

1137 Jan 1
, Tarsus

In the Levant, the Byzantine Emperor John II Comnenus sought to reinforce Byzantine claims to suzerainty over the Crusader States and to assert his rights over Antioch. These rights dated back to the Treaty of Devol of 1108, though Byzantium had not been in a position to enforce them. In 1137 he conquered Tarsus, Adana, and Mopsuestia from the Principality of Armenian Cilicia, and in 1138 Prince Levon I of Armenia and most of his family were brought as captives to Constantinople. This opened the route to the Principality of Antioch, where Raymond of Poitiers, Prince of Antioch, and Joscelin II, Count of Edessa, recognized themselves as vassals of the emperor in 1137. Even Raymond II, the Count of Tripoli, hastened northwards to pay homage to John, repeating the homage that his predecessor had given John's father in 1109.

John II directs the siege of Shaizar while his allies sit inactive in their camp, French manuscript 1338.

Byzantine Siege of Shaizar

1138 Apr 28
, Shaizar

Freed from immediate external threats in the Balkans or in Anatolia, having defeated the Hungarians in 1129, and having forced the Anatolian Turks on the defensive, the Byzantine emperor John II Komnenos could direct his attention to the Levant, where he sought to reinforce Byzantium's claims to suzerainty over the Crusader States and to assert his rights and authority over Antioch.

Control of Cilicia opened the route to the Principality of Antioch for the Byzantines. Faced with the approach of the formidable Byzantine army, Raymond of Poitiers, prince of Antioch, and Joscelin II, count of Edessa, hastened to acknowledge the Emperor's overlordship. John demanded the unconditional surrender of Antioch and, after asking the permission of Fulk, King of Jerusalem, Raymond of Poitiers agreed to surrender the city to John.

The siege of Shaizar took place from April 28 to May 21, 1138. The allied forces of the Byzantine Empire, Principality of Antioch and County of Edessa invaded Muslim Syria. Having been repulsed from their main objective, the city of Aleppo, the combined Christian armies took a number of fortified settlements by assault and finally besieged Shaizar, the capital of the Munqidhite Emirate. The siege captured the city, but failed to take the citadel; it resulted in the Emir of Shaizar paying an indemnity and becoming the vassal of the Byzantine emperor. The forces of Zengi, the greatest Muslim prince of the region, skirmished with the allied army but it was too strong for them to risk battle. The campaign underlined the limited nature of Byzantine suzerainty over the northern Crusader states and the lack of common purpose between the Latin princes and the Byzantine emperor.

Loss of Crusader State of Edessa

Loss of Crusader State of Edessa

1144 Nov 28
, Şanlıurfa

The County of Edessa was the first of the crusader states to be established during and after the First Crusade. It dates from 1098 when Baldwin of Boulogne left the main army of the First Crusade and founded his own principality. Edessa was the most northerly, the weakest, and the least populated; as such, it was subject to frequent attacks from the surrounding Muslim states ruled by the Ortoqids, Danishmends, and Seljuk Turks. Count Baldwin II and future count Joscelin of Courtenay were taken captive after their defeat at the Battle of Harran in 1104. Joscelin was captured a second time in 1122, and although Edessa recovered somewhat after the Battle of Azaz in 1125, Joscelin was killed in battle in 1131. His successor Joscelin II was forced into an alliance with the Byzantine Empire, but in 1143 both the Byzantine emperor John II Comnenus and the King of Jerusalem Fulk of Anjou died. Joscelin had also quarreled with Raymond II of Tripoli and Raymond of Poitiers, leaving Edessa with no powerful allies.

Zengi, already seeking to take advantage of Fulk's death in 1143, hurried north to besiege Edessa, arriving on November 28. The city had been warned of his arrival and was prepared for a siege, but there was little they could do while Joscelin and the army were elsewhere. Zengi surrounded the entire city, realizing that there was no army defending it. He built siege engines and began to mine the walls, while his forces were joined by Kurdish and Turcoman reinforcements. The inhabitants of Edessa resisted as much as they could, but had no experience in siege warfare; the city's numerous towers remained unmanned. They also had no knowledge of counter-mining, and part of the wall near the Gate of the Hours collapsed on December 24. Zengi's troops rushed into the city, killing all those who were unable to flee to the Citadel of Maniaces.

News of the fall of Edessa reached Europe, and Raymond of Poitiers had already sent a delegation including Hugh, Bishop of Jabala, to seek aid from Pope Eugene III. On December 1, 1145, Eugene issued the papal bull Quantum praedecessores calling for the Second Crusade.

The Siege of Lisbon by D. Afonso Henriques by Joaquim Rodrigues Braga (1840)

Second Crusade

1147 Jan 1 - 1150
, Iberian Peninsula

The Second Crusade was started in response to the fall of the County of Edessa in 1144 to the forces of Zengi. The county had been founded during the First Crusade (1096–1099) by King Baldwin I of Jerusalem in 1098. While it was the first Crusader state to be founded, it was also the first to fall.

The Second Crusade was announced by Pope Eugene III, and was the first of the crusades to be led by European kings, namely Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany, with help from a number of other European nobles. The armies of the two kings marched separately across Europe. After crossing Byzantine territory into Anatolia, both armies were separately defeated by the Seljuk Turks. The main Western Christian source, Odo of Deuil, and Syriac Christian sources claim that the Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Komnenos secretly hindered the crusaders' progress, particularly in Anatolia, where he is alleged to have deliberately ordered Turks to attack them. However, this alleged sabotage of the Crusade by the Byzantines was likely fabricated by Odo, who saw the Empire as an obstacle, and moreover Emperor Manuel had no political reason to do so. Louis and Conrad and the remnants of their armies reached Jerusalem and participated in 1148 in an ill-advised attack on Damascus, which ended in their retreat. In the end, the crusade in the east was a failure for the crusaders and a victory for the Muslims. It would ultimately have a key influence on the fall of Jerusalem and give rise to the Third Crusade at the end of the 12th century.

While the Second Crusade failed to achieve its goals in the Holy Land, crusaders did see victories elsewhere. The most significant of these came to a combined force of 13,000 Flemish, Frisian, Norman, English, Scottish, and German crusaders in 1147. Travelling from England, by ship, to the Holy Land, the army stopped and helped the smaller (7,000) Portuguese army in the capture of Lisbon, expelling its Moorish occupants.

Wars with the Ayyūbids

Wars with the Ayyūbids

1169 Jan 1 - 1187
, Jerusalem

The Ayyūbid-Crusader Wars began when truces attempted in the aftermath of The Zengid-Crusader Wars and Fatimid-Crusader Wars and their likes ended up violated by those such as Sir Reynald de Châtillon, Master Edessa Count Joscelin de Courtenay III, Knights Order Of Templars Grandmaster Sir Odo de St Amand, along with later on Knighthoods Templar Order Grandmaster Sir Gérard de Ridefort and by religious fanatics including newly arrived ones from Europe, and by attempts by ones like Salāḥ ad-Dīn Ayyūb And His Ayyūbid Dynasty and their Saracen Armies who together after they became leaders of in succession to Nur ad-Din had vowed to punish those like Sir Reynald and to perhaps so reclaim Jerusalem for the Muslims.

The Battle of Montgisard, The Belvoir Castle Battle, and as well as The Two Sieges Of Kerak Castle were some victories for The Crusaders, all whilst The Marj Ayun Battle, The Siege Of Chastellet Castle Of Jacob’s Ford, The Battle Of Cresson, The Battle Of Hattin and as well as The 1187 Jerusalem Siege were all won by The Saracen Muslim Armies Of The Ayyūbīd Dynasty And Salāḥ ad-Dīn Ayyūb, leading to The Third Crusade’s Events.

Saladin and Christians of Jerusalem | ©François Guizot

Siege of Jerusalem

1187 Sep 20 - Oct 2
, Jerusalem

The siege of Jerusalem lasted from 20 September to 2 October 1187, when Balian of Ibelin surrendered the city to Saladin. Earlier that summer, Saladin had defeated the kingdom's army and conquered several cities. The city was full of refugees and had few defenders, and it fell to the besieging armies. Balian bargained with Saladin to buy safe passage for many, and the city came into Saladin's hands with limited bloodshed. Though Jerusalem fell, it was not the end of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, as the capital shifted first to Tyre and later to Acre after the Third Crusade. Latin Christians responded in 1189 by launching the Third Crusade led by Richard the Lionheart, Philip Augustus, and Frederick Barbarossa separately. In Jerusalem, Saladin restored Muslim holy sites and generally showed tolerance towards Christians; he allowed Orthodox and Eastern Christian pilgrims to visit the holy sites freely -- though Frankish (i.e. Catholic) pilgrims were required to pay a fee for entry. The control of Christian affairs in the city was handed over to the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople.

Richard the Lionheart

Third Crusade

1189 May 11 - 1192 Sep 2
, Jaffa

The Third Crusade (1189–1192) was an attempt by three European monarchs of Western Christianity (Philip II of France, Richard I of England and Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor) to reconquer the Holy Land following the capture of Jerusalem by the Ayyubid sultan Saladin in 1187. For this reason, the Third Crusade is also known as the Kings' Crusade.

It was partially successful, recapturing the important cities of Acre and Jaffa, and reversing most of Saladin's conquests, but it failed to recapture Jerusalem, which was the major aim of the Crusade and its religious focus.

After the failure of the Second Crusade of 1147–1149, the Zengid dynasty controlled a unified Syria and engaged in a conflict with the Fatimid rulers of Egypt. Saladin ultimately brought both the Egyptian and Syrian forces under his own control, and employed them to reduce the Crusader states and to recapture Jerusalem in 1187. Spurred by religious zeal, King Henry II of England and King Philip II of France (known as "Philip Augustus") ended their conflict with each other to lead a new crusade. The death of Henry (6 July 1189), however, meant the English contingent came under the command of his successor, King Richard I of England. The elderly German Emperor Frederick Barbarossa also responded to the call to arms, leading a massive army across the Balkans and Anatolia. He achieved some victories against the Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm, but he drowned in a river on 10 June 1190 before reaching the Holy Land. His death caused tremendous grief among the German Crusaders, and most of his troops returned home.

After the Crusaders had driven the Muslims from Acre, Philip—in company with Frederick's successor in command of the German crusaders, Leopold V, Duke of Austria—left the Holy Land in August 1191. Following a major victory by the Crusaders at the Battle of Arsuf, most of the coastline of the Levant was returned to Christian control. On 2 September 1192 Richard and Saladin finalized the Treaty of Jaffa, which recognised Muslim control over Jerusalem but allowed unarmed Christian pilgrims and merchants to visit the city. Richard departed the Holy Land on 9 October 1192. The successes of the Third Crusade allowed Westerners to maintain considerable states in Cyprus and on the Syrian coast.

Dandolo Preaching the Crusade by Gustave Doré

Fourth Crusade

1202 Jan 1 - 1204
, İstanbul

The Fourth Crusade (1202–1204) was a Latin Christian armed expedition called by Pope Innocent III. The stated intent of the expedition was to recapture the Muslim-controlled city of Jerusalem, by first defeating the powerful Egyptian Ayyubid Sultanate, the strongest Muslim state of the time. However, a sequence of economic and political events culminated in the Crusader army's 1202 siege of Zara and the 1204 sack of Constantinople, the capital of the Greek Christian-controlled Byzantine Empire, rather than Egypt as originally planned. This led to the partitioning of the Byzantine Empire by the Crusaders.

The siege of Damietta

Fifth Crusade

1217 Jan 1 - 1221
, Egypt

The Fifth Crusade (1217–1221) was a campaign in a series of Crusades by Western Europeans to reacquire Jerusalem and the rest of the Holy Land by first conquering Egypt, ruled by the powerful Ayyubid sultanate, led by al-Adil, brother of Saladin.

After the failure of the Fourth Crusade, Innocent III again called for a crusade, and began organizing Crusading armies led by Andrew II of Hungary and Leopold VI of Austria, soon to be joined by John of Brienne. An initial campaign in late 1217 in Syria was inconclusive, and Andrew departed. A German army led by cleric Oliver of Paderborn, and a mixed army of Dutch, Flemish and Frisian soldiers led by William I of Holland, then joined the Crusade in Acre, with a goal of first conquering Egypt, viewed as the key to Jerusalem. There, cardinal Pelagius Galvani arrived as papal legate and de facto leader of the Crusade, supported by John of Brienne and the masters of the Templars, Hospitallers and Teutonic Knights. Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, who had taken the cross in 1215, did not participate as promised.

Following the successful siege of Damietta in 1218–1219, the Crusaders occupied the port for two years. Al-Kamil, now sultan of Egypt, offered attractive peace terms, including the restoration of Jerusalem to Christian rule. The sultan was rebuked by Pelagius several times, and the Crusaders marched south towards Cairo in July 1221. En route, they attacked a stronghold of al-Kamil at the battle of Mansurah, but they were defeated, forced to surrender.

Sixth Crusade | ©Darren Tan

Sixth Crusade

1227 Jan 1 - 1229
, Syria

The Sixth Crusade (1228–1229), also known as the Crusade of Frederick II, was a military expedition to recapture Jerusalem and the rest of the Holy Land. It began seven years after the failure of the Fifth Crusade and involved very little actual fighting. The diplomatic maneuvering of the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Sicily, Frederick II, resulted in the Kingdom of Jerusalem regaining some control over Jerusalem for much of the ensuing fifteen years as well as over other areas of the Holy Land.

War of the Lombards

War of the Lombards

1228 Jan 1 - 1240
, Jerusalem

The War of the Lombards (1228–1243) was a civil war in the Kingdom of Jerusalem and the Kingdom of Cyprus between the "Lombards" (also called the imperialists), the representatives of the Emperor Frederick II, largely from Lombardy, and the Eastern aristocracy led first by the Ibelins and then by the Montforts. The war was provoked by Frederick's attempt to control the regency for his young son, Conrad II of Jerusalem. Frederick and Conrad represented the Hohenstaufen dynasty.

The first major battle of the war took place at Casal Imbert in May 1232. Filangieri defeated the Ibelins. In June, however, he was so soundly defeated by an inferior force at the Battle of Agridi in Cyprus that his support on the island dwindled to zero within a year.

In 1241 the barons offered the bailliage of Acre to Simon de Montfort, the Earl of Leicester, a cousin of Philip of Montfort, and a relative through marriage to both the Hohenstaufen and the Plantagenets. He never assumed it. In 1242 or 1243 Conrad declared his own majority and on 5 June the absentee monarch's regency was granted by the High Court to Alice, widow of Hugh I of Cyprus and daughter of Isabella I of Jerusalem. Alice promptly began ruling as if queen, ignoring Conrad, who was in Italy, and ordering Filangieri arrested. After a long siege, Tyre fell on 12 June. The Ibelins seized its citadel on 7 or 10 July, with the help of Alice, whose forces arrived on 15 June. Only the Ibelins could claim to be the winners of the war.

Barons' Crusade

Barons' Crusade

1239 Jan 1 - 1237
, Acre

The Barons' Crusade (1239–1241), also called the Crusade of 1239, was a crusade to the Holy Land that, in territorial terms, was the most successful crusade since the First Crusade. Called by pope Gregory IX, the Barons' Crusade broadly embodied the highest point of papal endeavor "to make crusading a universal Christian undertaking." Gregory IX called for a crusade in France, England, and Hungary with different degrees of success. Although the crusaders did not achieve any glorious military victories, they used diplomacy to successfully play the two warring factions of the Ayyubid dynasty (as-Salih Ismail in Damascus and as-Salih Ayyub in Egypt) against one another for even more concessions than Frederick II had gained during the more well-known Sixth Crusade. For a few years, the Barons' Crusade returned the Kingdom of Jerusalem to its largest size since 1187.

This crusade to the Holy Land is sometimes discussed as two separate crusades: that of King Theobald I of Navarre, which began in 1239; and, the separate host of crusaders under the leadership of Richard of Cornwall, which arrived after Theobald departed in 1240. Additionally, the Barons' Crusade is often described in tandem with Baldwin of Courtenay's concurrent trip to Constantinople and capture of Tzurulum with a separate, smaller force of crusaders. This is because Gregory IX briefly attempted to redirect the target his new crusade from liberating the Holy Land from Muslims to protecting the Latin Empire of Constantinople from "schismatic" (i.e., Orthodox) Christians attempting to retake the city.

Despite relatively plentiful primary sources, scholarship until recently has been limited, due at least in part to the lack of major military engagements. Although Gregory IX went further than any other pope to create an ideal of Christian unity in the process of organizing the crusade, in practice the crusade's divided leadership did not reveal a unified Christian action or identity in response to taking the cross.

Khwarazmian Empire sacks Jerusalem | ©David Roberts

Khwarazmian Empire sacks Jerusalem

1244 Jul 15
, Jerusalem

In 1244, the Ayyubids allowed the Khwarazmians, whose empire had been destroyed by the Mongols in 1231, to attack the city. The siege took place on 15 July, and the city fell rapidly. The Khwarazmians plundered the Armenian Quarter, where they decimated the Christian population, and drove out the Jews. In addition, they sacked the tombs of kings of Jerusalem in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and dug out their bones, in which the tombs of Baldwin I and Godfrey of Bouillon became cenotaphs. On 23 August, the Tower of David surrendered to the Khwarazmian forces, some 6,000 Christian men, women and children marched out of Jerusalem.

The sack of the city and the massacre which accompanied it prompted the Crusaders to assemble a force to join the Ayyubid forces and fight against the Egyptian and Khwarazmian forces in the Battle of La Forbie. Moreover, the events encouraged the king of France Louis IX to organize the Seventh Crusade.

Louis IX during the Seventh Crusade

Seventh Crusade

1248 Jan 1 - 1251
, Egypt

The Seventh Crusade (1248–1254) was the first of the two Crusades led by Louis IX of France. Also known as the Crusade of Louis IX to the Holy Land, it aimed to reclaim the Holy Land by attacking Egypt, the main seat of Muslim power in the Near East. The Crusade initially met with success but ended in defeat, with most of the army – including the king – captured by the Muslims.

The Crusade was conducted in response to setbacks in the Kingdom of Jerusalem, beginning with the loss of the Holy City in 1244, and was preached by Innocent IV in conjunction with a crusade against emperor Frederick II, Baltic rebellions and Mongol incursions.

Following his release, Louis stayed in the Holy Land for four years, doing what he could towards the re-establishment of the kingdom. The struggle between the papacy and Holy Roman Empire paralyzed Europe, with few answering Louis' calls for help following his capture and ransoming. The one answer was the Shepherds’ Crusade, started to rescue the king and meeting with disaster. In 1254, Louis returned to France having concluded some important treaties. The second of Louis' Crusades was his equally unsuccessful 1270 expedition to Tunis, the Eighth Crusade, where he died of dysentery shortly after the campaign landed.

War of Saint Sabas

War of Saint Sabas

1256 Jan 1 - 1268
, Acre

The War of Saint Sabas (1256–1270) was a conflict between the rival Italian maritime republics of Genoa (aided by Philip of Montfort, Lord of Tyre, John of Arsuf, and the Knights Hospitaller) and Venice (aided by the Count of Jaffa and Ascalon and the Knights Templar), over control of Acre, in the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

Siege of Aleppo

Siege of Aleppo

1260 Jan 18 - Jan 20
, Aleppo

After receiving the submission of Harran and Edessa, Mongol leader Hulagu Khan crossed the Euphrates, sacked Manbij and placed Aleppo under siege. He was supported by forces of Bohemond VI of Antioch and Hethum I of Armenia. For six days the city was under siege. Assisted by catapults and mangonels, Mongol, Armenian and Frankish forces overran the entire city, except for the citadel which held out until 25 February and was demolished following its capitulation. The ensuing massacre, that lasted six days, was methodical and thorough, in which nearly all Muslims and Jews were killed, though most of the women and children were sold into slavery. Also included in the destruction, was the burning of the Great Mosque of Aleppo.

Following the siege, Hulagu had some of Hethum's troops executed for burning the mosque, Some sources state Bohemond VI of Antioch (leader of the Franks) personally saw to the mosque's destruction. Later, Hulagu Khan returned castles and districts to Hethum which had been taken by the Ayyubids.

Siege of Antioch

Siege of Antioch

1268 May 1
, Antakya/Hatay

In 1260, Baibars, the Sultan of Egypt and Syria, began to threaten the Principality of Antioch, a Crusader state, which (as a vassal of the Armenians) had supported the Mongols. In 1265, Baibars took Caesarea, Haifa and Arsuf. A year later, Baibars conquered Galilee and devastated Cilician Armenia. The siege of Antioch occurred in 1268 when the Mamluk Sultanate under Baibars finally succeeded in capturing the city of Antioch.

The Hospitaller fortress Krak des Chevaliers fell three years later. While Louis IX of France launched the Eighth Crusade ostensibly to reverse these setbacks, it went to Tunis, instead of Constantinople, as Louis' brother, Charles of Anjou, had initially advised, though Charles I clearly benefited from the treaty between Antioch and Tunis that ultimately resulted from the Crusade.

By the time of his death in 1277, Baibars had confined the Crusaders to a few strongholds along the coast and they were forced out of the Middle East by the beginning of the fourteenth century. The fall of Antioch was to prove as detrimental to the crusaders cause as its capture was instrumental in the initial success of the first Crusade.

Eighth Crusade

Eighth Crusade

1270 Jan 1
, Ifriqiya

The Eighth Crusade was the second Crusade launched by Louis IX of France, this one against the Hafsid dynasty in Tunisia in 1270. It is also known as the Crusade of Louis IX against Tunis or the Second Crusade of Louis. The Crusade did not include any significant combat and Louis died by dysentery shortly after arriving on the shores of Tunisia. His army dispersed back to Europe soon after the Treaty of Tunis was negotiated.

The fall of Tripoli to the Mamluks, April 1289

Fall of Tripoli

1289 Mar 1 - Jan
, Tripoli

The Fall of Tripoli was the capture and destruction of the Crusader state, the County of Tripoli (in what is modern-day Lebanon), by the Muslim Mamluks. The battle occurred in 1289 and was an important event in the Crusades, as it marked the capture of one of the few remaining major possessions of the Crusaders. The event is represented in a rare surviving illustration from a now fragmentary manuscript known as the 'Cocharelli Codex', thought to have been created in Genoa in the 1330s. The image shows the countess Lucia, Countess of Tripoli and Bartholomew, Bishop of Tortosa (granted the apostolic seat in 1278) sitting in state in the centre of the fortified city, and Qalawun's assault in 1289, with his army depicted massacring the inhabitants fleeing to boats in the harbour and to the nearby island of St Thomas.

Matthieu de Clermont défend Ptolémaïs en 1291, by Dominique Papety (1815–49) at Versailles

Fall of Acre

1291 Apr 4 - May 18
, Acre

The siege of Acre (also called the fall of Acre) took place in 1291 and resulted in the Crusaders losing control of Acre to the Mamluks. It is considered one of the most important battles of the period. Although the crusading movement continued for several more centuries, the capture of the city marked the end of further crusades to the Levant. When Acre fell, the Crusaders lost their last major stronghold of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem. They still maintained a fortress at the northern city of Tartus (today in north-western Syria), engaged in some coastal raids, and attempted an incursion from the tiny island of Ruad, but when they lost that as well in 1302 in the siege of Ruad, the Crusaders no longer controlled any part of the Holy Land.

Portrait of Catherine Cornaro, the last monarch of Cyprus

Crusader Kingdom of Cyprus

1291 May 19
, Cyprus

When Acre fell in 1291, Henry II, last crowned King of Jerusalem, escaped to Cyprus with most of his nobles. Henry continued to rule as King of Cyprus, and continued to claim the kingdom of Jerusalem as well, often planning to recover the former territory on the mainland. He attempted a coordinated military operation in 1299/1300 with Ghazan, the Mongol Ilkhan of Persia, when Ghazan invaded Mameluk territory in 1299; he tried to stop Genoese ships from trading with the Mamluks, hoping to weaken them economically; and he twice wrote to Pope Clement V asking for a new crusade.

His reign in Cyprus was prosperous and wealthy, and he was very much involved with the justice and administration of the kingdom. However, Cyprus was in no position to fulfill his true ambition, the recovery of the Holy Land. The kingdom eventually came to be dominated more and more in the 14th century by the Genoese merchants. Cyprus therefore sided with the Avignon Papacy in the Great Schism, in the hope that the French would be able to drive out the Italians. The Mamluks then made the kingdom a tributary state in 1426; the remaining monarchs gradually lost almost all independence, until 1489 when the last queen, Catherine Cornaro, was forced to sell the island to the Republic of Venice.


1292 Jan 1
, Acre

After Acre fell, the Hospitallers relocated first to Cyprus, then conquered and ruled Rhodes (1309–1522) and Malta (1530–1798). The Sovereign Military Order of Malta survives to the present-day. Philip IV of France probably had financial and political reasons to oppose the Knights Templar. He exerted pressure on Pope Clement V, who responded in 1312 by dissolving the order on probably false grounds of sodomy, magic, and heresy. The raising, transportation, and supply of armies led to flourishing trade between Europe and the crusader states. The Italian city-states of Genoa and Venice flourished through profitable trading communes. Many historians argue that the interaction between western Christian and Islamic cultures was a significant and ultimately positive influence on the development of European civilisation and the Renaissance. Relations between Europeans and the Islamic world stretched across the length of the Mediterranean Sea, making it difficult for historians to identify what proportion of cultural cross-fertilisation originated in the crusader states, Sicily and Spain.


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