Timeline of the Crusades
The Crusades were a series of 9 military expeditions which sought to recapture Jerusalem and other places sacred to Christianity from the Muslims. Pope Urban II formally launched them in the late 11th century to help the Byzantine Empire against the Seljuk Turks. Soon, however, the Holy Land became the primary objective of the crusaders, many of which weren’t led only by noble motives but economic, political, and social as well. Listed below are nine crusades to the Holy Land between the 11th and 13th centuries.
The First Crusade: 1096 to 1099
The First Crusade was launched after Pope Urban’s call to help fellow Eastern Christians against the Muslims. Conquered lands were supposed to be returned to the Byzantine Empire, but after capturing Jerusalem in 1099, the crusade leaders divided the territories among themselves. They created the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the Principality of Antioch, the County of Tripoli, and the County of Edessa. They established themselves as the rulers of the newly formed crusader states in the Holy Land.
The Second Crusade: 1147 to 1149
The Church called for the second military expedition to the Holy Land to recapture the County of Edessa, which fell to the Muslims in 1144. Two kings, Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany, decided to lead the crusade. One year later, they laid siege to Damascus, but after failing to capture the city, the German king decided he had enough and left the Holy Land. Unfortunately, his French counterpart followed his example and the Second Crusade ended, failing to achieve anything.
The Third Crusade: 1189 to 1192
Also known as the King’s Crusade because it was participated by as many as three European kings, the Third Crusade was launched after the fall of Jerusalem by the Muslim leader Saladin in 1187. However, Frederick I (Barbarossa) of Germany died on the way to the Holy Land, while Philip II soon departed for France due to conflicts with Richard I of England. The latter won several notable battles but failed to recapture Jerusalem. Before returning to Europe, however, the English king negotiated free access to Jerusalem for Christian pilgrims.
The Fourth Crusade: 1201 to 1204
Unable to cope with the loss of Jerusalem, Pope Innocent III energetically preached for crusades. He raised an army of crusaders who, however, never made it to the Holy Land. On their way to Jerusalem, they captured the Adriatic city of Zara for Venice, and shortly after that, they got involved in the struggle for the Byzantine throne. Instead of recapturing Jerusalem as the Pope hoped, the Fourth Crusade ended with the Sack of Constantinople and forming the short-lived Latin Empire on the conquered Byzantine territories.
The Fifth Crusade: 1217 to 1221
Despite the infamous failure of the Fourth Crusade, the Popes continued to preach about military expeditions to the Holy Land. Pope Innocent’s successor Honorius III managed to convince Andrew II of Hungary and Leopold VI, Duke of Austria, to take up the cross and lead the expedition. First, however, they chose to start their campaign in Egypt. In 1219, they captured the port of Damietta and were offered all the holy cities in return for withdrawing from Egypt. Encouraged by the success, the crusaders refused, which proved to be a mistake. The march to Cairo failed, and the crusaders were forced to return home without capturing either Egypt or the holy cities.
The Sixth Crusade: 1228 to 1229
The Sixth Crusade was a significant success for the crusaders, even though it saw little action. At the same time, the Holy Roman Emperor Frederic II, who led the campaign, was under ex-communication. Shortly after arriving in the Holy Land, Frederick II negotiated with the Egyptian sultan, who agreed to cease Jerusalem, Nazareth, Bethlehem, and other holy cities to the Christians.
The Seventh Crusade: 1248 to 1254
The Seventh Crusade was launched by the French king Louis IX who decided to recapture the Holy Land by conquering Egypt first. Just like the leaders of the Fifth Crusade, Louis IX succeeded in capturing Damietta, but he failed to capture Cairo. In addition, he was taken captive while trying to return to the port of Damietta. A ransom was paid, and the French king was released. But as he prepared for a campaign to the Holy Land, he received a letter that his mother had died and returned to France.
The Eighth Crusade: 1270
In 1270, French king Louis IX decided to give it another try and launched his second crusade. But rather than the Holy Land or Egypt, he chose to start his campaign in Tunis this time. Unfortunately, however, disease broke out among the troops shortly after landing, and the French king, who got ill himself, died shortly after that. His brother Charles of Anjou, who arrived one day before his death, immediately entered into negotiations with the Caliph of Tunis to ensure the safe departure of the crusader army.
The Ninth Crusade 1271–1272
The last in the series of military expeditions that sought to recapture the Holy Land from the Muslims was launched by Prince Edward of England, who also took part in the Eight Crusades. After the French king’s death and the departure of the French crusaders, the English prince decided to launch his expedition. In 1271, he landed in Acre and tried to win support for his cause, but lack of interest and news from England about his father’s illness prompted him to return home. With Prince Edward’s departure, the attempts of Christian Europe to capture the Holy Land finally ended.
Source: Dark Side of the Crusades (Medium)