The Third Crusade

History of War - War in The Middle East




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The Third Crusade which occurred in 1189-1192 also known as the Kings Crusade. The Crusade was an attempt for European Leaders to reconquer the Holy Land from Saladin which was a successful but ultimately fell short of the main goal of the reconquest of Jerusalem.


The Second Crusade was a failure and the Zengid dynasty administered a united Syria and were involved in warfare with the Fatimad rulers of Egypt. This resulted in the joining together of Syrian  and Egyptian forces under the rule of Saladin whom instructed them to reduce the Christian states and to reclaim Jerusalem in 1187. Nur ad-Din Zangi  had control of Damascus and a united Syria.

Nur ad-Din was eager to expand his authority and power and set his sights on the Fatimid dynasty of Egypt. In 1163, Shirkuh whom was Nur ad-Din's most trustworthy general set out on a military campaign to the Nile. His young son, Saladin accompanied him. Shirkuh's troops set up camp just outside of of Cairo and Shawar, Egypt's Sultan called upon King Amalric I of Jerusalem for reinforcement. In 1164, Amalric in response sent an army into Egypt and attacked Shirkuh's army at Bilbeis. 

Gregory VIII the new pope announced that the capture of Jerusalem was disciplinary action for the sins of Christians across Europe. Philip II of France and Henry II of England ended their war with one another and both administered a “Saladin tithe” on their citizens to finance the venture.
Henry II of England and Phillip II of France ended their contention with one another to lead a new crusade. The Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa answered to the call of arms and led an army across Anatolia, but tragically drowned before reaching the the Holy Land.

The Muslims were driven away from Acre and the Christian powers argued bitterly over the ruins of war, disappointed  with Richard, whom was Frederick's successor Leopold V of Austria and Philip left the Holy Land in August 1191.
Saladin failed in defeating Richard in any armed forces engagements, thus allowing Richard to secure more coastal cities.  On September 2, 1192, Richard consummated a treaty with Saladin in which Jerusalem would remain under Muslim control.

Richard departed the Holy Land on October 9. In  December 1192, Richard was arrested and imprisoned by Duke Leopold, on suspicion of him murdering his cousin Conrad of Montferrat. He was later relocated to the custody of the Holy Emperor, Henry VI, in which it took one hundred fifty thousand marks ransom to secure his release.

Saladin died in 1193 of yellow fever and left behind only one piece of gold and forty seven pieces of silver. In 1197, Henry of Champagne was killed tragically in an accidental fall. Queen Isabella then went on to marry a fourth time to Amalric of Lusigan, whom had succeeded his brother Guy and positioned as King of Cyprus. Failure of the Third Crusade lead to the call for a Fourth Crusade six years after the third ending in 1192.

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