The Crusades

History of War - War in The Middle East

The Crusades in 1095 till 1291 were conducted by the Roman Catholic Europe and the Holy Roman Empire and involved a procession of religiously sanctioned military campaigns. They were fought over of period about 200 years by mainly Roman Catholic forces against Muslims.

Campaigns were also fought against Jews, Balts, Mongols, Cathars, Old Prussians, Hussites, Russian and Orthodox Christians and political enemies of a various popes.  Crusaders took vows and were rewarded with generous indulgences. The Crusaders main goal originally was to recapture the Holy Land and Jerusalem from Muslim rule and was instigated in response to an appeal from Christian Byzantine Empire against the expansion of the Muslim Seljuk Turks into Anatolia.

The Crusades made an impact on political, economic, and social impacts and some have continued on into contemporary times. Internal conflicts occurred among the Christian Kingdoms and political powers and caused a diversion from their main aim. For example in the Fourth Crusade, Christian Constantinople was sacked and the division of the Byzantine Empire between Venice and the Crusaders. The first crusade to set sail without the blessing of the Pope was in the Sixth Crusade. Mamluk and Hafsid victories occurred in the Seventh and Eighth Crusades. The Ninth Crusade signified the end of the Crusades in the Middle East.

In Christianity the Holy Land holds significance because it is a place of ministry, nativity crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. The Roman Emperor Constantine's conversion to Christianity and the founding of the Byzantine Empire, after the division of the Roman Empire made the Holy Land a mostly Christian region. The Crusades started with the developments in Western Europe earlier in the Middle Ages, as well as the breakdown of the Byzantine Empire in the east caused by new move of Turkish Muslim attacks. The first Crusades released a move of vehement , personally felt pious Christian anger that was expressed in the slaughters of Jews that accompanied the movement of the Crusader mass through Europe.

The collapse of the Carolingian Empire in the late 9th century, incorporated with the relative offset of local European borders after the Christianization of the Vikings, Slavs, and Magyars, produced a large amount of armed warriors whose vigour were lost fighting one another and tormenting the local populace.  The Crusades had a large effect on the European Middles Ages. The development of centralised bureaucracies was finding its way to France, Spain, England, Portugal and Burgandy, partly due to the supremacy of the church at the beginning of the crusading era.

Trade flourished through out Europe due to the need for transport and supply large armies. An increase of traffic was found on roads unused since the days of Rome and local merchants took advantage to expand.  An increase of trade brought about unknown, rare and costly goods to Europeans. This included goods such as ivory, jade, diamonds a variety of spices, early forms of gun powder, improved techniques of glass manufacturing, oranges, apples and many other products. The Crusades was a turning point in history and viewed as part of a macro historical event in which Western Europe, primarily by its ability in naval warfare, marine siege and trade was able to excel in all spheres of civilisation.

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