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The Seventh Crusade (1248 to 1254)

The Seventh Crusade, which took place between 1248 and 1254, centered on Egypt. It was a crusade led by Louis IX of France. In this article, you will learn how much money was paid in ransom for the King and who ended up with a victory.

In the Beginning  

Before the start of the Seventh Crusade, the Khwarezmians, who had been recently displaced by the actions of the Mongols, took over Jerusalem in 1244. All of this took place when soldiers were on their way to become allies with the Egyptian Mamluks. Once again, Jerusalem was under Muslim control. This time around, this exchange did not break the European Christians as badly as past losses. By now, the city had passed the hands of control between Christian and Muslim forces many times. Even though the Pope called for action, the enthusiasm to launch another crusade was gravely lacking.

A struggle between religious and government power continued to brew between Pope Innocent IV and the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II. At this time, Frederick had captured and imprisoned clerics who were on their way to the First Council of Lyon. In 1245, Innocent IV formally deposed him. This left the Roman Emperor in no position to crusade, as Pope Gregory IX had earlier offered King Louis’ brother, count Robert of Artois, the German throne. This request was refused by Louis. Other notable people in Europe were busy struggling against their personal opposition. This left only one individual with an interest in starting up another crusade , Louis IX, who made his desire known to travel East in 1245.

Highlights of the Seventh Crusade

At this time, France was considered the strongest state in Europe because by now, Provence was under Parisian control. Louis IX’s brother, Alphone of Poitiers ruled Poitou, and joined the crusades in 1245. Another brother later joined the effort, Charles I of Anjou. Over the next three years, Louis gathered money to support the crusades, mostly using church tithes. In 1248, he finally embarked on his mission with about 15,000 men in an army that included 3,000 knights and 5,000 crossbowmen. Traveling on 36 ships, the men left from Marseille and the ports of Aigues-Mortes, which had been especially established just for the crusade.

The financial preparation for the voyage was impressive and well organized, as he raised a great deal of money. On the other hand, many nobles who supported Louis actually borrowed money from the royal treasury. In the end, the crusade was a rather expensive mission. First, Louis sailed to Cyprus and stayed on the island throughout the winter. He set up shop and held negotiations with other powers in the east. During this time, the Latin Empire (which was established after the Fourth Crusade) requested assistance against the Byzantine Empire of Nicaea. The Knights Templar wanted his help in Syria to conquer the Muslims who had recently captured Sidon.

The end of the Seventh Crusade saw the creation of an alliance between Louis and the Mamluks, who were at one time , rivals with one another. Funds ran out for Louis in 1254 and he was needed in France because his mother and regent Blanche of Castile had recently passed away.