A Breakdown of the Crusades

The Crusades were broken down into different waves of action, which had their own time periods and references. For instance, the First Crusade took place between 1095 and 1099. A Fourth Crusade began in 1202 and ended in 1204. A rundown of the significant events, people, accomplishments, and territories regarding the First Crusades includes:

The Start of the First Crusade (1095 to 1099)

The First Crusade took place in the Near East and involved Anatolia, Levant, and Palestine. It was military expedition aimed at reclaiming the Holy Lands that the Muslim conquest of the Levant had acquired. Pope Urban II launched the Crusades in 1095 in hopes of fulfilling the Byzantine Emperor Alexius I’s request of gaining western volunteers to come to his aid.

During the first wave of the Crusades, there were many different players, including Godfrey of Bouillon, the medieval Frankish knight who became the first ruler of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. When he did so, he abandoned the title of ‘king.’ In the end, there was a decisive Crusader victory during the First Crusade that led to the territorial changes regarding the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Other Crusader states were created.

Following their newfound control of Jerusalem, the Crusaders established four Crusader states: the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the County of Edessa, the Principality of Antioch, and the County of Tripoli. In the beginning, the Muslims did not immediately retaliate against the Crusader states because they suffered a great deal of internal conflicts. However, when they were able to sort out their differences, the Muslims began to reunite under the leadership of Imad al-Din Zangi. His first measure was to retake Edessa, which was the first city to fall to the Crusaders. They took back the city in 1144. This was the action that prompted the Pope to call for a second Crusade.

Highlights of the First Crusade

There were about 35,000 men who fought on the side of the Crusader. 30,000 belonged to infantry while the rest were part of the cavalry. For the Byzantines, there were about 2,000 men.
The Council of Clermont played an important role in jumpstarting the First Crusade. Comprised of a mixed group of ecclesiastics and laymen of the Catholic Church, they met from November 18 to November 28, 1095 at Clermont, France. It was during this time that Pope Urban II delivered a speech on November 27 that would spark the Crusades.

To learn more about the Crusades, continue on with the article titled, ” The Second Crusade (1147 to 1149),” which describes the turn of events, which saw Muslims and other groups overturn some of the accomplishments made during the First Crusade.