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The role of the Crusades in the Cultural awakening of the late Middle Ages

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The Crusades were wars between Christians and Muslims, fought in Palestine. In 1071, Turkish Muslims captured Jerusalem. The Muslims stopped the Christians from visiting the holy places in Palestine. Naturally, Christian rulers in Europe were very angry about this.

The Byzantine emperor in Constantinople asked the Pope to help him drive the Turks from the Holy Land. Peter the Hermit and the Pope started the first Crusade. Pope Urban II said that he would forgive the sins of all people who went and fought in the Holy Land. Christians killed thousands of Hungarians, then Germans, then Greeks. Christians also killed Jews. The armies of the first Crusade were successful and took Jerusalem from the Muslims in 1099. The Crusaders set up Christian kingdoms along the coast of Palestine and Syria, and built strong fortresses to defend their new lands.

There were seven more Crusades after the first one. Many of them failed because the Crusaders fought with each other. The Muslims took back much of the Holy Land. When the Muslims took Jerusalem in 1187, the third Crusade set off from Europe. Richard Lion Heart massacred 3,000 innocent Muslim villagers. When they got to the Holy Land, the Crusaders were defeated by the Muslim general, Saladin.

During the 4th Crusade, the Christians sacked Constantinople, but during the 5th Crusade, the Crusaders got caught in the flooding Nile and had to go home. The Children’s Crusade took place between the 4th and 5th Crusades. More than 30,000 French and 20,000 German children were sent to the Crusades. French kids got to Alexandria and were sold into slavery. The German kids got across the Alps, got homesick and deserted and many died (Sedivy).

The Christians went home, and the Holy Lands reverted back to Muslim control The Crusaders stole food from local farmers, ran around in mobs, and brought thousands of mistresses and prostitutes with them(Sedivy). In 1291, the Muslims took the last remaining Christian city at Acre.

During the Crusades, European people learned about the eastern parts of the world. When they returned to Europe, they brought back with them many new things including foods, spices, silk, and paper. They learned about medicine, mathematics, and astronomy from the Arabs, and trade between east and west began to grow.

Mr. Sedivy. Medieval History. Retrieved February 15, 2005, from http://mr_sedivy.tripd.com/med_hist3.html

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