Give an overview of the first, third and sixth crusades. Include who began the crusading movement.

Give an overview of the first, third and sixth crusades. Include who began the crusading movement.

First Crusade (1095–1099)

The First Crusade began on November 27, 1095. It was launched by Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont. The crusade was a form of response to Emperor Alexios I Komnenos of Byzantine Empire. Alexios had asked the Westerners to help him resist the invasion of Seljuk Turks of Anatolia. However, the main objective of the crusade was to recapture the sacred city of Jerusalem and liberate the Eastern Christians from the rule of the Muslims who had become dominant in the region (Hindley, 2003).

In the year 1096, about 100,000 knights, peasants and slaves from Italy, France, Germany and other European nations moved eastwards by land and sea. As they moved, they laid siege on Nicaea, Dorylaeum, and Antioch. The crusaders finally arrived in Jerusalem on June 7, 1099. They laid siege on the city and managed to capture it within a month. They killed many Muslims who had settled in the city. The First Crusade led to the Establishment of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the Principality of Antioch, and other small crusader states (Child, Whittock & Kelly, 2002).

Third Crusade (1187–1192)

The Third Crusade started on October 29, 1187. It was launched by Pope Gregory VIII. The objective of the crusade was to recapture the Holy land from the Muslims. Under the leadership of Saladin, the Muslims of Syria and Egypt got re-united. Saladin had an ambition of reducing Christian states in the Middle East. He managed to take Jerusalem back on September 29, 1187. The Westerners were shocked by this conquest. This turn of events motivated Philip II of France, Henry II of England, and Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa of the Roman Empire to lead a crusade against the Muslims (Murray, 2006).

The forces of the Third Crusade began their journey eastwards in 1189. On their way to the Holy Land, they were demoralized by the death of Henry and Frederick, and political quarrels between France and England. Despite these events, the crusaders managed to put up a spirited fight against their enemies under the leadership of Richard I of England. They captured Jaffa and Acre from the hands of the Muslims. However, the crusaders never recaptured Jerusalem. The Third Crusade came to an end on September 2, 1192 (Hindley, 2003).

Sixth Crusade (1228–1229)

The Sixth Crusade began in 1228. It was launched by Emperor Fredrick II with an intention of recapturing Jerusalem. Unlike other crusades, the Sixth Crusade entailed little acts of actual fighting. Fredrick had previously vowed to organize a crusade. However, he had never done so. As a result, Gregory X was forced to excommunicate him. The excommunication pressurized Fredrick to do something significant. His marriage with Yolanda, the daughter of the King of Jerusalem, also meant that he was obliged to protect the Holy Land (Child, Whittock & Kelly, 2002).

Fredrick started his journey eastwards in June 1228. He set off from Brindisi through the sea and stopped at Cyprus. After a disagreement with John of Ibelin, the Constable of Cyprus, he proceeded to the Holy Land and arrived at Acre in September 1228. By this time, the news of Fredrick’s excommunication had spread all over. As a result, he failed to garner enough support against the Muslims. Instead of fighting, he opted to sign a peace agreement with the Sultan of Egypt Al-Kamil. The Egyptian ruler accepted to give Jerusalem, Sidon, Nazareth and Bethlehem back to the Christians. Fredrick accepted to allow the Muslims to retain their sacred places in Jerusalem (Murray, 2006).

References:

Child, J., Whittock, M. J., & Kelly, N. (2002). The Crusades. London: Heinemann Educational.

Hindley, G. (2003). The Crusades. New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers.

Murray, A. V. (2006). The Crusades: An encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO.

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