The crusades were the result of the Pope wanting to get back the holy land with Jerusalem and its surrounding biblically historic cities. They had been taken over by the Muslims in their conquest, and now they were wanted back by the Christians. There were four major Crusades, and countless other smaller ones. The first crusade was the only one that could really be called a success, and all the others got slowly worse. The fourth crusade was a complete and total flop of a failure. The crusaders even sacked Christian cities!
There were also things like the Children's crusade, a very sad event. Since their families were off fighting crusades, they decided to join the fun. There were two groups, a French one and a German one. The French one very sadly ran into some slave traders, Hugo Ferreus and William Porcus, and were tricked into getting on their ship. The traders said they would transport across the Mediterranean sea for free for the sake of God, but they had other plans, and the children were sold into slavery. The German group traveled until they had lost thirteen thousand, and were later blocked by the bishop in Brindisi.
Here is some more detailed information on the first four crusades:
- The First Crusade
- The First Crusade took place from 1095 to 1099 and was the only crusade to capture Jerusalem. Before the Crusades, there were many restless knights with nothing to do but fight each other, so this crusade was a good outlet for their excess energy. This Crusade also made pilgrims safer on their travels and kept the battle farther from home so the land still owned by the Christians wasn't damaged or taken. The main objective was to retake Jerusalem and the Holy Sepulcher. The leaders of this Crusade were Godfrey of Bouillon, Pope Urban II, Walter the Penniless, and Peter the Hermit. The outcome of this Crusade was that they captured Antioch and Jerusalem, and established the Crusader states.
- The Second Crusade
- This Crusade took place from 1145 to 1148 and the mission was to recapture Edessa, which had been captured by the Muslims while the Crusaders were busy elsewhere. Edessa was one of the Crusader states, and it was important enough to want to get back. The leaders of this Crusade were Emperor Konrad III, Louis VII of France, Bernard of Clairveaux, and Pope Eugenius III. The Crusaders did not actually get Edessa back, and because of this, everyone began to lose hope, since a Holy Crusade had failed.
- The Third Crusade
- The Third Crusade started in 1187 and ended in 1191. The mission of this Crusade was to regain Jerusalem now that Saladin had taken it back. This Crusade is famous for its leaders. These were Richard the Lion-Hearted, Emperor Fredrick Barbarossa, and Philip Augustus, King of France. Now this Crusade wasn't exactly a failure, like the second, but it wasn't really a success either. Jerusalem wasn't completely taken, it still had Muslim control, but Christians had free access to it. But there were other places taken by the Crusaders too, these were Cyprus and some towns along the coast of the Mediterranean.
- The Fourth Crusade
- This Crusade from 1198 to 1204 was a disgrace to all Christians and a complete mess of failure. The mission was a very general one: try to attack the Muslim powers holding the Holy land, but they never even got there. The cities they did sack though were Christian! First Zara, then Constantinople itself! The reason was because they had no money or suplies, but it was still inexcusable.