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Ognibeni 1 Subject: History Research Question: Were the Crusaders Effective in Achieving Their Goals? Lorenzo Ognibeni 2013/ 12/16 Mr. Neema 9th Grade Geography Research Project Word Count: 2913 Ognibeni 2 Table of Contents Title Page 1 Table of Contents 2 Abstract 3 Introduction 4 History 5 What the Crusaders achieved 7 How the Crusaders slowed down Islamic expansions 8 Were they effective? 9 Reasons for why the Crusades weren’t effective 10 Conclusion 13 Works Cited Page 14 Ognibeni 3 Abstract This essay examines whether the Crusaders were effective in achieving their goals. Answering the question involved secondary research on the history and motives of the Crusades and various impacts and effects of the Crusades. It also involves research of reasons that make us consider the Crusades as a failure or as a success. The essay explores the historical background of the Crusades and motives for launching the Crusades. Building on the historical background, the essay attempts to determine the various impacts and the effects of the Crusades. The essay also explores the historical importance of the Crusades by evaluating its impacts on the world. The essay also examines reasons that make us consider the Crusades as a failure or as a success. After reaching a conclusion on whether the Crusaders were effective or not, the essay determines key reasons to their failure or success. An analysis of the information is carried out to reach a conclusion to determine if the Crusaders were effective in achieving their goals. The conclusion arrived at is that the Crusaders were not effective in achieving their goals and had little success, however they still had some positive outcomes and impacts , thus making them not a total failure. Word Count: 203 Ognibeni 4 Introduction The Crusades were very important events in history that helped shape the world we live in today. Imagine a world without Islam; it would be quite a different story than what we see today. The Crusaders were trying to accomplish that while trying to conquer the Holy Land. However they didn’t eliminate the Islamic world, nor did they conquer the Holy Land. They did not achieve their primary goals; however there were other things that they achieved. Overall, were the Crusades effective? This is an important subject to study because 1,000 years after the Crusades, there still is a religious conflict in the land of Palestine. After research, my conclusion is that the Crusades were not effective in achieving their goals. The Crusades were a series of military expeditions to the Islamic Middle East during the early middle ages. They lasted from 1096 A.D. to 1272 A.D. They were mostly launched by the Roman Catholic Church and its popes and were fought in the name of the Holy Land. However, the Crusaders came from all over Europe, mostly from the Holy Roman Empire, the Kingdom of France, the Kingdom of England, the Kingdom of Portugal and the County of Holland. (Madison) They fought against the Muslims, Ognibeni 5 the Seljuk Turks and the Byzantine Empire with the purpose of conquering Jerusalem and the Holy Land for the church and keeping it under Christian control. There were eight major crusades that were sent to the Holy Land over the span of around 200 years. (Zahoor) History Pope Urban II formed the First Crusade in 1096; it was also called the People’s Crusade. It was formed mostly of thieves and criminals as the pope proclaimed that anyone who joined the Crusades would be relieved of all his sins and criminal penance. Around 60,000 men and women pillaged across Europe. (Zahoor) In reaching Hungary, the Crusaders encountered Paulicians in a major battle. Some twothirds of the Crusaders were killed. Reinforcements of better-trained soldiers led by Godfrey were sent to join the remnants of the first Crusaders. (Zahoor) Godfrey eventually reached and conquered Jerusalem in 1099. (Edmonds) The Second Crusade was undertaken forty-eight years after the conquest of Jerusalem in 1147 in order to support the survivors of the First Crusade. The Crusaders ate the poorest quality of food which was let down to them from the walls in baskets as city gates in Asia and Europe were closely barred against them.(Edmonds) The Crusaders were plagued by famine and many of them died before they reached Palestine. The survivors were killed in battle. Jerusalem was reconquered by the Muslims in 1187. Ognibeni 6 (Zahoor) The Third Crusade was led by Richard the Lion Heart of England, yet they failed to recapture Jerusalem. Richard returned to England in 1192 with the remnants of an army which had been destroyed by shipwrecks and war. (Zahoor)The Fourth Crusade chose an easier object of conquest, Constantinople. In 1203, they pillaged and plundered the ancient capital of the East. The booty ransacked from Constantinople greatly increased the wealth of the Roman Catholic Church. (Madison) However, they did not capture the Holy Land. The Fifth Crusade initially directed the main force against Egypt. The Crusade’s forces were trapped in the Nile flooding, eventually causing them defeat.(Madison) Led by King Louis IX of France, the Sixth Crusade proved to be another failure, never getting anywhere near the Holy Land. In the seventh crusade, led again by King Louis IX of France, the same thing happened as the crusaders were defeated in Egypt. The eighth crusade lasted only a year, led once again by King Louis IX of France. The project was another failure after King Louis IX died of disease while attacking Carthage (modern day Tunis). The ninth and last crusade was led by future English King Edward I. Edward reached the Holy Land but got no where further in conquering it either. (Edmonds) One out of nine of the major Crusades was truly successful, the first. The Crusaders were defeated time after time in Palestine, Egypt, Tunisia and at times even inside Europe while the death toll reached an astonishing three million. (Madison) Ognibeni 7 After the Holy Land was conquered during the First Crusade, many of the Crusaders returned to Europe. In order to protect the Christians settlements in the Holy Land, the Knights Templar and Knights Hospitalers were created. (Bocchieri) Knights Templar was the most powerful military monastic order which took part in the Crusades. It was formed from several groups of knights to protect Christian pilgrims in the Holy Land. They kept under their control many key castles in the east and participated in every major battle. (Bocchieri) The Knights Hospitalers was another powerful military order; its primary purpose included caring for sick and wounded knights of the Crusading Army. (Bocchieri) Together, they became the pillar that kept Christian activities in the east still active. What the Crusaders achieved The Crusades’ main purpose was to take the Holy Land back into Christian hands and eliminate Islam. They didn’t succeed in anyone of those two; however there were some other benefits that the Crusades brought to the Christian world. First of all, the Crusaders did conquer and keep the Holy Land in Christian control for a short period of time, around 88 years. The Crusaders liberated old sea and land trade routes. (Mahorney) Crucial maritime trade routes such as the Mediterranean, Black and Red Seas reopened trades between the East and the West. The Crusaders were able to grasp hold of Constantinople, a link between the Mediterranean and Black Seas. They Ognibeni 8 also established a trade route between the Mediterranean and Red Sea by taking control of the Holy Land for a period of time. (Edmonds) Land trade routes were reopened as well. Old roads built during the Roman Empire were rebuilt to transport the Crusaders. Trade also followed their footsteps. With new trade routes, goods from the East such as exotic fruits, spices and silk poured into Europe. (Cline) The increase in demand of those goods greatly increased the wealth of merchants. New ideas and technologies came to Europe as well. Chinese paper printing technologies and Arabic advancements in mathematics, medicine and science were just some of them. (Cline) How the Crusaders slowed down Islamic expansions The Crusaders weren’t very effective in conquering the Holy Land and eliminating Islam. However, they did manage to slow down the expansion of the Islamic world. During the period of the Crusades, Europe was experiencing its dark ages while the Arab world was at its pinnacle. They flourished culturally, scientifically and in every possible way. (Cline) It was also conquering Christian territories and expanding at an incredible rate. Islam had already taken over North Africa and was reaching into the Iberian Peninsula (modern day Spain and Portugal). The Muslim Empire defeated the Byzantine Empire and was reaching into Eastern Europe through Constantinople. It fhas also swallowed Asia Minor (modern day Turkey), which was the only Christian Ognibeni 9 territory in the Middle East. (Mahorney) The Muslim Empire covered as much as 15 million square kilometers of land at its peak in 750 AD. The Muslim Empire grew from almost nothing to 15 million square kilometers of land in just 120 years. (Madison) Islam seemed unstoppable, Europe had to defend its self, or convert to Islam, but that was not a solution. That’s where the Crusaders stepped in. The Crusades happened around 1,100 AD, after the Muslim Empire’s expansion in the 8th Century. The Muslim Empire maintained its peak from the 8th Century to the 12th Century. (Mahorney) However, there is no major expansion from the Muslim side during that time. The Muslim Empire reached its peak and just froze for four centuries before it gradually decreased in size. This freeze in Muslim expansion wasn’t just all works of the Crusaders of course, but they certainly contributed. Were they effective? The First Crusade was truly successful. Considering the limited circumstances of transportation and communication, and having the need to constantly defend the land from Muslim Invaders, keeping a piece of land that far from home, like the Holy land, in Christian hands for 88 years is impressive. However, considering that over three million crusaders died in the crusades, they should have achieved more. The booty ransacked from cities in the east like Constantinople, Carthage and Nicaea was nowhere near to the amount that was spent on the Crusades. (Cline) The Crusades eventually were such a costly business, both financially and in terms of lives that the Ognibeni 10 Roman Catholic Church stopped dedicating all of its money and time to the Crusades, which further weakened the Crusades. (Madison) Considering the benefits it brought to the Christian world and what was spent on the Crusades, the Crusades were a “successful failure”. Reasons that made the Crusades ineffective Many factors contributed to the failure of the Crusades, such as bad decision making, lack of basic knowledge of the land, their greediness and lack of unity. In the Fifth Crusade, the Catholic Church started diverting its attention to defeating Muslims in Spain and North Africa and defeating anti-church movements in Europe. (Cline) Since it was impossible to keep offensives on all fronts, the Church had to focus on targets that were closer and a bigger threat to Rome, therefore making the Crusades a secondary mission. Less time, men and money were put into the Crusades, making it even harder to conquer the Holy Land. (Edmonds) During the Sixth and Seventh Crusades, troops led by King Louis IX of France were defeated twice in Egypt; King Louis IX lacked a basic understanding of the land the Crusaders were marching on, which caused them to end up in very disadvantageous locations. For example, King Louis‘s troops traveled up the Nile river by boats during the annual Nile flooding. The Crusaders never knew that the waters would soon Ognibeni 11 retrieve, so their boats were left stranded in the Nile River, making them extremely easy targets for Egyptian troops. (Edmonds) Bad decision making also hurt the Crusaders. During the Sixth and Seventh Crusades to Egypt, the Crusaders conquered the region of Damietta (the region of the Nile delta). The Egyptians offered a deal that the Crusaders would leave Damietta in exchange for the control of Jerusalem. King Louis turned down the deal; the Egyptians took back Damietta by force and the Crusaders lost everything. (Bocchieri) Secondly, the Christians were offered a chance to work with the Mongols against the Muslims. The Mongols were fighting Islam in the East, while the Christians were fighting Islam in the West. As some of the Mongol leaders were Orthodox Christians, when they saw the Crusaders struggling, they offered to help. As the Mongol empire was also flourishing, their combined forces would have almost definitely eliminated Islam. The deal was turned down by the Christians and they never succeeded in anything again. (Cline) Many other factors led to Christian defeats in battles. One of them was the lack of unity between the troops and leaders. The Crusaders came from different countries and backgrounds and many of them untrained. Therefore there was a lack of unity and trust among them that made them more vulnerable. The leaders often had disputes and could not agree on strategies, tactics, etc. During the Third Crusade, King Richard I of England joined his close friend King Philip II of France. Unsettled disputes in their Ognibeni 12 personal lives made them unhappy about working with each other. The two armies never worked closely together and led to many unnecessary losses. (Zahoor) The Crusaders’ greediness was also one of their weaknesses. Many Crusaders joined the marching armies in order to ransack booty from wealthy capitals of the east and get rich the easy way, even if they rarely succeeded in that. (Mavromatis) This cost them a major defeat in the Battle of Al Mansurah. During the Seventh Crusade, King Louis IX’s troops were attacking the royal city of Al Mansurah in Egypt. The Egyptians purposely opened the city gate. Naturally, 70,000 Crusaders rushed inside the city, only to find themselves trapped. 15,000 Muslim troops slaughtered and defeated the Crusaders even when they were grossly outnumbered. (Smail) The two armies had different troops and tactics, which had a huge impact on the outcomes. The Islamic armies were mostly made up of light cavalry who fought with bow and arrow from horseback. They used mobility to exhaust their opponents in order to break their formation. Once their opponents were separated, they would launch a final attack together with heavy cavalry. (Mavromatis) The Crusaders fought mostly with heavy cavalry, but they were forced to adapt their opponent’s tactics. Their response to archers on horseback was their own archers and crossbows. (Smail) They created the fighting march in order to cover up their weaknesses. The goal was to have the infantry shield the cavalry from enemy fire while keeping the enemy at a distance with their own crossbows. When it was time to counter attack, the infantry shield would open to allow the heavy cavalry to come out of the formation and go into Ognibeni 13 battle. It was described by Muslims as “the moving castle”. (Bocchieri) Discipline was extremely important when using this tactic. Crusaders were given a specific place to stand and were ordered not to move unless they were told to; the soldiers had to stand their ground even if they were attacked by heavy fire. (Bocchieri) The Arabs utilized their speed and mobility to tire the heavily armed Crusaders. And the fact that the Crusaders’ strategies were created for small confrontations in Europe, which were totally different from large scale battles in the Middle East, meant that the Crusaders had to change strategies at the last minute, making them unprepared for battle. (Bocchieri) The Arabs also had better knowledge of the terrain and geography of the region, and the Arab troops with their high mobility were more suitable for the rough terrains of Asia Minor and Palestine. (Smail) Conclusion In conclusion, the Crusades were not effective because they did not achieve their primary goals. They did control Jerusalem for 88 years and contributed to the freeze in Islamic expansion. However, they were not able to keep the Holy Land under Christian control. They were also too costly in terms of money and lives. The Crusaders could have achieved better results with the resources they had at hand. However, bad decision making, lack of knowledge of the region, greediness, lack of unity and not enough preparation for battles made them unsuccessful. Only King Louis and his “great” decision making are able to mess up so badly. He turned down a Ognibeni 14 deal which was in favor of the Crusaders; the exchange of Damietta for Jerusalem, twice. He also managed to turn down a chance to work with the powerful Mongols. These three decisions greatly influenced the history of the Crusades; it made them more of a failure than they already were. Overall, the Crusades were a “successful failure”. Ognibeni 15 Works Cited Page 1. Cline, Austine. "Military, Political, Religious, and Social Consequences of the Crusades." About.com, 2013. Web. 2 Dec. 2013. <http://atheism.about.com/od/crusades/a/crusadesoutcome_3.htm>. 2. Bocchieri, Andrew. "Crusades Headquarters." ThinkQuest. Oracle Foundation, 1998. Web. 2 Dec. 2013. <http://library.thinkquest.org/18110/>. 3. Edmonds, Molly. "How the Crusades Worked." HowStuffWorks, 2013. Web. 24 Dec. 2013. <http://history.howstuffworks.com/middleages/crusades6.htm>. 4. Madison, James. "The Crusades (1095-1798)." The Free Resource RSS, 2013. Web. 7 Dec. 2013. <http://www.thefreeresource.com/the-crusades-1095-1798timeline-history-facts-and-resources>. 5. Mahorney, David. "What Did the Crusades Accomplish?" Web log post. Selfinterestss Weblog. WordPress, 2008. Web. 10 Dec. 2013. <http://selfinterests.wordpress.com/2008/05/29/crusades/>. 6. Mavromatis, O. "Crusades and Crusaders." Crusades. Medievalwarfare, 2010. Web. 24 Dec. 2013. <http://www.medievalwarfare.info/crusades.htm>. Ognibeni 16 7. Smail, R.C. "What Sort of Tactics Did the Muslim Armies Use during the Crusades?" AskHistorians. Reddit, 2012. Web. 28 Nov. 2013. <http://www.reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/comments/13t3d5/what_sort_of_tacti cs_did_the_muslim_armies_use/>. 8. Zahoor, A., Dr. "A Brief Account of the Crusades." Cyberistan, 1996. Web. 10 Dec. 2013. <http://www.cyberistan.org/islamic/crusades1.htm>.