CHRONOLOGY OF
THE GREAT CRUSADES

A.D. 1095-1281

1095Byzantine Emperor Alexius Comnenus petitions Pope Urban II for aid against Muslim Seljuk Turks reducing his territory; Turks have taken Jerusalem from Arab Abbasid Dynasty; reports filter back to Europe of Turks persecuting Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem.
1095-1099FIRST CRUSADE: Pope Urban II proclaims crusade at Council of Clermont. Peter the Hermit gains fame preaching crusade.
1096"Peoples' Crusade": slaughter of Rhineland Jews by 'crusaders' under Count Emeco in cities of Speyer, Worms, Mainz, and Cologne; they attack Christian Hungary but are defeated; second 'Peoples' Crusade' ragtag army defeated by Turks at Cibotas in Asia Minor.

Four official Crusader armies start out for Palestine led by French nobility (Franks): Godfrey of Bouillon and his brothers, Eustace and Baldwin, Raymond of Saint-Gilles, Bohemond of Normandy, and Robert of Flanders; Crusaders begin to arrive in Constantinople and pledge loyalty to Emperor Alexius.

1097Crusaders capture Nicaea; Crusaders defeat Turks at Dorylaeum; Duke Baldwin captures Edessa in southern Asia Minor/northern Syria.
1098Count Bohemond and Crusaders capture Antioch; Fatimid caliphate of Egypt (Shi`ites) expels Seljuk Turks and occupies Jerusalem
1099Fall of Jerusalem: Crusaders capture Jerusalem; bloodbath ensues, as they massacre Muslims, Jews and some native Christians; Crusade ends with foundation of Crusader states and kingdoms based in Edessa, Antioch, Tripoli, and Jerusalem; Godfrey rules Jerusalem with title, "Defender of the Holy Sepulcher"; Muslims and Jews are barred from living in city
1100-1187Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem: Godfrey dies (1100); brother Baldwin elected king of Jerusalem; extends control over coastline with Italian and Norwegian navies; by 1112 Arsuf, Caesarea, Acre, Beirut, and Sidon are captured.
1118Death of King Baldwin I, succeeded by cousin, Baldwin II.
1124Crusaders capture Tyre with aid of Venetian fleet.
1131Death of Baldwin II, succeeded by Fulk of Anjou, husband of Baldwin's daughter, Melisende; ends expansionism and stabilizes frontiers.
1143Death of Fulk of Anjou, succeeded by young son, Baldwin III, with Queen Melisende as regent.
1144Turks under Zangi of Mosul retake Edessa, first of Crusader states to fall to Muslim Turks and Arabs.
1146Inspired by fall of Edessa (St.) Bernard of Clairvaux preaches new crusade (1146); he proclaims for first time that Crusaders would receive complete remission of all sin from God.

Death of Zangi, succeeded by son, Nur el-Din, as ruler of Aleppo serving greater Seljuk Empire.

1147-1149SECOND CRUSADE: Led by Holy Roman Emperor Conrad III of Germany and King Louis VII of France; crusade collapses into failure due to stubbornness and egotism of leaders, defeats at Dorylaeum, Edessa and Damascus, and their distrust of Byzantine Emperor Manuel Comnenus. However, in Europe, English fleet captures Lisbon from Muslim Moors and returns it to Christian rule.
1153King Baldwin III captures Ascalon.
1154Nur el-Din occupies Damascus; also controls Aleppo; he is now emir of Syria.
1163Death of Baldwin III, succeeded by his brother, Amalric I, who invades Egypt but fails to capture it, strengthening Arab position and leading to their unification.
1169Salah el-Din (Saladin), a Kurd, appointed as Nur el-Din's deputy in Egypt and commander of Syrian troops protecting Egypt from Crusader attack.
1171Salah el-Din (Saladin) overthrows Shi`ite Fatimid Dynasty of Egypt; he proclaims himself sultan of Egypt under his lord, Emir Nur el-Din.
1174Death of Nur el-Din, succeeded by Salah el-Din (Saladin); he returns to Damascus and becomes emir of Egypt and Syria, founding Ayyubid Dynasty, and uniting into one kingdom Egypt, Syria, parts of Palestine and northern Mesopotamia.

Death of Amalric I, succeeded by 13-year old son, Baldwin IV, suffering from leprosy. regency led by mother, Agnes of Courtenay, and other nobles.

1183Salah el-Din occupies Aleppo, completing encirclement of Latin states.
1185Salah el-Din agrees to truce with Kingdom of Jerusalem and moves to Egypt.

Death of Baldwin IV, succeeded by nephew, Baldwin V, child borne to king's sister, Sibylla; Count Raymond III of Tripoli (& Tiberias) appointed regent; might hope to use regency to become king himself.

1186Baldwin V dies of leprosy; Sibylla crowned queen of Jerusalem; she crowns her second husband as king, Guy of Lusignan (arrived from France); royal court breaks into 2 feuding factions, royal party, led by Guy, Sibylla, the Lusignans, and zealous, ambitious European knight (e.g., Reginald of Chatillon) against the poleins, i.e., lords and barons born in Palestine (e.g., Count Raymond of Tripoli, Balian and Baldwin of Ibelin, and Reginald of Sidon); poleins are despised by European-born knights.

Count Raymond of Tripoli opens friendly dialogue with Salah el-Din seeking support to become king; civil war in Crusader states nearly erupts; Raymond permits Salah el-Din's army to camp in his territory.

1187Outbreak of War: Reginald of Chatillon (ruler of el-Kerak), rashly breaks truce by attacking an Egyptian trade caravan; Salah el-Din proclaims jihad against Latin kingdom; his army attacks along edge of Latin domains and defeats Crusaders; Raymond of Tripoli allows Salah el-Din to use his territories to attack Crusaders.

Raymond vilified for treason and is threatened; he rejoins Crusaders in war against Salah el-Din; however, European-born Crusaders distrust him and other poleins, whom they call traitors for counseling King Guy not to engage Salah el-Din directly in battle; poleins' advice: to await Salah el-Din from a superior battle position; King Guy rejects wise advice and rashly marches against Salah el-Din.

Battle of Hattin: Salah el-Din surrounds and annihilates main Crusader army; captures and imprisons King Guy and Templar Grand Master; executes Reginald of Chatillon, 200 Templars and Hospitallers, and other prisoners; only Raymond of Tripoli, Reginald of Sidon, Balian of Ibelin, and few others escape battle alive; within 3 months, Salah el-Din captures most Crusader strongholds in Galilee and northern Palestine, including: Tiberias, Acre, Toron, Beirut, Sidon, Nazareth, Caesarea, Nablus, Jaffa, and Ascalon.

Conrad of Montferrat, (King Baldwin V's uncle) lands at Tyre with small army; claims throne of Jerusalem; establishes himself and fights off attack by Salah el-Din.

Fall of Jerusalem. Salah el-Din captures Jerusalem (commanded by Balian of Ibelin); he spares lives of Christians and ransoms most of them.

Count Raymond of Tripoli dies of "broken heart"; succeeded by Count of Antioch, uniting 2 counties as Antioch-Tripoli.

1188 Salah el-Din ransoms King Guy of Jerusalem and releases him. Guy returns and puts Acre under long siege; Conrad of Montferrat (supported by Balian of Ibelin and poleins) refuses to recognize Guy as king; Salah el-Din cannot break siege; disease and famine break out among Crusaders (1190-1191).
1189-1192THIRD CRUSADE, "Crusade of Kings": Salah el-Din is worn down and fought to a standstill by Richard I (Lion-heart); Richard recaptures much of Palestine from Salah el-Din, but fails to recover Jerusalem, for which Crusade is ultimately unsuccessful, despite his many victories.
1189New armies and fleets of Third Crusade depart England, France, Sicily, Germany and eastern Europe for Palestine.
1190Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa of Germany drowns leading an army of 50,000 in Asia Minor; most of his army turns around and goes home.
1191Queen Sibylla dies of disease at Acre, so Guy loses claim to throne; Sibylla's sister, Isabel, is convinced to annul existing marriage and marry Conrad of Montferrat to support his claim to throne (as Baldwin V's uncle); struggle of Guy and Conrad against Salah el-Din over Acre is stalemated.

Fall of Acre: French army under King Philip Augustus arrives at Acre and renews stalemated siege; 6 weeks later Richard I (Lion-heart) and army land and attack; Salah el-Din cannot lift siege; 1 month later Acre surrenders; Richard offends King Philip and Duke Leopold V of Austria; Arab prisoners of war held for ransom–to be exchanged for prisoners held by Salah el-Din.

Salah el-Din fails to pay ransom on time; Richard beheads all 2,700 Arab prisoners in full view of Arab army; Salah el-Din responds by massacring most of his Crusader prisoners; later Richard defeats Salah el-Din severely at battle of Arsuf.

Richard supports Guy of Lusignan for king of Jerusalem against Conrad of Montferrat, (since Guy is actually Richard's vassal from Poitou!); he detests poleins who support Conrad.

1192Richard I recaptures Joppa (Jaffa) and Ascalon and reestablishes Crusader control of coast; twice he leads Crusader army to Jerusalem; he could take city, but cannot hold it; Salah el-Din's army is exhausted; Richard must return home to deal with political crises there; both weary and sick, they begin truce negotiations.

Treaty of Ramlah between Richard I and Salah el-Din; end of war; Arabs keep Jerusalem; Crusaders keep coastal cities south of Joppa (Jaffa); Ascalon returned to Arabs; Christian pilgrims granted free and safe access to Jerusalem.

Franks establish "Second Kingdom" of Jerusalem at Acre; Richard I reluctantly recognizes Conrad of Montferrat as King of Jerusalem-Acre; Guy of Lusignan becomes governor of Cyprus.

Richard I sails home, and almost immediately, Conrad of Montferrat is murdered by Assassins (Hashishiin)-sect of Islam (Richard is suspected); Conrad succeeded by Henry II of Champagne, married to Queen Isabel; Richard is shipwrecked near Venice, and captured by Duke Leopold of Austria, imprisoned by German Emperor Henry VI for heavy ransom of 150,000 Marks.

1193Death of Salah el-Din on March 3 in Damascus due to exhaustion; by this time, he has given away all his wealth and dies penniless; his Ayyubid successors maintain truce with Franks; Arab unity is weakened by infighting among his successors.
1194Death of Guy of Lusignan, governor of Cyprus; succeeded by brother, Amalric II of Lusignan, who is crowned King of Cyprus as vassal of German emperor.
1197Death of King Henry of Jerusalem-Acre in accident; succeeded by Amalric II, king of Cyprus, who rules 2 realms separately, Cyprus and Jerusalem-Acre; marries Isabel (previously wife of Humphrey of Toron, Conrad of Montferrat, and Henry II of Champagne); deals wisely with Salah el-Din's brother, el-`Adil, Sultan of Egypt
1202-1204FOURTH CRUSADE, "Crusade that Went Awry": last of major crusades; Crusader army diverted to Constantinople, which is ultimately attacked, captured and sacked by Crusaders acting for Venetians (enemies and competitors of Byzantines); ends in establishment of 'Latin Empire' (1204) there, which permanently alienates Greek Christians from Latin West.
1205Death of Amalric II; succeeded by son, Hugh, in Cyprus and wife Isabel in Jerusalem-Acre; Isabel dies same year and is succeeded by her daughter, Marie of Montferrat (daughter of Conrad).
1210Queen Marie of Jerusalem-Acre marries John of Brienne, now crowned king.
1212"Children's Crusade": unnofficial crusade movement from May to September; thousands of adolescents, including old folks, poor, peasants, women, etc., march from Germany and France to Italian coast hoping to travel to Holy Land and liberate Jerusalem; ends in failure; many children sold into slavery; however its religious fervor helps initiate Fifth Crusade.
1216-1221FIFTH CRUSADE: Crusader army, at first led by John of Brienne, captures Damietta in Egypt but loses it soon again due to interference of Cardinal Pelagius who assumes command; inept leadership leads to entrapment; entire army surrenders to Egyptians; St. Francis of Assisi attempts to convert Egyptian Sultan el-Malik el-Kamil, who listens, but politely declines offer.
1228-1229Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II of Germany undertakes 'crusade' as penance from Pope; negotiates agreement with Egyptian Sultan el-Malik el-Kamil for return of Jerusalem; has married Isabel (Yolande) de Brienne who is (John of Brienne’s daughter); claims the Kingdom of Jerusalem as regent for their infant son, Conrad.
1229-1239Jerusalem again in Christian hands.
1239-1240'Crusades' by Theobold of Champagne and Richard of Cornwall.
1244Muslims retake Jerusalem and hold it until 1917 (World War I).
1247Jerusalem is captured by Egyptian Mamelukes; hold it until seized by Ottoman Turks in 1517.
1248-1254"Crusade of St. Louis": King Louis IX of France (later canonized) leads 'crusade' to Egypt; crusaders capture Damietta and el-Mansura in eastern Delta, but are ultimately cut off and trapped; Louis IX is taken prisoner and ransomed; goes to Holy Land and rebuilds defenses there.
1258Mongols under Hulagu Khan attack and overrun Mesopotamia; capture and despoil Baghdad, ending Abbasid Dynasty of caliphs.
1261Byzantines recapture Constantinople with help of Genoese, overthrowing Latin Empire and reestablishing their own government; city is sadly diminished and remains poor, dilapidated, and mostly abandoned until captured by Ottomans in 1453.
1270Louis IX's second 'crusade' against Tunis, where he died.
1281Final fall of Acre. Acre, last Christian foothold in Levant, falls to Arabs. Only Cyprus remains in hands of Lusignan family of Amalric II, who last until 1475, when Cyprus is ceded to Venice.
Many other expeditions occurred to which the title of "crusade" was given, sometimes formally. Some were directed against non-Christians (e.g., Moorish Spain and the Slavic people), some against heretics (e.g. the Albigensians), some against kings who had offended the Papacy. Some were also further unsuccessful expeditions to the Near East. In 1464, eleven years after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople, Pope Pius II failed to obtain support for what proved to be a last attempt to mount a further Crusade to that region.