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|The Consequences of the Crusades|
|With the conquest of Acre by Islamic forces in 1291, Christianity lost its last bulwark in the East and the time of the Crusades came to an end. There were few in Europe who viewed this with feelings of regret, as contact with Islam and Byzantium cultures had greatly enriched European civilization. The Venetians took over the art of glass-blowing they had seen in Tyrus. The French started with sericulture, growing silkworms and producing fabrics in the traditions of the East. Plum trees from Damaskus and sugar cane from Tripolis were planted. Cinnamon, clove and nutmeg gave a fresh taste to the rather monotonous European cuisine and even the pleasures of the Turkish bath became more and more appreciated in Europe.|
The European nobility had lost their riches in the crusades. To finance their expeditions to the East, many had sold their privileges to the cities or allowed their serfs to buy their freedom. The cities had grown bigger and had gained in power and their citizens had become self-confident. Money and free markets replaced the traditional exchange of goods and services. Successful businessman enjoyed the same high standing as nobility.