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Historical Background
General Remarks
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
The Children's Crusade
The Consequences of the Crusades
The First Crusade 1096-1099
In 1071, an Islamic army defeated the Byzantine Empire at Malazgirt and conquered Nicaea, Smyrna, Jerusalem, Antiochia and Palestine. This event marked the beginning of a long series of attempts to free the Holy Land from Muslim rule. Even Pope Gregor VII attempted to free the Christians from their pagan surroundings, however due to his defeat in the war against the German Emperor, Heinrich IV, the Pope failed.

Christian propaganda accused Muslims of butchering Christians and desecrating their places of worship. These lies became firmly established in Western public opinion and an image of the Muslims as sub-human beings emerged. In 1095 at Clermont, Pope Urban II called upon the Christians to join a crusade and support Christianity. The promise of the forgiveness of their sins, the chance for eternal life and the hope for worldly wealth inspired people to join the Crusades. Deus lo volts (God wants it) became the slogan of the masses. A great number of knights joined and went to Constantinople to build up an army. The crusaders conquered Nicaea, Dorylaeon and Antiochia. In June 1099, they conquered Jerusalem and massacred the whole population. About 60 thousand people were killed and only a handful survived.

After the conquest of Jerusalem, the Christian kingdom of Jerusalem was founded. Another Christian kingdom was founded in Antiochia. The first crusade was over and more than 1 million people died.

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