The Crusades started because of a threat made by the Seljuks. A great deal of emperors made an urgent request to Pope Urban II for help. By 1095 the Seljuks moved to within 100 miles of Constantinople.
Third Crusade (1189–1192)
In June 1098, the Crusaders laid siege to the city of Antioch which was protected by several walls. Eventually the Crusaders found a way over the walls, and Antioch fell to the Christians. With Jerusalem claimed, most of the Crusaders went back home. Some stayed behind and established four Crusader kingdoms in Palestine, Syria, Lebanon and Turkey.
An army from Germany was badly defeated in Anatolia. A second army, led by the king of France, arrived in Jerusalem in 1148. 50,000 Crusaders marched on the city of Damascus. The French returned home, ending the Crusade.
King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella
By the 1180s, the sultan Salah al-Din had formed the largest Muslim empire since the Seljuks. He led a renewed fight against the Crusaders in the Holy Land and quickly recovered most of Palestine. In 1187, his armies captured Jerusalem. King Richard I was one of the European leaders who led the fight against Salah al-Din. Muslims, meanwhile, were gaining back the land they had lost and took Acre in 1291.
In 1212 thousands of young peasants from France and Germany marched in a crusade. Barely any ever reached the Holy Land. Some made it to European port cities to be sold into slavery by merchants. Some returned home, but many disappeared without a trace.
Crusaders fought against Muslims in Europe and North Africa, as well as in the Middle East. One important series of wars was called the Reconquista. Many Jews and Muslims remained in areas ruled by Christians. In the late 1400s, Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand wanted to unite Spain as a Catholic country. They used the Inquisition against Muslims and Jews, and those who claimed to have converted to Christianity. In 1492, Granada fell to Ferdinand and Isabella, ending Muslim rule in Spain.