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Why did the Crusades fail in creating states

Updated on May 12, 2013

Common Crusaders

Christianity everywhere, please!
Christianity everywhere, please! | Source

Why did they fail?

The Crusader states were initially founded after successful European campaigns in the areas in and around the Holy Land. Due to their power and victories they settled and created the four kingdoms, known as the Crusader states, influencing some changes in the Muslim world. But with time the Crusaders glamour and influence started to fade and they ultimately failed due to many various conditions and reasons.

The biggest factor in the Crusader's failure was the Muslim's numbers. The Crusaders were outnumbered immensely after the union of the Muslim states under the rule of Saladin. In the late 12th century Saladin successfully united most of the Muslim tribes in the Holy Lands and Mesopotamia, defeating the Crusaders. A huge number of the Crusaders also left the Holy Lands after the Conquest of Jerusalem, creating a situation where the rest of the knights were not only out numbered but also spread thin over the big territory of Syria and Palastine.

Another factor was the lack of sea transport and the expense of land transport to Syria and the non-united Christian church. As the Crusaders did not have a sea route to the Holy Lands they had to travel by horse through east Europe, Bulgaria and Byzantine. This left the horses and men tired and unmotivated after the arrival in the Middle East. The tension between the two branches of Christianity in Europe (Rome and Constantinople) also endangered the Crusaders because they were sometimes secretly attacked and ambushed in Byzantine, Hungary and Bulgarian territory.

The climate in the Middle east also slowly contributed towards the failing of the crusades.

T he heat made fighting for the crusaders in their very heavy armor very tiresome and unbearable. They could not ride for long distances or fight for long periods of time. In comparison the natives used light weight armor and light horse to manoeuvre and camels for skirmishing.

The transportation of the feudal system was the distinctive reason for the founding of four separate rival kingdoms by the Crusaders allowing the united Muslims states to invade and destroy the separate Crusader states one by one. The first state to fall was Edessa in 1144 and the other countries soon followed. Although many other Crusades followed to recover the recent losses all failed.

A very important factor in the e failing of the crusades was also the huge cultural difference between the settled Crusaders and the new comers. The old crusaders that stayed began to slowly accept the new ways of the Muslims. Their camps looked just like the Muslim cities, they started to have multiple wives (harems with veiled women), allowed Muslims to pray in the newly built chapels and even began to fight like the Muslims – in little raid groups interrupted by truces.

And the last important factor in the failing of the Crusades was the presence of the Italia city-states. They supported the crusaders with a navy by taking the coastal cities in the Middle east but they also cheated the crusaders. At times they would not cooperate with the crusaders in battle which could hurt their trade. Also the Italian states controlled most of the trade depriving the crusaders of any ways of collecting money for their conquests.

Even though all these factors worked against the Crusades, the crusaders managed to keep control over the Middle east for a period of time. Later on the following crusaders tended to keep distance from Jerusalem and had different goals. In the end the Crusades failed because of twoo main reasons – the united tribes under Saladin's rule and the immense distance between Europe and the Holy Lands.


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