The Crusades - Holy war fought against the Moors 1095 to 1492
The Moors – Muslim people of mixed Berber and Arab decent, initially inhabiting NW Africa. They were a race advanced in science, mathematics and medicine and in the 8th Century conquered the Iberian Peninsular. It was not until the end of the 15th century that they were finally driven from their remaining stronghold at Granada – Spain. They left behind a rich legacy of architecture, including the Alhambra palace.
The Crusaders – Contrary to the Hollywood perception of the Crusaders there was little of merit or nobility, certainly in the beginning. The first crusade started in 1096 by a radical monk – Peter the Hermit. They behaved badly en-route, persecuting the Jews before leaving Europe and continuing their rampage to Constantinople. To avoid local problems they were moved to Anatolia where they started “crusading” in earnest, torturing, pillaging and massacring indiscriminately. Unfortunately most of their victims were Byzantine Christians who lived around Nicaea. At the castle Xerigordon they were eventually all killed by the Arab lord Kilij Arslan 1.
There then followed several crusades over the centuries, better organised but having gained little in humanity or compassion, save that directly commanded by Richard 1, who would allow no atrocities. It is recorded at the time that the Muslims were amazed at the pitiless brutality of the invading forces. Muslim Toledo had already fallen in 1085, followed by Corsica and Malta in 1090, Provence in 1050, Sicily in 1091 and Jerusalem 1099. In the 13th century there followed a further wave of devastation from two fronts. The crusaders again (1217-1291) and the Mongol invasion (1219-1329) of the eastern areas. Cordoba fell in 1236, followed by Valencia – 1238 and Seville – 1248. In the east the Mongols devastated most of central and western Asia, India and Persia. The fall of Baghdad in 1258 ended Abbasid Caliphate and 2 million Muslims were massacred in this city alone.
The third wave ended the Muslim reign in Spain in 1492 and more than 1 million books of Muslim works on science, arts, philosophy and culture were burnt in the Vivarrambla square in Granada.
Don’t misinterpret the foregoing, which is entirely factual. History does not record that the Muslim was an oppressed race, far from it. It must be borne in mind that the original invasions and expansion by Muslims, starting in the 7th and 8th century, was neither invited nor bloodless. Much of what followed was carried out in a vicious and barbarous manner, by both sides, in the name of religion. But primarily the underlying actions were politically motivated.
© 2012 Peter Geekie