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The Crusades - Holy war fought against the Moors 1095 to 1492

Updated on September 3, 2016
Moors castle
Moors castle
Map of Crusades through the ages
Map of Crusades through the ages


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

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      Jane 3 years ago

      I read some about this at school but never understood it

      None of it seems very christian

    • Peter Geekie profile image
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      Peter Geekie 3 years ago from Sittingbourne

      Dear Jane

      thanks for your comment. It is a sad fact that much of the death and wars fought by humans have been in the name of religion.

      Kind regards Peter

    • Twilight Lawns profile image

      Twilight Lawns 3 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      The above is well written, informative, and not tedious;y long. Thank you.

      Being a convert to Islam, I am ashamed and appalled at the actions of the very few members of my brotherhood nowadays, but have also been horrified at the Crusaders' treatment of the Muslims living in harmony with Jews, Christians and others in the cities that were rampaged through during the Great Crusades.

      Many of these were land grabbing expeditions of poor lords and disenfranchised younger sons... but no less unforgivable.

    • Peter Geekie profile image
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      Peter Geekie 3 years ago from Sittingbourne

      Dear Twilight Lawns,

      Thank you for your comment.

      There was little of any compassion or credit to either religion most of these wars were fought in the name of the prophets as an excuse for plundering lands and wealth. Little has changed even today much is the pity.

      kind regards Peter

    • profile image

      Howard Schneider 3 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      Great historical Hub, Peter. You are right that many of the wars over the course of human history have been fought in the name of religion. Just look at the Middle East currently. Times have not changed much and its human toll is a horrible shame. When will we ever learn?

    • Peter Geekie profile image
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      Peter Geekie 3 years ago from Sittingbourne

      Dear Hschneider,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Man seems to need little excuse to fight each other even when you are preaching love and kindness. We are strange beings indeed

      kind regards Peter

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      Skillman 2 years ago

      "The Crusades were the long-term result of the rise of Islam!

               Now let me enlighten you about the Crusades & Inquisition.  Specifically, the first Crusade was in response to Muslim military incursion into Europe on two fronts, Spain and Asia minor. It was an act of self defence. No need to admit to any wrong doing of sinfulness

    • Peter Geekie profile image
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      Peter Geekie 2 years ago from Sittingbourne

      Dear Skillman,

      Thank you for your comments and opinions.

      Neither side can claim any particular credit for a particularly vicious period of world history.

      kind regards Peter

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