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The Long Term Impacts of Crusades

Updated on January 13, 2013

Impact of crusades

The crusades are leading to more devastation today than during the medieval era in human history. Although more lives and property were lost in the past but when we examine the current religious strife it is evident that the world peace is seriously being threatened. The strife between West and the Muslim world today have crusades at their genesis. The 9/11 was probably the worst willful destruction against humanity that has come to be seen as Muslim revenge against the non-believers. This is not to deny the Western brutalization in Israel and elsewhere against the Muslim population. The Al-Quaeda openly declares its operation against the Western world, a religious strife. The clash of civilizations is indeed a threatening prospect that many commentators have spoken about.

If we choose to perceive the large scale targeted bombings by Islamist organizations as the current form of crusades, they may be said to be an extension of the medieval crusades for the primordial decadent medieval religious values are the key themes. The medieval popes were powerful. They could ask the contemporary monarchs to provide them with troops and money to wage holy wars against heretics, and infidels. Historically, what were known as crusades were of religious origin in the medieval Europe between followers of the Catholic creed and the followers of Mohammad in the Middle East and North Africa from 1095 to 1291. Crusades in the past were primarily fought primarily to convert non believers to Catholicism and to crush heretical movements.

There were many underlying factors behind crusades including genuine religious fanaticism on part of Christians and Muslims. Geopolitical conflict between Europe and Middle East was often camouflaged under crusades. The medieval European's desire to become more involved in the international trade network stretching from the Mediterranean to China often resulted into clashes against rival powers.

The long term consequences of crusades have been both positive and negative. One of the worst impacts of the crusades has been the worsening of the relationship between the Muslim and Christian worlds. However, the crusades also led to the wider awareness of the outside world, especially the lands of the East. Additionally, with the increased awareness of the wider world and the eastern world, the Europeans learned that they could gain knowledge and economic wealth with increased interaction with the Middle and Far East. The emergence of knighthood and chivalry in the medieval Europe was primarily due to the prevalence of crusades. The myth that sustained this institution was that the Christian warriors were fighting a holy war for a sacred cause.

Directly or indirectly, the crusades led to increased international trade and commerce in Europe. It resulted in urbanization and the emergence of urban cultures. While early medieval era in Europe was the period of social and economic backwardness, the high and the late middle ages in contrast were relatively much more improved with significant gains. Nonetheless, it should not be forgotten that the later period was also the time of much social crisis.

In a nutshell, the emergence of Europe as a supreme colonial power must be traced to crusades. The Europe not only emerged a strong power but also a modern society. The traditional governments were uprooted and replaced with modern governments. The Kings along with the church gained supreme power to determine the social and economic well being of a large segment of population throughout the world.

The world that we see today is largely shaped by crusades. The crusaders with their insatiable appetite went across the darkest regions of the world to establish their missions. This was the time when the largest number of people were converted to Christianity across the remotest regions in the world. The savages were civilized. This could not have been possible without simultaneous explorations and discoveries of new continents and places. In other words, this was also the first phase of human history when a truly global convergence was taking place and has never looked back since then. The trade and commerce brought about increased communication and not just the exchange of commodities but also the exchange of ideas and cultures. One of the worse outcomes of crusades, however, was the large scale slavery and consequent uprootment of indigenous populations. Nonetheless, it is important to acknowledge both positive and negative impacts of crusades.


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