History of Crusades War: Why did Christians and Muslims keep fighting for 200 years? – what was crusades war that erdogan talked about
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In this war, the support of Western countries led by America is with Israel. At the same time, Islamic countries are supporting Palestine. In this context, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has accused Western countries of being directly involved in the killing of Palestinians in Gaza. Recently, Erdogan said in a threatening tone, ‘If Israel’s attacks in Gaza do not stop, the Crusade War will start once again.’
Now the question arises that what is the Crusades War, which Erdogan threatened? To know the answer to this we will have to go back about a thousand years to Jerusalem.
Jerusalem is a pilgrimage site for Christians, Muslims and Jews, who consider themselves to be the children of Prophet Abraham. It was in Jerusalem that Jesus Christ was crucified and from here he descended again. At the same time, the center of faith of Muslims is Al Haqsa Mosque, about which it is believed that Prophet Hazrat Muhammad had a discussion with the souls of the prophets here and traveled to heaven from here. In the Jewish quarter is the Kotel, or Western Wall, where their holy temple once stood.
Being the main religious place of three religions, there was always a dispute between Christians, Muslims and Jews for the possession of Jerusalem. Islam spread rapidly in the seventh century. The Prophet’s successors, the Caliphs, conquered much of Middle East Asia. Palestine came under the control of the Caliphs only 10 years after the death of the Prophet.
However, Muslims did not impose any restrictions on Christian pilgrims visiting Jerusalem at that time. There were some important reasons for this. Firstly, the Arabs were quite religiously tolerant at that time. Secondly, Muslims also considered Jesus Christ as the prophet of God. At the same time, Muslims were also aware that any Jewish or Christian pilgrims who came to Jerusalem from outside would provide additional income.
But, this whole situation changed in the 11th century. The population of the Central Asian Turkic community increased rapidly. He adopted Islam and set out to conquer other countries. A branch of Turks under the leadership of Sultan Mahmud attacked India and captured the western and northern parts. At the same time, the Seljuk Turks extended their power from the Caspian Sea to Jerusalem and now set their sights on the territory of the Roman Empire.
At that time the Roman Empire was divided into two parts. The capital of the western part was Rome and the Pope had considerable influence there. At the same time, Eastern Rome was called Byzantine Empire and its capital was Constantinople i.e. today’s Istanbul. Apart from Eastern Europe, Asia Minor was also under the control of the Byzantine Empire. But, the Turks captured most of Asia Minor. Only some areas around Constantinople remained with the Roman emperor.
In this time of crisis, the Byzantine Emperor appealed to Western Rome for help and from here the foundation of the Crusades (crusades war) was laid.
At that time the Pope of Rome was Urban II. He himself was interested in liberating the holy land of Jerusalem from the Turks. In such a situation, when the Emperor of Eastern Rome appealed to the Pope for help, he decided to unite the whole of Europe on the basis of religion. The Pope gave a powerful speech. In this, Christians were told that Lord Jesus Christ was crucified in Jerusalem itself. The spirit of Jesus Christ resides in every particle there. Therefore Jerusalem should be ruled by Christians, not Turks.
There was another reason for tension between the Turks and Christians. The Turks were religiously fanatic. They also did not understand the economic benefits of Christian devotees. Therefore, he banned the entry of non-Islamic people into Jerusalem. During this period, the Christians coming to Jerusalem were also tortured a lot. Due to this the entire Christian community started considering Muslims as enemies. And when the Pope called for the liberation of Jerusalem from ‘heretics’, the soldiers of Italy and France as well as the general public became war-crazed.
At that time, stories were also common that the East was very prosperous. In such a situation, common people were also lured that if they defeated the Turks, they would not only get merit but would also get huge wealth. Due to this, farmers and laborers also became a part of the religious war. Within no time, 6 lakh crusaders i.e. religious warriors gathered. A large number of these were the younger sons of the family, because at that time the eldest son was the heir to all the father’s property. In such a situation, the younger boys of the family found religious war to be the easiest way to get rich quickly. Women were asked to help religious warriors by giving money and jewelry and to stay away from religious wars. But, still a large number of women became part of the religious war.
A group of Crusaders reached Jerusalem in 1099 for the so-called religious war. The Eastern Emperor decided with the European fighters that he would provide them facilities like ration, water and transportation. In return, if the Crusaders were victorious, they would give to the Eastern Emperor all those territories which the Turks had snatched from them. The Crusaders easily defeated the Turks, as they were unprepared for such an attack.
Finally, after a siege of five weeks, the Crusaders captured Jerusalem and massacred the Muslims and Jews there. From children, elders to women, no one was spared. Norman priest Ralph of Caen, who saw that massacre with his own eyes, has written, ‘The people were running in the streets in disarray. The women’s eyes were drenched with tears. Only two sounds were heard there, one was the sound of weapons and the other was human scream.
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The Crusaders won the battle, but did not keep their promise to the Byzantine emperor. Instead of returning the territories won from the Turks to the emperor, they created four kingdoms of their own. The Byzantine emperor was greatly angered by the Crusaders’ breach of promise, but he was in no position to take on the Western Christians, so he had to endure the humiliation.
On the other hand, the Turks learned a lesson from the defeat in the First Crusade and started preparing for a counterattack. In 1144, the Ottoman ruler of Mosal, Imaduddin Jangi, captured Edessa from the Christian ruler. Then a request was made to the Pope for help. This time two prominent kings of Western Europe – Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany reached Asia Minor by land route with an army of three lakhs. But, there were many differences between them. Also, the Eastern Roman Emperor was upset with the previous breach of promise, so he also did not help the religious warriors. Therefore, the German and French armies were badly defeated in the Second Religious War.
The reason for the Third Crusade was the rise of the Turks, which took place in 1188. Under the leadership of Sultan Salahuddin, the Turks captured Egypt in North Africa, Palestine in Western Asia, Syria, Arabia, Iran and Iraq. In 1187, Salauddin defeated the Christian king of Jerusalem in battle, captured him and captured Jerusalem. European Crusaders then came to wage war, but their differences grew too much.
There was so much discord between the kings of England and France that both decided to fight separate wars. The King of France returned. At the same time, England’s ruler Richard I made a treaty with Salauddin in 1192. In this, Christian devotees were given the facility to travel to Jerusalem without any restriction. Also, a ceasefire was declared for three years.
After this, there were four more religious wars, but in none did the Christians get the same success as in the first time. Even European children fought a religious war. However, it was not approved by the then Pope, so it does not count as an official religious war. It is said that in 1212, Stepha, a French farmer, declared that God had sent him to defeat the Muslims and capture Jerusalem and that his children would give this victory to the Christians. After this, children’s religious war was propagated. About 30 thousand boys and girls, most of whom were under the age of 12, were packed into seven ships and taken to Jerusalem.
At that time it was being said that old people are sinners, hence God is not helping them. Children are sinless, so God will support them. The sea will automatically give way to the children and they will walk on it. However, nothing like this happened. Two ships sank in the sea along with the passengers. The remaining five passengers were sold as slaves in Egypt. In the same year, an enthusiastic group of children also stood up for the religious war in Germany. He even came to Genoa, but the elder priest there advised him to return. While returning, many of them died while traveling in the mountains as children.
This religious war between Christians and Muslims lasted for about 200 years. It ended in 1291, when the Turks conquered the last of the four Christian kingdoms in Palestine.
Most historians believe that all these religious wars actually took place due to religious fanaticism and superstition. It is a hallmark of even children joining the so-called religious war. It is also worth understanding that many of those who went for religious war did not return alive. But, those who threw them into the fire of war benefited, their powers increased. As the Eastern Roman Empire was on the verge of collapse in the 11th century. But, the religious war acted as a lifesaver for him and it continued for the next three hundred years. At the same time, the Pope’s dominance increased even more in the West. He also came to be considered the emperor of emperors.
Voice: Rohit Upadhyay
This post originally appeared on navbharattimes.indiatimes.com