A History of the Crusades

Server Costs Fundraiser 2023

Running a website with millions of readers every month is expensive. Not only do we pay for our servers, but also for related services such as our content delivery network, Google Workspace, email, and much more. We would much rather spend this money on producing more free history content for the world. Thank you for your help!
$41 / $21000


Mark Cartwright
published on 20 August 2019

The Crusades were a series of military campaigns waged between Christians and Muslims, Christians and pagans (the Northern Crusades), and Christians against Christians (the Fourth Crusade and the Albigensian Crusade). This complex series of religious wars began in 1095 CE and, running on for centuries, they would involve such diverse territories as the Holy Land, the Baltic, North Africa and southern Spain. In this collection, we untangle the complex reasons why the Crusades began in the first place, who were the key figures in all eight official crusades and a good few others, and what was the political and religious fallout across the medieval Mediterranean and northern Europe.

On 27 November 1095 CE, Urban II called for a crusade in a speech during the Council of Clermont, France. The message, known as the Indulgence and aimed specifically at knights, was loud and clear: those who defended Christendom would be embarking on a pilgrimage, all their sins would be washed away and their souls would reap untold rewards in the next life.

Articles & Definitions



About the Author

Mark Cartwright
Mark is a full-time author, researcher, historian, and editor. Special interests include art, architecture, and discovering the ideas that all civilizations share. He holds an MA in Political Philosophy and is the WHE Publishing Director.

Free for the World, Supported by You

World History Encyclopedia is a non-profit organization. For only $5 per month you can become a member and support our mission to engage people with cultural heritage and to improve history education worldwide.

Become a Member