Fifth Crusade


The Fifth Crusade (1217-1221 CE) was called by Pope Innocent III (r. 1198-1216 CE) with the objective, like previous crusades, of recapturing Jerusalem from Muslim control; only this time the strategy was to weaken the enemy by first attacking Muslim-held cities in North Africa and Egypt, then controlled by the Ayyubid dynasty (1174-1250 CE). The idea that Egypt would be an easier target than Jerusalem proved to be mistaken, and the campaign was not successful. The Crusader army, although eventually conquering Damietta, was beset by leadership squabbles and a lack of sufficient men, equipment, and suitable ships to deal with the local geography. Defeated on the banks of the Nile, the Crusaders returned home, once again, with very little to show for their efforts.

More about: Fifth Crusade


  • 1200 - 1218
    Sayef al-Din al-Adil, the brother of the late Saladin, rules as Ayyubid Sultan of Egypt.
  • 1215
    Pope Innocent III calls for the Fifth Crusade.
  • 1217 - 1221
    The Fifth Crusade is formed to attack Muslim-held cities in North Africa and Egypt. It is not particularly successful.
  • 1218 - 1238
    Reign of al-Kamil, Ayyubid Sultan of Egypt.
  • May 1218
    The army of the Fifth Crusade arrives in Egypt.
  • Jun 1218 - Nov 1219
    Damietta in Egypt is attacked and conquered after a long siege during the Fifth Crusade.
  • 28 Aug 1221
    After a failed attack on the Sultan of Egypt's army at Mansourah, hit by floods from the river Nile and with another two Muslim armies blocking their escape, the army of the Fifth Crusade surrenders.
  • Sep 1221
    The Fifth Crusaders surrender Damietta.