How Many Died In The Crusades ?
The crusade was a long drawn war which lasted for over 200 years. Can we then fathom the bloodiness of the war and the number of people who died? The anticlimax in this war was that it had the sanction of the Pope. The novelty of war otherwise would be to defend one’s territory or self-defense. In the crusade not only did the blood -shed get justified, it was also called ‘just’ and the crusaders were reassured forgiveness for their sins and a place in heaven in the event of death in war.
The crusade could still be justified if the focus had remained reaching the Holy Land of Jerusalem. The digress from this campaign to suppress heretics, pagans and the Muslims in many parts of Europe and amassing wealth and land by kings and knights on their way to the Holy Land without even reaching there was unjustifiable.
The campaign was launched by the Christian nations of Europe, mainly Germany, France, England and smaller parts of Italy. The Muslim rulers in Jerusalem permitted the Christians safe pilgrimage to the Holy land and benefited from trading with them as well. Occupation by Turks changed the scenario. Not only did the Turks take over the land, they even massacred Christians. This enraged the Papacy which called for the launch of the campaign. The crusaders were called Franks by the Muslims, while the crusaders called the Muslims Saracens.
The campaign commenced in 1095 and ended in 1291. There were 9 crusades in all and the last 5 were not effective. The major victory was only in the first crusade.
The record of events was maintained and retrievable till the end of the third crusade. Although the exact number of participants in the scenario of the crusades was not recorded since the kings and knights took along not just the warriors but servants, brides, and other people not actively involved in the war, an estimate of around 200,000 in all the campaigns seems close to the real number of causalities. Since the participation was from many parts of Europe, the listing of only the leaders of the campaigns was recorded with the Pope. The volunteers were not listed anywhere nor were the numbers of those who escaped from the scene of the campaign recorded.
A rough estimate of the commoners who belonged to the lands acquired by the knights gave an idea to the number who survived. If the land was declared as wiped out but men still cultivated them, it was understood that few still survived.
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