During the Middle Ages, the Islamic Empire was getting too powerful! Soon, they were so close to the capital of the Byzantine Empire, Constantinople, that they asked the pope for help! They said, “The Muslims are getting too close! If they capture our capital, then we will never be able to worship in the Hagia Sophia again!”. The pope thought about this, and he thought that other Christian nations should help the Byzantine Empire against the Muslims. But instead of telling knights to help the Byzantines, he told them to go to Jerusalem. You see, Jerusalem was a Holy City to Muslims, Jews, and Christians! When people traveled to Jerusalem as pilgrims, they all went there for religious reasons! The Jews went to Jerusalem because it was their former capital, and where they went to worship God in churches called synagogues. The Christians went there because Jesus died there! And Muslims went there because Muhammed had a vision there. When the Muslims first took over Jerusalem, they let Christian and Jewish pilgrims come in. But as time went by, Muslims started to raid Jews and Christians, and even killed some of them! So this gave the pope a reason to give to all knights: to get Jerusalem back from the Muslims. But this wasn’t the First Crusade. The first crusade was started by a roaming preacher called Peter the Hermit. He was a persuasive speaker. So, he convinced many people to follow him. But these people didn’t know where Jerusalem was. So, they burned village after village, house after house! Finally, when they reached Constantinople, they were all captured! When the real army came to Constantinople, they marched to Jerusalem! The Crusaders called the Muslims they were fighting, Saracens. It was a hard journey because the Saracens poisoned the wells out of Jerusalem’s walls. However, the Crusaders kept on advancing until they reached Jerusalem. They besieged the walls and were thinking of making siege towers to get through the walls. However, they had to wait for people from Europe to give them wood because there was barely any wood where they were fighting! When merchants came to them and gave them wood from their ships, they made siege and put wet cloth on the sides so that when the Saracens shot fire arrows at them, it would not burn the tower. Finally, when they got on the walls, they slaughtered everyone- young and old, slave and free, male and female, everyone- dead. Then they started to take a little more land around Jerusalem! At last, the knights settled down and took control of some of the conquered cities. They even married with the Saracens! Although they had peace, they never forgot the brutalities that happened during the First Crusade. Because many people didn’t forgive the brutalities that happened, the Saracens, under the lead of Saladin, were getting ready to invade Jerusalem since rebels had attacked and started a Second Crusade. The Second Crusade was crushed, and so Saladin prepared his attack on Jerusalem. Meanwhile, the knights in Jerusalem were thinking if they should stay in the castle or fight them on the battlefield. The king decided that he would go with a younger man’s advice, telling them to go fight on the battlefield, since he thought that an old knight wanted him to stay in the castle so that he could be assassinated (murdered). However, it was the hottest time of the year! And because they were in iron armor, they could die from too much heat. But the Saracen had light armor, causing them to move better and feel better. So, the enemy shot the knights and fought them. The knights were so hot they didn’t put up much of a fight. And with no one defending Jerusalem, Saladin easily took it. There were many attempts to get Jerusalem back, but they never succeeded. While the Crusaders were fighting the Saracens somewhere else, the Spanish fought them and drove them out of Spain and Portugal.