Crusaders Capture Jerusalem
The 15th of July 1099 AD
For more than 400 years after Caliph Omar took the city of Jerusalem Muslim and Christian lived together in tolerance if not in harmony. That situation changed after 1076 when the Turks conquered the region. Now Christians in the Holy Land faced sacrilege and violence. Eventually Pope Urban II called the Conference of Clermont in 1095, the call to arms for a great crusade.
From early in 1097 onwards a vast army of Christian soldiers led by many of the great princes of their day fought its way from Constantinople down the Mediterranean coast, taking city after city until it reached Jerusalem on June 6 1099. The city was besieged for over a month, the defenders holding out bravely until on the night of July 14 newly erected siege towers were dragged to the walls. On July 15 knights from one of these entered the city, and its defence collapsed. Over the next days thousands of Muslim fighters and residents, and many hundreds of Jews living there too, were slaughtered by rampaging and pillaging Christians. Some defenders held out for several days, and a few were given quarter and allowed to leave the city. Many promised safety were, however, put to the sword.
Among the victors of Jerusalem was Robert Curthose, Duke of Normandy, eldest son of William the Conqueror . His brother William Rufus had occupied the English throne when their father died leaving Robert Normandy. Robertís presence on the Crusade meant that when Rufus had his mysterious hunting accident in the New Forest , it was the younger Henry who became King of England in what amounted to a coup, not Robert.
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