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Saturday, 18 August 2012

Why Baibars of the Mumluks Rise Caused Fall of the Crusader Kingdoms.

Mumluks were Slave Society of Soldiers

1.       The Number of Crusades
Historically listed Crusades usually run from 1st to 9th. However, there were other more minor expeditions that historians don’t always count – the reason being that a sub expedition could have formed from one main crusade. Also, a small undertaking, of crusader origin, may have gone upon a quest during the time of the 1st to the 9th official Crusades. An example might be seen from the 1st Crusade when the Crusader army split in two after capturing Nicaea for the Byzantine Empire. One group went east into the Euphrates and claimed much of today’s Armenia, while another group went to Antioch and on to Jerusalem. I suppose one might say the First Crusade had two expeditions, but they were all really part of the first. It depends on how certain historians report things. Generally, there were nine crusades with many minor ones within, on different quests, over the almost 200 year period of the Christian Crusader Kingdoms existence.
Sometimes the 5th and 6th Crusades by Frederick II are counted as one and the 8th by Louis IX and Prince Edward’s march to Antioch of the same time counts as the 9th. Sometimes 8th and 9th are labelled as one too.

2. Division Among the Crusaders and Gradual Decline of influence.
By the 1260s, the Christian Crusader States were beginning to lose influence. Many of the pilgrims that came to the Holy Land on quests to do God’s work (as they believed) would return home after completing their pilgrimage. The newcomers were often very indiscriminate when killing. (That’s not to say the coloniser Christians were not) Often the visiting Crusaders left behind captured lands that could not be held. They could not always grasp this reality and did not consider the Christian Europeans that settled in the Holy Land. Some were born and raised in the Crusader Kingdoms and never saw Europe. These Middle Eastern-born Caucasian settlers realised that some of the pilgrims from Europe, who sought to do Christian God’s work, could not comprehend the reality of holding some of the possessions gained upon Crusade quests.
The settled Crusader colonists that lived in the Middle East began to develop an understanding of the ways of Muslims and Jews culturally. They even dressed like them and had the same diet. They had become people of the Middle East and to a degree, assimilated themselves to certain understandings. They had developed, whereas visiting Crusader pilgrims had not because the newly arrived perspective of the traveller was defined in much more basic ways of Medieval Christian Good and Evil in the European point of view. Their world was narrow and clearly defined. Over decades of time, there would have developed factions among settled Christians. Visiting Crusader Christians were trying to cleanse their sins by doing religious quests before returning to Europe as new pious people – respected and revered by the populations of Europe – even if they had done bloody murder in the name of God.
During the 3rd Crusade; Richard the Lionheart had this problem when he marched upon Jerusalem in the hope of retaking the city captured by Saladin the Great at the end of the 2nd Crusade. He was caught by the divisions of Christian colonists and the Crusader pilgrims who were more enthusiastic to take the Holy city of Jerusalem. The settled Christians argued they could not keep hold of Jerusalem when the Crusader tourists went home upon completion of their religious undertaking. The permanent Christian dwellers of the Kingdom of Jerusalem wanted to consolidate the gains of the seaport cities like Acre and Jaffa. They were confident of holding the narrow strip by the sea.  After two failed moves upon Jerusalem, Richard the Lionheart gave up on the idea of retaking the holy city. He returned to Jaffa and then marched back towards Acre – the Kingdom of Jerusalem’s new Capitol.
Saladin the Great did try to take an initiative. He came out of the city of Jerusalem with his Muslim soldiers and attacked Jaffa to retake the sea port stronghold. Perhaps he thought the Lionheart had lost his enthusiasm. Such was not so for Richard – a touring Crusader. The English king turned and sped back from Acre at the head of an army and defeated the Muslims forces of Saladin at Jaffa. A volatile peace came about and Richard returned home to England – his Crusade complete – his sins gone before God by decree of the Pope. King Richard the Lionheart, would perish fighting in France while Saladin passed away six months after the treaty – his Islamic forces remaining in control of Jerusalem.
The narrow strip of land containing The County of Armenia, the Principality of Antioch, the County of Tripoli and the Kingdom Jerusalem would carry on in existence into the 13th century. There would be other Crusades and more trials and tribulations, but during the 1270s other events would come about that Muslims or Christian Crusaders could not have foreseen.
3.  The Great Failure of the 7th Crusade
During the7th Crusade led by King Louis IX of France, the campaign met with a terrible disaster, after some initial success. They attacked Egypt and tried to overthrow ruling Ayyubid Caliphate that had a vast army of slave soldiers called Mumluks. The Crusaders wanted to destroy the effectiveness of the Ayyubid dynasty – removing a source of Muslim aid in the Crusader Kingdoms. This unusual Crusade came about because, in the past, whenever Crusader ventures began to get too successful; the ruling Sultan of the Ayyubid Caliphate would send an Islamic Army to thwart Christian Crusader ambitions.
If Egypt – the richest Islamic land in the Middle East could be destroyed, future Crusades might be much more ambitious and achieve greater gains.  A grand plan was derived by the Christian nobles of Europe. King Louis IX of France mortgaged his entire kingdom to go upon this great Crusade to destroy the Caliphate in Egypt. The cost of such a venture was estimated at the equivalent of £2 million in the year 1248. During this time France’s national yearly income was equivalent of £250,000 per year. This 7th Crusade cost eight years of yearly national French income.
The idea of this grand plan, to attack Egypt instead of driving deeper towards Iraq or Syria seemed to sound in theory. Also, the cost of the Crusade could be reimbursed by the riches the Ayyubid Caliphate of Egypt would yield when conquered and made into a Crusader Kingdom. For the Crusades; the Ayyubid Caliphate, which ruled from Egypt to Syria, had always been the stumbling block that countered the success of the Crusades. Under Saladin the Great, the Islamic peoples had become united against Christian Crusaders, even retaking Jerusalem in 1187 AD. The Crusader Kingdoms needed to reignite the Crusade quests as interest from Europe began to wane.
This 7th Crusade became a monumental disaster which resulted in a terrible defeat for the Crusaders. The invasion of Egypt went well preliminary, but as the Crusaders tried to march upon Cairo and met with disaster. The Ayyubid Sultan passed away during this time, but the Egyptian forces had a great army comprised of slave soldiers. They were known as Mumluks and among them was a young soldier that would win renown. He was called Baibars and he led an army that defeated and captured King Louis IX of France at the Battle of Fariskur in 1250. The French king was in a wretched state, suffering from dysentery. His ransom was a vast amount of money and although his Crusade was a failure he was made into a Saint by Rome.  
4.   Rise of the Mulmluks
The Mumluk Slave soldier society had seized the Caliphate away from the Ayyubids for themselves upon the death of the last Ayyubid Sultan and Baibars was a high ranking soldier within the Mumluk Society. He had been captured by the Mongols as a youngster upon the steppes in Crimea. He was fair skinned and blue eyed. He was sold into slavery at a young age and had risen within the soldier ranks of the Mumluks.
Baibars is hardly known in the West, which is unusual, for this Mumluk would one day become Sultan of the entire Caliphate. The Mumluks had seized power during a time when new unfolding consequences were happening – a new fighting power was invading from the east. The Crusader Kingdom States would be relegated to minor prominence during the new emergency of the Middle East.
The Mongols wanted control of the Middle East and were ambitious enough to attack the new Caliphate of the Mumluks. The Mongols tried to broker peace alliances with the Crusader Kingdoms and so too did the Mumluks. Even though the Crusader Kingdoms were constantly fighting the Islamic nations, they saw the new Mongol threat as being more serious. They tried to stay out of the fray, allowing the Mumluks to travel through Crusader lands to fight the Mongols. This resulted in the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260. Despite heavy losses on the side of the Mumluks; they managed to completely defeat and destroy the Mongol army. This was a gigantic victory and thwarted Mongol ambitions of conquering Egypt.
This prestigious victory by Sultan ad-Din Qutuz also called time on the Christian Crusader Kingdoms. Baibars became Sultan soon after the defeat of the Mongols when Sultan ad-Din Qutuz died in mysterious circumstances while hunting. Baibars became the new Sultan and turned his attention to Acre the Crusader Capitol of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.
5.   Beginning of the End for the Crusader States.
In 1263, Baibars attacked Acre, the capital of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, but was unable to take it. Instead, he moved north to confront a new Mongol army, but the intended invasion never came. Baibars had this vast army at his disposal so he decided to put it to another use – rid the Middle East of all Crusader Kingdoms. The Crusader County of Armenia was closest, and thus in 1266, Baibars decided to invade. He took the Christian fiefdom for Islam.

Many of the Christians captured were put to death. Baibars then moved upon the Principality of Antioch in 1268. He took the great city but despite the assurance of fair treatment; he put vast numbers of the stronghold's inhabitants to death. From here he went to the kingdom of Tripoli and tried to do the same in 1271. This siege was brought to a halt when Baibars had to seek a truce to stop the Crusaders allying with the Mongols. He had caused the 9th Crusade by trying to systematically destroy the Crusader Kingdoms. Christian forces from Europe landed in Acre to combat the Mumluk slaughter in the Crusader Kingdoms. This new truce only protected what was left of the Crusader Kingdoms. This truce would only buy a little more time for the Crusader lands.
 These were the last and final bloody times of the Crusader Kingdoms. After Baibars burned and slaughtered his way north to south along the Christian Crusaders coastal strip of Christian colony lands - showing no mercy to anyone that stood in the way of the Mumluk Caliphate; the Crusaders became no more than a declining third party of power. The two big heavyweights were the Mumluk Caliphate and the Mongol Empire.
Tripoli fell in 1289 for showing interest in siding with the Mongols. Islam exacted revenge and stormed the Crusader stronghold ending Christian rule there. Acre, the capital of the Kingdom of Jerusalem went the same way in 1291. From this time onwards, Christian Crusader rule was virtually none existent – fading away into obscurity throughout the Middle East.


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