When I was a child of 10 years, I was in school assembly. I remember our headmistress asking us children if anyone knew why we went on the crusades. Several hands went up. We all believed that the Muslims were Turks and they were not Christian and very wicked. Our headmistress chose a boy called Ian Brogan and he stood up and gave the answer we all believed to be true.
He said that the Crusaders went to the Holy land to fight the heathens because Turks were going into churches and cathedrals and destroying everything Christian. We all believed this and were most proud of our own Richard the Lionheart. This first Crusade was well before the time of King Richard I, but our infant belief did not know or cater for this.
We had no idea that the Holy War was an atrocious campaign that spanned centuries. We thought it was a war of a few years that King Richard the Lionheart won. None of us would believe that we eventually lost this long quest.
Our kindly old headmistress, who was a decent lady, nodded her approval at Ian Brogan and told us all this was so. The year was 1971 and I think British people have a more enlightened view of the Crusades nowadays. It is a topic of great interest, but the acceptance that we were narrow-minded too, is genuinely realised as well, though only very recently.
The Holy Crusades were wars that lasted over two hundred years and saw the Crusader Kingdoms rise rapidly one by one and then gradually decline and fall one by one.