Background (until 1096)
Representation of the 2nd Crusade, 1145-1149.
The Crusaders take Constantinople, treated as an enemy although being a Christian state.
Propagandistic representation of the battle of taking Ascalon, showing the battle as nothing less but a fight between good and evil.
The tomb of Saladin, in Damascus, Syria.
SUMMARY: There was already a history of tension between the Christian world and the Muslim world going centuries back in time. Until now it had been fought mainly in Spain and Sicily, but with the change of rulers over Jerusalem in 1070, the treatment of pilgrims to the holy city became so bad that Europe reacted. Still it took a couple of decades before the reaction came - the crusades.
800: Ambassadors of caliph Harun ar-Rashid delivers to the Frankian king the keys of the Holy Sepulchre together with other religious gifts, recognizing a Frankish protectorate over the Christians of Jerusalem.
9th century: Churches and monasteries are built in Palestine at the Frankish king's cost.
1009: The Egyptian Fatimid caliph, al-Hakim (who by the Druze is considered as their founder) orders the destruction of the Holy Sepulchre and all Christian establishments in Jerusalem.
1027: The Frankish protectorate is replaced with that of the Byzantine emperors, who start rebuilding the Holy Sepulchre.
11th century: Pilgrimage to Jerusalem becomes increasingly popular, both by priests, monks and nuns as well as common people.
1054: The emperors of Constantinople splits from the Pope in Rome.
1070: Jerusalem is conquered by Seljuq Turks.
1084: The strategically important city of Antioch falls to the Seljuqs.
1095 March: Facing the advancing Muslim control over Asia Minor, pope Urban 2 of Rome calls for a crusade, in order to bring Jerusalem back under Christian control and stop the Muslim dominance in the region. This call is heard all over central Europe, and especially in the Frankian regions (corresponding to modern France).
November 27: The crusade is proclamed at the Council of Clermont.
Christian invasion (1096-1101)
SUMMARY: These few years saw a swift return of important areas in western Asia Minor to the emperor of Byzants, as well as the crusader's occupation of Antioch, Edessa and Jerusalem. The main reason for their success was internal fractions of the Muslim rulers. But following the battle of Antioch, the crusader armeis were reduced to a level that would contribute to the Muslim reconquest decades later.
1096 April: The first organized crusader armies arrive in Constantinople, awaiting the arrival of the next 3 armies.
August: Ill-organized bands, inspired by the crusader movement and led by Peter the Hermit and Walter the Pennyless, set across the Bosporos, and start pillaging Asia Minor, before most of them are slain by Turkish troops.
December: The last of the 4 planned crusader armies arrive in Constantinople.
1097 June 1: Following a siege of Nicaea, the Byzantine emperor makes a deal with the Turks, that leaves the city in his hands, and the crusaders expelled from it.
July 1: Battle of Dorylaeum.
September: Tancred and Baldwin, both of Bouillon, leave the bulk of the crusader army, and enter the territory of Armenia.
October 21: A siege is started against Antioch.
1098 March 10: The Christians take control over Edessa.
June 3: Antioch falls to the Christian crusaders.
November: The Crusaders sets out on the last leg of the campaign towards Jerusalem.
December 12: The small city of Ma'arra east of Antioch, falls to the crusades. The crusaders shocks the Muslim world by eating human flesh from the adults and children massacred following their conquest. The Frankians would forever be referred to by Turkish historians as "cannibals".
1099 July 7: The crusaders starts attacking Jerusalem, first with a procession around the city walls led by priests. As the walls do not fall down, as they had believed (referring to Bible myths), they first attack the walls in a wild and unorganized manner. After some days, standard military techniques are introduced.
July 15: Jerusalem falls to the crusaders, who kill almost all of its inhabitants. An estimate of 70.000 to 100.000 civilians are murdered.
July 22: Godfrey of Bouillon is elected Latin ruler of Jerusalem.
1101: The last wave of crusaders arriving in Asia Minor are defeated by the Turks.
Christian domination (1101-1144)
1109 July 12: Tripoli is captured by the crusaders.
1120: The Kinghts Templar are founded.
1124 July 7: Tyre is captured by the crusaders.
1129 November: Crusaders attack Damascus.
1137: The emperor of Constantinople and his army suppresses Antioch, making it a dependency.
1144 December 25: Edessa is attacked by the atabek of Mosul, and due to its geographical isolation it surrenders to the Muslims.
Muslim dominance and The fall of Jerusalem (1144-1187)
1145: Pope Eugenius 3 proclaims a second crusade.
1147: Christian soldiers leave for Asia Minor, starting the second crusade.
1148: Instead of embarking on the dangerous mission of liberating Edessa, the crusaders besiege Damascus for a few weeks. But even this endeavour ends when they realize that their forces are too weak for the Muslims of Damascus.
1149 July 15: The new church of the Holy Sepulchre is consecrated.
1154 April 25: Nureddin captures Damascus.
1160's: King Amalric of Jerusalem attacks Egypt on four occasions (1163, 67, 68 and 69). In the two first he has partial success he doesn't take control of any lands but forces the rulers of Egypt to pay tribute to Jerusalem.
1169: The reconstruction of the church of Nativity in Bethelem is completed.
March 23: Egypt submits to Nureddin.
1174 May 15: With the death of Nureddin, Saladin takes over a Muslim state that stretches from the Tigris Valley to the Libyan desert, effectively surrounding the crusader states on three sides.
1183 June 11: Aleppo submits to Saladin.
1186 March 3: Mosul submits to Saladin.
1187 May: Saladin invades the kingdom of Jerusalem.
July 4: The Latin army is effectively defeated in the battle of Hattin (north of Jerusalem and east of Acre).
October 2: Jerusalem surrenders to Saladin.
Weak Crusader states (1187-1291)
1187 Ocotber 3: Pope Gregory 8 of Rome declares the 3rd Crusade, and gets positive response from European rulers.
1189: The 3rd crusade starts.
1190 June 10: The German Emperor Frederick 1 drowns in Cilicia.
1191 July 12: The crusaders takes control over the strategically important town of Acre.
1192 September 2: The treaty of Jaffa is signed.
1197: Start of a German crusade to Palestine.
1198 August: Pope Innocent 3 proclaims the 4th crusade.
1202: The 4th crusade starts.
1204 April: The crusaders sack Constantinople.
May 9: Baldwin of Flanders is elected Latin emperor of Constantinople.
1212: The Childrens' Crusade, where the Europeans hoped that children troops could bring forth the miracle needed to recapture Jerusalem. But most children were set up by Europeans sailors and sold as slaves in Egypt.
1213 April: The 5th crusade is declared by pope Innocent 3.
1217: The 5th crusade starts.
1218 May 27: Damietta of Egypt is besieged by the crusaders.
1219 November 5: Damietta falls to the crusaders.
1221 August 30: The crusaders are defeated by Muslim troops at al-Mansura.
1227: The pope excommunicates emperor Frederick 2.
1229 February 18: The crusaders gets back the control over Jerusalem following the signing of a treaty by German emperor Frederick 2 and the Egyptian sultan al-Kamil.
The pope launches a crusade against Frederick 2.
1244 July 11: Jerusalem is besieged by the Khorezmians.
August 23: Jerusalem falls to the Khorezmians.
1258: Mongol troops sack Baghdad, destroying the city for decades to come.
1261: Greek forces take back control over Constantinople.
1268 May 18: Antioch falls to the Mamluks, and slaughter almost all of its inhabitants.
1289 April 26: Tripoli falls to the Mamluks.
1291 May 18: Acre falls to the Mamluks.
July: Beirut and Sidon falls to the Mamluks.
August: The crusaders evacuate from the fortresses of Tortosa and Chāteau Pélerin.