series of military expeditions organized to defend Christianity in
the East and to recover the Holy Land in Palestine from Muslims.
castle in Syria
The announced purposes
of the crusades were to relieve the eastern empire from the threat of
Turkish invasion and to place the Holy Land under Christian control. Jerusalem
was captured as early as 1099 and a number of Latin states were established
in Palestine and Syria. Neither Jerusalem nor these states were permanently
held. The crusades occasionally exacerbated relations between the eastern
and western churches, particularly during the fourth crusade when western
crusaders occupied Constantinople
and there proclaimed a short-lived Latin empire. The last of the crusades
occurred in the fifteenth century.