The Crusades were wars fought by Christians in the middle Ages against Muslims. Seven major crusades were organised with the aim of recapturing Jerusalem from the Muslims. The first crusade was successful but the other six did not meet their objectives. The war between Christians and Muslims continued for many years in a bid to capture the holy city of Jerusalem (Curry, 2002).
The Crusades continued because Christians believed that they were fighting a holy war to recapture Jerusalem their holy city. These holy wars were sanctioned by Popes and civic leaders to get a following that would defeat the Muslims. Social unrest in Europe also contributed to the continued use of the Crusades. The peasant in Europe used the opportunity of joining the Crusades to escape the feudal system. They were excited to participate in a worthy battle that was sanctioned by Popes and civic leaders whom they admired (Smith, 2011, p. 10).
The crusades were also fuelled by the fact that the Arabs that ruled in 1095 did not allow Christian pilgrims and Jews to enter into Jerusalem. This sparked hatred between the Christians and Muslims resulting to the crusades. The Popes and civic leaders told the warriors that they would be rewarded by God if they fought the holy war. They were promised that if they died fighting they would automatically be received in heaven by God. Many Christians believed in heaven and the promise of eternal joy and this motivated them to fight in the holy war (Smith, 2011, p. 10).
The Crusades were a reactionary response to Islam's demands that Christians should not enter the land of Jerusalem. The Muslims believed that Jerusalem was a holy place and Christians valued it as a holy city. Once the Muslims did not allow Christians to enter Jerusalem, hatred sparked between them. Popes called upon the organisation of Crusades that were designed with the sole purpose of recapturing a holy city. Muslims fought back and a war broke between Christians and Muslims in a scramble to maintain Jerusalem (Curry, 2002).
Another reaction by Christians occurred in 1065, when a notable massacre of more than 3,000 Christians by Islam Turks occurred. Christians who did not die were treated badly by the incumbent power. The death of these Christians and the outcry of survivors in Jerusalem caused their leaders to organise crusades to rescue Jerusalem for Muslims. This was in reaction to the Muslim demands that Christians were no longer allowed to visit or worship in Jerusalem. A storm of hatred was spread across Europe, as the desire to rescue the holy city became a reality. In this way, Christians were reacting to Islam demands, which seemed unjust (Curry, 2002).
The war of the Crusaders continued for many years but many of them failed to recapture Jerusalem. Most of the land in Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Turkey were occupied by Christians in 200 to 900 A.D. However, Muslims became powerful and took the land of Christians and this is what motivated Christian Crusades. The Europeans and the East are now familiar with each other having exposed each other to civilization.