What were the Crusades?

The word crusade has been adopted from the French word ‘croisade’, which means “Marked by the Cross.”
A series of military conflicts of a religious character are termed as the Crusades. These wars (1095 – 1291) were sanctioned by the Pope in the name of Christendom. The aim was to recapture Jerusalem and the sacred “Holy Land” from Muslim rule. These were launched in order to halt the expansion of the Muslim Seljuq dynasty into Anatolia. They reacted in response to a call for help by the Eastern Orthodox Byzantine Empire.
In 1076, the Muslims occupied Jerusalem, which was the holiest place for Christians- Jesus, was born in nearby Bethlehem, had spent most of his life in Jerusalem and was also crucified in Jerusalem on Calvary Hill. It was because of this Christians called Jerusalem the “City of God”.
However, Jerusalem was extremely important for the Muslims also. Muhammad, the founder of Islam, had been there. So Muslim world cherished when Jerusalem was captured. A beautiful dome – called the Dome of the Rock – was built on the rock where Muhammad was said to have sat and prayed. It was so holy that no Muslim was allowed to tread on the rock or touch it when visiting the Dome.
Therefore the Christian fought to get Jerusalem back while the Muslims fought to keep Jerusalem. These wars were to last nearly 200 years