Summary of key events of the Crusades

Timeline: 1096-1099 – 1st Crusade, 1145-1149 – 2nd Crusade, 1189-1192 – 3rd Crusade, 1202 – 4th Crusade, 1212 - Children's Crusade, 1217-1250 – 5th, 6th and 7th Crusades, 1396 - The Last Crusade.

Historians disagree about what to include as 'the Crusades', but a sensible list would include:

1096‒1099First CrusadeFirst an army of peasants led by Peter the Hermit (a French priest and key leader of the Crusades) set off for the Holy Land. They were massacred by the Turks. An army of knights followed, led by Godfrey of Bouillon (Frankish knight and another leader of the first Crusades), which massacred Muslims and captured Jerusalem in 1099. The Crusaders massacred the Muslims until, it was said, the streets ran red with blood.
1145‒1149Second CrusadeKing Louis VII of France invaded the Holy Land, but was defeated at Damascus.
1189‒1192Third CrusadeIn 1187, the Muslim ruler Saladin had recaptured Jerusalem. The Crusaders (who included King Richard I of England) captured the port of Acre. But they quarrelled, and failed to capture Jerusalem. On the way home, Richard was kidnapped and held ransom until February 1194 when the English paid for his release.
1202-1204Fourth CrusadeThe Pope wanted to unite western and eastern Christians under his authority. He diverted this Crusade, with the help of Venice, and captured Constantinople in 1204. Christians fought Christians.
1212Children's CrusadeAn army of young people set off on Crusade. They were kidnapped and sold as slaves.
1217‒1250Fifth, Sixth and Seventh CrusadesAll failed.
1396Battle of Nicopolis sometimes called the 'last' CrusadeAn army of French and Hungarian knights were massacred. Some historians refer to it as the 'last' Crusade.