The Holy Crusades were a series of nine major military campaigns led by Roman Catholic Church to take back Jerusalem from Muslims. Religion played a much larger part of everyday life in the time of the crusades, so it is difficult for modern people to truly understand the motives of people involved in the crusades. While the crusades did seem to be fought generally in the name of God, it appears many people involved in the crusades fought more out of self-interest rather than some deep religious devotion. The Holy Crusades were not very holy.
Evidence suggests that one of the main reasons Pope Urban II called for a crusade in 1095 was because he wanted to reunite the western Church and the eastern Church. Prior to the crusades the Great Schism occurred, splitting the Church into two separate ones, the Western Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. The head of the Eastern Orthodox Church resided in Constantinople. At the time of the first crusade, both Jerusalem and Constantinople were part of the Byzantium Empire. In calling for a crusade Pope Urban II hoped not only to take Jerusalem but also to reunite the Western Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. If Pope Urban II were able to reunite the two Churches, his political power and influence would increase significantly. While Pope Urban may have had religious reasons for the crusades, it seems he was far more motivated by the possibility that he could gain much more power and influence if the crusades succeeded.
The soldiers fighting in the crusades were also motivated by self-serving reasons. Anyone who served in the crusades received an indulgence, meaning that all their sins would automatically be forgiven and they were guaranteed a place in Heaven. This was particularly appealing to many knights, who had sinned often in their lives.
The Holy Crusades, while they may have had some religious justification at the time, appear to be anything but holy and instead were motivated by self-interest among the parties involved.
What conditions led to the beginning of exploration by the developing European countries?
Several factors led to the beginning of the exploration by European countries. Two of the factors
Involved were technological advancement and the battle for political and economic power among the various European nations.
In the years leading up to Columbus sailing to the Americans in 1492, there were several large advancements in nautical technology. Map-making became more precise, ships were built with stronger hulls and better sails, scholars re-discovered ancient cartography, and navigators developed celestial navigation. All of these advancements led to a world in which ships could sail to faraway places with speed and accuracy. European nations wanted to take advantage of these new ships and techniques to increase their political and economic power.
Christopher Columbus was trying to sail to India when he discovered America, because he had heard India was full of silks and spices that could make him a very wealthy man. Spain sponsored Columbus’ expedition with an agreement that the Spanish throne would get almost all of the profit the expedition made. Spain thought if they could gain access to the rich silks and spices of the far east it would greatly increase their economic power. Though Columbus was not able to reach India, he found gold in the America’s which he took back to Spain.
Following the discovery of the America’s, many European countries such as England and France began establishing colonies in the America’s to extract natural resources from the continent. England and France did this because they also wanted to increase their economic and political power in Europe.
The battle for political and economic power in Europe led to the beginning of exploration, and advancements in ship technology made the exploration possible.