10 Things You Should Know About The Medieval Crusader State Armies Of Levant

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2) The ‘disadvantage’ of depopulation

Suffice it to say, when the First Crusade was finally successful in capturing Jerusalem, the act was considered as nothing less than a miracle. But beyond its symbolic ‘miraculous’ scope, the city of Jerusalem itself was thoroughly depopulated, and thus its strategic value was questioned. One of the reasons for such dire circumstances directly pertained to Crusaders’ actions, which led to the barring of Muslims and Jews from the Holy City, while many of the native Christians also fled the settlement.

Even on the Crusaders side, their military presence was becoming precarious, with many of the Europeans returning home after their ‘successful’ crusade. The remaining few hundred Europeans were so paltry in number that they barely managed to guard the gates of the city. As a solution, many of the native Christians were encouraged to migrate to Jerusalem. Additionally European settlers were also given concessions to ‘travel’ to the Holy Land, while the port cities and towns (that were still under Muslim control) were wrested away with the significant aid provided by the fleets of the maritime Italian city-states (like Venice and Genoa). Unfortunately for the Kingdom of Jerusalem, most of these measures failed in the long-term, with stringently adopted feudal structures inhibiting the growth of the inland areas and commercial monopoly of the Italians dictating the coastal areas.

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