The Crusader states, also known as Outremer, were a number of mostly 12th- and 13th-century feudal Christian states created by Western European crusaders in Asia Minor, Greece and the Holy Land, and during the Northern Crusades in the eastern Baltic area. The name also refers to other territorial gains (often small and short-lived) made by medieval Christendom against Muslim and pagan adversaries.
The Crusader states in the Levant were the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the Principality of Antioch, the County of Tripoli and the County of Edessa. The people of the Crusader states were generally referred to as "Latins ".
Beginning in the 7th century, Muslim rulers began expanding their territories into Christian Roman/Byzantine lands, conquering Egypt and the Levant, and gradually taking over all of North Africa, much of Southwest Asia, and most of the Iberian Peninsula. The Eastern Romans, or Byzantines, partially recovered lost territory on numerous occasions but gradually lost all but Anatolia and parts of Thrace and the Balkans. In the West, the Roman Catholic kingdoms of northern Iberia launched campaigns known as the Reconquista to reconquer the peninsula from the Arabized Berbers known as Moors (who called it al-Andalus). The conquered Iberian principalities are not customarily called Crusader states, except for the Kingdom of Valencia, despite fitting the criteria.
Malcolm Barber, a British scholar of medieval history, indicates that, in the Crusader state of the Kingdom of Jerusalem the Holy Sepulchre was added to in the 7th century and rebuilt in 1022, "after a previous collapse". "In 691–2 Caliph Abd al Malik had built a great dome over the rock here, a place sacred to all three great religions". 
In 1071, the Byzantine army was defeated by the Muslim Seljuk Turks at the Battle of Manzikert, resulting in the loss of most of Asia Minor. The situation was a serious threat to the future of the Eastern Orthodox Byzantine Empire. The Emperor sent a plea to the Pope in Rome to send military aid to restore the lost territories to Christian rule. The result was a series of western European military campaigns into the eastern Mediterranean, known as the Crusades. Unfortunately for the Byzantines, the crusaders had no allegiance to the Byzantine Emperor and established their own states in the conquered regions, including the heart of the Byzantine Empire.
After the First Crusade's capture of Jerusalem and victory at Ascalon the majority of the Crusaders considered their pilgrimage complete and returned to Europe. Godfrey was left with only 300 knights and 2,000 infantry to defend the territory won in the Eastern Mediterranean. Only Tancred of the crusader princes remained with the aim of establishing his own lordship. At this point the Franks held only Jerusalem and two great Syrian cities; Antioch and Edessa but not the surrounding country. Jerusalem remained economically sterile despite the advantages of being the centre of administration of church and state and benefitting from streams of pilgrims.
Consolidation in the first half of the 12th-century established four Crusader states: the County of Edessa (1098–1149), the Principality of Antioch (1098–1268), the Kingdom of Jerusalem (1099–1291), and the County of Tripoli (1104–1289, although the city of Tripoli itself remained in Muslim control until 1109). These states were the first examples of "Europe overseas". They are generally known as outremer, from the French outre-mer ("overseas" in English).
Largely based in the ports of Acre and Tyre; Italian, Provencal and Spanish communes provided a significant characteristic of Crusader social stratification and political organisation. Separate from the Frankish nobles or burgesses, the communes were autonomous political entities closely linked to their countries of origin. This gave the inhabitants the ability to monopolise foreign trade and almost all banking and shipping in the Crusader states. Every opportunity to extend trade privileges was taken. One such example was the case of the Venetian Doge receiving one third of Tyre, its territories and exemption from all taxes after participating in the successful 1124 siege of the city. However, despite all efforts the two ports were unable to replace Alexandria and Constantinople as the primary centres of commerce in the region.  Instead, the communes competed with the Crown and each other to maintain economic advantage. Power derived from the support of the communards' native cities rather than their number, which never reached more than several hundred. Through this, by the middle of the 13th-century, the rulers of the communes were barely required to recognise the authority of the crusaders and divided Acre into a number of fortified miniature republics.
During the Third Crusade, the Crusaders founded the Kingdom of Cyprus. Richard I of England conquered Cyprus on his way to Holy Land. He subsequently sold the island to the Knights Templar who were unable to maintain their hold because of a lack of resources and a rapacious attitude towards the local population which led to a series of popular uprisings. The Templars promptly returned the island to Richard who resold it to the displaced King of Jerusalem Guy of Lusignan in 1192. Guy went on to found a dynasty that lasted until 1489, when the widow of James II The Bastard, Queen Catherine Cornaro, a native of Venice, abdicated her throne in favour of the Republic of Venice, which annexed the island. For much of its history under the Lusignan Kings, Cyprus was a prosperous Medieval Kingdom, a commercial and trading hub of Western Christendom in the Middle East. The Kingdom's decline began when it became embroiled in the dispute between the Italian Merchant Republics of Genoa and Venice. Indeed, the Kingdom's decline can be traced to a disastrous war with Genoa in 1373–74 which ended with the Genoese occupying the principal port City of Famagusta. Eventually with the help of Venice, the Kingdom recovered Famagusta but by then it was too late and in any event, the Venetians had their own designs on the island. Venetian rule over Cyprus lasted for just over 80 years until 1571, when the Ottoman Empire under Sultan Selim II Sarkhosh invaded and captured the entire island. The battle for Cyprus between Venice and the Ottoman Empire was immortalized by William Shakespeare in his play Othello, most of which is set in the port city of Famagusta on the eastern shores of the island.
These states faced the attacks of the Byzantine Greek successor states of Nicaea and Epirus, as well as Bulgaria. Thessalonica and the Latin Empire were reconquered by the Byzantine Greeks by 1261. Descendants of the Crusaders continued to rule in Athens and the Peloponnesus (Morea) until the 15th century when the area was conquered by the Ottoman Empire.
The emblem used on the seals of the rulers of Jerusalem during the 12th century was a simplified depiction of the city itself, showing the tower of David between the Dome of the Rock and the Holy Sepulchre, surrounded by the city walls. The coins minted in Jerusalem during the 12th century show patriarchal crosses with various modifications. Coins minted under Henry I (r. 1192–1197) show a cross with four dots in the four quarters, but the Jerusalem cross proper appears only on a coin minted under John II (r. 1284/5).
The crescent in pellet symbol is used in Crusader coins of the 12th century, in some cases duplicated in the four corners of a cross, as a variant of the cross-and-crosslets ("Jerusalem cross"). Many Crusader seals and coins show a crescent and a star (or blazing Sun) on either side of the ruler's head (as in the tradition of Sassanid coins), e.g. Bohemond III of Antioch, Richard I of England, Raymond VI, Count of Toulouse. At the same time, the star in crescent is found on the obverse of Crusader coins, e.g. in coins of the County of Tripoli minted under Raymond II or III c. 1140s–1160s show an "eight-rayed star with pellets above crescent".
In the Baltic region, the indigenous tribes in the Middle Ages at first staunchly refused Christianity. In 1193, Pope Celestine III urged Christians to have a crusade against the heathens which included the Old Prussians, the Lithuanians and other tribes inhabiting Estonia, Latvia and East Prussia. This period of warfare is called the Northern Crusades.
The Battle of Harran took place on May 7, 1104 between the Crusader states of the Principality of Antioch and the County of Edessa, and the Seljuk Turks. It was the first major battle against the newfound Crusader states in the aftermath of the First Crusade marking a key turning point against Frankish expansion. The battle had a disastrous effect on the Principality of Antioch as the Turks regained territory earlier lost.Casalis
In the Middle Ages, a casalis or casale (Latin and Italian; Old French/Spanish casal), plural casalia (casali, casales), was "a cluster of houses in a rural setting". The word is not classical Latin, but derives from the Latin word casa, meaning "house". The term originated in western Europe and was also employed in the Crusader states. Depending on the situation, the terms feudum, villa and locum suburbanum could by synonyms. The word casale came into use in the eighth century to refer to an isolated rural tenement or demesne.Catherine I, Latin Empress
Catherine I, also Catherine of Courtenay (25 November 1274 – 11 October 1307), was the recognised Latin Empress of Constantinople from 1283 to 1307, although she lived in exile and only held authority over Crusader States in Greece. In 1301, she became the second wife of Charles of Valois, by whom she had one son and three daughters; the eldest of these, Catherine II of Valois, Princess of Achaea succeeded her as titular empress.County of Edessa
The County of Edessa was one of the Crusader states in the 12th century. Its seat was the city of Edessa (present-day Şanlıurfa, Turkey).
In the late Byzantine period, Edessa became the centre of intellectual life within the Syriac Orthodox Church. As such it also became the centre for the translation of Ancient Greek philosophy into Syriac, which provided a stepping stone for the subsequent translations into Arabic. When the Crusades arrived, it was still important enough to tempt a side-expedition after the Siege of Antioch.Baldwin of Boulogne, the first Count of Edessa, became King of Jerusalem, and subsequent counts were his cousins. Unlike the other Crusader states, the County was landlocked. It was remote from the other states and was not on particularly good terms with its closest neighbor, the Principality of Antioch. Half of the county, including its capital, was located east of the Euphrates, far to the east, rendering it particularly vulnerable. The west part of the Euphrates was controlled from the stronghold of Turbessel. The eastern border of Edessa was the Tigris, but the County may not have extended quite that far.The fall of Edessa in 1144 was the first major setback for Outremer and provoked the Second Crusade. All the later Crusades, however, were troubled by strategic uncertainties and disagreements. The Second Crusade did not even try to recover Edessa, calculating it to be strategically better to take Damascus. But the campaign failed and Edessa was lost for the Christians.
Today, the city is called Şanlıurfa and is part of modern-day Turkey; it retains nothing of its former importance. The Oriental Orthodox community largely disappeared after the Armenian Genocide during World War I.County of Tripoli
The County of Tripoli (1109–1289) was the last of the Crusader states. It was founded in the Levant in the modern-day region of Tripoli, northern Lebanon and parts of western Syria which supported an indigenous population of Christians, Druze and Muslims.
When the Christian Crusaders – mostly Frankish forces – captured the region in 1109, Bertrand of Toulouse became the first Count of Tripoli as a vassal of King Baldwin I of Jerusalem. From that time, the rule of the county was decided not strictly by inheritance but by factors such as military force (external and civil war), favour and negotiation. In 1289 the County of Tripoli fell to Sultan Qalawun of the Muslim Mamluks of Cairo. The county was absorbed into Mamluk Egypt.Crusades
The Crusades were a series of religious wars sanctioned by the Latin Church in the medieval period. The most commonly known Crusades are the campaigns in the Eastern Mediterranean aimed at recovering the Holy Land from Muslim rule, but the term "Crusades" is also applied to other church-sanctioned campaigns. These were fought for a variety of reasons including the suppression of paganism and heresy, the resolution of conflict among rival Roman Catholic groups, or for political and territorial advantage. At the time of the early Crusades the word did not exist, only becoming the leading descriptive term around 1760.
In 1095, Pope Urban II called for the First Crusade in a sermon at the Council of Clermont. He encouraged military support for the Byzantine Empire and its Emperor, Alexios I, who needed reinforcements for his conflict with westward migrating Turks colonizing Anatolia. One of Urban's aims was to guarantee pilgrims access to the Eastern Mediterranean holy sites that were under Muslim control but scholars disagree as to whether this was the primary motive for Urban or those who heeded his call. Urban's strategy may have been to unite the Eastern and Western branches of Christendom, which had been divided since the East–West Schism of 1054 and to establish himself as head of the unified Church. The initial success of the Crusade established the first four Crusader states in the Eastern Mediterranean: the County of Edessa, the Principality of Antioch, the Kingdom of Jerusalem and the County of Tripoli. The enthusiastic response to Urban's preaching from all classes in Western Europe established a precedent for other Crusades. Volunteers became Crusaders by taking a public vow and receiving plenary indulgences from the Church. Some were hoping for a mass ascension into heaven at Jerusalem or God's forgiveness for all their sins. Others participated to satisfy feudal obligations, obtain glory and honour or to seek economic and political gain.
The two-century attempt to recover the Holy Land ended in failure. Following the First Crusade there were six major Crusades and numerous less significant ones. After the last Catholic outposts fell in 1291, there were no more Crusades; but the gains were longer lasting in Northern and Western Europe. The Wendish Crusade and those of the Archbishop of Bremen brought all the North-East Baltic and the tribes of Mecklenburg and Lusatia under Catholic control in the late 12th century. In the early 13th century the Teutonic Order created a Crusader state in Prussia and the French monarchy used the Albigensian Crusade to extend the kingdom to the Mediterranean Sea. The rise of the Ottoman Empire in the late 14th century prompted a Catholic response which led to further defeats at Nicopolis in 1396 and Varna in 1444. Catholic Europe was in chaos and the final pivot of Christian–Islamic relations was marked by two seismic events: the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453 and a final conclusive victory for the Spanish over the Moors with the conquest of Granada in 1492. The idea of Crusading continued, not least in the form of the Knights Hospitaller, until the end of the 18th-century but the focus of Western European interest moved to the New World.
Modern historians hold widely varying opinions of the Crusaders. To some, their conduct was incongruous with the stated aims and implied moral authority of the papacy, as evidenced by the fact that on occasion the Pope excommunicated Crusaders. Crusaders often pillaged as they travelled, and their leaders generally retained control of captured territory instead of returning it to the Byzantines. During the People's Crusade, thousands of Jews were murdered in what is now called the Rhineland massacres. Constantinople was sacked during the Fourth Crusade. However, the Crusades had a profound impact on Western civilisation: Italian city-states gained considerable concessions in return for assisting the Crusaders and established colonies which allowed trade with the eastern markets even in the Ottoman period, allowing Genoa and Venice to flourish; they consolidated the collective identity of the Latin Church under papal leadership; and they constituted a wellspring for accounts of heroism, chivalry, and piety that galvanised medieval romance, philosophy, and literature. The Crusades also reinforced a connection between Western Christendom, feudalism, and militarism.Duchy of Athens
The Duchy of Athens (Greek: Δουκᾶτον Ἀθηνῶν, Doukaton Athinon; Catalan: Ducat d'Atenes) was one of the Crusader states set up in Greece after the conquest of the Byzantine Empire during the Fourth Crusade, encompassing the regions of Attica and Boeotia, and surviving until its conquest by the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century.Frankokratia
The Frankokratia (Greek: Φραγκοκρατία, sometimes anglicized as Francocracy, lit. "rule of the Franks"), also known as Latinokratia (Greek: Λατινοκρατία, "rule of the Latins") and, for the Venetian domains, Venetokratia or Enetokratia (Greek: Βενετοκρατία or Ενετοκρατία, "rule of the Venetians"), was the period in Greek history after the Fourth Crusade (1204), when a number of primarily French and Italian Crusader states were established on the territory of the dissolved Byzantine Empire (see Partitio terrarum imperii Romaniae).
The term derives from the name given by the Orthodox Greeks to the Western European Latin Church Catholics: "Latins". Most Latins had French (Frankish), Norman, or Venetian origins. The span of the Frankokratia period differs by region: the political situation proved highly volatile, as the Frankish states fragmented and changed hands, and the Greek successor states re-conquered many areas.
With the exception of the Ionian Islands and some isolated forts which remained in Venetian hands until the turn of the 19th century, the final end of the Frankokratia in the Greek lands came with the Ottoman conquest, chiefly in the 14th to 16th centuries, which ushered in the period known as "Tourkokratia" ("rule of the Turks"; see Ottoman Greece).Kingdom of Cyprus
The Kingdom of Cyprus was a Crusader state that existed between 1192 and 1489. It was ruled by the French House of Lusignan. It comprised not only the island of Cyprus, but also had a foothold on the Anatolian mainland: Antalya between 1361 and 1373, and Corycus between 1361 and 1448.Kingdom of Thessalonica
The Kingdom of Thessalonica was a short-lived Crusader State founded after the Fourth Crusade over conquered Byzantine lands in Macedonia and Thessaly.Latin Patriarchate of Antioch
The Latin Patriarch of Antioch was a religious office of the Latin Church of the Catholic Church created in 1098 by Bohemond, founder of the Principality of Antioch, one of the crusader states.
The jurisdiction of the Latin patriarchs in Antioch extended over the three feudal principalities of Antioch, Edessa, and Tripolis. Towards the end of the twelfth century the island of Cyprus was added. In practice they were far more dependent upon the popes than their predecessors, the Greek patriarchs. After the fall of Antioch (1268) the popes still appointed patriarchs, who, however, were unable to take possession of the see. Since the middle of the fourteenth century they were only titular dignitaries. The title of Latin Patriarch of Antioch was conferred until the early 1950s; but the recipient resided in Rome and was a member of the chapter of the basilica of St. Mary Major. The Basilica of St. Mary Major was the Antioch patriarchium, or papal major basilicas assigned to the Patriarch of Antioch to officiated if they came to Rome, near which they dwelt.Lordship of Chios
The Lordship of Chios was a short-lived autonomous lordship run by the Genoese Zaccaria family. Its core was the eastern Aegean island of Chios, and in its height it encompassed a number of other islands off the shore of Asia Minor. Although theoretically a vassal of the Byzantine Empire, the Zaccaria ruled the island as a practically independent domain from its capture in 1304 until the Greek-Byzantines recovered it, with the support of the local Greek population, in 1329.Medieval Greece
Medieval Greece refers to geographic components of the area historically and modernly known as Greece, during the Middle Ages.
Byzantine Greece (Early to High Middle Ages)
Northern Greece under the First Bulgarian Empire
various High Medieval Crusader states ("Frankish Greece") and Byzantine splinter states:
Kingdom of Thessalonica
Principality of Achaea
Duchy of Athens
Despotate of Epirus
Despotate of the Morea
Northern Greece under the Second Bulgarian Empire (Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria)
Ottoman Greece (Late Middle Ages)Military history of the Crusader states
The military history of the Crusader states begins with the formation of the County of Edessa in 1097 and ends with the loss of Ruad in 1302, the last Christian stronghold in the Holy Land.Outremer
Outremer (French: outre-mer, meaning "overseas") was a general name used for the Crusader states; it originated after victories of Europeans in the First Crusade and was applied to the County of Edessa, the Principality of Antioch, the County of Tripoli, and especially the Kingdom of Jerusalem. During the Renaissance, the term was later often equated to the area of the Levant and it remains synonymous for the Holy Land.The Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia originated before the Crusades, but it was granted the status of a kingdom by Pope Celestine III. It later became fully westernised by the French House of Lusignan.
In general, the French used this term to refer to any land "overseas". For example, King Louis IV of France was called "Louis d'Outremer", as he was raised in England.
In the Chanson de Roland, "Outremer" is used as the name of a fictional Muslim country. It is identified as one of the many countries participating in the general mobilization of the Muslim world against Christianity at the climax of the plot.Principality of Antioch
The Principality of Antioch was one of the crusader states created during the First Crusade which included parts of modern-day Turkey and Syria. The principality was much smaller than the County of Edessa or the Kingdom of Jerusalem. It extended around the northeastern edge of the Mediterranean, bordering the County of Tripoli to the south, Edessa to the east, and the Byzantine Empire or the Kingdom of Armenia to the northwest, depending on the date.
It had roughly 20,000 inhabitants in the 12th century, most of whom were Armenians and Greek Orthodox Christians, with a few Muslims outside the city itself. Most of the crusaders who settled there were of Norman origin, notably from the Norman Kingdom of southern Italy, as were the first rulers of the principality, who surrounded themselves with their own loyal subjects. Few of the inhabitants apart from the Crusaders were Roman Catholic even though the city was turned into a Latin Patriarchate in 1100.Principality of Galilee
The Principality of Galilee was one of the four major seigneuries of the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, according to 13th-century commentator John of Ibelin. The direct holdings of the principality centred around Tiberias, in Galilee proper, but with all its vassals, the lordship covered all Galilee (now Israel) and southern Phoenicia (today Lebanon). The independent Sidon was located between Galilee's holdings. The Principality also had its own vassals: the Lordships of Beirut, Nazareth, and Haifa.
The principality was established, at least in name, in 1099 when Tancred was given Tiberias, Haifa, and Bethsan by Godfrey of Bouillon. In 1101, Baldwin I limited Tancred's power by giving Haifa to Galdemar Carpenel, and Tancred was forced to give up the principality and become regent in Antioch. The principality became the fief of the families of St. Omer, Montfaucon (Falcomberques), and then Bures, and its main seat was in Tiberias; thus it was sometimes also called the Principality of Tiberias or the Tiberiad. The Principality was destroyed by Saladin in 1187, although the title was used as dignity by relatives and younger sons of the kings of Cyprus (the titular kings of Jerusalem) afterwards, and some of its former holdings were briefly reclaimed by a treaty made during the Barons' Crusade.Stato da Màr
The Stato da Màr or Domini da Mar ("State/Domains of the Sea") was the name given to the Republic of Venice's maritime and overseas possessions, including Istria, Dalmatia, Albania, Negroponte, the Morea (the "Kingdom of the Morea"), the Aegean islands of the Duchy of the Archipelago, and the islands of Crete (the "Kingdom of Candia") and Cyprus. It was one of the three subdivisions of the Republic of Venice's possessions, the other two being the Dogado, i.e. Venice proper, and the Domini di Terraferma in northern Italy.Toron
Toron, now Tibnin or Tebnine in southern Lebanon, was a major Crusader castle, built in the Lebanon mountains on the road from Tyre to Damascus. The castle was the centre of the Lordship of Toron, a seigneury within the Kingdom of Jerusalem, actually a rear-vassalage of the Principality of Galilee.