Crusades were inherent in the medieval history. France, the Low Countries and Norman Italy were crucial players in crusading, and England showed much less involvement. Nonetheless, England also participated in the crusading campaigns and contributed a lot of human and material resources to the movement. English monarchs and warriors participated in “holy” expeditions from 1096 to 1291. Later
on they allocated considerable funds to support them.
How crusades affected England – historians mostly find evidence of negative implications. For common people crusades meant a huge tax burden and arbitrary policies of military orders.
Holy War for Holy Land
The era of religious offensives named “holy war” began with the official decree of Pope Urban II in 1095. He endorsed the first crusade. The centuries-long movement consisted of military expeditions led by Christian knights. Their purpose was to conquer the Holy Land. The religious campaign reached its climax in the 12 th and 13 th centuries and had a tremendous influence on people’s destinies in continental Europe and in Britain. Kings and lords became warriors, peasants and artisans also got enrolled into the army fighting for Christianity.
It was generally the war between two worlds: Christian and Muslim. But the Christian fighters designated not only Muslims as enemies. Military offensives were also targeted against Moors in Spain, pagan Slavs in Eastern Europe and Mongols as well.
The First Crusade took three years – from 1096 to 1099. Duke Robert Curthose of Normandy, the son of William the Conqueror and brother of King William II, took part in it together with the Anglo-Norman elite. Most of them were not English natives, but they already had strong links with the British land.
Major impact of Crusades
Crusades underlay the emerging globalized links. East and West met face to face, and military clashes gave rise to new cultural, art and scientific developments. Trade between them came into flourishing soon. Europe itself gained unity in mentality and ideology.