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Geography: Late Roman Empire, Middle Ages, Crusades

Geography:Middle Ages and Crusades

How Did Geography Effect the Crusades

How did geography limit the success of the Crusades?
First, the Crusaders had to travel huge distances just to reach the Holy Land. Many died along the way.
Second, Crusaders weren't prepared to fight in the Holy Land's desert climate.
Third, the Christians were outnumbered by their well-led and organized Muslim foes.
Fourth, Christian leaders were not united. They spoke different languages. They did not leave their European rivalries behind. Consequently, they fought among themselves and planned poorly.
Fifth, In some cases ignorance of geography and distances caused Crusaders to get lost on the way to the Holy Land.

Map Roman Provinces 400 AB

Blank Map the Crusades


What Was Gained From the Crusade Lands?

As happens in many wars, the Crusaders plundered without mercy and took what they wanted from the people of what we now call the Middle East.

Food products
rice, coffee, sherbet, dates, apricots, lemons, sugar, spices such as ginger, melons, rhubarb and dates.

Household goods
mirrors, carpets, cotton cloth for clothing, ships compasses, writing paper, wheelbarrows, mattresses and shawls.

New ideas
chess, Arabic figures 0 to 9, pain killing drugs, algebra, irrigation, chemistry, the colour scarlet, water wheels and water clocks

Architecture and Building Castles
Edward I of England had been on a crusade and learned about castle improvements. The Muslims built in a scientific manner using the area a castle was built in for its maximum potential.

More time and energy was spent trading than fighting. Of the 174 years of the Crusades, only 24 involved fighting. There was much to be made by trading. The above list gives an indication of how western Europe benefited. The Muslims obtained from the west linen and woollen cloth.

interactive maps


Map of the First Crusade (Asia)


Map of the First Crusade (Europe and Asia)