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Crusades In the Middle Ages Christians considered Palestine the Holy Land because it was where Jesus had lived and taught The Arabs had conquered Palestine in the 600s Most Arabs were Muslims but they usually tolerated other religions Jews and Christians who paid their taxes and observed other regulations were free to live in Palestine and practice their own religion The Arab rulers didnt usually interfere with Christian pilgrims visiting Palestine and European traders could generally do business there During the 1000s the Seljuk Turks people from central Asia who had adopted the Muslim faith conquered Palestine and attacked Asia Minor which was part of the Byzantine Empire When the Turks threatened the capital city of Constantinople the Byzantine emperor appealed to the pope in Rome Because Christian pilgrims going to Palestine came home with reports of persecution from the Turks the Byzantine emperors appeal for help found a reception in Europe Pope Urban I wanted to regain the Holy Land from the Muslims He called a great meeting of church leaders and French nobles at Clermont France in 1095 At the meeting he encouraged the powerful feudal nobles to stop fighting with each other and to join in one big war against the unbelievers Urbans request made his listeners very enthusiastic and they joined in one big cry God wills it From Clermont people traveled through France preaching the cause The people who joined the expeditions sewed a cloth cross on their clothes They were called crusaders from the Latin word cruciata which means marked with a cross People joined the Crusades the expeditions to regain the Holy Land for many different reasons Most knights joined the crusades for the land and plunder in the rich Middle East Merchants saw a chance to make money The pope promised both heavenly and earthly rewards Those who died on a Crusade were said to go strait to heaven The pope also guaranteed church protection
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