Today in Middle Eastern history: the First Crusade captures Jerusalem (1099)

One thing that sets the First Crusade apart from the rest of the Crusades, apart from it being first, is that it actually succeeded. Without qualification, without changing the conditions in the middle of the campaign, the army of the First Crusade accomplished what it set out to accomplish—it captured Jerusalem. Well, OK, what it officially set out to accomplish was to relieve the Byzantine Empire from the Seljuk Turks, who were advancing closer to Constantinople all the time, and it didn’t really do very much in that regard. But taking Jerusalem was always the campaign’s not-so-secret real goal, and, hey, Mission Accomplished. To be honest, you could even say the conquest of the city was a little anti-climactic. Fighting through the Seljuks to the north was a lot more challenging than taking Jerusalem from the rapidly-declining Fatimid Caliphate.

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