Polychronicon 133: The Crusader States in the Levant

Teaching History feature

By Jonathan Riley-Smith, published 10th March 2009

In my first Polychronicon article on ‘The Crusades' I pointed out that research historians are increasingly specialising either on the crusades themselves or on the crusader states. There are good reasons for this, but in my opinion it makes little sense for school or university teachers to treat these topics separately.

By the thirteenth century, western European outposts had been established all around the eastern Mediterranean basin. The kingdom of Jerusalem and further north the combined principality and county of Antioch-Tripoli, which had been established in the wake of the First Crusade, extended along the Palestinian and Syrian coasts. Much of their interior, including the county of Edessa, had now been lost, although for a time, while the Asiatic trade routes ran in their favour, they prospered. The island of Cyprus had been taken by King Richard I of England...

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