Results of the Crusades

After overcoming many hardships, the Crusaders reached the Near East (the part of Asia near Europe). They defeated the Moslems in a series of battles and conquered Jerusalem, the capital of Palestine. But the Moslems did not admit defeat. Forming new armies, they gradually drove the Crusaders out of Palestine and the neighboring countries. The Europeans in turn sent fresh armies of Crusaders to the Near East. Altogether the Crusades lasted almost two hundred years. In the end the Moslems won. They kept control of the Holy Land.

Nevertheless, the Crusades should not be considered a failure because they had important effects on Europe's development. Europeans learned a great deal from the Moslems, who had a more advanced civilization. Educated people learned that the earth is round, not flat. Wealthy people learned to use the fine goods of the eastemers - their silk and cotton cloth, rugs and tapestries, perfumes and glassware. Both rich and poor people learned to like pepper and other spices, which came from India and the Indies. Europeans had been using salt to keep meat from spoiling. Spices, they now discovered, not only preserved meat; they also gave it a much better taste.

Since the people of Europe wanted the spices and fine goods of the East, a rich trade soon sprang up between the two regions. The Mediterranean Sea was the main route for this trade. Ships piloted by Italian sea captains were the main carriers. Italians and other Europeans also sailed out into the stormy Atlantic to bring the valuable cargoes to northwestern Europe.