Richard I's Crusade

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On July the 4th, 1190 Richard's Crusade began.

On the 10th of April 1191, The fleet left Sicily heading for Rhodes. On route, a storm forced three ships to Cyprus which landed at Limassol. At the time, the governor of Cyprus was Isaac Ducas Comnenus, who had tricked his way to power and had made an alliance with Saladin and was not going to help the Crusaders. Richard after arriving at Rhodes on 19 April 1191, set sail again to look for the three ships and arrived at Limissol on May 6. He attacked the Cypriot army in Limissol and drove them out of the town. He then attacked the army as they camped outside the city, but Isaac escaped leaving behind his standard embroidered in cloth of gold which was later presented to the abbey of Bury St. Edmunds.

On the 11th of May 1190, Richard met Guy of Lusignan, King of Jerusalem, Richard's brother Geoffrey, Bohemund (Prince of Antioch), Raymond (Count of Tripoli), Humphrey of Toron and other knights. The reason for the meeting was that Philippe V of France had arrived in Acre on 20th April and was attempting to throw Guy of Lusignan off the throne in Jerusalem and replace him with Conrad of Montferrat.

On 12th May 1190, Richard married Berengaria in Limassol.

By the 1st of June, Richard controlled the whole of Cyprus and imposed a 50% capital levy on the Cypriots in return for allowing them to return to traditional laws and customs. Richard of Camville and Robert of Turnham were put in charge of governing Cyprus, and on the 5th of June, Richard left Cyprus and arrived at Tyre on the 6th. He continued towards Acre and arrived there on the 8th. His aim was to help the army that was besieging the town which was being held by a garrison of Saladin's men. By the 3rd of July, Saladin had the besiegers army surrounded and attacked, but was driven back. On the 12 of July, Richard and the army in Acre agree on surrender terms. Richard would let the army go for the price of 200,000 dinars and some 1500 prisoners held by Saladin. Richard entered Acre and his banner was placed beside that of the French to show that the spoils were to be shared between them. Leopold of Austria, who had only a small force with him, and had not contributed to the victory placed his banner beside the English and the French. One of Richard's soldiers tears the banner down, strongly offending Leopold. Leopold blamed Richard for tearing down the banner and promptly left for Austria. The probability is that Richard had the banner removed as he did not want to share the spoils three ways.

On the 31st of July, Philippe left Acre for Tyre and on the 3rd of August left Tyre for France. Worried what Philippe would do, Richard made him promise not to attack Richard's territories while he was still on the Crusade.

Due to the fact that Saladin did not pay the 200,000 dinars, Richard ordered the execution of 2,700 members of the Acre garrison. On the 5th of September, on the road to Jaffa, Richard demands to speak to Saladin about the cession of all of Palestine, but to no avail. On the 7th of October Saladin attacked Richard's marching army. The Hospitallers at the rear of the column charge after Saladin's men after the attack fails and only quick thinking by Richard prevents the Hospitallers being split up from the rest of the column and thus weakening it. On the 10th of September, the Frankish army reached Jaffa. Saladin had already destroyed the town to prevent it falling into Richard's hands, so Richard camps outside in an olive grove and rebuilds the town. Up to the end of 1191, Richard concentrated on rebuilding Jaffa and adding castles there and along the road to Jerusalem. January 1192, Richard's forces stayed at Ascalon, and on 15th April, news reached him from England that John was causing trouble, and Philippe was threatening to attack the borders of Normandy. Conrad of Montferrat was made King of Jerusalem and Guy of Lusignan was made Lord of Cyprus. His family is to reign in Cyprus until 1489. On the 28th of April, Conrad was assassinated by followers of Rasid Ed-Din Sinan, known as 'The Old Man of the Mountains'. From 1169-1193 on his death, Rashid was the leader of the Syrian branch of a revolutionary religious movement founded in Persia. From their mountain fortress of Alamut, they struck out at those who attacked them. The word 'Assassin' comes from the Arabic word 'hashish' as the men were thought to take the drug to act as they did. There were even two attempts on Saladin's life. It is unknown why Conrad was assassinated, but it seems that he acted against Rasid, with an act of piracy. On the 5th of May, Conrad's wife Isabella, married Count Henry of Champagne with Richard's consent and Henry becomes the King of Jerusalem. He never assumed the title, however as he could not be crowned in the city itself. He ruled until he dies in 1197 when he accidentally stepped backwards through an open window. Isabella married again, this time to Guy of Lusignan's brother Amalric, but he died mysteriously in 1205 from a surfeit of fish ! On the 2nd of September 1192, Richard and Saladin agreed on a three year peace, where the Christians held the coastal towns from Tyre to Jaffa and the Muslims held Jerusalem as long as pilgrims were allowed to visit the holy city. On the 9th of October, 1192, Richard left Acre and the crusade was over. His route home is fraught with danger and he was shipwrecked, has adventures with pirates and is captured by Leopold of Austria and imprisoned. Hubert Walter, archbishop of Canterbury, ruled England. In December 1193 he was elected Chief Justiciar and in March 1195 was made Papal Legate. He did for Richard, what Richard's father Henry II had hoped Thomas Becket would do for him. In September 1192, Hubert Walter goes on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem where he meets Saladin. On the 17th April of 1194, Richard takes part in the 'Crown Wearing', a precession to the Cathedral of Winchester. The king wears a golden crown and is followed by notables from the Church and State. There had not been a crown wearing since 1158. In March 1199, Richard besieges the castle at Chalus after he is informed some buried treasure is found there and Richard believes it belongs to him. But riding too close to the walls, Richard is shot in the shoulder. The crossbow wound proves fatal. The castle is breached and Richard forgives the crossbow man who shot the arrow, but Mercaidier, Richard's second in command has the man flayed alive and hung. On April 6, 1199, Richard died. Saladin died in 1193 on the 4th of March.

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