Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem

Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem:

see Jerusalem, Latin Kingdom ofJerusalem, Latin Kingdom of,
feudal state created by leaders of the First Crusade (see Crusades) in the areas they had wrested from the Muslims in Syria and Palestine. In 1099, after their capture of Jerusalem, the Crusaders chose Godfrey of Bouillon king; he declined the title,
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Jerusalem, Latin Kingdom of,

feudal state created by leaders of the First Crusade (see CrusadesCrusades
, series of wars undertaken by European Christians between the 11th and 14th cent. to recover the Holy Land from the Muslims. First Crusade

In the 7th cent., Jerusalem was taken by the caliph Umar.
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) in the areas they had wrested from the Muslims in Syria and Palestine. In 1099, after their capture of Jerusalem, the Crusaders chose Godfrey of BouillonGodfrey of Bouillon
, c.1058–1100, Crusader, duke of Lower Lorraine. He fought for Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV against Pope Gregory VII and against Rudolf of Swabia and was rewarded (c.1082) with the duchy of Lower Lorraine, which he claimed through his mother.
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 king; he declined the title, preferring that of defender of the Holy Sepulcher, but with his election the kingdom may be said to have begun. His brother and successor, Baldwin IBaldwin I
(Baldwin of Boulogne), 1058?–1118, Latin king of Jerusalem (1100–1118), brother and successor of Godfrey of Bouillon, whom he accompanied on the First Crusade (see Crusades).
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, took the royal title. He and his successors were nominal overlords of the principality of Antioch and the counties of Edessa and Tripoli, which, with the royal domain of Jerusalem, constituted the great fiefs of the kingdom. Jerusalem itself contained the counties of Jaffa and Ashqelon, the lordships of Krak, Montreal, and Sidon, and the principality of Galilee.

Due to its existence during the height of feudalismfeudalism
, form of political and social organization typical of Western Europe from the dissolution of Charlemagne's empire to the rise of the absolute monarchies. The term feudalism is derived from the Latin feodum,
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, the kingdom was based on the purest forms of feudal theory. The kingship was elective, and the Assizes of Jerusalem, the law of the country, reflected the ideal feudal law. In practice, however, irregularities soon appeared, and the kings actually were chosen on dynastic considerations. The great feudal lords rarely felt bound to their overlord in the chronic struggles of the Latins among themselves and with the Mamluks of Egypt, the Seljuk Turks, and the Byzantine emperors. The rise of the great military orders, the Knights TemplarsKnights Templars
, in medieval history, members of the military and religious order of the Poor Knights of Christ, called the Knights of the Temple of Solomon from their house in Jerusalem.
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, the Knights HospitalersKnights Hospitalers,
members of the military and religious Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, sometimes called the Knights of St. John and the Knights of Jerusalem. The symbol of the Order of St.
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, and the Teutonic KnightsTeutonic Knights
or Teutonic Order
, German military religious order founded (1190–91) during the siege of Acre in the Third Crusade. It was originally known as the Order of the Knights of the Hospital of St. Mary of the Teutons in Jerusalem.
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, as well as the intrusion of new Crusaders further undermined the royal authority.

Edessa, captured by the Seljuks in 1144, was the first Latin state to fall to the Muslims. The subsequent Crusades did not halt the Muslim advance, and in 1187, Jerusalem itself fell to Sultan SaladinSaladin
, Arabic Salah ad-Din, 1137?–1193, Muslim warrior and Ayyubid sultan of Egypt, the great opponent of the Crusaders, b. Mesopotamia, of Kurdish descent.
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 after his victory at Hattin. The city was partially recaptured in 1229 by Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, but permanently lost in 1244. The Crusades of Louis IX of France and Edward I of England were failures, and in 1291, Akko, the last Christian stronghold, fell.

The kings of Jerusalem of the house of Bouillon were Baldwin I (reigned 1100–1118) and Baldwin II (reigned 1118–31). The crown then passed to the AngevinAngevin
[Fr.,=of Anjou], name of two medieval dynasties originating in France. The first ruled over parts of France and over Jerusalem and England; the second ruled over parts of France and over Naples, Hungary, and Poland, with a claim to Jerusalem.
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 dynasty, beginning (1131) with Fulk and ending (1186) with Baldwin V. On Baldwin V's death the title passed to Guy of Lusignan and then to the successive husbands of Isabella, daughter of Amalric I: Conrad, marquis of Montferrat; Henry, count of Champagne; and Amalric II, king of Cyprus. In 1210, John of Brienne received the title; his son-in-law, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, crowned himself King of Jerusalem in 1229. After Frederick's death (1250) the title was held by members of various families that had a claim to it, notably the kings of Cyprus, the Angevins, and the houses of Lorraine and Savoy.

For later history, see JerusalemJerusalem
, Heb. Yerushalayim, Arab. Al Quds, city (1994 pop. 578,800), capital of Israel. East Jerusalem is also claimed by Palestinians as a future capital, and most nations have not formally recognized the city as the capital of Israel in the belief that its
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See studies by M. Benvenisti (1970), J. Riley-Smith (1973), and J. Richard (2 pts., 1978).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Jerusalem, Latin Kingdom of


a state founded by participants in the First Crusade after the capture of Jerusalem in 1099.

The Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem assumed its final form, with respect to territory, after subsequent conquests by the Crusaders in the eastern Mediterranean. The kingdom consisted of the Kingdom of Jerusalem proper and three virtually independent vassal states: the counties of Tripoli and Edessa and the principality of Antioch. Godfrey of Bouillon was proclaimed the first ruler of the Kingdom of Jerusalem in 1099.

The kingdom went down in history as an example of feudal divisiveness, which was clearly expressed in the Jerusalem Assizes. The power of the rulers of the kingdom was limited by a Supreme Chamber, consisting of secular and ecclesiastical feudal lords. In socioeconomic structure the Kingdom of Jerusalem was characterized by strict forms of a serf system, the arbitrary rule of the lords in collecting duties from the villeins (peasants of the conquered local population), and the widespread use of slavery. There was considerable development in the cities, in which great privileges were accorded to the Italian merchants, who monopolized the kingdom’s trade. The rising indignation of the cruelly oppressed local population and military encounters with neighboring states compelled the Crusaders to erect a number of castles and fortresses in the kingdom.

The Kingdom of Jerusalem played a major role in the international relations of the eastern Mediterranean, where the interests of the Western European states, Byzantium, and the Muslim East were interwoven. In 1137, Byzantium succeeded in reducing the Principality of Antioch to a vassal dependency. In 1144 the Seljuk Turks captured Edessa, and the threat of a Muslim attack compelled the kingdom in the 1160’s to seek an alliance with Byzantium. In 1168 these allies undertook an unsuccessful war against Egypt. Internal feudal dissension, rivalry among the Italian merchants, a shortage of knights, wars between the Crusader states themselves and with Egypt, the Seljuks, and Byzantium, and the lack of regular support from the states of Western Europe all served to weaken the kingdom. Its principal military forces, the Order of St. John and the Templars, were mutually hostile and could not therefore effectively oppose the onslaught of the Muslims, who had been gaining strength since the middle of the 12th century. In 1187 the Egyptian Sultan Saladin inflicted a defeat upon the Crusaders at Hattin; he then captured Jerusalem itself and most of the kingdom. In 1229, Frederick II Staufen took the throne and succeeded temporarily in restoring the power of the Crusaders in Jerusalem by taking advantage of the conflicts among the Muslim states; however, the Egyptians captured Jerusalem again in 1244 and this time held onto it more firmly. During the 1260’s most of the cities still remaining in the Crusaders’ hands were captured by the Egyptian Mamelukes. The year 1291 saw the fall of the Crusaders’ last bastion, the city of Acre.


Zaborov, M.A. Krestovye pokhody. Moscow, 1956.
Zaborov, M.A. Istoriografiia krestovykh pokhodov (XV-XIX vv.). Moscow, 1971.
Richard, J. Le Royaume latin de Jérusalem. Paris, 1953.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Following its capture by Saladin in the wake of his victory at Hattin in July 1187, Acre was besieged by the combined forces of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem and crusaders from Europe for almost two years, while the besiegers themselves were besieged by the forces of Saladin.
The Early Existence of the Funda and Catena in the Twelfth-Century Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. Speculum, 39(3), 474-477.
Most of the attention of this book focuses on pilgrimages after the fall of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem in 1291, and, as Chareyron notes, the region's Muslim overlords "did not always show these peaceable intruders [pilgrims] any respect" (6), which is sometimes a significant understatement.
Madden covers the rise of the movement, the beginnings of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem and its decline, the Crusade at home, the crusade of Frederick II and St.
Frankish Rural Settlement in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. BY RONNIE ELLENBLUM.
Reinforcements from France in June 1148 encouraged the crusaders to a degree of hubris: it was decided to by-pass the recovery of Edessa -- the original impetus for the Crusade -- in favour of an attack on Damascus, which was both much better-fortified and at the time was at peace with the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. The effect of the crusade initiative was to cement pan-Muslim unity and the abortive siege of Damascus -- it lasted less than a week -- effectively marked the disintegration of the Second Crusade.
Later, during the time of the Crusades and the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, came the establishment of a great many churches and monasteries, and also the Christian idea of the "City of Peace." Henceforth, the different Christian churches would fiercely dispute proprietorship of the Holy City.
Boldrick in an article on Crusader art and architecture explains how recent research has caused a reassessment of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries: it was not the monolithic French colonial culture it was previously assumed to be, but had a diverse ethnic fabric and complex social, political and economic structure which need to be taken into account.
Particular attention must be drawn to the reality that these developments coincided not simply with the Crusades themselves but also with the establishment, rise, and demise of the first Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem (1099/1100-1187).
Denys Pringle's study of the distribution of Christian churches in crusader Palestine provides a large measure of support for the latest thesis on Latin population patterns in Palestine: Rormie Ellenblum, Frankish Rural Settlement in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998).
A third deals with women's political roles in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. Lastly, there is a sizable category looking at the sources for women in the crusades, including an excellent defense of Anna Comnena as a historian by Peter Frankopan.
To support this thesis, Hamilton begins by reviewing various contemporary sources available about the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem and discussing the biases, perspectives, and objectives each source held.