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THE LATIN KINGDOM OF
JERUSALEM

Jerusalem was captured from the Christians by Caliph Umar (638), who respected the Christian traditions, guaranteeing them safety and security, and allowing them to continue worshipping in their faith. This situation existed for a further 461 years, with the majority of its population remaining Christian.

The ultimate goal of the First Crusade (1096-99) was to recapture Jerusalem itself, which the Crusaders reached in early June 1099, led by Norman knight Tancred de Hauteville, [TOUX341] Count Raymond IV of Toulouse, and [BOLL342] DUKE GODFREY OF LOWER LORRAINE.

On 15th July 1099 (being a Friday, this was a Moslem Holy Day) Tancred and his men smashed their way into the Dome of the Rock on Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The Moslems fled into the neighbouring al-Aqsa Mosque, where they surrendered, promising a ransom for their lives, and hoisting Tancred's banner overhead as his personal guarantee.

The following day, the Crusaders entered the al-Aqsa Mosque and slaughtered all the sheltering Moslems, perhaps seventy thousand in total.

The Crusaders met to select one of their leaders to rule Jerusalem. The first choice was Count Raymond, but he declined to wear a crown in the city where Christ had worn a crown of thorns. Duke Godfrey then accepted the offer, but declined to be called King, but rather to be called Advocate of the Holy Sepulchre.

Godfrey's reign was short, as he died in Jerusalem in July 1100. His successor was his brother, who had no similar compunctions and was crowned King of Jerusalem on Christmas Day 1100; the celebration taking place at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. There was then a continuous line of Kings of Jerusalem until 1291, when the Mameluk conquest cleared Palestine of all the Franks, Jerusalem itself having been destroyed some years earlier in June 1244.

The various Kings of Jerusalem who have been described elsewhere are as follows:

[BOLL342] Godfrey (see BOULOGNE COUNTY for full details) captured Jerusalem (1099), and was made Advocate of the Holy Sepulchre (1099-1100). He died in Jerusalem (July 1100).

 

This symbol was the armorial of the
Christian Kings of Jerusalem
 (1099-1291)

This modern example is incised into
the stone work at the western (tower)
end of Bozeat Church (Northants).
Its excellent condition suggests it was
possibly cut in the 19th century but no
specific information on dating has so
far been found

 

Jerusalem Cross or
Crusader Cross

(8 March 2013)

 

Baldwin II (son of [RETH351] Hugh, see RETHEL COUNTY), King of Jerusalem (1118-31), married Moraphia de Melitene (daughter of Gabriel of Armenia, Governor of Melitene). He died 1131.

 

[GATI341] Fulk V le jeune (see ANJOU COUNTY for full details) married 2. (1129) Queen Melissende (eldest daughter of King Baldwin II of Jerusalem). Fulk afterwards became King of Jerusalem (1131-43). He was accidentally killed in the Plain of Acre (November 1144).

 

[BRI2391] Jean de Brienne (see BRIENNE COUNTY for full details) was King of Jerusalem (1210-12), then Regent of Jerusalem (1212-25) for his daughter Isabel II (who was Queen of Jerusalem, 1212-28). He died in Paris (March 1237).