A series of holy wars from 1096-1270 AD undertaken by European Christians to free the Holy Land from Muslim rule. Pope Urban II issued a call for a holy war after reading a letter sent by the Byzantine Emperor, Alexius Comnenus, to Robert, Count of Flanders, asking for help against Muslim Turks who threatened to conquer his capital of Constantinople. Muslims controlled Palestine (the holy land). The Pope wanted to reclaim Palestine and reunite Christendom, which had split into Eastern and Western branches in 1054. The goal was to capture Jerusalem which the christians did with an army of 12,000 on july 15th, 1099. By 1187, however, Jerusalem and its four divisions made by the christians had all fallen to a Kurdish warrior and Muslim leader named Saladin. The second crusade to protect Constantinople and capture Jerusalem happened in 1099 but the third was to recapture Jerusalem. It was lead at first by three of Europe's most powerful monarchs: Philip II (Augustus) of France, German emperor Frederick I (Barbarossa), and the English king, Richard the Lion-Hearted. Philip argued with Richard and went home; Barbarossa drowned on the journey so it was all on Richard. In 1192 Richard and Saladin agreed on a truce. Jerusalem was still under Muslim control but Christians could visit freely. In 1204, the fourth crusade to capture Jerusalem failed because the knights didn't reach the Holy Land. They looted Constantinople on the way. In the 1200s, four more crusades were unsuccessful. In two later crusades, armies marched to Egypt not the Holy Land, to weaken Muslim forces before heading to the Holy Land but this didn't do much. Richard lived from 1157 to 1199 a.d. and Saladin lived from 1138 to 1193 a.d.