Human Rights Violations In The Crusades

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As civilizations develop and more dense populations settle in one place, people are going to interact more frequently. Unfortunately, not all will receive ideal treatment from their peers; many will experience human rights violations. They will be denied the rights that every human being is entitled to as a result of discrimination based on their gender, religion, skin color, nationality, etc. For this reason, many will experience a transformation in their lives, whether it be where they live, how they live, or how they interact with others. Throughout history, instances of widespread human rights violations have occurred, many before 1750. One notable example is the Crusades, which has shown patterns similar to those in other major instances…show more content…
Occurring predominantly in Europe and the Middle East, the Crusades began in 1095 and officially ended in 1291 (History.com staff, 2010). This being said, the causes can be traced back to 1081 when Alexius Comnenus gained the Byzantine throne, becoming Emperor Alexius I, after years of chaos and invasions by the Seljuk Turks (History.com staff, 2010). In due time Emperor Alexius would begin to set his sights on reclaiming the Holy Land from the Muslims. Seeing that this task would require more than the Byzantine’s men, he reached out to Pope Urban II of the Roman Catholic Church asking him for troops (History.com staff, 2010). The Pope made his decision public at the 1095 Council of Clermont in Southern France where he raised the proposal for all able Western Christians to raise arms to aid the Byzantines. As a result, a massive Christian force came into existence, uniting the Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches under one common goal: retake the Holy Land from the Muslim inhabitants (History.com staff,…show more content…
Europe’s economy thrived with the demand for war supplies such as ships and weapons (History.com staff 2010). Additionally, western civilization spread and the Roman Catholic Church gained wealth (History.com staff 2010). Also, as European soldiers travelled through the Middle East they were exposed to all the fantastic innovations and advances made while Europe was in a state of feudalism in which no advancements were made. Consequently, they were intrigued by what they saw and Europe slowly pulled out of its current state, setting the grounds for the Renaissance. On the other hand, the loss of Muslims, Jews and other non-Christians throughout Europe and the Middle East was devastating (History.com staff 2010). There is no exact number, but death toll estimates range from two to six million. Provided that this is true, the justification for the Crusades themselves is open for debate since it was a clear act of human rights violation, given that a massacre targeted only people of a certain religion. In theory, the Crusaders believed they were being authorized by God himself through holy leaders like the Pope and that war was completely unavoidable (Khan Academy, 2018). They claimed their motivation was Christian love, not anger or hatred, and that their main goal was to help liberate the oppressed Christians that supposedly were being injured by their
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