End of the Great Crusades: The Sixth Crusade (1248-1254) and Seventh Crusade (1270)

In addition to the large armies that attacked Egypt in 1218 and 1248 (the Fifth and Sixth Crusades), smaller armies (such as that of Frederick II) also campaigned in the mideast. For example, Theobald of Champagne and Richard of Cornwall led an attack in 1239-1241; Edward of England led an attack in 1271-2. Trade between Europe and the Mideast was becoming important to both sides, thus encouraging treaties such as the one between al-Kamil and Frederick II.

The Sixth Crusade was led by Louis IX of France. After invading Egypt and capturing Damietta, he was defeated at Mansural and taken prisoner. He was released for ransom and in return gave up Damietta. Louis IX also mounted the Seventh Crusade, but this invasion (of Tunis) also failed and he died near Tunis.

In the 1250s, a new force appeared on the horizon: the Mongols. In 1258, they sacked Baghdad and killed the last `Abbasid caliph. Eventually they also occupied Aleppo and Damascus. However, in 1259, Qutuz, the sultan of Egypt, defeated the Mongols in Palestine at the Battle of `Ayn Jalut. Then in 1260, Baybars became the head of the Mamluk sultanate by killing Qutuz and soon managed to unite Egypt and Syria. In 1268, he captured Jaffa and Antioch (the latter had been allied with the Mongols).

During this time, Europe had not been completely ignoring the mideast, but they also had not been sufficiently strengthening their holdings to face the Mongols or the Mamluks. Crusades continued in Spain and the Baltics. Further, in the 1240s political crusades were launched to consolidate papal power in Italy and Sicily. Europe, however, would soon lose the mideast. In 1289, Qalawun, a Mamluk sultan, seized Tripoli, and in 1291, Qalawun's son, the sultan Khalil, retook Acre, the last stronghold of the crusaders in the mideast. While fighting would continue in the area, this marked the end of the Great Crusades.

To see a summary of the Fifth Crusade, click here.

To see a more detailed listing of events about the time of the Sixth Crusade, click here.

To see a more detailed listing of events about the time of the Seventh Crusade, click here.

To see a listing of events following the end of the Great Crusades, click here.

References: Erbstösser, Hallam [2], Maalouf, Riley-Smith [1]