What was the purpose for Kaiser Wilhelm's visit to Jerusalem?

What was the purpose for Kaiser Wilhelm's visit to Jerusalem?

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

What was Kaiser Wilhelm's (and it seems his forebearers) stated reason or purpose for their custom of visiting Jerusalem? Also, why where the anarchists trying to kill him?

This contemporary NY Times article most likely contains all the information you can get on this:

  • Kaiser Wilhelm II was on a pilgrimage tour, in best Christian tradition.
  • It's not clear whether anarchists actually tried to kill him, these were rumors. There is no definitive evidence and there was no assassination attempt.
  • Left-wing anarchists opposed the monarchy in Germany and sought to replace it by means of individual terrorism. This idea wasn't uncommon at this time, e.g. there were at least two assassination attempts on Kaiser Wilhelm I, the grandfather of Kaiser Wilhelm II: by Max Hödel and by Karl Eduard Nobiling. There were also numerous assassination attempts on Alexander II of Russia, one actually succeeded.

The Kaiser wasn't there for mere pilgrimage. At the time Germany was heavily invested in developing the Ottoman Empire. Germany had no significant colonies, so sought to make the weak Ottomans their economic vassal. The major project was a rail system from "Berlin to Baghdad" which would compete with the Suez Canal. There was also a lot of German non Jewish settlement in Palestine, notably the German Colony of Jerusalem. There is a hospital in Jerusalem founded by and named after Augusta Victoria, the Kaiser's wife.

New Gate

The New Gate (Arabic: باب الجديد ‎ Bāb ij-Jdïd) (Hebrew: השער החדש ‎ HaSha'ar HeChadash) [2] is the newest of the gates of the Old City of Jerusalem. It was built in 1889 to provide direct access between the Christian Quarter and the new neighborhoods then going up outside the walls. [3] The arched gate is decorated with crenelated stonework. The New Gate was built at the highest point of the present wall, at 790 metres (2,590 ft) above sea level.

Germany gives Austria-Hungary “blank check” assurance

On July 5, 1914, in Berlin, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany pledges his country’s unconditional support for whatever action Austria-Hungary chooses to take in its conflict with Serbia, a long-running rivalry thrown into crisis by the assassination, the previous June 28, of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife by a Serbian nationalist during an official visit to Sarajevo, Bosnia.

Barely a week after Franz Ferdinand’s murder, the Austrian Foreign Ministry sent an envoy, Alexander, Graf von Hoyos, to Berlin. Hoyos carried a memorandum from the office of the Austrian foreign secretary, Leopold Berchtold, expressing the need for action in the tumultuous Balkans region, as well as a personal letter to the same effect from Emperor Franz Josef to Kaiser Wilhelm. Both documents focused on the need for Austria-Hungary to establish an alliance with Bulgaria, in place of Romania—which Germany had previously favored as a possible Balkan ally𠅍ue to the latter nation’s increasing closeness with Serbia and its powerful supporter, Russia. Neither the memorandum nor the emperor’s letter specified that Austria-Hungary wanted war, but the memorandum𠅊 new version of an earlier, less emphatic text written before Franz Ferdinand’s assassination—stressed the need for immediate action, pointed to increased Serbian and Russian aggression and stated as an objective the elimination of Serbia as 𠇊 factor of political power in the Balkans.”

Austria’s ambassador to Germany, Ladislaus Szogyeny-Marich, passed Hoyos’ two documents to the kaiser over lunch on July 5, in Potsdam. Wilhelm was outraged by Franz Ferdinand’s murder, and felt a sense of personal loss: the two had met at the archduke’s country estate just two weeks before the assassination to discuss the situation in the Balkans. Though he initially demurred and said he needed to consult the German chancellor, Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg, he eventually—when pressed by the ambassador—responded with uncharacteristic decisiveness, promising Germany’s �ithful support” for Austria-Hungary in whatever action it chose to take towards Serbia, even if Russia intervened. Later that afternoon, Wilhelm assembled a crown council, attended by Bethmann Hollweg, Foreign Secretary Arthur Zimmermann, and War Minister Erich von Falkenhayn, among others. From this meeting, a consensus emerged backing the kaiser’s decision, which Bethmann Hollweg subsequently relayed to the Austrian representatives and Hoyos triumphantly carried back to Vienna.

The Kaiser visits Constantinople October 1917

Post by Peter H » 12 May 2007, 04:31

Kaiser Wilhelm visited Constantinople in October 1917 and also toured the Gallipoli battlefields.

Post by Peter H » 12 May 2007, 04:36

Previously the Kaiser had visited the Ottoman Empire in 1898.

The Kaiser enters Jerusalem,1898.

Post by Peter H » 12 May 2007, 04:44

The Kaiser's aide on his trip to Jerusalem in 1898 was one August von Mackensen.

Field Marshal von Mackensen also visited Constantinople in January 1916.Having defeated Serbia,his trip also showed the new land connection that now existed between Germany & Turkey.

Post by Peter H » 12 May 2007, 05:28

Film of the Kaiser at Constantinople

The Ottoman Film archives

The Kaiser in Ottoman uniform

Post by Peter H » 13 May 2007, 04:25

Post by Peter H » 13 May 2007, 04:34

Post by Peter H » 20 May 2007, 14:32

Post by Niccolo and Donkey » 20 May 2007, 14:55

Post by Peter H » 21 May 2007, 09:34

Wilhelm visited the Ottoman Empire three times--1889,1898,1917.

Why his third visit took so long to take I cannot find why.

The Kaiser also promoted the view that there was a connection between the ancient Hittites of Turkey and the Germans as well.Something about a shared Aryan background.

He also funded the restoration of Saladin's Tomb after visiting the site in 1898:

Post by Peter H » 22 May 2007, 03:34

Mackensen and Enver aboard SMS Goeben.

Post by Peter H » 22 May 2007, 03:38

Post by Peter H » 09 Jun 2007, 15:44

From Hew Strachan's The First World War.

The Kaiser goes for a drive.

Post by Peter H » 09 Jun 2007, 15:48

Mackensen reviews the crew of Goeben.

Strachan gives the date as March 1916.

Post by Chris Dale » 12 Jun 2007, 18:33

I'm curious, do you know much more about this visit? Who else was in the Kaiser's party? What the purpose of the visit was?

Post by Peter H » 13 Jun 2007, 05:30

The 1898 visit was supposedly to strengthen Ottoman-German ties and lay the groundwork for the Berlin-Baghdad Railway.

In 1898, the German Kaiser Wilhelm II visited Jerusalem. For this visit, the wall of Jerusalem's Old City was opened at Jaffa Gate so that the Kaiser and his entourage could process into the Old City on horseback with raised banners. Today this is the opening which cars drive through at the Jaffa Gate. After the Kaiser's visit, he commissioned the construction of Dormition Abbey and the Augusta Victoria Guesthouse for German Pilgrims. For the construction of the Augusta Victoria, all building materials besides cement, stone, and water were imported from Germany. In the 50-meter high church tower there are four bells, the largest of which weighs six tons. When these bells were transported between Jaffa and Jerusalem, the road had to first be widened and repaired. The resulting cost was more than double the cost of transporting the bells from Hamburg to Jaffa. When the building was completed in 1910, it was the most modern construction in Jerusalem. It was the first building in the Holy Land to have electricity (provided by its own diesel generator).

The Augusta Victoria was originally a pilgrims’ hospice on the Mount of Olives. The building, which was named after the Kaiser’s wife, the Empress Augusta Victoria, only served as a hospice for four years before its destiny was altered by a major conflict. At the beginning of World War I, the Ottoman Army used the building as a headquarters under the leadership of Jamal Pasha.

Early Life

Kaiser Wilhelm, also known as Wilhelm II, was born Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Albert in Potsdam, near Berlin, Germany, to Frederick III of Germany and Victoria (the future Empress Frederick), the eldest daughter of England&aposs Queen Victoria, on January 27, 1859. Wilhelm was born with a withered arm. (Some historians believe that his insecurity over this handicap fueled his later erratic behavior.) His parents, particularly his British mother, tried to provide Wilhelm with a liberal education and a love of England.

After Wilhelm II&aposs grandfather, Wilhelm I, died in 1888, at the age of 90, Frederick III was named emperor. But Frederick III would only rule for 99 days. Following a long battle with throat cancer, Emperor Frederick III died on June 15, 1888. Wilhelm II succeeded his father, becoming kaiser of Germany at the tender age of 29.

Israel gets 130,000 messages from the past

Ever wonder what first impressions Kaiser Wilhelm II might have tweeted upon his arrival in Jerusalem in October 1898? Or what Instagram and WhatsApp messages British soldiers in Palestine during World War I would have sent?

Long before the era of instantaneous communication, postcards served as the primary way to keep in touch, send pictures, collect souvenirs and share experiences with family and friends faraway.

Over the past 60 years, British accountant David Pearlman amassed the world’s largest collection of Holy Land postcards.

Now he is donating all 130,000 of them to the Folklore Research Center at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Mandel Institute of Jewish Studies.

“I began collecting stamps as a young boy and graduated to postcards when I realized that instead of collecting dull postage stamps, I could collect these beautiful cards,” Pearlman recalled.

He scoured auction houses, private collections and estate sales to piece together his “Postcards of Palestine” collection.

The cards span from the Ottoman Period and British Mandate to the early pioneers, from the Six-Day War through the early 21 st century.

Among pivotal events pictured on the cards are General Allenby’s visit to Jerusalem in 1917 and Lord Balfour’s attendance at the grand opening of Hebrew University in 1925.

‘It’s so hot here!’

Some of the cards feature artwork by leading 20th-century figures such as Meir Ben Gur Aryeh and Zeev Raban, as well as photography by “Karimeh Abbud – Lady Photographer,” one of the first female photographers in the Arab world.

A sizeable portion of the collection are postcards sent by Christian pilgrims traveling from Egypt to Jerusalem to Damascus, visiting the holy sites along the way and sending their loved ones postcards that depicted camels, palm trees, Bedouins, pious Jews and an overflowing Dead Sea. They often included pressed flowers or scriptural quotes.

Dani Schrire, director of the Folklore Research Center, said a classic message would read, “Yesterday we were in Bethlehem. Today we’re in Jerusalem. Tomorrow we’re going to Nazareth. It’s so hot here!”

In one postcard, a British soldier named Walter writes to his parents, “I can say ‘mafish’ which means ‘enough’[in Arabic’]…and I hope the war will soon [end] so I can go home again.”

Another soldier wrote, “I came through here…between Mt Ebal and Mt Grizim. … It is of course the Shechem where Jacob fed his flocks and Jacob’s well is here. There are many springs and consequently gardens where I saw the first green I’d seen for months.”

One British soldier mailed his parents a postcard of the Sea of Galilee, which he described to his parents as “The lake which saw so much of His life on earth and which to my mind holds such fascination.”

His message also noted, “The man in the next bed was up there with the cavalry says it’s very fine, the water being beautifully clean and there are several nice streams running into it. While there they were able to get fresh fish which was a nice change from the ‘bully [beef].’”

Another postcard shows a Hasidic Jew choosing an etrog for the Sukkot holiday in the Ottoman period.

The fun begins

Pearlman did extensive research on his postcards and provided HU researchers with valuable annotations and a complete catalogue of his collection, which includes 1,500 postcard publishers.

“In a way, Pearlman wanted these cards to return to Zion, to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Once a collection arrives, we bring in conservation specialists to preserve the collection to the highest standards,” said Schrire.

“And then the real fun begins–HU researchers, from a variety of disciplines, are excited to begin working on the collection and to understand the imagination that the Land of Israel had on its many visitors.”

Pearlman said the collection “feels like part of my family.” But the time had come to part with them.

“I kept them in shoeboxes in my garage all these years,” Pearlman said. “At a certain point the collection grew so large that I began to park my car on the street to make room for more shoeboxes.”

The Folklore Research Center at Hebrew University was established in 1970 by the late Professor Dov Noy and is home to several important collections, including The Joseph and Margit Hoffman Judaica Postcard Collection, The Ralph Perry Palestine Postcard Collection, The Israeli Proverb Research Project, The Documentation Project of Jewish Papercuts, the Wandering Jew Archive of Yom Tov Lewinsky, and the Ya’akov Zidkoni Collection of Jewish Humor in Mandatory Palestine and Israel, among others.

William II,

Early Life

William was early alienated from his liberal-minded parents by his belief in the divine nature of kingship, his love of military display, and his impulsiveness. Much has been made of the fact that he had a withered left arm, in order to explain these traits as a compensation for his physical weakness. After studying at the Univ. of Bonn, he entered the army and in 1881 married Princess Augusta Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein.

Foreign and Domestic Affairs

As emperor, William endeavored to maintain and if possible extend the royal prerogative in order to make Germany a major naval, colonial, and commercial power. Friction soon developed between him and Otto von Bismarck Bismarck, Otto von
, 1815󈟎, German statesman, known as the Iron Chancellor. Early Life and Career

Born of an old Brandenburg Junker family, he studied at Göttingen and Berlin, and after holding minor judicial and administrative offices he was elected
. Click the link for more information. , the chancellor who had controlled German affairs for nearly 30 years, and Bismarck was forced to resign in 1890. Succeeding chancellors (Leo von Caprivi Caprivi, Leo, Graf von
, 1831󈟏, German chancellor, whose full name was Georg Leo, Graf von Caprivi de Caprara de Montecuculi. A former army officer and head of the admiralty, he succeeded (1890) Bismarck as chancellor.
. Click the link for more information. , Prince Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst, Chlodwig Karl Viktor, Fürst zu
, 1819�, German chancellor (1894�). As premier of Bavaria (1866󈞲), he favored German unification, and in 1871 he entered the service of the German Empire and became one of Bismarck's
. Click the link for more information. , Prince von Bülow Bülow, Bernhard Heinrich Martin, Fürst von
, 1849�, German chancellor. He held many diplomatic posts before he became, through the influence of Friedrich von Holstein, foreign secretary in 1897 and succeeded Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst as chancellor in
. Click the link for more information. , and Theobold von Bethmann-Hollweg Bethmann-Hollweg, Theobald von
, 1856�, German chancellor. A career civil servant, he became minister of the interior (1905) and secretary of state (1907), and in 1909 succeeded Bernhard von Bülow as chancellor.
. Click the link for more information. ) were much less influential, and William was in general the dominating force in his own government. In domestic affairs he extended social reform, although he detested the socialists.

The conduct of foreign affairs was William's major interest, but he had no basic policy and was greatly influenced by his ministers. The reinsurance treaty with Russia, which had been a chief feature of Bismarck's system of alliance, was not renewed in 1890. Although sincerely desirous of maintaining friendly relations with Great Britain, William by his naval program and his colonial and commercial aspirations precluded an alliance between the two countries and drove England into the Entente Cordiale with France (see Triple Alliance and Triple Entente Triple Alliance and Triple Entente
, two international combinations of states that dominated the diplomatic history of Western Europe from 1882 until they came into armed conflict in World War I.
. Click the link for more information. ).

The German support of Russia in East Asia and the friendly relations between William and Czar Nicholas II of Russia (as revealed in the "Willy-Nicky" correspondence) were counteracted by the encouragement William gave to Austria in its Balkan policy. The already strained relations with France were further embittered by German interference in French colonial affairs in Africa, especially in Morocco Morocco
, officially Kingdom of Morocco, kingdom (2015 est. pop. 34,803,000), 171,834 sq mi (445,050 sq km), NW Africa. Morocco is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea (N), the Atlantic Ocean (W), Western Sahara (S), and Algeria (S and E).
. Click the link for more information. . Alarmed at the growing isolation of Germany, William strengthened the Triple Alliance with Austria and Italy and secured Turkish adherence.


The emperor was fond of travel, but his state visits frequently engendered ill feeling, as in the Moroccan crisis of 1905. His combined eloquence and impetuousness led him to speak or act unadvisedly on many occasions. Among the more famous incidents was his dispatch of a telegram of encouragement to President Paul Kruger Kruger, Paul
(Stephanas Johannes Paulus) , 1825�, South African Transvaal statesman, known as Oom Paul. As a child he accompanied (1836) his family northward from the Cape Colony in the Great Trek that was eventually to cross the Vaal River and establish the
. Click the link for more information. of the Transvaal after the Boers had repulsed a British raid on the Transvaal (Dec., 1895 see Jameson, Sir Leander Starr Jameson, Sir Leander Starr,
1853�, British colonial administrator and statesman in South Africa. He went to Kimberley (1878) as a physician, became associated with Cecil Rhodes in his colonizing ventures, and was appointed (1891) administrator of Mashonaland. On Dec.
. Click the link for more information. ). The message aroused British public opinion against Germany and the emperor.

Again in 1908, in the Daily Telegraph affair, William's indiscretion caused a public furor in Great Britain and in Germany. In an interview with the London Daily Telegraph, William revealed that German naval expansion was not directed at Great Britain but at Japan. He also stated that German public opinion was anti-British but that he did not share this sentiment. The affair produced a widespread demand for a check on the emperor's personal rule.

Decline and Abdication

After the outbreak of World War I World War I,
1914󈝾, also known as the Great War, conflict, chiefly in Europe, among most of the great Western powers. It was the largest war the world had yet seen.
. Click the link for more information. William's power declined. From 1917 the military leaders Erich Ludendorff Ludendorff, Erich
, 1865�, German general. A disciple of Schlieffen, he served in World War I as chief of staff to Field Marshal Hindenburg and was largely responsible for German military decisions.
. Click the link for more information. and Paul von Hindenburg Hindenburg, Paul von
, 1847�, German field marshal and president (1925󈞎), b. Poznan (then in Prussia). His full name was Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Hindenburg und Beneckendorff.
. Click the link for more information. were the virtual dictators of Germany. The failure of the great German drive of 1918 was a prelude to the collapse of the Hohenzollern dynasty. The last chancellor of the German Empire, Maximilian, prince of Baden Maximilian, prince of Baden
(Max of Baden), 1867�, German statesman, last chancellor of imperial Germany. A liberal, he was made imperial chancellor at the end of World War I as Germany neared defeat.
. Click the link for more information. , negotiated for an armistice, but clamor for the emperor's abdication began to be heard in Germany, especially after U.S. President Woodrow Wilson made it a prerequisite of peace negotiations. Naval mutiny and civilian revolt were followed by republican proclamations in leading German cities.

On Nov. 9, 1918, Prince Max, without William's consent, announced the emperor's abdication. William fled to Holland and two weeks later formally abdicated in his own name and that of his family. Although the Treaty of Versailles provided that William be tried for promoting the war, the Dutch government refused to extradite him, and he remained in retirement at Doorn. There, after the death of Augusta Victoria, he married the widowed Princess Hermine of Schönaich-Carolath (1922).


See his memoirs (tr. 1922) My Early Life (tr. 1926) J. von Kürenberg, The Kaiser (tr. 1954) T. Aronson, The Kaisers (1971) M. Balfour, The Kaiser and His Times (1972) V. R. Berghahn, Imperial Germany, 1871� (1995) M. Carter, George, Nicholas and Wilhelm (2010).

The American Colony in Jerusalem The American Colony at Work

The community grew over the years. Visiting Chicago in 1894, Anna Spafford made contact with Olaf Henrik Larsson, the leader of the Swedish Evangelical Church. Inspired by Anna's words and full of messianic fervor, the Swedes from Chicago decided to join Anna on her trip back to Jerusalem. Larsson also exhorted his relations and friends in Nas, Sweden, to go immediately to Jerusalem. As a result, thirty-eight adults and seventeen children sold all their possessions and set off for the Holy Land to join the Colony, arriving there in July 1896.

The Colony, now numbering 150, moved to the large house of a wealthy Arab landowner outside the city walls. The extensive land attached to the house was quickly put to use for the Colony's support. Part of the building was used as a hostel for their frequent visitors from Europe and America. A small farm developed with cows and pigs, a butchery, a dairy, a bakery, a carpenter's shop, and a smithy. The American Colony Store provided additional support through the sale of images, souvenirs, artifacts and archaeological objects worldwide.

The American Colony at Work

When the Swedes, who eventually joined the American Colony, left for Jerusalem, they brought their carpentry tools, hand looms, knitting machines and many farm implements with them. This photo of Horatio Spafford is encased in a frame crafted by the American Colony Carpentry Shop. Colony members also collected specimens of the flowers mentioned in the Bible that they pressed and pasted on cards and in albums and books to sell to tourists and pilgrims. Members fashioned this memoriam for Horatio when he died in 1888, at the age of sixty.

American Colony. &ldquoIn Memoriam&rdquo [to Horatio Spafford], decorated with pressed flowers. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (20)

Wooden frame with Horatio Spafford's photograph. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (23)

Bookmark this item: //www.loc.gov/exhibits/americancolony/amcolony-atwork.html#obj20

Photographic Department of the American Colony

In 1898, the Colony bought an old camera to document the visit of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany to Jerusalem. From this humble beginning, the photographic studio became world famous for the thousands of images it produced of the Holy Land and the Middle East. Among the Colony members who worked in the studio were Lewis Larsson, Lars Lind, John Whiting, Frank Baldwin, and Eric Matson, whose photographic archive is housed in the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

American Colony (S. Narinsky, photographer). Assorted postcards of the Holy Land. Card 1. Card 2. Card 3. Card 4. Card 5. Card 6. Palestine: Jamal Bros., ca. 1921. Rotary photogravures. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (22 a-f)

Bookmark this item: //www.loc.gov/exhibits/americancolony/amcolony-atwork.html#obj22

Inventory of Antiquities

In 1904 Bertha Spafford married Frederick Vester, whose father's curio shop in Jerusalem had recently been bought by the American Colony. Renamed &ldquoFr. Vester & Co., The American Colony Store,&rdquo the business greatly expanded its clientele and range of offerings to include photographs and collections of antiquities as shown in this inventory of ancient glass and pottery sold to the University of Pennsylvania Museum.

Inventory of antiquities sent to Dr. Gordon, University Museum, September 4, 1913. Carbon typescript on letterhead. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (21)

Bookmark this item: //www.loc.gov/exhibits/americancolony/amcolony-atwork.html#obj21

American Colony Scrapbook

In this scrapbook the Colony collected articles and stories that were published about its members between 1881 and 1930. In this article from the Troy Times (New York) dated December 9, 1916, the history of the Colony's settlement in Jerusalem and the various activities of the Colony are described. As a new addition to the Library's collections, this scrapbook, like many items in the American Colony-Vester Collection, will receive conservation attention to preserve it for posterity.

&ldquoAmerican Colony Founded in Jerusalem by Native of Lansingburgh,&rdquo published in the Troy Times (December 9, 1916) in an American Colony scrapbook kept between 1881 and 1930. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (9)

The impact of the crusades

It is hard to summarize the impact of a movement that spanned centuries and continents, crossed social lines, and affected all levels of culture. However, there are a few central effects that can be highlighted.

Military orders

First, the earliest military orders originated in Jerusalem in the wake of the First Crusade. A miltary order is a religious order in which members take traditional monastic vows—communal poverty, chastity, and obedience—but also commit to violence on behalf of the Christian faith. Well-known examples include the Knights Templar (officially endorsed in 1129), the Knights Hospitaller (confirmed by papal bull in 1113), and the Teutonic Knights (originated in the late twelfth century).

The military orders represented a major theological and military development, and went on to play central roles in the formation of key political units that still exist today as nation-states.

Wall plaque, Ascalon, mid-twelfth to mid-thirteenth century. The Arabic inscription commemorates the wall built as defense against crusaders. The arms of Sir Hugh Wake (Lincoln, England) were later carved over that, confirming the 1241 crusader reconquest of the city.

Territorial expansion

Second, crusading played a major role in European territorial expansion. The First Crusade resulted in the formation of the crusader states in the Levant (the eastern Mediterranean), which were initially governed, and in small part populated, by settlers from Europe.

Crusading in northern and eastern Europe led to the expansion of kingdoms like Denmark and Sweden, as well as the creation of brand-new political units, for example in Prussia. As areas around the Baltic Sea were taken by the crusaders, traders and settlers—mostly German—moved in and profited economically.

In the Mediterranean Sea, crusading led to the conquest and colonization of many islands, which arguably helped ensure Christian control of Mediterranean trade routes (at least for as long as the islands were held). Crusading also played a role in the conquest of the Iberian peninsula (now Spain and Portugal). This was finally completed in 1492, when the Spanish monarchs Ferdinand II and Isabella I conquered the last Muslim community on the peninsula—the city of Granada. They expelled Jews from the country in the same year. And of course, they also authorized and supported the expeditions of Christopher Columbus, who—like many European explorers of his day—believed that the expansion of the Christian faith was one of his duties.

Impact in Europe (religious and secular)

Third, the crusading movement impacted internal European development in a few important ways. The movement helped both to militarize the medieval western Church and to sustain criticism of that militarization. It arguably helped solidify the pope’s control over the Church and made certain financial innovations central to Church operations. And it both reflected and influenced devotional trends. For example, while there was some dedication to St. George from the early Middle Ages, the intensity of that devotion soared in Europe after he reportedly intervened miraculously at the Battle of Antioch in 1098, during the First Crusade.

Secular political theories were influenced by crusading, especially in France and the Iberian peninsula, and government institutions evolved in part to meet the logistical needs of crusading. Credit infrastructures within Europe rose to meet similar needs, and some locales—Venice, in particular—benefitted significantly in economic terms.

It goes without saying that the crusades also had a highly negative effect on interfaith relations.

Impact world-wide

Fourth, the crusading movement has left an imprint on the world as a whole. For example, many of the national flags of Europe incorporate a cross. In addition, many images of crusaders in our popular culture are indebted to the nineteenth century. Some in that century, like the novelist Sir Walter Scott, portrayed crusaders as brave and glamorous yet backward and unenlightened simultaneously, they depicted Muslims as heroic, intelligent, and liberal. Others more wholeheartedly romanticized crusading.

George Inness, Classical Landscape (March of the Crusaders), 1850, oil on canvas (Fruitlands Museum, Harvard, Massachusetts)

These trends in nineteenth-century European culture impacted the Islamic world. Sometimes this influence was quite direct. In 1898 German Emperor Wilhelm II visited the grave of Saladin (Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb, a Muslim leader who led the recapture of Jerusalem in 1187) and was appalled at its state of disrepair. He paid to have it rebuilt, thus helping encourage modern Islamic appreciation of Saladin.

Kaiser Wilhelm II, visit to Jerusalem, 1898

Sometimes the European influence was more diffuse. Modern crusading histories in the Islamic world began to be written in the 1890s, when the Ottoman Empire was in crisis. After the Ottomans, some Arab Nationalists interpreted nineteenth-century imperialism as crusading, and thus linked their efforts to end imperial rule with the efforts of Muslims to resist crusading in previous centuries.

It would be reassuring to believe that nobody in the West has provided grounds for such beliefs, but it would not be true. Sadly, the effects of the crusading movement—at least, as it is now remembered and reimagined—seem to be still unfolding.

Watch the video: Kaiser Wilhelm II German War Dance