Participants of the Fourth Crusade, funded by Venetian merchants, upon arriving in Constantinople, looted the city and raided the churches to take away the valuables.
The looting caused the weakening of Constantinople's trade and the strengthening of the cities of the Italian peninsula, which began to monopolize the spice trade in the Mediterranean.
The Crusaders conquer Constantinople
With the Fourth Crusade it became clear that, besides religious reasons, the Crusaders were also mobilized by economic interests.
Although they did not fully achieve their religious goal, the Crusades promoted major changes across Europe, such as the reopening of the Mediterranean to European shipping and trade. This made it possible to intensify trade between the West and the East, largely interrupted by Muslim expansion.
Main Aspects of the Crusades
The phenomenon of crusades was undoubtedly very important in the Middle Ages. Several orders of knights were created to fight in the Holy Land during this period.
It is often said that there were eight crusades. However, some authors classify as such some popular and unsupported church or state movements as the "People's Crusade" and the "Children's Crusade." Some regard the "Venetian Crusade" as a purely political movement that does not deserve to be considered as a crusader campaign since the primary purpose of these movements was to expel Muslims from the Holy Land thus uniting the Christian World. Below are summaries of these top campaigns:
People's Crusade (1095)
Peter the hermit shows the way of Jerusalem to the Crusaders (French Illumination, c.1270)
Commanded by Peter the hermit. It consisted of a mass of about seventeen thousand men with no equipment or combat experience. They marched to Constantinople, where the Emperor, fearing a looting, boarded them as soon as possible for Asia Minor. When they arrived, they attacked the city of Nicaea without plan or strategy, and were thus crushed by the Turks.