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Crusades / States /
Edessa, Countship of
Also called: County of Edessa



Edessa: Fortress of Turbessel.
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Fortress of Turbessel.

Edessa: Fortress of Turbessel.
ZOOM - Open a large version of this image

Fortress of Turbessel.

Counts
Baldwin 1 of Boulogne
Becomes king of Jerusalem 1100
1098- 1100
Baldwin 2 of Le Bourg
Becomes king of Jerusalem 1118
1100-1118
Joscelin 1 of Courtenay 1118-1131
Joscelin 2 of Courtenay 1131-1144

One of 4 Christian Crusader states in the Middle East. It lasted 1098-1150, 52 years in the region of north of Edessa (modern Urfa Plateau, Turkey) in a territory on both sides of the Euphrates River.
The end of Edessa is often set to 1144, which was the year that Edessa was lost, but the countship continued 6 more years in its western territory.
While being the shortest lived Crusader state, Edessa covered the largest territory. Edessa included in addition to its name-giver city of Edessa (modern Sanliurfa) also Melitene (Malatya). Being in a barren landscape, Edessa had one of the smallest populations of the 4 states. The majority were Christians; Assyrians, Jacobite, Armenian and some Greek Orthodox. There also was a substantial Muslim minority.
The territory to the west of the Euphrates was controlled from the fortress of Turbessel (modern Turkey).
Its demise is linked to Edessa being without coast and surrounded only by Muslim-ruled states, the Seljuqs to the north and Zangids to the south, with whom Edessa never managed to form stable relations. Within the state, good relations with the indigenous Armenian population was formed.
For general treatment on the organizational structure and economy of Crusader states, see Christian Crusader states.

History
1098: Baldwin of Boulogne manages to make himself adopted son of the Greek Orthodox ruler, Thoros, who governed a land with Armenian subjects. Thoros is soon murdered, making Baldwin new count.
1100: Baldwin becomes king of Jerusalem, Edessa passes to his cousin, Baldwin 2 of Le Bourg.
1104: Baldwin 2 attacks the Byzantine provinces of Cilicia.
— Edessa is attacked by the rulers of Mosul, and at the Battle of Harran, and Baldwin 2 is taken prisoner.
— Tancred is made regent of Edessa with Baldwin 2 in Muslim custody.
1108: Baldwin 2 is freed by ransom.
1110: All lands east of the Euphrates is lost to the ruler of Mosul.
1118: As King Baldwin 1 dies, Baldwin 2 becomes new king of Jerusalem.
1119: Power of Edessa passes to Joscelin 1, Lord of Turbessel.
1122: Joscelin is taken prisoner by the Muslims, Baldwin 2 of Jerusalem comes to his rescue, but is captured, too.
1123: Joscelin escapes from prison.
1124: Joscelin helps having Baldwin 2 released.
1131: Joscelin is killed in battle, and succeeded by his son, Joscelin 2.
1144: Edessa is besieged by Zengi, the ruler of Aleppo and Mosul.
December 24: Edessa falls to Zengi. Joscelin escapes and continues ruling the western part of countship.
1146: Second Crusade comes about, provoked by the fall of Edessa two years earlier.
September: Following the death of Zengi, Joscelin recaptures Edessa.
November: Edessa is again lost to the Zengids.
1150: Joscelin is captured by Nureddin, Zengi's son, and kept imprisoned until his death 1959.
— The territory around Turbessel fortress is sold by Joscelin's wife to the Byzantine Emperor, Manuel 1 Comnenus.
1151: Nureddin conquers the territory around Turbessel.




By Tore Kjeilen