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Crusades / States /
Kingdom of Jerusalem
Also called: Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem

Flag of Kingdom of Jerusalem

Flag from 1099-1162.
Flag of Kingdom of Jerusalem

Flag from 1162-1291.

1. Political organization
2. Economy
3. Defense
4. History

Godfrey of Bouillon
Baldwin 1 of Le Bourg
Takes the title King
Baldwin 2 1118-1131
Fulk of Anjou 1131-1143
Queen Melisende
As regent for infant Baldwin 3
Baldwin 3 1143-1163
Amalric 1 1163-1174
Baldwin 4 1174-1185
Guy of Lusignan 1185-1191
Henry of Champagne 1192-1197
Amalric 2 1197-1205
Isabella 2/Yolande 1210-1228
John of Brienne 1210-1225
Frederick 2 1225-1228
Conrad Hohenstaufen 1228-1268
Charles of Anjou 1268
Hughes 3 of Cyprus 1269-1284
John 1284-1285
Henry 1
Henry 2 of Cyprus
On Cyprus
Henry 2 1285-1306
Amalric 2 of Tyre 1306-1310
Henry 2
Returns to power
Hughes 4 1324-1359
Peter 1 1359-1369
Peter 2 1369-1382
James 1 1382-1398
Janus 1398-1432
John 2 1432-1458
Queen Charlotte 1458-1464
James 2 the Bastard 1464-1473
James 3 1473-1474
Queen Caterina Cornaro 1474-1489
One of 4 Christian Crusader states in the Middle East. It lasted 1099-1291, 192 years, with the city of Jerusalem as its capital through most of this period.
The kingdom included the city of Jerusalem from 1099 until 1187, and from 1229 until 1244, totalling 103 years of the 192 years the kingdom lasted. The state kept its name throughout all the years, always claiming Jerusalem. During the times when Jerusalem was in the hands of Muslim rulers, the sea port of Acre served as the capital and most important city of the kingdom.
The kingdom covered at its height an area corresponding to modern Israel, Palestine, southern Lebanon and parts of western Jordan. In addition the royal domain, consisting of Tyre, Acre and Jerusalem, it included 4 great baronies. These were the County of Jaffa and Ascalon; the Lordship of Krak; the Principality of Galilee; and the Lordship of Sidon..
After 1291, when all lands in the Middle East were lost, the kingdom continued in name on Cyprus, still naming itself Kingdom of Jerusalem. As a matter of fact the title King of Jerusalem has never disappeared, a title passed on to the Habsburg and belongs now technically to the King of Spain.

Political organization
For general treatment on the organizational structure and economy of Crusader states, see Christian Crusader states.

Although ruled by a European kings, the Pope in Rome was officially the ultimate head. The king had to rest upon the support of the nobles, who had formed a high court in Jerusalem, which had strong influence over the matters of the king.
The kingdom was organized according to feudal principles. The Nobles were vassals to the king, and had themselves vassals. For the feudal system that involved Muslim farmers, the original local system for organization was kept intact, and they owed their Christian lords no military service. On the countryside, life largely continued as it had been, as the Europeans usually lived in the cities, and acted as absentee landlords.
Early on, the Italian city-states of Venice, Pisa and Genoa helped the territorial advances of the kingdom, and in return they were allowed to establish their own autonomous trading quarters.
Soon the Europeans started to see themselves as part of the new country. Their loyalties were to the kingdom, not Europe, they often started to speak Greek or Arabic, and many married local women, preferably Christians, but sometimes even Muslims.

The economic base for the kingdom was quite weak, and its main source of income would become trade, both with its Muslim neighbours, as well with more distant Asian countries and Europe. Of some importance was also the taxes levied upon the pilgrims. Agriculture was limited, and grain often had to be imported from Syria.

The Kingdom of Jerusalem could by definition rarely use locals for its armies, as they were predominantly Muslims. Hence the kingdom suffered much from lack of manpower for its armies. In addition to local soldiers, were there 3 other suppliers of military personnel.
In times of great threats did many European countries send soldiers to the Levant to help protect or liberate the lands of the kingdom.
A more reliable source of soldiers were the military orders that were established early during the 1st Crusade. These included the likes of Knights Templar and the Knights Hospitaller. The often resided in large castles, and supported themselves on the income from land bought from the nobles. The knights did not answer directly to the king, but to the pope.
A third supplier were the 3 other Crusader states; Antioch (1098-1268), Edessa (1098-1146) and Tripoli (1102-1289), which served as vassal states under Jerusalem. They assisted each other militarily.

1099 July 15: Jerusalem is captured from the Seljuqs as part of the 1st Crusade. The French nobleman Godfrey of Bouillon, leader of one of the armies of the Crusade, was chosen to govern the conquered lands with the titles of baron and Defender of the Holy Sepulchre.
Early 12th century: The kings of Jerusalem conquer coastal cities and build fortifications to safeguard their lands.
1100: Baron Godrey dies, and is succeeded by his brother Baldwin, who takes the title of king. With his reign, the power would become secured within the family.
1144: Edessa falls to the troops of the Atabeg Zangi of Mosul. This led to the 2nd Crusade.
1148: The 2nd Crusade fails, leaving the kingdom in a weak position facing its Muslim neighbours.
1153: King Baldwin 2 conquers Ascalon, the only remaining Egyptian outpost in the Levant.
1170's: Factions are formed in the kingdom, reducing the power of the already weak king.
1187: Following the decisive defeat at Hattin, most of the kingdom, including Jerusalem, falls to Saladin. Only Tyre manages to defend itself. After that Richard the Lionheart had liberated the coastal cities, the king could install himself in Acre, which becomes new capital.
1192: After the battle of Arsuf, Saladin signs a treaty with the king.
1229: The Christian king is allowed to take back Jerusalem after an agreement with the Ayyubid sultan Al-Kamil.
1244: Ayyubid troops once again drive the Christians out of Jerusalem.
1247: Ascalon is conquered by the Ayyubids.
1265: Arsuf and Caesarea are conquered by the Egyptian army.
1291: The coast between Acre and Beirut, the remaining part of the kingdom is conquered by the Mamluks of Egypt. The king installs himself on Cyprus, but continues to call himself King of Jerusalem.

By Tore Kjeilen