On May 18, 1291, after a disastrous siege, Acre, the capital of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, fell under to the attacks of a young yet ambitious Mamluk sultan. After almost two centuries, so ended the Crusaders’ presence in the Holy Land. The news created a great stir among contemporaries, who nonetheless felt that the situation was not irreversible. The West assimilated the event with clamour and recriminations, but did little to recover what had been lost. This account of the final stages of the Crusader States highlights the more general context of the upheavals affecting Syrian-Palestinian lands during the 13th century and the struggles involving Mongols, Mamluks, Genoese, Pisans, Venetians, popes, emperors, Knights Templar and Hospitaller, kings, queens and regents. Those lands were defended by a host of often unruly crusaders and populated by a motley assortment of humanity.
Antonio Musarra holds a doctorate in Medieval History and is a fellow at the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies.