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How the Crusades Led to the Renaissance and Exploration

Pope Urban II told the European kings, lords and knights, "Get out there and save the Holy Land, boys! It is
the birthplace of Christ and we can't have Muslims living there that is just... wrong!"
So... thousands of Catholics/Christians (at this time the Catholic Church (which was the only church in
Europe) headed to the Holy Land to remove the Muslims. When they got there, they found that the Muslims
considered this place to be holy also... and were not so willing to leave. Also, they were pretty good fighters,
and the Europeans could not defeat them.
But it was not a total loss. First, the Crusaders ate food with spices, found cloth made of silk and lots of other
great goods (things) from Asia. Goods that were so nice that they took them home to Europe. The Europeans
were so impressed with these goods they wanted them also. In fact, the European's love for these Asian
goods was so strong, they continued to trade with Arab nations to get them. Ah… but there were a few
problems. The problem was that the "Silk Road" that was used by traders to get goods to and from Asia) ran
through several countries. Each of these countries would charge for the traders for “safe passage.” This
increased the price of the goods. For example, lets take a silk blouse which cost $10 in China. On its way to
Europe, it had to go through 4 countries to get to Constantinople. Each country would add a $1 tax to the
blouse. When it arrived at Constantinople, it would now cost $14. The Arab merchants who bought the
blouse from the Chinese trader wanted to make a profit. The Arab merchant would now sell the blouse to a
European (Italian) trader for $16. The European trader would take the blouse to Italy and sell it to a French
merchant for $18. The French merchant, of course also wanted to make money, and he would sell the silk
blouse for $20. Therefore, the silk blouse doubled in price by the time it got to the French women who
bought it. Europeans said, "Hey, instead of heading out across the desert and having to pay all of these
different countries a fee, why don't we just find a sea route to Asia?" Thus the 1st result of the crusades - a
need for exploration.

Another result of the Crusades was the Renaissance. The Renaissance (rebirth) was an age of development
and science. First, the Europeans “rediscovered” the knowledge of the Greeks and Roman, which had been
“lost” during the Middle Ages. However, the Arab world had not “lost” the knowledge. The Crusaders
brought back the knowledge when they returned from the Crusades. Then they further developed the
knowledge and used it to improve life and help develop tools to achieve the 1st result – Exploration. Science
became important. Some of the scientific advancements that were discovered or used during this time were
the compass, the astrolabe, lateen sails and better map making skills (cartography). Renaissance rulers such
as Prince Henry of Portugal (AKA Prince Henry the Navigator) looked for new ways to explore. New
inventions for exploration plus a desire to expand nations as well as the mind is how the Renaissance led to

1. Some people would say the Crusades were not successful. Explain why they would say this.
2. Some people would say the Crusades were successful. Explain why they would say this.

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