The Seventh Crusade - Saint Louis and the Mongols
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The Seventh Crusade

Saint Louis
Saint Louis

August 2016 - The Seventh Crusade was not started by any Pope, but by King Louis IX of France, who became known later as Saint Louis because of his great devotion to the Christian God. The year after the Mamluks captured Jerusalem from the Europeans in 1244 AD, Louis announced his Crusade (in 1245). Louis raised money from church tithes and then sailed to Cyprus in 1248 (when he was 34 years old).

From Cyprus, Louis attacked and took the port of Damietta in Egypt, which had caused so much trouble in the Fifth Crusade. The Ayyubids were very weak now and could not stop him. Using Damietta as a base, Louis then attacked Cairo, but the Mamluks arrived and defeated him. Baybars took Louis prisoner, and to get him back the French had to pay a lot of gold and give Damietta back.

a big ruined stone castle
The Fortress of Acre

Louis and his army sailed away to the castle of Acre (AH-ker) in Syria. In Acre, Louis negotiated with Mongke, the Khan of the Mongols, to get his help against the Mamluks. By 1254, Louis (now forty years old) had run out of money. Also, his mother, Blanche of Castile, died. She had been ruling France while Louis was away, and with her dead Louis had to go home and take charge. But the Mamluks, and everyone in the Islamic Empire, never forgave the Crusaders for allying themselves with the terrifying Mongols.

Learn by doing: take a sailboat ride
The Eighth Crusade

Bibliography and further reading about the Crusades:

The Eighth Crusade
More about Louis IX
Medieval Europe
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Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
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