August 12 - 1099 - The Battle of Ascalon Ends the First Crusade
The Crusades are a huge issue in history, and remarkably difficult to unravel even hundreds of years later. The First Crusade, though, was an attempt to unite Christian Europe in a fight against Muslim armies. Responding to a request for aid from the Byzantine Emperor to defend Constantinople, the Crusader armies went well past Constantinople and marched down to Jerusalem. But controlling Jerusalem and fully establishing a Crusader kingdom was only settled with a tactical crusader victory in the Battle of Ascalon, near the city of Ashkelon in present-day Israel. Appropriately for the confusing trajectory of the Crusades, the Crusdaders won the battle, but the Fatimid Caliphate still controlled the city.