Crusader wreck tells tale of Crusader Holy Land conquest


CHRISTIAN knights and Mameluke warriors were fighting on the walls. Now the wreck of a 13th century ship reveals the desperate bid to save the Holy Land.

The port of the city of Acre was a vital lifeline for Crusader knights and settlers alike. Through it streamed European pilgrims, horses, fighting men and manufacturing goods, all vital to sustain Christianity’s tenuous hold in what would later become Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Israel.

In return, ships carried precious cargoes of sugar, spice and exotic textiles.

But, in 1291, it all came crashing down.

The Egyptian Mameluke Sultan Al-Ashraf Khalil — leading an army of 100,000 men and horses — rolled back the Christian defences, weakened by almost two centuries of fighting to maintain control over the Holy Land.

European interest was failing — despite efforts by Pope Gregory X to summon reinforcements. And the militant orders — international organisations of warrior-monks…

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