The Second Crusade (1146-1148)
Having achieved their goal in an unexpectedly short period of time, many of the Crusaders departed for home. To govern the conquered territory, those who remained established four large western settlements, or Crusader states, in Jerusalem, Edessa, Antioch and Tripoli. Guarded by formidable castles, the Crusader states retained the upper hand in the region until around 1130, when Muslim forces began gaining ground in their own holy war (or jihad) against the Christians, whom they called "Franks." In 1144, the Seljuk general Zangi, governor of Mosul, captured Edessa, leading to the loss of the northernmost Crusader state.
News of Edessa's fall stunned Europe, and led Christian authorities in the West to call for another Crusade. Led by two great rulers, King Louis VII of France and King Conrad III of Germany, the Second Crusade began in 1147. That October, the Turks crushed the German forces. After Louis and Conrad managed to assemble their armies at Jerusalem, they decided to attack the Muslims with an army of some 50,000 (the largest Crusader force yet). The combined Muslim forces dealt a humiliating defeat to the Crusaders, decisively ending the Second Crusade.
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