Andrew Andersen



PART II : 1096 - 1230


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The year of 1096 signaled the beginning of the Crusades and  great changes in the Middle East. The Crusaders established their own states in Palestine and Syria and assisted East Roman (Byzantine) empire to draw Seljuk Turks from some of her former Asian provinces.


Cilicia (Lesser Armenia) became an ally of the Crusaders. In their turn, the Crusaders crowned Leo the 2nd King of Armenia in 1198 thus starting the Rubenid dynasty in Cilicia.  After the first Crusade Cilicia significantly expanded to the South-West doubling the size of the new Armenian Kingdom.


The Crusades resulted in crushing the Turkish domination over some other Armenian lands.

In 1097 the Crusaders under Baldwin took the fortified city of Edessa and established the Earldom of Edessa that survived until 1144 covering a sizeable, predominantly Armenian-inhabited territory.


The political development of the South Caucasus was marked by an impressive Georgian reconquista. Under the leadership of King David of the Bagratid dynasty, Georgians won a number of wars against the Turco-Arab powers of the area and by 1124 liberated half of the old Armenian lands, so that their King David the Builder also became the King of both Georgians and Armenians thus uniting the two peoples under one Crown.


The second half of the 12th  century was marked by the strife between the crusaders and East Roman Empire (Byzantium) resulting in the collapse of the latter one and the establishment of the Latin Empire in 1204. At the same time, the crusaders suffered serious defeats in Palestine and Syria losing most of their previously conquered territories. However, the Kingdom of Cilicia survived and kept her borders unchanged.


In the South Caucasus the Kingdom of Georgia expanded further under Queen Tamar and King George the Beautiful. All Crown Armenian provinces of Georgia were put under the hereditary governance of Prince Zakharias Mkhargrdzeli while South-Western half of Armenia was put under Georgian protectorate and re-organized into the Sultanate of Khelat and  Emirate of Karin (Erzeroum)


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