The Fifth Crusade 1217–21


Map Code: Ax00210

The Third Crusade had re-established a viable Kingdom of Jerusalem, but failed to secure the ultimate prize, Jerusalem itself. Well-resourced and with a coherent masterplan, the Fifth Crusade started with admirable prospects of success. The first army arrived in the Holy Land in 1217, led by Andrew II of Hungary, and joined with the kings of Jerusalem and Cyprus and the prince of Antioch. The Ayyubid defenders fled Jerusalem, with their army defeated at Bethsaida, on the north of the Sea of Galilee, but Andrew II lacked siege equipment, and became bogged down trying to capture well-fortified Muslim strongholds. Sick and discouraged, Andrew II left with his allies in February 1218, with Jerusalem still in Muslim hands. The second army decided to attack the Ayyubid heartland, Egypt, first capturing the coastal stronghold of Damietta in 1221. The sultan offered Jerusalem in exchange for Damietta, but the crusaders refused and marched on Cairo, where they were surrounded and forced to surrender.

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