In about 1095, Alexios I Komnenos, the Byzantine emperor, sent to the pope, Urban II, and asked for aid from the west against the Seljuq Turks, who taken nearly all of Asia Minor from him. (Fordham)
At the Council of Clermont (in what’s now southern France), Pope Urban II called for peace among his audience, for them to unite against a common enemy. (Forbes)
“All who die by the way, whether by land or by sea, or in battle against the pagans, shall have immediate remission of sins. This I grant them through the power of God with which I am invested.”
“O what a disgrace if such a despised and base race, which worships demons, should conquer a people which has the faith of omnipotent God and is made glorious with the name of Christ!” (Pope Urban II, Fulcher of Chartres, Fordham)
“Of holy Jerusalem, brethren, we dare not speak, for we are exceedingly afraid and ashamed to speak of it. This very city, in which, as you all know, Christ Himself suffered for us, because our sins demanded it, has been reduced to the pollution of paganism and, I say it to our disgrace, withdrawn from the service of God.” (Pope Urban II, Balderic of Dol, Fordham)
“Let us suppose, for the moment, that Christ was not dead and buried, and had never lived any length of time in Jerusalem. Surely, if all this were lacking, this fact alone ought still to arouse you to go to the aid of the land and city — the fact that ‘Out of Zion shall go forth the law and the word of Jehovah from Jerusalem!’” (Pope Urban II, Guibert de Nogent, Fordham)
“And you ought, furthermore, to consider with the utmost deliberation, if by your labors, God working through you, it should occur that the Mother of churches should flourish anew to the worship of Christianity, whether, perchance, He may not wish other regions of the East to be restored to the faith against the approaching time of the Antichrist.”
“For it is clear that Antichrist is to do battle not with the Jews, not with the Gentiles; but, according to the etymology of his name, He will attack Christians. And if Antichrist finds there no Christians (just as at present when scarcely any dwell there), no one will be there to oppose him, or whom he may rightly overcome.” (Pope Urban II, Guibert de Nogent, Fordham)
Pope Urban II called for defense of his fellow Christians who were under threat, and to retake Jerusalem that he said was rightfully theirs. (Forbes)
Thus began the crusades – a holy war. The aristocracy of 11th-century Europe was indeed prepared to kill, if in service of the ‘right’ cause. And this was the ‘right’ cause for many of them. This warrior culture overlapped already with religion. They fought for family and for themselves, and certain types of warfare (in defense of the defenseless) could even lead to salvation.
In the end, Urban’s preaching tour inspired men to leave home, walk 2,500+ miles to Jerusalem, to kill people they’d never met and hardly heard of before. (Forbes)
The Crusades were waged by Christians against Muslims, Jews and fellow Christians. They were launched in the Middle East, in the Baltic, in Italy, in France and beyond. (Smithsonian) Between 1095 and 1291 there were seven major crusades.
Victorious leaders promptly divided up the territory into a small group of principalities that modern European historians have often called the “Crusader states.”
Crusading, or the idea of taking a holy vow to engage in military activity in exchange for spiritual reward, was refined over the next century, redirected to apply to whoever the pope decided might be an enemy of the faith (polytheists and Orthodox Christians in the north, Muslims in Iberia, heretics or rival European Christian powers in France and Italy).
In the Middle East, Jerusalem fell back into Islamic hands with the conquest of the city by the famed sultan Saladin in 1187. The last “Crusader” principality on the eastern Mediterranean coast, based out of the city of Acre, fell to the Mamluk ruler Baibars in 1291. (Smithsonian)
At this same time, stuff was happening in the Pacific, as well.
Using stratigraphic archaeology and refinements in radiocarbon dating, recent studies suggest it was about this same time that “Polynesian explorers first made their remarkable voyage from central Eastern Polynesia Islands, across the doldrums and into the North Pacific, to discover Hawai‘i.” (Kirch)
“Most important from the perspective of Hawaiian settlement are the colonization dates for the Society Islands and the Marquesas, as these two archipelagoes have long been considered to be the immediate source regions for the first Polynesian voyagers to Hawai‘i. …”
“In sum, the southeastern archipelagoes and islands of Eastern Polynesia have a set of radiocarbon chronologies now converging on the period from AD 900–1000.” (Kirch)
Research indicates human colonization of Eastern Polynesia took place much faster and more recently than previously thought. Polynesian ancestors settled in Samoa around 800 BC, colonized the central Society Islands between AD 1025 and 1120 and dispersed to New Zealand, Hawaiʻi and Rapa Nui and other locations between AD 1190 and 1290. (Hunt; PVS)
With improved radiocarbon dating techniques and equipment to more than 1,400-radiocarbon dated materials from 47 islands, the model considers factors such as when a tree died rather than just when the wood was burned and whether seeds were gnawed by rats, which were introduced by humans. (PVS)
“There is also no question that at least O‘ahu and Kauai islands were already well settled, with local populations established in several localities, by AD 1200.” (Kirch)
Late and rapid dispersals explain remarkable similarities in artifacts such as fishhooks, adzes and ornaments across the region. The condensed timeframe suggests assumptions about the rates of linguistic evolution and human impact on pristine island ecosystems also need to be revised. (PVS)
So, as the holy wars of the Crusades were waging into the Middle East, the Polynesians were first arriving and settling in what we refer to as the Hawaiian Islands.
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