History - On This Day - July 22nd. 1099 - Godfrey of Bouillon and the Kingdom of Jerusalem

One of the best known historical 'heroes' among the Belgian scholars is
Godfrey of Bouillon (18 September 1060 - 18 July 1100).

Coudenberg Brussels with the equestrian statue of Godfrey of Bouillon -
own picture taken in 2012


Godfrey of Bouillon was the second son of Eustace II, Count of Boulogne and
Ida, a daughter of Duke Godfrey the Bearded of Lotharingia.

His birthplace was probably Boulogne-sur-Mer, however a chronicler from the
13th. century mentioned a place in Walloon Brabant, Belgium.

Source picture: Wikipedia


Crusade

In 1095, Pope Urban II called for a Crusade to liberate Jerusalem from
Muslim forces and also to aid the Byzantine Empire which was under
Muslim attack.

Godfrey gathered thousands knights to fight in the Holy Land and they
were known as the Army of Godfrey of Bouillon.

Godfrey started in August 1096 at the head of an army from Lorraine
and they went to Jerusalem. After some difficulties in Hungary, he
arrived in Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, in
November. During several months the next crusader armies arrived
in Constantinople because the Emperor wanted to recapture the lands
which were taken by the Seljuk Turks.

By the spring of 1096 the crusaders were ready to march into the battle.

Source picture: Wikipedia

In Nicaea the Byzantine soldiers and the crusaders had their first victory. 
In 1099 they reached Jerusalem. 

The Fatimids (North African Muslims) had taken Jerusalem in August 1098.
The Crusaders fought with them in the Siege of Jerusalem. Then the legend of
Godfrey of Bouillon was born. 

Kingdom of Jerusalem

Soon afterwards, the city was returned to Christian rule but a kind of 
government had to be set up. 

On July 22nd. a council was held in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. 
Godfrey of Bouillon agreed to become the ruler of Jerusalem.

Although he refused to be crowned King. He took the title advocate or
defender of the Holy Sepulchre. 

During his short reign, Godfrey of Bouillon had to defend his new 
Kingdom against the Fatimids. 

Source picture: Wikipedia


Death

Godfrey of Bouillon died on 18 July 1100. It isn't sure what he died from.
Some sources said that he was struck by an arrow during the siege of the 
city of Acre. Other sources said that he died after eating a poisoned apple. 
In any event, Godfrey of Bouillon died in Jerusalem after a long period of
illness.