Historically, Crusades are perceived as the chains of holy wars that were fought against the non-Christians led by the Catholic popes and fought by the religious radicals. These wars were considered to be the epitome of self-intolerance and righteousness and a black stain as far as the history of the Catholic Church is concerned (Abulafia & Berend, 2017). In addition, holy wars increase the negative perception of western civilization. The breed of proto-imperialists, also called Crusaders, invaded the peaceful Middle East and distorted the Islamic culture in an attempt to spread Christianity and reduce the Islamic influence in the region. The invasion thus left the region in ruins. The Crusades were, therefore, the acts of imperialism. In most cases, the term Crusade may refer to any form of the military operation initiated by the Catholic Church in the middle Ages. During the time, Catholic leaders were politically relevant, and they would launch a military operation in an attempt to change the faith or people in the Middle East. Most of the Crusades were directed towards the non-Christians, specifically the Muslims in the Middle East (North, Beard, & Price, 1998). The Crusades launched by the Catholic Church was, therefore, the act of Imperialism.
Imperialism refers to the ideology or policy aimed at extending the rule or cultural influence from a nation or religion over foreign countries. The process is usually facilitated through military interventions or force. Given the fact that that Catholic Church leader employed the military intervention in the Crusades, it is therefore evident that it was the act of imperialism. In many cases, historically, the act of imperialism was both common and normal. In modern times, the act if imperialism is considered to be unlawful by the international laws. In many cases, the imperialism wanted to spread their cultures and religious influence. During Crusades, Catholic Church wanted to establish a strong Christian community in the Middle East with the aim of countering the influence of Islam in the region. Crusades were, therefore, acts of imperialism launched by the Catholic popes to ensure the spread of Christian cultures and values. The term imperialism can also be used to describe the expansion of western cultures and powers to the rest of the world. Therefore Crusades were similar ideas to the ones launched by the western cultures. In modern time, the idea of Crusade has lost the military meaning, and as a result, it has obtained a more metaphorical meaning. In the religious perspective, it can be perceived as any organized drive aimed at converting individuals or believers to the specific brand of Christianity. Besides the religion, the idea of Crusade is often applied to reform zealous undertakings or movements formulated to bring significant changes in the structures of authorities, powers, or even social relationships.
Crusades are forms of imperialism applied by the Catholic Churches to enhance the spread of cultures. Given the fact that there was the use of military intervention and forceful conversion of people and the adoption of new cultures, they are therefore regarded as the acts of imperialisms. Therefore, Crusades can be regarded as early forms of imperialism. The confrontation with Islam led to the period of religious extremism that procreated the dreadful inquisition as well as the religious wars that affected entire Europe.
The approaches employed by the imperialist especially the western powers were similar to the ones used by the Crusaders in the Middle East; therefore, it seems the idea was the same, and only the names accorded to each differs (Ando & Richardson, 2017). Crusades were based on the religion while imperialism employed by the western powers focused on different things from cultural, economic, and political transformation. The exploration and colonization of different countries have opened up the relationship between different people, the spread of common languages and different cultures have caused the increased interconnection among different people from different races across the world. Imperialism originates from a central idea; it is a state policy that is formulated for ideological and financial motives. Imperialism incorporates the practice, attitudes, and theories of dominating and ruling a distant territory. In most cases, the nations or the people that impose their rules often spread their cultures and better ways of launching progressive decision-making processes (Morley, 2005). Although imperialism improves interconnectedness and links to different races, it is an action that leads to the exploitation of resources from less developed countries as well as the deterioration of essential local cultures.
Crusades were the original form of imperialism. In most cases, imperialists believe that they possess unique and supreme forms of cultures, economic, and political ideologies (Kennedy, Roy, & Goldman, 2013). The same approach was evident in the crusades whereby Catholic Popes believed that they had the unique and better approach to religion; therefore, they invaded the Middle East to convert Muslims to Christianity and to make them adhere to the doctrines of Catholics. However, because, most of the Muslims in the region were reluctant to become converts, Catholics employed the military force to ensure that the majority of the people in the region are converted to Christianity. In many cases, Crusade appeared without any form of warning; it involved storming the Holy Land with the aim of killing believers and spreading the foreign religious practices that were not known to many people in the region (Morley, 2005). The same approaches were used by the imperialists to invade less developed states and eradicate their cultures through forceful means. Crusades were, therefore, the acts of imperialism that were evident in the latter part of the centuries. Constructivists perceive imperialism as an action that suppresses the less developed states. In most cases, these scholars argue that imperialism increases poverty and social disorder by imposing unique foreign cultures and economic activities that are not part of the indigenous population. Liberalists, on the other hand, perceive imperialism as an idea that distorts the economies; the state intervention and protectionism interferes with the market activities for the domestic traders (Morley, 2005).
In conclusion, Crusades were acts of imperialism. The same approaches were used both by the Catholic Church and the imperialists to force people to adopt new cultures and religious practices, even though they had a strong affiliation with their traditional religions. Both imperialists and crusaders, the Catholics, applied the military intervention or force to change people's cultures and religious practices vehemently. In the modern system, Imperialism is perceived as a form of the globalization process that pulls people from different regions of the earth to a common social, political, and economic goal. With the increased interconnectedness, the stronger states often tend to exploit the weaker states hence the persistent poverty in the less developed nations. During imperialism, the church was used in the name of missionaries to spread foreign religion to different nations, similarly during Crusades, Catholics Church was engaged in the forceful conversion of the non-Christians to Christianity and the even the persecutions of some people.
Abulafia, D., & Berend, N. (2017). Medieval frontiers: Concepts and practices. Routledge. Retrieved from: https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9781315249285/chapters/10.4324/9781315249285-8
Ando, C., & Richardson, S. (Eds.). (2017). Ancient States and Infrastructural Power: Europe, Asia, and America. University of Pennsylvania Press.
Kennedy, R. F., Roy, C. S., & Goldman, M. L. (2013). Race and ethnicity in the classical world: An anthology of primary sources in translation. Hackett Publishing.
Morley, N. (2005). CB Champion (ed.): Roman Imperialism. Readings and Sources. Pp. xii+ 324, maps, ill., figs. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2004.
North, J., Beard, M., & Price, S. (1998). Religions of Rome (2 vols) (pp. 1-870). Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/55410/
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