As happens in many wars, the Crusaders plundered without mercy and took what they wanted from the people of what we now call the Middle East. The British Museum still houses treasures brought back from the Crusades in among its Byzantine collection.
However, new ideas and household goods were also brought back as were new foodstuffs:
|rice, coffee, sherbet, dates, apricots, lemons, sugar, spices such as ginger, melons, rhubarb and dates.|
|Household goods||mirrors, carpets, cotton cloth for clothing, ships compasses, writing paper, wheelbarrows, mattresses and shawls.|
|New ideas||chess, Arabic figures 0 to 9, pain killing drugs, algebra, irrigation, chemistry, the colour scarlet, water wheels and water clocks|
Though the Crusades lasted for many years, the actual amount of fighting was reasonably small. Of the 174 years of the Crusades, only 24 involved fighting and not all of the 24 years were spent fighting. Therefore, there was much to be made by trading with each other, despite trade embargoes issued by the Papacy. The above list gives an indication of how western Europe benefited. The Muslim world gained relatively less from the West, though certain Western items were new to them, i.e. linen and woollen cloth. Nevertheless, there were years when trade between the two sides was very good.
The Crusades had a major impact on the building of castles. Many large castles were built in Wales (such as Beaumaris, Conway and and Caernarvon) by Edward I. He had been on a crusade and it is probable that he learned about castle improvements as a result of his experiences.
The Muslims built in a scientific manner utilising concentricity and the area surrounding the castle was utilized for maximum strategic effect.
Historians such as E Wright believe that their approach influenced Edward and that is why the Welsh castles associated with Edward I were so well built. Some historians such as C Cairns believe that our castle building would have improved regardless of the influence of the Muslims simply as our knowledge about castle building increased. He is far from convinced as to their importance regarding castle development.
Algebra and alchemy (leading to advances in chemistry) were Muslim innovations, and of course Arabic numerals now form the basis of modern mathematics.
The crusades were expensive operations to run, and raising the necessary funds would have been impossible without creating governmental processes to assess and collect taxes: the forerunner of the taxation system now prevalent around the world.