The city of Acre was conquered by the Crusaders in 1104. In  1187  Saladin recaptured Acre after the battle of Hittin but it was captured again by the Crusaders in 1191 during the third crusade and became the capital of the remnant of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.  

in 1289 Sultan al-Mansur Qalawun conquered the County of Tripoli , and in 1290 he marched on Acre, but, to the relief of the Franks of Acre, he died in November before launching the attack. He was succeeded by his son al-Ashraf Khalil who decided to continue the attack. Khalil sent a message to William of Beaujeu [1], the Master of the Temple, telling him about his intentions to attack Acre and urging him not to send messengers or gifts :  " Because you have been a true man, so we send you advance notice of our intentions, and give you to understand that we are coming into your parts to right the wrongs that have been done. Therefore we do not want the community of Acre to send us any letters or presents (regarding this matter), for we will by no means receive them " Khalil wrote  [2]. But a delegation from Acre led by Sir Philip Mainebeuf [3][4], arrived in Cairo [5] with gifts and appealed to Khalil not to attack Acre. Khalil did not accept the appeal and imprisoned the Frank messengers [6].

Al-Ashraf Khalil assembled the forces of Egypt and Syria, which included a great number of volunteers [7] and siege engines from everywhere at Hisn al-Akrad. Some of Khalil's catapults were huge and had such names as "Al Mansuri" and "The Furious" in addition to lighter, but potent, mangonels called "Black Bulls" [8][9]. Four armies from Damascus (led by Lajin), Hama (led by al-Muzaffar Taqai ad-Din), Tripoli (led by Bilban) and Al Kark (led by Baibars al-Dewadar) marched to Acre to join the Egyptian army of Khalil [10]. In addition to the historian Baibars al-Dewadar [11] who led the army of Al Karak, Abu al-Fida was another prominent historian who accompanied al-Ashraf in his Levantiane expedition [12].

The Franks of Acre were for some time aware of the seriousness of the situation. They asked for help from Europe which resulted in nothing significant. A small group of knights, among them the Swiss Otto de Grandison, were sent by king Edward I of England. Burchard of Schwanden, the Grand Master of the German Teutonic Knights, resigned and was replaced by Konrad von Feuchtwangen who suddenly left Acre for Europe. The only noteworthy reinforcement came from king Henry II of Cyprus who fortified the walls and sent forces led by his brother Amalric to defend the city. Acre was well defended by two lines of thick walls[13] and had Twelve towers[14] which were built by European kings[15] and rich pilgrims.[16]
Notes
01- William of Beaujeu (Guillaume de Beaujeu) was the 21st Grand Master of the Knights Templar, from 1273 until his death during the siege of Acre in 1291.
02- From the letter of Al-Ashraf Khalil to William of Beaujeu, The Templar of Tyre, Chronicle Gestes des Chiprois, p.104/ part 3
03- The Templar of Tyre, Gestes des Chiprois, p.104 / part 3
04- Philip Mainebeuf, who spoke Arabic, was accompanied by a knight named Bartholomew Pisan and a scribe named George. The Templar of Tyre, Gestes des Chiprois, p.104/ part 3
05- Al-Maqrizi, p.222/ vol. 2
06- Asili, p.110 , The Templar of Tyre, Gestes des Chiprois, p.104/ part 3
07- Abu al-Fida,p.278/ vol.  According to Ibn Taghri most of Khalil's troops were volunteers. Ibn Taghri, p.5/ vol. 8
08- Asili, p. 110. Templar of Tyre, p.105
09- Al-Mansuri might refer to Khalil himself as he was Khalil Al-Mansur.
11- There are no reliable figures for the Muslim army, according to some sources it consisted of 60 000 cavalry and 160 000 infantry. Though the numbers seem exaggerated, the army of the Muslim was probably larger than that of the Crusaders. Asili, p.111
12- Rukn ad-Din Baibars al-Dewadar was also a historian. He gave his account about the battle for Acre in his book "Zobdat al-Fikrah Fi Tarikh al-Hijrah ( 11 volumes )".
13- The historian Abu Al-Fida was in the army of Hama. Asli, p.114
14- Acre is one of the few cities in the world whose walls have remained standing over the centuries.See List of cities with defensive walls
15- The towers of Acre were built in the outer wall and the inner wall. Among these towers were the Tower of the Countess of Blois, the Accursed Tower, the Tower of the Legate, the Tower of the Patriarch, the Tower of St. Nicholas, the English Tower, the Germans Tower, the Tower of Henri II, the Tower of King Hugh and the Tower of St. Lazarus. Asili, p.113. Templar of Tyre, p.106/note2
16- The English tower was built by Henry I. Asili, p.113
17- The Tower of the Countess of Blois was built by the Countess of Blois. Asili, p.114
18- Templar of Tyre, p.105. Asili, p.110. Ibn Taghri, p.5 / vol. 8. Al-Maqrizi, p.223/ vol.2
19- Montmusard (also Montmusart) was a suburb of crusader Acre
20- Asili, p.114
21- Carabohas were rapid-fire siege machines. Templar of Tyre, p.106
22- The messengers were a knight named William of Villiers and William of Caffran who was from the household of William of Beaujeu.Templar of Tyre, p.108. Asili, p.116
23- Probably a referring to the massacre of Muslim merchants and peasants in and around Acre in August of 1290 which led to the abolishment of the truce signed earlier by Qalawun and the crusaders of Acre. See ' Massacre of Muslims ' in Siege of Acre (1291)
24- Asili, p.117. Templar of Tyre, p.108-109
25- Al-Maqrizi, p.223/ vol.2. Asili, p.118
26-The Accursed Tower was in the inner wall, situated between the Tower of King Henri II and the Tower of the Teutonic Knights. Templar of Tyre, p.106. Asili, p.113
27- Templar of Tyre, p.113
28- According to Ludolph of Suchem (which seems exaggeration): "In Acre and the other places nearly a hundred and six thousand men were slain or taken, and more than two hundred thousand escaped from thence. Of the Saracens more than three hundred thousand were slain, as is well known even to this day." -From Ludolph of Suchem, p. 268-272
29- Many nobles of Acre managed to flee in boats by paying money to the mercenary commander and Knight Templar Roger de Flor who made use of the situation and made his fortune by blackmailing the refugees of Acre. Asili, p.120-121
30- -From Ludolph of Suchem, p.268-272
31- Acre was conquered by the Crusaders in 1104. In 1187, Saladin recaptured Acre but it was captured again by the Crusaders led by Richard I the Lionheart  in 1191.  
32- According to Ludolph of Suchem, the besieged Templars deliberately undermined the walls of the fortress' tower to let it collapse on the Sultan's men. Ludolphi, Rectoris Ecclesiæ Parochialis in suchem, p.46
33- The gate of the San Andreas Church was transported from Acre to Cairo to be used in the Al-Ashraf's Mosque which the Sultan was building. Asili, p.123
34- Ibn Taghri, p.9/ vol.8
35- Margaret of Lusignan, the Dowager Lady of Tyre, widow of John of Montfort. see also Vassals of the Kingdom of Jerusalem
36- Remains of the sea castle still exist today. See picture above.
37- The island of Arwad, also called Ruad Island, is 3 km from Tartus. See Arwad.
38- See also Siege of Ruad
39- Abu Al-Fida, p.386/ vol.13. According to Al-Maqrizi, al-Ashraf besieged Qal'at ar-Rum with 20 catapults. Al-Maqrizi, p.233/vol.2
40- al-Maqrizi, p.234/ vol.2
41- The Holy See moved to Sis after al-Ashraf Khalil captured Qal'at ar-Rum
42- Mannheim 2001, p. 316
43- Asili, p.130. Runciman p.89-95/part 3
44- In 1292, Gaykhatu the Mongol ruler of the Ilkhanate sent a message to Al-Ashraf Khalil threatening him that if he not allow him to live in Aleppo he would conquer the whole of the Levant. Al-Ashraf replied: "The khan has the same ideas as me. I too hope to bring back Baghdad to the fold of Islam as previously. We will see which of us two will be quicker". - Al-Maqrizi, p.242/vol.2
45-Pope Nicholas IV was a promoter of the crusaders. After Qalawun recaptured Tripoli in 1289, Nicholas sent twenty galleys, which were armed in Venice, to the aid of the city of Acre.
46- the Templar Master. Chronicle Gestes des Chiprois, P.101/ part 3
47- One of these conflicts was the war that broke out between England and France in 1293.  
References
*Abu al-Fida , The Concise History of Humanity .(The historian Abu al-Fida took part in the sieges of Tripoli and Acre.)
*Al-Maqrizi , Al Selouk Leme'refatt Dewall al-Melouk, Dar al-kotob, 1997.
*Al-Maqrizi, al-Mawaiz wa al-'i'tibar bi dhikr al-khitat wa al-'athar,Matabat aladab,Cairo 1996, ISBN 977-241-175X
*Asili,B., Al-Zahir Baibars and the end of the old crusades, Dar Alnafaes,Beirut 1992
*Ibn Taghri , al-Nujum al-Zahirah Fi Milook Misr wa al-Qahirah, Dar al-Kotob, Beirut 1992.
*Ludolph of Suchem, Description of the Holy Land and of the Way Thither, trans. Aubrey Stewart London: Palestine Pilgrims' Text Society, 1895. Reprinted in James Brundage, The Crusades: A Documentary History, Milwaukee, WI: Marquette University Press 1962
*Ludolphi, Rectoris Ecclesiæ Parochialis in suchem, de itinere Terræ Sanctæ,University of Michigan 1851
*Mahdi, Dr. Shafik, Mamalik Misr wa Alsham ( Mamluks of Egypt and the Levant), Aldar Alarabiya, Beirut 2008
*Runciman, Steven, A history of the Crusades 3. Penguin Books, 1987
*The Templar of Tyre , Chronicle (Getes des Chiprois), Published by Crawford, P., Ashgate Publishing. Ltd, Cyprus 2003. ISBN 1840146184
CONQUEST OF ACRE 1291
Sam Hawass
© Sam Hawas
part of article  of Sultan al-Ashraf Kalil dedicated by the author to English wikipedia.
On the 5th of April 1291, Khalil's forces stood in front of Acre.[17] The army of Hama took its position on front of the Templars' tower, while the Egyptian army stretched out from the end of the wall of Montmusard [18] up to the Gulf of Acre [19]. The Dihliz (red tent of the Sultan and the headquarters) stood on a small hill near the shore on front of the Tower of the Legate. On April 6, the catapults began to hurl stones and fire over the walls of Acre. For eight days the walls were hurled and both armies engaged in occasional clashes. At the end of the eight days the Muslims set up barricades and began to move further towards the city, using wicker screens, till in the end they reached the edge of the wall. Carabohas [20] were brought up and parts of the wall were mined out. Despite the continual arrival of reinforcements from Cyprus to Acre by sea, the Franks became convinced of their lack of strength against Khalil's army. On April 15, under moonlight, the Templars, led by Jean Grailly and Otto de Grandison, launched a sudden attack against the camp of the contingent of Hama but their horses got their legs tangled in the ropes of the Muslims' tents and were caught and many were killed. Another attack, after a few days and this time under cover of darkness, by the Hospitallers also ended badly. On May 5, some hope was revived when Henry II of Cyprus arrived with forces transported by 40 ships. But soon Henry, too, became convinced of his helplessness.
The Franks sent messengers [21] to Al-Ashraf Khalil who saluted him on their knees. Khalil asked them whether they brought him the keys of the city, but they replied that the city could not be surrendered so easily and that they only came to plea for mercy for the poor inhabitants and that the Franks were willing to discuss any injustice done by them earlier to the Muslims[22] and to restore the truce signed by them and the Muslims. Khalil promised the messengers to spare the life of everyone if the Franks hand him Acre peacefully but the messengers refused his offer [23]. While the messengers were still there a huge catapult stone launched from the city struck the ground near the sultan's tent. Khalil, believing that the crusaders were negotiating in bad faith, reacted furiously and wanted to kill the two messenger but Emir Sanjar al-Shuja' pleaded for them and they were sent back to the city.

From May 8, Acre's towers began to cave in one after one. On May 18, early in the morning at sunrise, the Sultan gave his order to launch an all-out attack on all points, accompanied by sound of trumpets and drums carried on 300 camels [24]. The Muslim forces advanced towards a great tower that was called the Accursed Tower [25] and forced the Frankish garrison to retreat to the side of the Gate of St. Anthony. Muslim standards were placed on the walls. All counter-attacks and attempts made by the Hospitallers and the Templars to recapture the tower were in vain. King Henry II and the Master of the Hospital boarded their galleys and fled from Acre [26] William of Beaujeu, the Master of the Temple, and Matthew of Clermont were killed. By capturing these positions, the Muslim forces were now inside the city fighting the Franks in the streets and alleys of Acre, which turned into a terrifying chaos as the inhabitants were fleeing towards the sea. How many inhabitants perished on land and in sea is unknown. "More than five hundred most noble ladies and maidens, the daughters of kings and princes, came down to the seashore, when the city was about to fall, carrying with them all their jewels and ornaments of gold and precious stones, of priceless value, in their bosoms, and cried aloud, whether there were any sailor there who would take all their jewels and take whichever of them he chose to wife, if only he would take them, even naked, to some safe land or island"  Ludolph of Suchem described  [27][28][29].  Before night, Acre, after being in the hands of the Franks for 100 years [30], was in the hands of Al-Ashraf Khalil and his army after a siege of 43 days, with exception of the huge headquarters of the Templars which stood on the west side of the city seashore. After a week, Al-Asraf Khalil negotiated with Peter de Severy, who was in charge of the Templars, and it was agreed that the Templars and everyone inside the fortress would have free passage to Cyprus, but the Sultan's men who were sent to the fortress to supervise the evacuation seemed not disciplined enough to handle the matter and were massacred by the Templars. Under the cover of darkness, Theobald Gaudin, the new Master of the Temple, left the fortress for Sidon with a few people and the fortune of the Templars. In the morning, Peter de Severy went to the Sultan to settle a new negotiation but he was arrested with his followers and they were executed in retaliation for the Sultan's men who were masscared earlier by the Templars inside the fortress. When the besieged Templars in the fortress saw what happened to Peter de Severy, they continued the fight. On May 28, after a wide breach was made under the fortress, the Sultan sent about 2000 men to take it. The Frankish fortress collapsed killing everyone inside, including Sultan's men [31].

The news of the conquest of Acre reached Damascus and Cairo. Al-Ashraf Khalil entered the decorated city of Damascus with Franks chained at the feet and the captured crusader standards which were carried upside-down as a sign of their defeat. After celebrating his victory in Damascus, Khalil left for Cairo which was also decorated and celebrating [32].  Arriving at Cairo, he ordered the release of Philip Mainebeuf and the men who accompanied him to Cairo earlier [33].

Capture of Tyre, Sidon, Beirut, Haifa and Tartus
The port of Tyre was one of the most protected strongholds of the Franks on the Syrian coast. Saladin failed twice to capture it. Tyre was passed from Margaret of Lusignan [34] to her nephew Amalric shortly before the capture of Acre by Al-Ashraf Khalil. On May 19, Al-Ashraf, while still in Acre, sent a group of men, led by Emir Sanjar al-Shuja'i, to examine the situation in Tyre. Having a small garrison and seeing the fleeing refugees from Acre, Adam of Cafran, the Bailli of Tyre, panicked and fled to Cyprus. Tyre was taken by the Muslims without a fight.

A month after the capture of Acre, Al-Ashraf Khalil sent a force led by Emir al-Shuja'i to Sidon. The Knights Templar, as their fortune had been brought to Sidon earlier by Theobald Gaudin, the new Master of the Temple, decided to take refuge inside a castle that was built on an isle ca. 90 meters from the shore. Gaudin took the fortune and left for Cyprus after he promised his followers to send reinforcement from Cyprus. But Gaudin never sent anything and his followers had to fight till they fled by sea, in the night, to Tartous after they saw the Muslims building a bridge. Emir al-Shuja'i ordered the destruction of the sea castle on July 14 [35].

After the capture of Sidon, al-Shuja'i marched to Beirut. Beirut, which had a small garrison, was an important trading seaport for the Crusaders. Eschiva of Ibelin, the Lady of Beirut, thought she was secure because she had a truce with al-Ashraf Khalil's father Qalawun. al-Shuja'i summoned the commanders of the garrison and arrested them. Seeing the commanders arrested, everyone fled by sea. Beirut was taken by the Muslims on July 31. al-Shuja'i ordered the razing of its walls and castles and turned its Cathedral to a Mosque.

Haifa was captured on July 31, with little resistance. Tartus was besieged by Emir Bilban and the crusaders had to flee to the nearby island of Arwad [36] and was captured on August 3, followed by Atlit on August 14. Nothing was left for the Franks except the Island of Arwad which was captured by an Egyptian army later in 1302 [37].

In 1292, Al-Ashraf Khalil accompanied by his Vizier Ibn al-Salus arrived to Damascus and left - via Aleppo - to besiege the castle of Qal'at ar-Rum (Hromgla in Armenian). Qal'at ar-Rum, which was the seat of the Patriarch of Armenia, was besieged by more than 30 catapults [38] and was captured after 30 days by Khalil, who renamed it Qal'at al-Muslimin (Castle of the Muslims) [39]. Khalil left Emir al-Shaja'i at the castle and returned to Damascus with prisoners. The population of Damascus bid farewell to the victorious Sultan on his way to Cairo at night with thousands of lighted candles. The Sultan entered Cairo from the Victory Gate (Bab al-Nasr) and was greeted by the celebrating population, also with thousands of lighted candles .

The Sultan returned to Damascus and assembled an army to invade Sis [40], the capital of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, but Armenian messengers arrived to Damascus and appealed to him not to attack Sis. Til Hemdun, Marash and Behesni were given to the Sultan in exchange for peace. On the other hand, Khalil had good relations with the Kingdom of Cyprus, the Kingdom of Aragon, and the Kingdom of Sicily, who had commercial and military treaties with him.

The process of conquering the crusader kingdom, begun by Saladin in 1187, was finally completed by . Al-Ashraf Khalil who was also planning to attack Cyprus [42] and the Mongols in Baghdad [44].

The Crusaders were shocked. Their 200 years of effort had gone in vain. The crusaders' kingdom of Jerusalem had already been destroyed by Saladin, Baibars and Qalawun, and Louis IX's Seventh Crusade against Egypt ended in a complete failure, but the crusaders tried to keep their strongholds on the Syrian coast intact, hoping to be able one day to recapture what they had lost. Pope Nicholas IV tried to act but he died in 1292 [45] [46], and the European kings, who became involved in internal conflicts and struggles [47], became unable to organize new effective crusades. As for the Templars, they were accused of heresy in Europe and badly persecuted by King Philip IV of France and Pope Clement V.
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