Richard I (Lion-hearted)

Fought in the Third Crusade (1189'92) Richard spent very little time in England during his reign. Most of his energies were consumed in the attempt to retake Jerusalem. He was undoubtedly a courageous leader and furthered his reputation while lifting the siege of Jaffa on the coast of Palestine. Islamic forces surrounded the city and in desperation the Christian defenders were negotiating their surrender just as Richard arrived to relieve them. Recognizing the opportunity, the King unstrapped his leg armor and waded ashore with a few hundred followers. His boldness reinvigorated the defenders; they counterattacked and forced the Islamic army to retreat.

Richard was a skilled negotiator and a good military strategist but at times could act on deadly impulse. During the siege of Acre, he suspected bad faith on the part of Muslims. In anger he ordered 3000 of their hostages killed on the spot. In the summer of 1191 he began his systematic assault on Jerusalem. Twice he got within 12 miles of the city but his supply lines failed him and his forces were just too weak. Forced to return to England to put down a coup attempt by his brother, Richard negotiated with Saladin a treaty that gave crusaders control of a stretch of coastline and Christians a safe passage to visit the Holy Shines.

Richard died in France of a stray arrow in 1199.

Copyright 2002 by Dan Roberts Enterprises LLC

Birth Location: 
Oxford, England
Birth Date: 
Death Location: 
Ch��lus, Duchy of Aquitaine , France
Death Date: