On this day July 15, 1099

Christian soldiers take the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem after a week siege.

Throughout the siege, attacks were made on the walls, but each one was repulsed. The Genoese troops, led by commander Guglielmo Embriaco, had previously dismantled the ships in which the Genoeses came to the Holy Land; Embriaco, using the ship’s wood, made some siege towers.

These were rolled up to the walls on the night of July 14 much to the surprise and concern of the garrison. On the morning of July 15, Godfrey’s tower reached his section of the walls near the northeast corner gate, and according to the Gesta two Flemish knights from Tournai named Lethalde and Engelbert were the first to cross into the city, followed by Godfrey, his brother Eustace, Tancred, and their men. Raymond’s tower was at first stopped by a ditch, but as the other crusaders had already entered, the Muslim guarding the gate surrendered to Raymond.

Although the Crusaders killed many of the Muslim and Jewish residents, eyewitness accounts (Gesta Francorum, Raymond of Aguilers, and the Cairo Geniza documents) demonstrate that some Muslim and Jewish residents were allowed to live, as long as they left Jerusalem.

All modern estimates of the numbers actually killed in Jerusalem after the Crusader siege are entirely speculative; the primary sources from the period simply do not allow a reliable estimate to be made.

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