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Baldwin, M. W. (ed.) / Volume I: The first hundred years

XII: The foundation of the Latin states, 1099-1118,   pp. 368-409 PDF (10.9 MB)

Page 409

had a fleet, yet he found Italian naval help for coastal conquests and for
the protection of the vital sea routes to the west. Baldwin rarely had more
troops than a modern battalion or regiment. Yet he was able to protect his
small state, leave it secure and aggressive, aid the Latin states in the
north, and extend his own dominions. He was a conqueror to the day of his
death. His powerful enemies a1-Af~al of Egypt and Tughtigin of Damascus early
gave up any notion of conquering him. As a king he had very scanty revenues.
He relied upon customs duties, upon contributions from pilgrims, upon raids
and tribute, and upon the economic prosperity he revived in his kingdom.
He fostered this prosperity by conciliating and protecting the natives, both
Christian and Moslem, who formed the bulk of the wealth-producing population
of his "Latin" kingdom. He induced the Christian peasants of the Transjordan
and adjacent districts to migrate to his kingdom and replace the hostile
Arabs, in lieu of the potential colonists lost in the disastrous crusade
of 1101. 
King Baldwin had become the leader of the Franks in the Levant although he
had no real means with which to coerce the three other Latin princes. It
is true that he was suzerain of Tripoli, and had granted Edessa to its lord,
yet their feudal rulers could have defied him if they had wished. Baldwin
was statesman enough to know that the Franks would stand or fall together.
He had sufficient moral authority to unite and lead them, even the reluctant
Tancred, against the Turkish peril in the north. When Baldwin died his kingdom
was first in dignity, power, and leadership among the Latin states in the
east. All, even the exposed county of Edessa, were secure. King Baldwin's
passing marks the end of the formative period of these states. It was now
the turn of others to maintain what had been won. 

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