On this day (July 4) in 1187, the army of Saladin defeated and completely destroyed the Christian Crusader army of Guy de Lusignan, king of Jerusalem.
- What — Battel of Hattin
- Where — Jerusalem
- When — July 4, 1187
- Parties Involved — Army of Sultan Saladdin Vs Crusaders
- Result — The army of Sultan Saladdin won
On this day (July 4) in 1187, the army of Saladin defeated and completely destroyed the Christian Crusader army of Guy de Lusignan, king of Jerusalem (reigned 1186–92), in the Battle of Hattin in northern Palestine.
In doing so, it negated the accomplishments made in the Holy Land by the leaders of the first Crusades. It also paved war for the Muslim reconquest of the city of Jerusalem and significant parts of other three Crusader states—the county of Tripoli, the principality of Antioch, and the kingdom of Jerusalem— which took place in October 1187.
When word reached the Crusaders that Saladin had invaded the city of Tiberias on the lake, they were camped out at Sepphoris, some 20 miles (32 km) west of the Sea of Galilee. Saladin ranked the Templars and Hospitallers, two militant monastic orders, as among the most potent combatants in the Christian army.
About 20,000 Crusaders left their camp on July 3 to assist the beleaguered city. They were constantly hounded by Saladin’s cavalry as they traveled across a scorching, dry plain, halfway to Tiberias until they ran out of water. After going without water for a night, the Crusaders’ condition deteriorated, but the next morning they started marching again, making their way toward a group of hills above the settlement of Hattin.
The Muslims drove the Crusaders back against the two biggest hills, the Horns of Hattin, after they were confronted by Saladin’s army and were no longer able to fight effectively. The Crusader forces continually tried to push the Muslim lines, but they were unable to make any meaningful progress.
Many Crusaders were executed on the battlefield by the 30,000-strong Muslim armies. On the other hand, Saladin spared the life of King Guy de Lusignan and many other Christian lords but he personally executed Reginald of Châtillon for his role in upsetting the ceasefire that had been established between Saladin and the Crusader nations. Templar Grand Master Gerard de Ridefort also avoided Saladdin’s blade. Saladin began his effort to reclaim Jerusalem the day following the battle.