The story

Acre

Acre


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Acre or “Akko” is an ancient city in Israel which has been almost continuously inhabited since at least 3,000 BC, during the Early Bronze Age. Today, the Old City of Acre is a UNESCO World Heritage site, with a myriad of ruins representing the many civilisations that ruled the area over the centuries.

History of Acre

Allocated to the tribe of Asher under the Israelites, Acre would come under the rule of the Assyrians (9th century BC) and the Phoenicians (6th-4th centuries BC) before being conquered by Alexander the Great. It would later be ruled by the Egyptian Ptolemid Dynasty, Syria’s Seleucids and form part of the Hasmonean Kingdom, then being taken by the Romans in 63 BC. From 638 AD, Acre became an Arab city, part of the Caliphate of Cairo.

All of these cultures and civilisations left their mark on the Old City of Acre. The ruins of various fortifications and structures can still be seen there today. However, the overwhelming character of Acre is defined by two later periods, denoting the city’s time under the Crusaders and the Ottomans.

The Crusaders took Acre in 1104 and proceeded to build an impressive set of fortifications, much of which remain. This was a time of great development and prosperity, with the erection of many public buildings such as bathhouses, markets, shops and churches. However, from 1187, Acre fell to the Muslims and proceeded to change hands many more times including falling to the Crusaders yet again under Richard the Lion Heart in 1191.

From 1517, Acre – then in a poor state due to damage from several conflicts – came under Ottoman rule, although it was not until the 18th century that reconstruction began taking place. The Ottoman redevelopment of Acre was sympathetic to the Crusader buildings, with their remaining structures being used as a basis for new construction. At this time, Acre experienced yet another period of prosperity, with many new public buildings, including mosques and homes.

Acre is also famous for being the site of a failed siege by Napoleon in 1799 and being the location of a prison for political dissidents under the British Mandate.

Acre today

Visitors to Acre can see its impressive fortifications, sites related to the Knights Templar and Knights Hospitallers, such as the Knights’ Halls, sites of the Bahá’í Faith, the old city walls and the many remaining public buildings, most of which originate from the Ottoman and Crusader periods. The Old City (Akko) takes a good day to explore (although an overnight stay is worth it if you’ve got the time) – look out for the excellent food on offer.

Getting to Acre

Acre is about 25km north of Haifa, on Israel’s Mediterranean coast. Buses 361 and 371 both run from Haifa to Acre. Trains also run between the two cities, taking about 30 minutes.


Where is Acre (Historic City) – History of Acre

Once an important commercial center and fortress, Acre is now mainly a flshing port and industrial city. It has a steel-rolling mili built by the Israelis. Acre is also the center of the Bahai religion. The Bahai leader Abdul-Baha died at Acre in 1921 and is buried there.

Acre has been known by many names since ancient times. In the Old Testament it is called Accho. One of its Greek names was Ptolerrıais. The Arabs gave it the name Akka. During the Crusades it became known to the Western world by its French name, S t. Jean d’Acre or Acre. In the modern Hebrew of Israel it is called Akko.

From ancient times until about 1900, Acre was an important shipping center on one of the main trade and travel routes between Europe and Asia. its trade came by sea over the Mediterranean and by land over camel caravan routes from various parts of the Middle East. Haifa, now the chief port of Israel, outstripped Acre in size and commercial importance after 1900 because of Haifa’s superior harbor and railroad communications. A railroad built by the British during World War II linked Acre with Haifa and with Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, but the Lebanese-Israeli border was elosed in 1948.

History.

Acre is first mentioned in Egyptian inseriptions of about 1450 b.c. During the following centuries, it was ineluded in the empires of Egypt, Assyria, Persia, and Macedonia.

After the Macedonian empire of Alexander the Great broke up in the late 300’s b.c., Acre again came under Egyptian control. In the early 200’s b.c. it was named Ptolemais for the line of Macedonian kings of Egypt that began with Ptolemy Soter. The city subsequently became part of the Seleucid empire of Syria, and was later acquired and colonized by the Romans. In the early years of the Roman empire, Acre was a city of great importance. Ancient granite and marble pillars stili exist as reminders of its grandeur.

In 638 a.d. the Müslim forces of Khalid and Abu Ubayda captured both Acre and Damascus. The city was then seized successively by the Egyptian ealiphs (969), the Seljuk Turks (1079), the Crusaders (1099), King Baldwin I of Jerusalem (1104), and Saladin, sultan of Egypt and Syria (1187). After a two-year siege that cost 100,000 lives, Richard the Lion-Hearted and Philip Augustus of France took the city in 1191. They made it a bishopric and gave it to the Order of St. John.

During the next century, despite continual assaults, Acre became a large, rich, and powerful city. After the beginning of the 1200’s it was the chief center of Christian power in Palestine. But in 1291 the Mamluk ruler of Egypt, al-Malik al-Ashraf, took Acre after a bloody siege that completely destroyed the town.

In 1517, Acre fell into the hands of the Turks, and by the beginning of the 18th century it was a vast scene of ruin, relieved only by a few cottages, a mosque, and the houses of French merchants. In the mid-1700’s the city revived under the rule of the Bedouin sheikh of Palestine, Zahir al-Umar, who made Acre the capital of his kingdom, and in general ignored Turkish overrule. Al-Umar was succeeded by Ahmad al-Jazzar, a Turkish governor who continued to improve the city.

Al-Jazzar successfully defended the city against the French armies of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1799. After a 61-day siege, Napoleon was forced to retreat when English soldiers and marines under the command of Sir William Sydney Smith came to the rescue of al-Jazzar.

Acre continued to prosper, despite the rigors of Turkish rule, until the winter of 1831-1832, when Egyptian and Lebanese troops besieged it, destroying most of its buildings. After capturing it, the Egyptians repaired and improved its fortifications. It was laid in ruins again by the bombardment of a combined British-Austrian-Turkish fleet in 1840. From 1841 it was under Turkish rule once more, until the British captured it, virtually unopposed, in 1918. It was placed under a British mandate after World War I.

In 1948, Acre fell into the hands of Israeli troops. A year later the city became part of the new state of Israel.


Acre (n.)

Old English æcer "tilled field, open land," from Proto-Germanic *akraz "field, pasture" (source also of Old Norse akr , Old Saxon akkar , Old Frisian ekker , Middle Dutch acker , Dutch akker , Old High German achar , German acker , Gothic akrs "field"), from PIE root *agro- "field."

"[O]riginally 'open country, untenanted land, forest' . then, with advance in the agricultural state, pasture land, tilled land, an enclosed or defined piece of land" [OED]. In English at first without reference to dimension in late Old English the amount of land a yoke of oxen could plow in a day, afterward defined by statute 13c. and later as a piece 40 poles by 4, or an equivalent shape [OED cites 5 Edw. I, 31 Edw. III, 24 Hen. VIII]. The older sense is retained in God's acre "churchyard." Adopted early in Old French and Medieval Latin, hence the Modern English spelling, which by normal development would be *aker (compare baker from Old English bæcere ).


FSA Crop Acreage Data Reported to FSA

2020 Crop Year

    (ZIP, 21 MB, January 12, 2021) (ZIP, 21 MB, December 10, 2020) ( ZIP, 22 MB, November 10, 2020 ) (ZIP, 21 MB, October 9, 2020) (ZIP, 21 MB, September 11, 2020) (ZIP, 21 MB, August 12, 2020)

2019 Crop Year

Note: Beginning with the 2019 crop, producers may report the same acre of either wheat, barley, oats, rye, and triticale for grain and grazing. That situation can occur when a producer intends to graze cattle in the winter, remove the cattle, and harvest the grain when mature later that spring. Thus, for these crops the acre would be counted twice when a producer intends to use the same acre for both grazing and grain.

    (ZIP, 21 MB, January 10, 2020) (ZIP, 21 MB, December 10, 2019) (ZIP, 21 MB, November 8, 2019) (ZIP, 21 MB, October 10, 2019) (ZIP, 21 MB, September 12, 2019) (ZIP, 21 MB, August 27, 2019) (ZIP, 21 MB, August 12, 2019)

Due to the large amount of questions surrounding the difference between NASS estimated planted acres and certified acres reported to FSA, USDA is publishing this update of the August 1, 2019 data.

A description of the differences between the August 2019 NASS crop acre estimates and the FSA certified acres reported to FSA can be found on the Office of the Chief Economist website, click this link for more information.


Hell's Half Acre, Fort Worth

In the later decades of the nineteenth century, Hell's Half Acre became almost a generic name for the red-light district in many frontier towns, including San Antonio, Fort Worth, and Tascosa, Texas. The exact origins of the name are unclear, but in the days of the Republic of Texas it was applied to Webberville, near Austin, because of the community's lawless and immoral reputation. The name did not come into widespread usage, however, until after the Civil War. Returning soldiers may have brought the phrase back with them from such bloody battlefields as Stones River, where it had been applied with a different but equally vivid connotation. As a name for prostitution districts, it was usually shortened to "the Acre," but everyone knew what the abbreviation stood for.

Among the various Hell's Half Acres that dotted the frontier, none was more infamous or more rambunctious than Fort Worth's. The Fort Worth version started during the city's heyday as a drover's stop on the cattle trails to Kansas in the early 1870s. The name first appeared in the local newspaper in 1874, but by that time the district was already well established on the lower end of town, where it was the first thing the trail drivers saw as they approached the town from the south. Here there was an aggregation of one and two story saloons, dance halls, and bawdy houses, interspersed with empty lots and a sprinkling of legitimate businesses. Only those looking for trouble or excitement ventured into the Acre. As one headline put it in a description of a popular saloon there, "They Raise Merry Cain at the Waco Tap." Moreover, the usual activities of the Acre, which included brawling, gambling, cockfighting, and horse racing, were not confined to indoors but spilled out into the streets and back alleys.

As the importance of Fort Worth as a crossroads and cowtown grew, so did Hell's Half Acre. It was originally limited to the lower end of Rusk Street (renamed Commerce Street in 1917) but spread out in all directions until by 1881 the Fort Worth Democrat was complaining that it covered 2½ acres. The Acre grew until it sprawled across four of the city's main north-south thoroughfares: Main, Rusk, Calhoun, and Jones. From north to south, it covered that area from Seventh Street down to Fifteenth (or Front) Street. The lower boundary was marked by the Union Station train depot and the northern edge by a vacant lot at the intersection of Main and Seventh. These boundaries, which were never formally recognized, represented the maximum area covered by the Acre, around 1900. Occasionally, the Acre was also referred to as "the bloody Third Ward" after it was designated one of the city's three political wards in 1876.

Long before the Acre reached its maximum boundaries, local citizens had become alarmed at the level of crime and violence in their city. In 1876 Timothy Isaiah (Longhair Jim) Courtright was elected city marshal with a mandate to tame the Acre's wilder activities. Courtright cracked down on violence and general rowdiness-by sometimes putting as many as thirty people in jail on a Saturday night-but allowed the gamblers to operate unmolested. After receiving information that train and stagecoach robbers, such as the Sam Bass gang, were using the Acre as a hideout, local authorities intensified law-enforcement efforts. Yet certain businessmen placed a newspaper advertisement arguing that such legal restrictions in Hell's Half Acre would curtail the legitimate business activities there. Despite this tolerance from business, however, the cowboys began to stay away, and the businesses began to suffer. City officials muted their stand against vice. Courtright lost support of the Fort Worth Democrat and consequently lost when he ran for reelection in 1879. Throughout the 1880s and 1890s the Acre continued to attract gunmen, highway robbers, card sharks, con men, and shady ladies, who preyed on out-of-town and local sportsmen.

At one time or another reform-minded mayors like H. S. Broiles and crusading newspaper editors like B. B. Paddock declared war on the district but with no long-term results. The Acre meant income for the city-all of it illegal-and excitement for visitors. Possibly for this reason, the reputation of the Acre was sometimes exaggerated by raconteurs some longtime Fort Worth residents claimed the place was never as wild as its reputation. Suicide was responsible for more deaths than murder, and the chief victims were prostitutes, not gunmen. However much its reputation was exaggerated, the real Acre was bad enough. The newspaper claimed "it was a slow night which did not pan out a cutting or shooting scrape among its male denizens or a morphine experiment by some of its frisky females." The loudest outcries during the periodic clean-up campaigns were against the dance halls, where men and women met, as opposed to the saloons or the gambling parlors, which were virtually all male.

A major reform campaign in the late 1880s was brought on by Mayor Boiles and County Attorney R. L. Carlock after two events. In the first of these, on February 8, 1887, Luke Short and Jim Courtright had a shootout on Main Street that left Courtright dead and Short the "King of Fort Worth Gamblers." Although the fight did not occur in the Acre, it focused public attention on the city's underworld. A few weeks later a poor prostitute known only by the name of Sally was found murdered and nailed to an outhouse door in the Acre. These two events, combined with the first prohibition campaign in Texas, helped to shut down the Acre's worst excesses in 1889.

More than any other factor, urban growth began to improve the image of the Acre, as new businesses and homes moved into the south end of town. Another change was the influx of black residents. Excluded from the business end of town and the nicer residential areas, Fort Worth's black citizens, who numbered some 7,000 out of a total population of 50,000 around 1900, settled into the south end of town. Though some joined in the profitable vice trade (to run, for instance, the Black Elephant Saloon), many others found legitimate work and bought homes.

A third change was in the popularity and profitability of the Acre, which was no longer attracting cowboys and out-of-town visitors. Its visible population was more likely to be derelicts, hoboes, and bums. By 1900 most of the dance halls and gamblers were gone. Cheap variety shows and prostitution became the chief forms of entertainment. The Progressive era was similarly making its reformist mark felt in districts like the Acre all over the country.

In 1911 Rev. J. Frank Norris launched an offensive against racetrack gambling in the Baptist Standard and used the pulpit of the First Baptist Church to attack vice and prostitution. Norris used the Acre both to scourge the leadership of Fort Worth and to advance his own personal career. When he began to link certain Fort Worth businessmen with property in the Acre and announce their names from his pulpit, the battle heated up. On February 4, 1912, Norris's church was burned to the ground that evening his enemies tossed a bundle of burning oiled rags onto his porch, but the fire was extinguished and caused minimal damage. A month later the arsonists succeeded in burning down the parsonage. In a sensational trial lasting a month, Norris was charged with perjury and arson in connection with the two fires. He was acquitted, but his continued attacks on the Acre accomplished little until 1917. A new city administration and the federal government, which was eyeing Fort Worth as a potential site for a major military training camp, joined forces with the Baptist preacher to bring down the curtain on the Acre finally. The police department compiled statistics showing that 50 percent of the violent crime in Fort Worth occurred in the Acre, a shocking confirmation of long-held suspicions. After Camp Bowie was located on the outskirts of Fort Worth in the summer of 1917, martial law was brought to bear against prostitutes and barkeepers of the Acre. Fines and stiff jail sentences curtailed their activities. By the time Norris held a mock funeral parade to "bury John Barleycorn" in 1919, the Acre had become a part of Fort Worth history. The name, nevertheless, continued to be used for three decades thereafter to refer to the depressed lower end of Fort Worth.


The Siege of Acre, 1291 CE

The Siege of Acre in 1291 CE was the final fatal blow to Christian Crusader ambitions in the Holy Land. Acre had always been the most important Christian-held port in the Levant, but when it finally fell on 18 May 1291 CE to the armies of the Mamluk Sultan Khalil, the Christians were forced to flee for good and seek refuge on Cyprus. The Fall of Acre, as the shocking defeat became widely known in the West, was the last chapter of the Crusade story in the Middle East.

The Mamluk Sultanate

The military disasters of the Seventh Crusade (1248-1254 CE) and the abandonment of the 1270 CE Eighth Crusade following the death of its leader Louis IX, king of France (r. 1226-1270 CE), had effectively sealed the fate of the Crusader-created states, the Latin East. The Christians of the Levant stood alone to face two enemies at once: the Muslims of the Mamluk Sultanate based in Egypt and the invading armies of the Mongol Empire. Now merely a handful of coastal cities and isolated castles with no hinterland to speak of, the Latin East was impoverished and near total extinction.

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The great Mamluk leader was Sultan Baibars (aka Baybars, r. 1270-1277 CE) who managed to expand his empire and push the Mongols back to the Euphrates River. The Christian cities suffered too, with Baibars capturing Caesarea and Arsuf. Antioch fell in 1268 CE and so too the Knights Hospitaller castle of Krak des Chevaliers in 1271 CE. The Muslim sect the Assassins were also targeted, and their castles in Syria were captured during the 1260s CE. Baibars was now master of the Levant and declared himself God's instrument and the protector of Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem.

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To face the threat to their existence, unlike the Christians of Antioch who had actually joined forces with the Mongols to take Aleppo, the Christians of Acre decided to remain neutral and side with neither the Muslim or the Mongols. Unfortunately, Acre was too strategically important a city and too prestigious a prize not to attract the attention of the Mamluks.

The Shrinking Latin East

The Latin East was not wholly abandoned after the Eighth Crusade, the future King Edward I of England (r. 1272-1307 CE) did arrive in Acre in 1271 CE with a small army of knights, but he could achieve very little before returning home to England to be crowned king the following year. Pope Gregory X (r. 1271-1276 CE) was keen to call another crusade in 1276 CE, but the expansion of Christendom in Spain and the Baltic proved more appealing endeavours for many European nobles and clergy alike. Gregory X pressed ahead anyway and set a tentative date of departure for a crusade in April 1277 CE, but when he died in January 1276 CE, the project was abandoned.

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In 1281 CE the Christian-held fortress of Margat was captured by the Mamluks, Lattakiah was taken in 1287 CE, and then Tripoli in 1289 CE which was, like other captures, then demolished to deter any attempts at recapture and, most of all, to put off any future crusade being planned. Next in line for conquest was mighty Acre, long the base of Crusader armies, a place of final retreat in times of trouble, and capital of the Latin East. The pretext for the Mamluk siege was an attack by a small group of Italian Crusaders on Muslim merchants in the market of the city. When the Latins refused to hand over the perpetrators, the Mamluk Sultan decided the city would, one way or another, sooner or later, fall.

Acre had long been the most important port in the Levant for the Latin states ever since the creation of the Kingdom of Jerusalem after the First Crusade (1095-1102 CE). The port city was well-fortified, built on a peninsula with the west and south sides protected by the sea and the other two sides by massive double walls dotted with 12 towers. The city's formidable defences did not stop some leaders attacking and besieging it, most notably Saladin, the Sultan of Egypt and Syria (r. 1174-1193 CE), in 1187 CE, and then, to take it back again, the armies of the Third Crusade (1189-1192 CE) led by Richard I of England (r. 1189-1199 CE) in 1189 to 1191 CE. Acre then remained a Christian haven in a sea of ever-changing regional politics. The city had also been the headquarters of the medieval military order the Knights Hospitaller since 1191 CE. It had a strong force from the other two major military orders, the Teutonic Knights and Knights Templar, and in 1291 CE they would be sorely needed.

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The Sultan of the Mamluks was then al-Ashraf Khalil (r. 1290 - 1293 CE), and he was determined to continue his father's work, Sultan Kalavun, and kick the Christians out of the Levant once and for all. He marched on Acre with a large force and suitable equipment to batter down its walls - perhaps with around 100 catapults. One of these massive catapults was taken from Krak des Chevaliers called 'Victorious', it was so big it had to be dismantled, but even then it took a month and 100 carts to drag it to Acre, killing countless oxen from sheer exhaustion en route. Another giant catapult was named 'Furious', but perhaps the most useful artillery were the Mamluk's smaller and much more accurate catapults known as 'Black Oxen'. With an army assembled from across the Sultanate, the siege of the city began on 6 April 1291 CE.

The Siege

The population of Acre at this time was likely 30-40, 0000, although many civilians had already fled the city to take their chances elsewhere. Without a sizeable land army to engage the enemy in the field, the Christians who remained could do little but watch as Khalil methodically arranged his forces and catapults to cut off land access to the city. The defenders did have catapults of their own, they even had one or two mounted on their ships, and these fired boulders to try and damage those of Khalil now pounding Acre's walls with alarming regularity - both with stones and pottery vessels containing an explosive substance. It seemed only a matter of time before a breach was made, but the city was not defenceless. There were some 1,000 knights and perhaps 14,000 infantry ready to face the enemy if, or more likely when, they entered Acre. At least the Christians were still able to control the sea access and so could resupply the city as needed. Indeed, King Henry of Cyprus-Jerusalem (r. 1285-1324 CE) made it into the city this way on 4 May.

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The knights of the military orders did make regular small-scale sorties in order to attack the enemy's flanks and occasional commando raids but without much success. One such night attack is here recorded by a young emir present at the siege, Abu'l-Fida:

A group of Franj [Latins] made an unexpected sortie and advanced as far as our camp. But in the darkness some of them tripped on the tent cords one knight fell into the latrine ditches and was killed. Our troops recovered and attacked the Franj from all sides, forcing them to withdraw to the city after leaving a number of dead on the field. The next morning my cousin al-Malik al-Muzaffar, lord of Hama, had the heads of some of the dead Franj attached to the necks of the horses we had captured and presented them to the sultan. (Maalouf, 258)

By early May the defenders were in such reduced circumstances - there were barely enough men to man the whole length of the walls - that any sorties were stopped. King Henry offered to negotiate with Khalil, but the Sultan was only after total victory. By the second week of May, the attackers had undermined sections of the walls, eventually bringing about the partial collapse of several towers.

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According to one contemporary account of the siege, the military commander or Marshal of the Knights Hospitaller, Brother Mathew of Claremont, was particularly valiant in defence of one of the breached gates:

Rushing through the midst of the troops like a raging man…he crossed through Saint Anthony's Gate beyond the whole army. By his blows he threw down many of the infidels dying to the ground. For they fled from him like sheep, whither they knew not, flee before the wolf. (quoted in Nicolle, 23)

Despite such smaller episodes of effective resistance, on 16 May the defenders were compelled to retreat behind the inner circuit wall. On 18 May, one final concentrated Mamluk assault began consisting of artillery fire, volleys of arrows and the cacophony of 300 drummers riding camels. As the historian T. Asbridge notes:

Mammoth in scale, unremitting in its intensity, this bombardment was unlike anything yet witnessed in the field of Crusader warfare. Teams of Mamluk troopers worked in four carefully coordinated shifts, through day and night. (653)

The devastating attack resulted in the Mamluk army breaking into the streets of Acre. Chaos and a massacre followed with the residents who could make it, fleeing for the few remaining ships that offered the only means of escape. There were not enough vessels to take everyone - although King Henry had managed to flee the scene unscathed - and there were unsavoury stories of some captains selling berths to the highest bidder. Those who were neither butchered nor ferried away to safety were taken prisoner and sold into slavery. There was one corner of the city, though, which fought on. In the south-west part of the city was the fortified quarters of the fanatical Knights Templars who knowing that for them defeat meant certain death, managed to resist against all odds for another ten days. When finally captured, the knights were executed, but there was a modicum of revenge when a portion of the unstable city walls collapsed and killed a number of the victors.

Khalil ordered the total destruction of the city's fortifications, removed bits and pieces of fine art and architecture for reuse in Cairo, and then moved on to take the few remaining pockets of Latin resistance in the Levant. Thus, by August 1291 CE, the cities of Sidon, Tyre, and Beirut, and the Templar castles of Tortosa and Athlit had all fallen. Thorough as ever, Khalil ordered the destruction of orchards and irrigation canals along the coast so that any future Crusading army would not benefit from them. The Latin East Crusader states which had been established in 1099 CE were no more.

Aftermath

The Knights Hospitaller were credited with helping many refugees escape to the safety of Cyprus, where the order established its new headquarters (before moving on to Rhodes in 1306 CE). The Knights Templar also made the island their new HQ, and it became the only Christian foothold in the region, along with Cilicia in the north of the Levant. There were two popular crusades in 1309 and 1320 CE and thereafter a few official crusades backed by the Popes and European kings, but there would be no direct attack on the Middle East. Instead, the Crusade ideal would be applied to other areas - where Christians were thought to be threatened or infidels considered ripe for conversion - such as the Baltic, Iberia, and central Europe.


The Fall of Acre – 1291

With the death of Bohemond VII in October of 1287, the rightful heir apparent of Tripoli was Bohemond’s sister Lucia, who resided in Italy. The leaders of the area wanted no part of an absent leader and offered the helm to Sibylla of Armenia, who accepted and tried to install Bishop Bartholomew, whom the Templars held in great contempt for earlier political reasons. While this decision of the rightful heir met with strong objections from local leaders and merchants, she would not back down. The people of Tripoli decreed that the royal line was deposed and that Tripoli would be a commune as was the case in Acre.

Sometime in 1288 Lucia arrived in Tripoli to assert her claim on the land and the new commune did not want to relinquish its newfound power of self-rule. The leaders petitioned the Genoese to make Tripoli a protectorate. This was well received by the Genoese as they welcomed the addition of an important trading partner. War ships were immediately dispatched to defend the city from any forces Lucia might send.

The Venetians backed Lucia and the Templars backed their allies the Venetians. Many of the Templar ships had been built by the Venetians. Soon after a mysterious envoy of Christians arrived on the door of Sultan Kalaun in Egypt requesting that he intervene in the turmoil that was brewing in Tripoli. The envoy was mysterious in that the names of those in attendance are not recorded in history, although some historians suggest that the Templar Grand Master and certainly the secretary of the order was aware of who they were. The argument of the mysterious envoy was that if the Genoese got control of Tripoli, Egyptian trading in Alexandria would be seriously impaired. This met with great approval in the court of Kalaun as he was looking for an excuse to break his treaty with the city. Although the Templar Grand Master was certain of Kalaun’s motivations, he could get no serious audience in Tripoli, where everyone seemingly had an unswayable faith in the treaty with Kalaun.

In March of 1289 de Beaujeu’s words were finally accepted but it was far too late some 10,000 Moslem soldiers had surrounded the city. The Venetians and the Genoese who had Galleys were ready to quickly evacuate their people to Cyprus.

Tower after tower soon fell to the steady beat of Moslem war drums as catapults pelted the walls with volley after volley. The Venetians were the first to flee, soon followed by the Genoese, both taking all the supplies their galleys would hold. The remaining citizens were paralyzed with fear as the ships had left to sea taking their only visible means of escape.

When news of the exodus reached the ears of Kalaun, he moved with great haste as he new that the Italians would load their galleys with the richest of materials ahead of their own people. He had desperately wished to plunder the city of its merchandise. Thus he order an immediate assault to halt the further transshipment of goods.

As the Moslem army stormed the walls, they were met with only mild resistance, since Almaric of Cyprus fled the city with four galleys loaded with his own army, the Templar marshal deVanadac and Lucia. The Templar de Modaco was left in charge of the remaining Templars and was slaughtered along with the few remaining Christian forces trying to save the city from a much larger army. When those fighting in the streets were killed the armies of Kalaun began going house to house killing the men and sending women and young boys off in shackles to be sold as slaves. When the city was occupied they set off to do the same on a small island where some had fled in small fishing boats.

After all was said and done Kalaun ordered the walls of the city leveled and Tripoli effectively ceased to exist. The Templars were devastated having lost a sizable contingent of men they could scarcely afford to lose, especially in light of events to come.

Back in Acre, the citizens were in shock at the loss of Tripoli. They had falsely assumed that their trading status with the Moslems was as good a position of safety as any army could be. King Hugh immediately dispatched word to the Pope and the collective monarchs of Europe for military support. The support was not to be forthcoming and the collective opinion was that there was not strong enough need for a new crusade to defend the Holy Land.

Support did eventually come in the form of a rag tag army of mercenary soldiers made up of unemployed Italians and peasants. Since the Venetians had a vested business interest in Acre and an excellent fleet of ships, they transported the unskilled and untested army to Acre.

Disenfranchised that no pay was forthcoming for their efforts the untrained army began to rob the citizens and steal from the merchants. One morning a street fight broke out between the soldiers and a group of Moslems. History does not record the nature of the fracas, but it soon led to a full-scale riot as more and more people took sides in the fight. At the end of the day many Moslems lay dead and the families of the slain wanted revenge and justice.

An envoy of the mourning left Acre for the court of Kalaun. On arriving they were given audience with the sultan and each one in turn told his version of the tale dropping the blood soaked garments of their dead before the Moslem leader. Kalaun vowed justice and immediately set out to use all his resources to prepare every siege engine he could lay hand to and set his army out to mete out the needed punishment. Kalaun did not of course make this decision public and instead sent letters to the Christians demanding that the guilty be turned over to him for proper trial.

The Venetians who had brought the army to Acre were vehemently opposed to this. Their opinion was that it would reflect badly on them to simply turn the men over to the Moslems. Although long time allies with the Venetians, the Templars took the contrary view and felt the men should be turned over to the sultan if peace was to be restored and Acre remain safe. De Beaujeu, the Grand Master of the Templars knew the sultan’s motivations and was chastised by the Christians of Acre as being a coward. The citizens felt the Templars were more interested in protecting their growing financial interests and had given up their original role as protectors of the Christina faithful. In this sense they felt the Templars had turned their back on Christ.

The Grand Master’s warning was not heeded to and letters were sent back to the sultan. These letters expressed deep regret for the unfortunate incident and laid the blame at those guilty Venetian soldiers and not at the Kingdom of Jerusalem as a whole. While the Christians were using political spin to save their hides Kalaun was building a formidable war machine. As hammers struck wood building more siege engines, word began to trickle through Outremer that war was afoot. To divert their attentions from his true goal Kalaun circulated a story that his war machine was destined for the Sudanese and Nubians who were both late in their tribute payments.

De Beaujeu did not believe the deception for a moment and continued to warn Acre, but his warning again fell upon deaf ears. Since the Grand Master had not given his support to the Venetians over the surrender of the soldiers, the Venetians sought to get even by not lending their support to the Templars on the warnings.

The cards dealt by Kalaun was of little importance because by the time any decision had been made, Kalaun lay dead in his tent never hearing the outcome of the Christian’s decision. This did little to stop the ultimate fate of Acre as a new player picked up the cards his father had dealt. Al Ashraf Khalil was ready to carry on what his father had begun. The siege engines were built swords sharpened and horse hooves shoed. Winter had fallen so it was decided that the advancement of the army would wait until spring.

Meanwhile the Christians at Acre were anxious to learn of the intentions of the new sultan and sent an envoy of one Templar, one Hospitaller, an Arab translator and a secretary who would prepare any paperwork required to cut a new deal. As soon as they arrived they were jailed and word soon came back to Acre that they were dead. The dice had been tossed and it didn’t look like good news was on the horizon.

In the spring of 1291 the sultans army set out and the citizens of Acre, who the previous fall had so chastised the Grand Master of the Templars for his cowardice, now begged him to save them from the coming army.

While the Templars held the largest force in Acre and the Hospitallers also had a good-sized army, they were no match for the 160,000 men the Moslems were sending. This army consisted of 100,000 foot soldiers and some 60,000 horsemen. The Templars and Hospitallers always at the ready to wage war, set out to make preparations for the coming battle. The Teutonic Knights who also had a force in Acre were politically ridiculed and embarrassed when their Grand Master resigned in fear of the coming battle. They were able to elect a new leader in time for the battle.

The Genoese loaded their vessels and left before the fighting started. Having nothing to gain from the war and not wishing to aid the rival Venetians they saw no fit reason to stick around.

A great wall surrounded Acre at the time supported by ten towers. While this would seem a secure fortification it was only a temporary means of protection against the many siege towers and catapults the Moslems brought to tear them down.

Since the sultan did not send a fleet the seaside was open to the Christians for supplies. One ship was quickly equipped with a catapult and set to sea to protect the city from any fleet that may come forth.

On April 6th, 1291 the first volley from the catapults began and continued to rein down on the walls and towers day and night. As the battle raged on the Templars quickly became fed up with their role as mere defenders. They had nearly two centuries of attack experience and didn’t like being on the receiving end of one. It was soon decided to launch an attack on the Moslem’s camp under the cover of darkness.

One evening the St. Lazarus Gate quietly opened and the silence was replaced with the hoof beats of 300 Templar war horses tearing off into the Moslem camp. Unfortunately the cover of darkness meant to provide cover did not provide the Templars with enough visibility to be effective. The horses tripped on tent ropes and the fallen Templars were slaughtered where they stood, further depleting their forces forces which were already vastly outnumbered by the enemy.

Ever the rivals, the Hospitallers set out to show the Templars how to do the job and on another evening they charged off under the cover of darkness from the St. Anthony Gate, which was in their quarter, to finish the job the Templars had started. This time the Moslems decided to throw a little light on the issue and set brush afire. The Hospitallers seeing there was no chance of success beat a hasty retreat back through St. Anthony’s Gate eating a little crow on the journey. Thus ended the nightly forays into the sultan’s camp.

With each passing day the walls cracked a little more as volley after volley rang out of the Moslem catapults. By May 16th one tower cracked and the army was able to enter forcing the Christian’s back to the inner wall of the doomed city. Clearly they were losing valuable ground in their defense of Acre. Two days later the sultan ordered all the kettle drums to sound and the thundering beat of the advancement was disheartening to the trembling people of Acre. Khalil ordered the forces to storm the walls and deliberately attacked all sides simultaneously, further spreading and weakening the Christian’s defenses.

With this attack came the death of the Grand Master de Beaujeu. As thousands of arrows were shot over the walls, one met the unprotected part of the Grand Master’s armor as he raised his sword. As he was carried away, the crusaders begged him to stay and press on. His response was that he could do more, he was already dead. True to his own words de Beaujeu died within the day from his fatal arrow wound.

As the battle waged on the Hospitaller quarter was the first to be breached and as the Moslems stormed the wall, the St Anthony Gate was quickly opened allowing more soldiers through. Soon after the Hospitaller Grand Master received a wound but wished to fight on. He had to be forcibly removed by his men and was sent off to sea.

Seeing the writing on the wall many began to flee. Almaric left in his vessels and took many nobles with him. Otto de Grandson, the Swiss leader fighting for Edward I loaded his English army into Venetian vessels and set off to sea as well. The rank and file citizen fought over any thing that would float and also set off to water.

As was the case in Tripoli the men were killed and women and young boys shackled as slaves. The elderly and infants were put to Moslem blades and the army began to plunder the city. Those who could escape made way to the Templar fort at the southernmost tip of the city, where there were about 200 Templars. Rather than flee themselves they vowed to stay and protect the women and children who had sought refuge in the Temple. Of course not all Templars were so valiant. Roger de Flor commandeered a Templar galley and offered safe passage to anyone with the prerequisite financial remuneration for the voyage.

Some five days passed as the Templars held the women and children in the safety of their fort. Annoyed that this one remaining building was obstructing the defeat of the city, Khalil sent an envoy to make a deal with the Templars. If they relinquished the fort, the lives of the women and children would be spared and the Templars could take with them not only their weapons but all they could carry.

Peter de Severy, the commander of the last remaining Templar fortress in Acre, seeing no other possible solution to the stalemate, quickly agreed to the terms. The castle gates were opened and the Moslems entered and hoisted the sultan’s banner, but contrary to the deal that had been made, quickly began molesting the women and young boys. This outraged the Templars who obviously felt duped by the negated arrangement.

The doors of the castle were quietly closed, barred and swords silently drew out of sheaths. In true Templar fashion they slaughtered the attackers to a man. The sultan’s flag was hoisted down and the Beauseant replaced. The battle was back on and the garrison of Templars shouted that it would continue on until their very deaths.

That evening under the cover of darkness Tibauld de Gaudin, the Temple’s treasurer was escorted in to the fort. He loaded the Templar treasure and as many women and children as he could back on his ship and set sail for the Templar castle at Sidon.

The following morning the sultan sent an envoy to the fort and they expressed their deepest regrets for the actions of a few guilty men. This was a similar situation that had once been offered to the sultan by the Christian’s to save Acre before the battle ever began. The envoy said that the sultan wished to meet with the commander of the fort to offer his personal apologies and to ensure that the surrender terms would be upheld this time.

De Severy, it seemed, had not learned the lesson earlier taught and selected a few Templars to accompany him on the trip to the sultan’s camp. Once the party was outside they were brought to their knees and beheaded as their slack jawed brother knights watched from the walls of the fort.

The sultan’s miners continued to work on the foundations of the fort and when all was ready they set timbers ablaze. As the walls began to crack Khalil ordered a party of some 2000 soldiers to storm the fort. The added weight of the attacking forces on the crumbling structure was too great and the entire building collapsed killing all who were inside and those who were trying to get inside.

With the destruction of this last Templar stronghold Khalil’s conquest of Acre was completed. Meanwhile de Gaudin, the treasurer received word that he had been elected the new Grand Master. He immediately loaded the treasury and set sail for the island of Cyprus, the main headquarters of the order and an island they had once purchased form Richard I. He vowed to send reinforcement troops, but these troops never surfaced.

As city after city fell to the Moslems, the Holy Land was slipping from the hands of Christendom. All that remained of the Templars in the Holy Land was their castles at Tortosa and Athlit. On August 4th, 1291 Tortosa was abandoned and less than two weeks later on August 14th, Castle Pilgrim at Athlit was left unoccupied. Thus ended Christendom’s hold on Outremer and the Crusades were effectively brought to a close.

It is ironic that while the Templars were the last to give up the fight, they would be blamed for the ultimate loss of the Holy Land. Accusations that would feed a growing contempt for the order and see their ultimate demise at the hands of a king destined to capitalize on their growing unpopularity.


The Tide Turns

On February 13, Saladin attacked and succeeded in fighting his way through to the city. Though the Crusaders ultimately sealed the breach, the Muslim leader was able to replenish the garrison. As the weather improved, supply ships began reaching the Crusaders at Acre. Along with fresh provisions, they brought additional troops under the command of Duke Leopold V of Austria. They also brought word that King Richard I the Lionheart of England and King Philip II Augustus of France were en route with two armies.

Arriving with a Genoese fleet on April 20, Philip began constructing siege engines for assaulting Acre's walls. He was joined on June 8 by Richard who landed with 8,000 men. Richard initially sought a meeting with Saladin, though this was cancelled when the English leader fell ill. Effectively taking control of the siege, Richard pounded away at Acre's walls, but attempts to exploit the damage were thwarted by diversionary attacks by Saladin. These allowed the city's defenders to make needed repairs while the Crusaders were otherwise occupied.

On July 3, a major breach was created in Acre's walls, but the subsequent assault was repulsed. Seeing little alternative, the garrison offered to surrender on July 4. This offer was refused by Richard who rejected the terms offered by the garrison. Additional efforts on Saladin's part to relieve the city failed and following a major battle on July 11, the garrison again offered to surrender. This was accepted and the Crusaders entered the city. In victory, Conrad had the banners of Jerusalem, England, France, and Austria raised over the city.


Leadership Team

JOSEPH GRILLO – FOUNDER & CEO

Joseph Grillo is a 30-year leader of the electronic security and identification industries with a track record of successfully growing, acquiring and restructuring businesses. In 2012, Grillo founded ACRE, LLC as a platform to consolidate acquisitions in the electronic security industry. Since that time, Grillo has completed seven acquisitions globally. Grillo was known for his long-term association with HID, serving as National Sales Manager in the early 1990s, then participating in a management buyout of the business in 1995 from Hughes Aircraft/General Motors. As President of HID, the company grew from a $15M card and reader company to a dominant $100M+ industry leader by 2000. He successfully led the effort to sell HID to ASSA ABLOY in 2001. At ASSA ABLOY, Grillo was promoted to running its $750M Global Technology Division. In addition, he served as President and Board Member of the Security Industry Association (SIA) from 1998-2007.

PARKE HESS - EVP BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT & TAX

Parke Hess is a Member of ACRE, LLC and serves as its Chief Financial Officer. He also serves on the ACRE, LLC board. Mr. Hess has been involved in the electronic security industry since 1995, as CFO of the management buyout that resulted in the founding of HID Corporation. He has been COO and CFO of several public and private corporations, involved with venture capital and IPO funding, corporate restructuring, and numerous international and domestic buy and sell transactions. Parke graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree from the US Air Force Academy and has an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business at Stanford University.

STEVE WAGNER - CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER

Steve Wagner serves as the Chief Operating Officer for the ACRE Operating Group. Prior to joining the ACRE Group, Steve was the founder of Cartwright Partners LLC, where he coached C-level executives of global enterprises through growth and acquisition strategy, as well as business management. Calling on this experience, Steve came out of retirement to join the ACRE family, acting as the interim President of Open Options during its acquisition in 2019. Steve has more than 30 years of industry experience and held a number of senior leadership positions at HID Global. He was also instrumental in building the Checkpoint Systems Access Control Group, formerly Sielox, and served as the President of Mercury Security for seven years. Steve remains an investor and owner in ACRE.

COREEN SAWDON - CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER

Ms. Sawdon joined ACRE in 2016 as Chief Accounting Officer and also serves as Chief Financial Officer of ACRE Operating Group. Coreen is a Certified Public Accountant who spent 13 years in public accounting with E & Y, Coopers & Lybrand and Arthur Andersen before launching out into private industry where she became CFO of CG Technology, formerly known as Cantor Gaming, and CFO of Shuffle Master, Inc., a $200m NASDAQ company with operations throughout North America, Europe and Asia. In addition to being a catalyst for improving profitability and growth, she has extensive experience in leading IPOs, secondary offerings, debt refinancing and as an expert in establishing Sarbanes Oxley infrastructure and compliance systems. Coreen has a Bachelors of Science degree in Accounting from Pepperdine University and is a Chartered Global Management Accountant, in addition to being a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

KIM LOY - CHIEF PRODUCT OFFICER

With more than 25 years of security industry senior management experience, Kim Loy has achieved significant success within a wide variety of global enterprises. As Chief Product Officer for ACRE, Kim is responsible for oversight of the company’s brands, strategic product planning and cybersecurity strategy. In addition, Kim provides direction for messaging strategy and communications development. Prior to her role at ACRE, she served as the Director of Technology and Communications for Vanderbilt International in Dublin, Ireland, where she managed the global R&D, Product Management and Marketing Communications teams and developed technology partnerships to increase the company’s reach. Loy has held senior positions with GE Security, G4S, Xtralis and Pelco by Schneider Electric. All of these global positions have provided Loy with extensive international experience including time living in England, France, Belgium and Ireland. The positions have encompassed the management of various departments including R&D, Product Management, Training, Marketing Communications and Operations. Kim also serves on the Security Industry Association Board of Directors.