Pope Urban II
The person who would become Pope Urban II was born around 1035 to
a noble family in northern France. Educated at a school associated
with the Reims cathedral, he eventually became their canon and
archdeacon. Shortly after 1067, he left for the abbey of Cluny. By
1074, he was the grand prior there, the second-in-command. Later he
became the cardinal associated with Ostia. In the winter of 1084-5,
he worked in Germany as a papal legate, trying to maintain support
for Pope Gregory VII in the struggle with the Holy Roman Emperor.
After Gregory's death and the short papacy of Victor III, Urban was
elected pope on March 12, 1088 (Riley-Smith  3), but was in exile at
the time. He continued to regain support and finally was able to
enter Rome in 1094 (Riley-Smith  5). Before and during his papacy,
Urban was a member of a reform movement that wanted the clergy to be
more removed from "worldly values" and influences, bringing life in
general, closer to life in a monastery (Riley-Smith  4).
The First Crusade (as well as later ones) can be seen as one attempt to realize this vision.
In the first week of March 1095, a delegation from the Byzantine
emperor Alexius I Comnenus presented Urban with a request for help
against the Turks. Pope Urban II's response was to preach the First
Crusade, starting on November 27, 1095, at the Council of Clermont.
This first preaching was geared explicitly to the French, those all
others who wished to participate were encouraged--unless of course,
they were from Spain. (The Spanish were encouraged to fight the
Muslims in Spain instead of in the middle east.) In fact, Urban's
proclamation was given in French. While one must be careful of
transcriptions of his speech written after the success of the First
Crusade, it is nonetheless informative of the perceptions of the
time. Four partial versions of Urban's speech can be found at the
Reference: Riley-Smith