Who were the Knights Templar?

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The Knights Templar was an order of devout Christians founded in Jerusalem sometime between A.D. 1118 and 1119, after the First Crusade (1096-1099). The Order was created to protect Europeans traveling to the Holy Land, among other duties. The knights were known across Europe as an elite fighting force with a strict code of conduct and, eventually, immense wealth. For nearly 200 years, the Knights Templar were at the center of politics and finance in Europe and took part in the Christian military campaigns in the Holy Land. Then, in 1312, Pope Clement V officially dissolved the Knights Templar.

Creation of the Knights Templar

In the seventh century, a Muslim Arab army conquered Jerusalem and the Holy Land, ending Christian rule in the region under the Byzantine Empire, also called the Eastern Roman Empire. By the end of the 11th century, the Byzantine Empire had lost more territory to Muslim invasion, including more Christian holy sites, according to historian Peter Frankopan’s book “The First Crusade” (Belknap Press, 2012). 

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