History

The year is 1229 …

Map of the Holy Land

The Holy Land, showing Crusader forts

The Knights Templar were founded in 1119 by Hugues de Payens, a veteran of the First Crusade (1095 – 1099). He and eight fellow knights took vows of obedience to the Patriarch of Jerusalem, resolving to live in holy poverty and chastity and to devote themselves to the care and protection of Christian pilgrims travelling through the Holy Land.

In 1120 they were given the Al Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount of Jerusalem as their headquarters. By the time of the Second Crusade (1146 – 1148), the Templars had received extensive donations from the nobility of Europe and had established themselves across Europe and the Holy Land.

Following the Second Crusade, the Templars were formally charged with the provision of ten knights whose sole duty was to escort pilgrims from Acre, Haifa and Jaffa overland to Jerusalem and further to the River Jordan.

After the disaster of Hattin (4th July 1187), where the majority of the Templars in the Holy Land were executed by Saladin, the Muslims re-conquered all of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, with the exception of Tyre.

It was only after the arrival of significant forces from Europe during the Third Crusade (1188 – 1192) that most of the coastal areas of the Kingdom of Jerusalem were restored; however, Jerusalem itself remained in Muslim hands.

In 1229 the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II forced the hand of the Saracens and won a treaty which returned Jerusalem to the Christians. With the re-establishment of Jerusalem as a Christian holding, pilgrims once again began to arrive in great numbers, requiring the Holy Orders to devote greater resources to their protection.

References

Haag, M. (2009). The Templars : History & Myth : From Solomon’s Temple to the Freemasons. Profile Books.
Nicholson, H. (1993). Templars, Hospitallers, and Teutonic Knights : images of the military orders, 1128-1291. London: Leicester University Press.
Runciman, S. (1951). A history of the Crusades. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.