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Knights Templar

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[Knights Templar Battle Flag]
Knights Templar
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[Knights Templar Battle Flag]
Knights Templar
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The Knights Templar order started in 1119 to protect Christian pilgrims in Jerusalem. They set up a prosperous network of banks and gained enormous financial influence. Their banking system allowed religious pilgrims to deposit assets in their home countries and withdraw funds in the Holy Land.

King Philip IV of France was deeply in debt to the order. In 1307, he had many of the order's members in France arrested on charges of heresy, tortured into giving false confessions, and burned at the stake. Pope Clement V reluctantly disbanded the order in 1312 under pressure from King Philip.

The Portuguese king, Denis I, refused to pursue and persecute the former knights, as had occurred in all other sovereign states under the influence of the Catholic Church. Under his protection, Templar organizations simply changed their name, from "Knights Templar" to the reconstituted Military Order of Christ (Christ Knights) and also a parallel Supreme Order of Christ of the Holy See; both are considered successors to the Knights Templar.

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