Knights Templar

The Knights Templar also play a big role in the set ups for later organizations. Consider that non-combatant members of the Order managed a large economic infrastructure throughout Christendom, innovating financial techniques that were an early form of banking, and building fortifications across Europe and the Holy Land.

When they fell into disfavor and were eventually disbanded all the economic support suddenly disappeared giving rise to rumors which persist to this day. Basically they took their money and left. Portugal is the only country who did not harass the order by order of the King himself. Portugal became a major economic player in its own right both in the transatlantic shipping and later in the transatlantic slave industry doing business with the Dutch EIC. But before that time they received another major benefit which came in 1139, when Pope Innocent II’s papal bull Omne Datum Optimum exempted the Order from obedience to local laws. This ruling meant that the Templars could pass freely through all borders, were not required to pay any taxes, and were exempt from all authority except that of the Pope. What might be their imagined gratuitous response? Enhancement of the Vatican coffers? Here is the connection.

Although the primary mission of the Order was military, relatively few members were combatants. The others acted in support positions to assist the knights and to manage the financial infrastructure. The Templar Order, though its members were sworn to individual poverty, was given control of wealth beyond direct donations. A nobleman who was interested in participating in the Crusades might place all his assets under Templar management while he was away. Accumulating wealth in this manner throughout Christendom and the Outremer, the Order in 1150 began generating letters of credit for pilgrims journeying to the Holy Land: pilgrims deposited their valuables with a local Templar preceptory before embarking, received a document indicating the value of their deposit, then used that document upon arrival in the Holy Land to retrieve their funds. This innovative arrangement was an early form of banking, and may have been the first formal system to support the use of cheques; it improved the safety of pilgrims by making them less attractive targets for thieves, and also contributed to the Templar coffers. {Folks this is your first “cashless or coinless society”}

Based on this mix of donations and business dealing, the Templars established financial networks across the whole of Christendom. They acquired large tracts of land, both in Europe and the Middle East; they bought and managed farms and vineyards; they built churches and castles; they were involved in manufacturing, import and export; they had their own fleet of ships; and at one point they even owned the entire island of Cyprus. The Order of the Knights Templar arguably qualifies as the world’s first multinational corporation.

This is where Queen Elizabeth I got the idea for the EIC. When the order was disbanded they were the holders for outrageous sums of money. What monies they could they might have given back to the original owners but they had investments to be certain and those investments had to go somewhere. Noone in their right mind knowing the business of the Templers would have allowed all that money to go to waste. This however would give rise to fabulous tales of outrageous fortunes buried treasuries etc. But then where did the money go? Possible answer? Portugal. The Templers were disbanded in the 1300s but many of them fled to Portugal where the King protected them. All this over the hopes of a merger of two orders the Templers and the Hospitalers and the sullied rep of the Templers before the papacy and a french King who was in debt over his head to the Templers who was asked by the papacy for help in an investigation. No Templers… no debt. This king had to have some pull withthe church because he got his way and the bull was issued condemning them as heretics.

The leaders of the order were caught and killed and many of the rank and file as well. But those who fled to Portugal also knew of accounts and I imagine a manner was conceived to share the knowlege of assets and the banks or treasury locations. So once in Portugal the order underwent a name change. They became the Knights of Christ the original Templars were supressed in 1312 and this new order was founded in 1319. Here’s where the money went folks.


Under heavy influence from Philip IV of France,(remember our indebted King?) Pope Clement V (he had been trying to negotiate a merger with the Hospitalers and as the head of that order was delayed he was looking into allegations and had asked Philip for help.) had the order annihilated throughout France and most of Europe on charges of heresy, but King Denis (Diniz) of Portugal, forced by the Pope who found that the Order’s assets should for their nature stay in any given Order instead of being taken by the King, re-instituted the Templars of Tomar as the Order of Christ, largely for their aid during the Reconquista (the retaking of Portugese lands after the Moors were driven out) and in the reconstruction of Portugal after the wars. King Denis (Diniz) negotiated with Pope Clement’s successor John XXII for the new order’s recognition and right to inherit the Templar assets and property. Ahhh joy of discovery. The Templers had helped Denis (Diniz) in his time of need. Remember the Templers were not just bankers they were also soldiers. But as Portugal was rebuilt, because you have re-established your sovereignty over your territories doesn’t mean the people you ousted didn’t slash and burn or deconstruct in their wake and a lot of ethnic groups might just do that for spite. Even so the damages of the ousting would have necessitated rebuilding and re-establishment of Portugese “industries”, so to speak, and so now we remember the Templers weren’t just soldiers, they were also bankers. Bankers who could with aid and monies from any crown set up banking systems! So in return they were allowed to reconvene because it was decided he couldn’t take their money. But Denis (Diniz) had to wait it out and thus he did. The promise of revenue and kickbacks and payoffs of their keep after things were settled in Portugal was enough for the King to pressure the next pope who came into office very shortly after. The curse of one of the leaders of the Templers fell on the papacy on march 3 1314. That pope died about a month later. It took a lot of time for this Reconquista to be complete and thus from the 1200s to the 1400s this was going on. So when the new pope took office… in 1314 (it doesn’t take long for the college of the Vatican to elect a new pope folks.) the process of a papal bull allowing the Templer fortunes to be inherited by the Knights of Christ began. Conceivably it went through in or around 1319 when the new order was fully founded. The King got his money the Templer fortunes were restored in large part and Portugal became very wealthy. Now some other lesser known or understood things. The Templers who helped the Portuguese weren’t the first crusader group to assist both Portugal and Spain in their ousting of the Moors. But the Moors were inventors. So as long as they pledged ties to the crowns of Spain and Portugal these were allowed to stay. Then there was the Jewish section of things. Lest we forget who the real money lenders were… money-lending or banking was a thing even mentioned in the Bible. The Law of Moses gave stipulation about “banking” with regard to the year of Jubilee and apreciationa and depreciation of loans. It also specified that Jews could not collect interest … from other Jews but from Gentiles there was no such stipulation. (Deu 23:19 Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury: Deu 23:20 Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it. ) The secret of banking success is not only in the investment of funds while you have them but in the interest you charge for repayment of loans!
Who do you think the crusaders learned banking from? Thus dealings on the side undoubtedly took place between Templers or Knights of Christ and Moors and Jews, Banking deals. Now fast forward to the time of Elizabeth 1 of England. By the time of Elizabeth 1 Vatican files record Papal pardons and French pardons known as Chinon Parchments. So by now the defunct order under a new name was re-establising its banking with holding in England France Portugal Greece (Antioch) Hungary and Croatia to name a few places. So the Templars fortunes and banking skills were either around or evolved by the 1600s. By the way I have a modest thought about the Grail of the Templer legends. What if it is a codified manner of talking about the money? As to the legends I cant make any guesses. Now some of the Templers also went places where the Papacy was no longer in vogue, like Scottland. It is here that the thought is that Freemasonry began out of the Templer fortunes that made it intact to these regions. But what of the Knights of Christ? They lasted through to the 1800s. They were reformed and used in the Portuguese encroachment into Africa. There were attempts to overhaul the order several times and it swung between the monastic and mercenary quite a bit.

Still with such skills and holdings where did all the money go? Is there credence to the mask of freemasonry perhaps being an evolution out of the Templers themselves. We do have the Scottish Rite which goes up to 33rd degree. But when you look at the above diagram guess whose missing? No Masons. I wonder why? That may be a mystery for another page.


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