The Order of the Templars or Order of the Temple was founded in 1118, by Hugo de Payens and 8 other knights, with the support of King Baldwin II of Jerusalem, after the First Crusade of 1096. The Order of the Templars in Portugal was established in 1126 , in the area of Castles of the Templars in Tomar.
Brief History of the Order of the Templars
The aim of the Order of the Temple was to protect both pilgrims heading to Jerusalem, often victims of robbery assaults, and the Christian Kingdoms of the Holy Land, meanwhile established in the East, from attacks by Muslims.
The Templars had excellent organizational skills. In terms of combat, they were among the most qualified military units, for their total commitment to this specialization, always training and perfecting their methods of defense and attack, even when they were not on campaign.
The non-combatant members had all the logistical support functions, but they also created a vast economic structure and innovated in financial techniques, becoming the embryo of the banking system, channeling and expanding the benefits and charity that all Christendom offered them.
According to some historians, some knights will have, when the Order's extinction, went to Switzerland, where it is possible that they gave rise to the banking system that today is fundamental in this country.
The sovereigns of Europe and the various Popes gave their full support to the Order of the Templars or Order of the Temple, as it is also known.
The Order of the Templars in Europe
The success of the Templars was always associated with that of the Crusades, who waged war in the name of God, although the number of Templars was not numerous, about 400 knights in the Holy Land.
In order to resort to the countless battles they fought, the Templars tried to supply the needs of reinforcing their contingent with people who did not have the profile initially required of the Knights of the Order. King Philip “the Beautiful” of France, intended to join the Order of the Temple, but was not accepted for refusing to abdicate all of his wealth.
In 1291, the Templars suffered a major defeat when the Muslims conquered the last Christian land, St. John of Acre, Jerusalem.
From that moment, King Philip, already heavily indebted to the Order, exercised his power of influence with Pope Clement V, leading to the extinction of the Order of the Temple and the execution at the stake of his last Grand Master in 1314.
The Order of the Templars in Portugal
The Order of the Temple arrived in the Portucalense County in 1126, eight years after its foundation and Teresa de Leão, Countess of Portugal, made a donation to the Order of Fonte Arcada, in the current Municipality of Penafiel. In 1127 he donated the Soure Castle, with the commitment of the Templars to collaborate in the conquest of lands under Muslim rule, south of the Mondego.
In the reign of D. Afonso Henriques, the Templars helped the King to conquer lands from the Moors, leaving them with the responsibility for the military defense of the territory between the Mondego River and the Tagus River.
Among them, D. Gualdim Pais who was Squire of D. Afonso Henriques and fought at his side, having been knighted at the Battle of Ourique, in 1139.
The siege of Lisbon, with D. Afonso Henriques taking place in the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, occurred in 1147.
In 1159, D. Afonso Henriques donated all the lands around Tomar to the Order of the Templars in Portugal, where in 1160 it was installed.
D. Gualdim Pais, returned from Palestine in 1157, where he fought for five years, was crossed and Templar knight and the 4th Grand Master of the Order of the Templars in Portugal, beginning the construction of the Tomar Castle that became the headquarters of the Order .
The attempt to take over by the Muslims and the Templars
The Muslims, with the King of Morocco, Abu al Mansur at the head of a large army, came to conquer, from Silves, all the land that was already under Christian rule and, arriving in Tomar in July 1190, devastated everything around the Castle . Surrounded by the Templars and the population that came to the Castle, during 6 painful days, they met the resistance of Gualdim Pais and his knights, of the Order of the Templars in Portugal, who managed to resist the siege and reject this attack, having the Almohads returned to their domains previous ones.
After the victory and despite great losses and much destruction, the surviving knights managed to make a procession to the Church of Nossa Senhora do Olival to, in prayer, thank the victory over so many enemies.
Gualdim Pais is buried in this Church, which was the pantheon of the Masters of the Temple - Order of the Templars in Portugal.
Royal dinner to celebrate the victory in the siege
It was during the reign of D. Sancho I that the castle of the Templars in Tomar took place and to honor the courage of its Knights led by D. Gualdim Pais, gathered at a dinner about 200 Knights, among which was the “Pássaro no Ombro".
Received at the Castle of the Templars, with medieval music
Following the Royal Dinner, at the Castelo dos Templários, at the invitation of D. Sancho I and with a moved speech from the King
The Templar Arraial
Whenever they were in campaign, the Knights of the Order of the Temple “raised up the camp”, setting up the tents where they rested, where the repairs of the weapons were made, where they recovered the animals, where they mended their clothes, took care of meals and supplies and trained combat techniques for the next raid.
Moments lived with the Templars in Arraial
The Templar Order in Portugal and the Discoveries
When the Order was extinguished by Pope Clement V, very few knights were arrested, most of them French. Knights of other nationalities took refuge in other countries and hid their identity. They were very rich (wealth still sought today) and had a fleet that they used for travel and business that they did with various nations. They were therefore excellent browsers.
It is said that the day after the imprisonment of the Templar knights in France, that fleet disappeared, leaving no trace.
In 1319, after 7 years of the extinction of the Order of the Templars, King D. Dinis appointed the first Portuguese Admiral of whom there is a memory, despite the fact that Portugal has no armada.
D. Dinis manages to negotiate with the Holy See and, in the name of the war against Muslims, obtains authorization for the goods of the Order of the Templars to remain in Portugal.
Then, the Order of Christ is created that follows rules and adopts symbology, the Cross of Christ, similar to the Order of the Templars or Order of the Temple.
Templar Castle, a World Heritage Site
The Convent of Christ, which started with the Castle of the Templars, was classified as UNESCO World HeritageIn 1983.
- Visit Belmonte, the birthplace of Pedro Álvares Cabral
- Fort of Santa Luzia in Elvas
- Pax Julia, Beja Castle and São Francisco Convent
- Soror Mariana Alcoforado and the love letters
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