One of the most known facts about the Knights Templar is their great military force. They were known as fierce fighters who go to war fearlessly and never let their banner, the Beauseant, fall. In reality, however, what made the Templars a well-known Christian order in the Medieval ages is their excellent material source, which made them an economic force.
The order initially started in the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem in the 12th century to protect Christian traders from the Middle East. Over two centuries, they were able to expand to Europe and gain great wealth. In a way or another, they were pioneers of the modern banking system as we know it today.
They had a vast business going on, which led to a commercial empire. They were experts of agriculture and owned lands from Ireland to the Crusader states. They also owned shipping charters in big cities. Their devotion to spiritual matters was just as strong as their devotion to growing their business. Their way with finance was sophisticated that it could emulate any business today. They soon became a company of financial services that operated all over Europe.
In France, for instance, the order subcontracted swathes of the treasury during the 13th century. That included running books for the king and his family and also paying officials on their behalf. They offered services for the Pope by collecting taxes of the crusading from the church of Hungary, England, France, Spain, and Italy.
As their wealth grew, the order expanded across Europe and was present economically in more than one country. Being a powerful religious institution, they didn’t respond to any authority. They were also tax-exempt in several jurisdictions.
The Knights Templar’s system of banking allowed them to have a tremendous financial impact and control across Europe and inspired modern financing.