For almost 200 years, the famous Knights Templar had considerable power, wealth, and influence across Europe and the Mediterranean. But it all came to an abrupt and bloody end in 1314. The Knights were originally founded as a Christian, monastic-military order, devoted to protecting pilgrims traveling to and from the Holy Land following the First Crusade. If a “monastic-military” order sounds a bit odd to you, you’re right. Thanks to huge donations from Kings and Cardinals across Europe, the Knights Templar became one of the richest and most powerful orders in the Middle Ages. So how did it all end?