Templars were among the most famous of the Western Christian military orders. The organization existed for nearly two centuries during the Middle Ages.
Officially endorsed by the Catholic Church around 1129, the Order became a favored charity throughout Christendom, and grew rapidly in membership and power. 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.
Templar knights, in their distinctive white mantles with a red cross, were among the most skilled fighting units of the Crusades.