The Teutonic Knights of St.Mary’s Hospital of Jerusalem was founded on the 19th November 1190, during the third crusade, and built its hospital within the city walls. Duke Frederick of Swabia supplied Conrad a hospital chaplain and Burchard a steward to assist.
It began life, like the Templars, one of charity, protection and medical services, for injured pilgrims and knights, and gradually turned to a military order, ever seeking sovereign power.
On the 6th February 1191, they were legalized by Pope Clement III, and received the protection of Pope Celestine III in 1196, and on the 5th March celebrated the brotherhood, a Knightly Order consisting of some forty knights were confirmed, an exclusively order of German Knights.
The emblem of the order; a cross potent sable, granted to them by the Emperor, Henry VI in 1197.
On the 19th February 1199, Pope Innocent III conferred upon the Teutonic Knights, the wearing of a Templars White Mantle, and the drawing up of the Order’s Statues. In 1211, these knights had their uniforms approved by the Patriarch of Jerusalem and the Pope. These knights were divided into two classes; knights and priests. The priests took monastic vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, attended Mass and administered sacraments to the knights, along with their duties to offer aid to the sick and fight the infidels.
From 1211-1215 Teutonic Knights settled in Burzenland, a request of King Andrew of Hungary, with the aim of freeing Transylvania from the Cumani pagan people.
In 1214, the Grand Master of the Order was granted the right of action, one backed in name, of the Imperial Court. Frederick II with the support of Pope Honorius II, saw that the Teutonic Knights received many of the privileges as confirmed upon the Knights Templar and Hospitallers.
On the 18th March 1228, Frederick II was crowned King of Jerusalem in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
On the 18th May 1291, Acre fell to the Muslims, and they were expelled from the Holy Land, alongside the Knights Templar and Hospitallers.
On the 9th September 1309, the Teutonic Knights established itself in Marienburg, West Prussia, and the Grand Master; Siegfried von Feuchtwangen of the Order took over management of the country.
The Order of the Teutonic Knights had become a governing aristocracy, with the Grand Master as King and the Pope as Emperor. Its subjects were heathens, and little more than peasants.
In 1328 the Teutonic Knights went to war against Poland, and lost West Prussia, but retained East Prussia.
In 1525, Grand Master Albrecht, turned Protestant, and went on to create a Duchy under Poland. It was during this time, that it had been put forward, that the Order of the Teutonic Knights should be disbanded. What actually took place; the order was confined to Germany, and its Grand Master became Prince of the Empire.
On the 4th April 1809, the dissolution of the order took place by Napoleon, and was restored by the Congress of Vienna on the 28th April, minus their properties. Come 1840 it was fully revived in Austria, by its Emperor.
On the 6th September 1938, the Austrian Order was disbanded, and not revived until 1947.