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Monument of Berenguer III#

Monument of Berenguer III
Monument of Berenguer III, January 2014, Photo: Hermann Maurer

Born in 1082, Berenguer III 41.384417,2.177731 , Count of Barcelona, was able to extend Catalan interests on both sides of the Pyrenees.

He also freed many Christian slaves from Muslim (Moorish) territories in Spain and in 1118 captured and rebuilt Tarragona in a crusade approved by Pope Paschal II.

Late in his life he became member of the order of the “Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon” i.e. he became Templar. The order was officially endorsed by the Roman Catholic Church around 1129. Templar knights, in their distinctive white mantles with a red cross, were among the most skilled fighting units of the Crusades. When the Holy land was lost, support for the Order faded.

In 1307, many of the Order's members in France were arrested, tortured into giving false confessions, and then burned at the stake. Under pressure from King Philip, Pope Clement V disbanded the Order in 1312. The abrupt disappearance of a major part of the European religious infrastructure gave rise to speculation and legends, which have kept the "Templar" name alive into the modern day.