he Castle of Tortosa was given to
the Templars by the local bishop in 1152. Actually, he pleaded the order
to take the castle and its surroundings so as to assure defence to it. Tortosa
was the administrative centre of the Templars in Tripoli; it was very good
both financially and in supplies. Still, on 2 July 1188 it was attacked by
Saladin and badly torn to pieces, except the Templar castle, which resisted
all atempts to take it. Its skilful construction with a single enceinte was
easier to defend than many other installations of the day, and from the sea
side there was but a single wall that rose from the sea.
y 1282 the power of the Knights Templar
was all but nullified by the advances of Baybars.
Their fighting power had been replaced by a diplomatic approach, which created
a number of truces with the Muslims. These were always disadvantageous to
the Templars, but they had little or no choice. To keep Tortosa they had
to enter a truce with the Sultan al-Malik al-Mansur. Then there was the
loss of Acre in 1291, after which Tortosa and
'Atlit were held by the Templars in Palestine.
This was too much for the weakened Order to hold, and they surrendered Tortosa
on 3 August 1291.
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