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T 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.

B 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 Their fighting power had been replaced by a diplomatic approach, which created a number of truces with the Muslims.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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