Today in the Middle Ages: May 28, 1291

On May 28, 1291, during the Siege of Acre, the temple of the Knights Templar was destroyed. With it went the crusading Knights' last foothold in the Holy Land.

Whatever the truth of the many Templar legends, it is fact that the Knights were the first professional military men seen in Europe since the end of the Roman legions. For decades they were legendary fighters, considered unbeatable, but by the fall of Acre, strategic blunders and power struggles with the Church had degraded their reputation. They were accused of pride, greed, and eventually heresy.

The Knights Templar lost the siege to the Mameluks, the Muslim professional military class which had originated from freed slave soldiers who swore loyalty to their former owners.