The Knights Templar was a Catholic military order founded in 1119 and active until 1312, when Pope Clement V disbanded the order. The Templar Knights wore white uniforms with large red crosses and served as skilled fighters during the Crusades.
Most members of the Order, however, were not in the military, but rather became part of a huge multinational banking and financial system across Europe, in many ways the first of its kind. This is where many legends spawned of a massive Templar golden treasure hoard.
When the Holy Land was lost, the Templar Knights fell out of favor, leading to the group being officially dissolved by the church. There have been rumors for centuries that the group secretly continued to exist, perhaps fueled by the fact that the Knights did indeed practice many secretive ceremonies, primarily regarding initiation of new members.