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The "Holy War" over your money.
In the city of Lunden in the year 1185, banking as we know it today was born.
Prior to this time, houses of coin and money lenders had already existed for thousands of years. However, these people and institutions operated solely in the realm of the exchange of physical items of value.
Banking and the exchange of value between parties were always rendered with items like coins, a farmer’s winter stash of grain, a hunk of valuable metal, or other forms of physical property. Without something of value to present to a bank or person, one was unable to acquire credit, or make a deposit. When money was required to be transferred between banks or people, these transactions were always settled with the physical transfer of gold and silver, sometimes over vast distances between the involved parties.
That is, until the order of Pauperes commilitones Christi Templique Salomonici came along.
Commonly known as the Knights Templar, the order was founded in Jerusalem in 1113. Its members were made up of religious warrior-monks, dedicated to prosecuting their God’s holy war, and defending pilgrims of the Christian faith in the city of their founding. They were heavily armed, heavily armoured, and sanctioned by the Pope in Rome to carry out the divine work of Christianity.
Initially, the Templars were paladins who humbly fought for the glory of their God. But they would soon become so much more.
During this dark time in history, knights tended to be recruited from within Europe’s nobility. The children of families who held lands and titles, and therefore, usually great wealth. For the Templars, it was no different.
The vast majority of the order’s recruits originated from notable families in Western Europe, primarily France. And as its ranks swelled, so did donations from the families that sent their sons—property, lands, livestock, grain, and of course gold and silver. So loved was the Templar Order and its mission, that even King Alfonso I of Aragón bequeathed one-third of his entire kingdom to the knightly order upon his death in 1134.
In the prosecution of their holy cause, the Templars soon found their wealth burgeoning beyond measure. However, it was for more unexpected reasons that the Order began its foray into banking.
Throughout the Great Crusades, untold thousands of Christian pilgrims travelled from their homes in Europe to the Holy Land. Some walked as far as three thousand miles from England to Jerusalem, for no reasons other than to pray, meditate, and feel closer to their deity.
Unfortunately for most, this holy expedition was fraught with peril.
To fund a pilgrimage that would last months, or sometimes even years, pilgrims would need to carry with them all the coin the voyage required. Inevitably, this resulted in pilgrims becoming desirable targets for armed bandits who could easily overpower them through force or numbers.
Initially, the Templars only acted as heavily armed defenders of pilgrims on Europe’s network of roads that led to Jerusalem. But this was not to last.
Due to the growing wealth of the Order, the Templars had built dozens of fortress-monasteries throughout Europe, many of which lay directly within easy access on the most heavily worn pilgrim roads. These strongholds were places where the knights of the order lived, but which also served as bastions for storing the weapons, wealth, and supplies needed to carry out their hallowed work.
It was this network of money-laden churches that became the secret to defending the wealth of citizens on the road to Jerusalem.
A pilgrim living in Lunden could travel to the Order’s Temple Church and deposit the vast majority of the coins they needed for the journey ahead, only taking what they needed for the next few days or weeks. In exchange for their silver and gold, they would be issued a promissory note that confirmed what they had deposited, which the pilgrim could then present at any other Templar stronghold on the way in order to withdraw funds.
It's a simple system we all recognise today, almost 900 years later. But at the time, this idea was revolutionary.
As Christian pilgrims now carried smaller amounts of money, they gradually became less attractive targets for thieves. At the same time, the Templars became stewards of even more capital, which they used to invest and loan to others. Eventually, the knight’s overflowing wealth resulted in them becoming moneylenders to the very kings and queens who ruled over Europe.
Being able to hold power over a monarch in the form of debt meant the Order commanded incredible influence over commerce and politics on the continent. But this dominance would eventually lead to downfall.
King Philip IV of France owed a considerable debt to the Templars, and eventually, begged them to forgive it. But despite Philip’s expectation that they would, the paladins refused. Philip was left embarrassed, offended, and enraged.
On the 13th of October 1307, in an act of fury and vengeance, King Philip ordered his soldiers to raid the Order’s main stronghold in France; the Paris Temple. Its wealth was seized in the name of the crown, and the knights who lived there were arrested. After being tortured and forced to confess to sins they had not committed, many were executed for treason by being publicly burned alive.
Under King Philip’s orders, these actions were echoed throughout Europe, as most of the Templar’s strongholds were stormed, plundered, and shut down. Soon after the Templars were branded heretics by the Pope, after being petitioned to do so by Philip.
The story of the Templars would meet its end only seven years later, as the last of the Order’s members—including its Grandmaster Jaques de Molay—were burned at the stake in March 1314 next to the river Seine in Paris.
Today, Temple Church in London still stands as a physical reminder of who created the structure of our modern banking system. In Paris, the Temple stop on the Paris Metro marks the location of what was once the Order’s main home in France. But what’s more interesting to me about the story of the Templar’s downfall, is that still today, we see how those in power react when they don’t wield complete economic control over us.
We are currently at war with our “kings” over the right to use money as we see fit.
Over the past few years, nations like China, Bolivia, Colombia, Australia, Indonesia, Mexico, Vietnam, and India have all either outright banned the use of cryptocurrency, or at the very least, limited how much of it people can purchase or use.
In Europe, the European Central Bank has been attempting to restrict the use of crypto as well, with some of its biggest policies against such decentralised currencies set to come into force next year. Although it says the Markets in Crypto Assets (MICA) regulation will only help to safeguard customer’s funds and bolster governance, many including myself believe it’s nothing more than a cover to wanting to limit crypto’s freedom of use throughout the continent.
Of course, this war against crypto goes hand-in-hand with moves towards creating the dystopian privacy-killing nightmare of government-controlled Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC), which almost 70% of the nations on our planet are in some stage of implementing.
But that’s only one arm of this multi-pronged attack.
Globally, government central banks went on their largest gold-buying spree ever this year, purchasing more in the first two months of this year than at any similar period before. One could argue that this is because they know the time of fiat money is coming to an end, and because of this, they are attempting to control as much of the supply of the most trusted form of currency in human history. Alongside global high inflation, this partially resulted in gold almost breaching its highest price ever earlier this year at over $2,050 USD per ounce.
When talking about the freedom to use gold as currency, most US citizens also don’t realise that under Federal law, it’s actually illegal to use gold and silver in place of cash for trade. Although certain states like Louisiana, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia have enacted state laws recognising precious metals as currency, on the whole, Uncle Sam has decided that he wants to keep his monopoly on Americans using the green paper notes he controls.
And finally, as I spoke about in my last newsletter, banks and governments around the world are taking part in a general effort to kill physical cash for good, with Europe and Australia already limiting the use of paper money—in some cases by law—in an effort to drive things ever closer towards a panopticon of surveilled payment systems.
Remember, they say this is all for your safety and security. But don’t be fooled. Instead, it’s happening so that governments and institutions can maintain an iron grip over our planet’s economic hegemony.
I’m not a religious person by any stretch of the imagination. But despite this, it’s hard not to be inspired by the Templar Order and the actions it took to safeguard the finances of the people, and the power it wielded over the establishment. The safety and freedom it gave to individual citizens. Even back then though, this was a clear threat to the centralised power of those who ruled.
Today’s establishment isn’t kings; it’s your government and a bunch of three-letter organisations like the BIS, WEF, and IMF that would prefer you don’t use cash, hold decentralised crypto, or trade with silver and gold. Because these things diminish their power.
The good news for us—at least for now—is that it was much easier to wipe the Templar Order from the face of the Earth than it will be for our overlords to take away the entirety of our crypto, gold, cash, and other items of value we can use for trade. But they’re not lacking in effort to do so.
However, they’ll never be able to control a silver coin in your hand, and who you choose to give that coin in exchange for goods and services. That’s why I believe the time is now to prepare for a future when that may be one of your only options to trade with some semblance of privacy.
For me, the important thing is to not wait until it’s too late to stock up on items that you can use to trade with in an untraceable manner. Holding even small amounts of gold and silver isn’t about taking part in illegal trade, it’s about owning something that all cultures and people agree has an equal value, that can be used to buy things on your own terms. Terms that are very difficult for your government to force you into; terms that are between two consenting human beings.
So, a few silver coins, or an ounce of gold per month? It doesn’t matter how much. Something is better than nothing. And now is better than never.
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Also, this post is a rewrite of one of Abundantia’s first ever newsletters that was published way back in 2021, when we only had a mere 9000 subscribers (we’re at 10x that today). It is being republished here on Substack as it has never appeared here, and also as an exercise for myself in rewriting some of my old work for today.