Who Were The Knights of Malta?
They most likely were a small group of Benedictine Brothers who came to the Holy Land to serve at the Hospital of St. John in Jerusalem, which had been built on the site of the monastery of Saint John the Baptist in the year 1063 AD. Because of their association with the hospital they were also called the Knights Hospitallers.
Basically, they were a Medieval Catholic Military Order stationed near the old King Solomon's Temple in the heart of Jerusalem. Over the centuries their name changed numerous times as they moved further away from the Holy Lands due to never ending conflicts with Islamic forces.
Until the year 1530, when their island hopping in the Mediterranean sea landed them on the barren isle of Malta. This small out cropping of rock is located just off the island of Sicily, near Italy. It became their namesake home and headquarters for over 250 years. In the year 1799 it was to be the French leader Napoleon, who ransacked the frail order and forced the surrender of its' Grand Master. The order survived but was highly fragmented throughout Europe and Russia. Today, they are headquartered at St. Peter's Square in the Vatican, Rome.