|A Hospitaller is a knight of a religious order, dedicated to hospital work, ambulance services, nursing care, surgery, medicine, etc. A Templar Knight were the mercenaries enlisted by the Church to protect the pilgrims on journey as well as to guard the hospitals of St. John and Lazarus. Most people think in terms of the “Crusades” having been conducted in the Holy Land of Jerusalem from the eleventh through the thirteenth centuries. However, the Crusades actually continued throughout the 16th and 17th centuries spreading to the Caribbean, known as the American Crusades. The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ (Knights Templar), were among the most famous of the Western Christian military orders. Much has been made of Columbus's connections with the Knights Templar. His famous voyages and these explorations were pivotal in the discovery and development of the Americas, beginning in the Caribbean and Florida. The Knights of Santiago were put in charge of many Spanish settlements including the isles of Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Cuba, and other Caribbean islands.|
Effectively, the Americas were founded by the religious, military Orders for the very reason of executing plans to explore the world, make contact with the Great Khan and mobilize an army to retake Jerusalem. Christopher Columbus and his voyages were backed and financed by the Brotherhood and the Church of Rome, with his ships' sails bearing Red Cross on a white background, the symbol of the Knights Templar.
The Hospitaller colonization of the Americas occurred during a 14-year period in which the Knights of St. John (Knights of Malta) possessed four Caribbean islands: Saint Christopher, Saint Martin, Saint Barthélemy, and Saint Croix.
The Knights' presence in the Caribbean grew out of their order's close relationship with the French nobility and the presence of many members in the Americas as French administrators. The key figure in their brief colonization was Phillippe de Longvilliers de Poincy, who was both a Knight of St. John and governor of the French colonies in the Caribbean. Poincy convinced the Knights to purchase the islands from the bankrupt Compagnie des Îles de l'Amérique in 1651 and remained to govern them until his death in 1660. During this time, the Order acted as proprietor of the islands, while the King of France continued to hold nominal sovereignty. However, Sir Poincy ruled largely independent of them both. In 1665, the Hospitallers sold their rights in the islands to the new French West India Company, bringing their colonial project to an end.
The Antillean Order of St. John of St. Christopher/Nevis is the 21st century, fresh and first major impetus to present the medical corps history of the monastic/military orders, as best as it can be reconstructed of the medieval records, first recounted by Edgar Hume’s Medical Work of the Knights Hospitallers (1940). In this book, it will be seen that the Hospitaller Orders developed medicine, surgery, and nursing as an organized form of hospice and hospital care that sprang from the Ten Commandments, and from the Old and New Testaments, which has been one of the most stabilizing factors of peace in western culture. Many customs and accepted civilized behaviors like the manners of a gentleman, the respect for marriage, rules of engagement, diplomacy, etc. sprang from the Codes of Chivalry that so few recognize nor respect today.
Through the reemergence of the Antillean Sacred Medical Order of the Knights of Hope for the 21st century, a new chapter in their medical history is being developed. Incorporated as early as 2006, this Order has reemerged the Order of St. John in the Federation of St. Kitts/Nevis where it originally settled in 1639. A museum and Chapel has been constructed and formally opened to the public June of 2017 as testament to this rich and unique history. Many Goverment dignitaries of the islands are now members of this Sacred Antillean Order. The Knights Hospitallers are once again establishing itself as a functional order, dedicating itself to meeting the spiritual and medical needs of the poor and sick so they once again dedicate themselves to following the example and teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In order to accomplish its goals, the Order has built on the traditions and foundations of over one thousand years of medical history in a modality called monastic medicine. The Order maintains a monastic medical center on Nevis which services more than 6,000 patients of the Leeward Islands. With his emphasis on the medical history of the Order, Grand Master, professor Charles McWilliams has provided the historical foundations in a series of seven books. With this seventh volume, we record the medical achievements and history of the Hospitallers of the Americas, providing heretofore an untold saga, as a unique reference for those studying the history of medicine, and the Christian orders that shaped ambulance care (the Red Cross and St. John Ambulance), surgery, hygiene, and natural medicine (naturopathy). All members of the Order are indeed grateful for the works and scholarly insights of Grand Master McWilliams. May the Knights Hospitallers continue to serve through its humanitarian actions, and may all our earthly endeavors be to glorify God.
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