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Knights of Malta

or Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem. Some time after the first crusade (1042), some Neapolitan merchants built at Jerusalem a hospital for sick pilgrims and a church which they dedicated to St. John; these they committed to the charge of certain knights, called Hospitallers of St. John. In 1310 these Hospitallers took Rhode Island, and changed their title into Knights of Rhodes. In 1523 they were expelled from Rhodes by the Turks, and took up their residence in the Isle of Malta.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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