The Knights Hospitaller (also known as the Knights of St. John) was founded on August 5th, 2014 on the European Island of Malta situated in the Mediterranean Sea. The Knights Hospitaller is a proud member of the Seven Kingdoms.
Short History Edit
The Knights Hospitaller is currently reforming after the Beta and Speed rounds. The order of knights was originally formed to protect the Holy Lands for pilgrims, and to provide hospitals in locations along the pilgrimage route. At its height during the Speed round the Knights operated hospitals in six separate cities in the holy land and the order’s role expanded from peaceful stewards to militant monks protecting pilgrims from armed attackers as well as sickness. Fielding an army of over 50,000 the order grew to unprecedented heights, and although the order suffered many military defeats, none broke its will or pushed them back from their cities. Finally at the end of the Speed round the order was pushed back, out of the holy land, and thus had lost the main reason for its existence.
At present the Hospitaller Knights are a fledgling order, confined to the harbor of Valletta on the Island of Malta. Fortunately for the order, a nearby monarch, sympathetic to the orphaned order gave them the island of Malta in exchange for a yearly symbolic tribute of one Falcon. Driven from the lands they were bound to protect the Knights attempt to marshal their forces and redefine their purpose.
The Hospitaller Knights are lead by a Grandmaster, who serves as head of the order in all matters. The grandmaster is the only official government member, and ostensibly has the final say on everything the order does. He does not however, have free reign to do as he pleases, as the head of the order he must strictly follow all the rules and regulations of the order and the religion from which the order defends. He also must keep the opinion of his other members in mind and rule with their approval, for they can request his resignation. Every member is equal in the eyes of the order and they all theoretically have equal say in the actions the order takes. The grandmaster is merely the “first among equals” and has the important duty of being the spokesperson, figurehead to outsiders in times of peace and commander in times of war.
The grandmaster is aided in his duties by a number of close advisors, who hold no official position but hold influence with the grandmaster on a personal level. They assist the grandmaster in administrative and day-to-day duties and are chosen for their adeptness at specific functions or for their decision making abilities or for their personal friendship and trust held in them by the grandmaster.
Although the entire Island of Malta is controlled by the Knights, not every inhabitant is a member. The Knights make up a closed society that is in effect the militant overlords to the civilian inhabitants of the Island. The civilian inhabitants support the order through food surplus and some minor economics while the Knights are responsible for defense and other matters of state. Although the inhabitants had little choice but to submit to their new masters, the knights are hardly cruel masters, and their presence has helped boost the economy of the Island, slowly turning it from a backward farming community frequently targeted by nearby pirates and raiders, to a bustling and well-defended center of business and trade.
Foreign Affairs Edit
Currently the Knights Hospitaller fall under the control of an alliance of dozens of nations of the faith under the name Seven Kingdoms. As head of the faith, the Seven Kingdoms ultimately control the policies of the Knights in regards to warfare and other foreign affairs. As defenders of the faith, a major part of the mission of the Knights is protecting other nations within the faith, whether through peaceful means or force.
As a militant order, the Hospitaller Knights pride themselves on their ferocity and skill in battle. In times of crisis all knights are expected to muster for combat. While the numbers of the order itself is currently small the Grandmaster can also levee larger numbers of civilians on a temporary basis who fight with the knights. The combination of small cadres of professional soldiers and larger numbers of levees who can be called in times of need make for a good balance of power as well as flexibility. At its height the military of the order and their civilian counterparts number over 50,000 soldiers, including around 4,000 mounted knights and some 10 ships.
At the present, reeling from its expulsion from the holy lands, the Knights Hospitaller have no standing military, all the knights of the order are busy in civilian duties attempting to get their new home at Malta up and running. Many have temporarily taken prominent positions in civilian enterprises related to industry and commerce.
Currently the only city under control of the Knights is the port city of Valletta on the Island of Malta. The Hospitallers are busy working to build this city’s economy; currently the city hosts a farm, a coal mine, and coal power plant and two steel plants. The city is largely run by the Knights, who make up the upper echelon of society, however native inhabitants of the Island participate in economics as workers and some even control companies and operations themselves.
Class and Economic Structure Edit
The two main classes of people within the nation controlled by the Knights Hospitaller are the knights themselves and the native inhabitants of Malta. Despite the potential for class conflict the two sides have thus far coexisted quite well, each bringing benefit to the other. The native inhabitants inhabited Malta long before the Hospitaller Knights arrived, however the Island was often victim to raids from all manner of peoples. The arrival of the Hospitaller Knights excited all manner of feelings from the natives. Some welcomed them as protectors and hoped conditions would improve, others were weary of the new masters and hoped they wouldn’t bring ideological conflict to the small island to add to the conflicts the natives had been enduring already.
After the arrival the citizens and monks quickly learned to live together, and though the relationship is not without conflict it is on the whole a symbiotic one. The Knights gained a strategic location in the center of the Mediterranean Sea straddling many of the important trade routes, allowing them to bring in trade and commerce to the Island instead of it being a victim and convenient staging point for foreign militaries. The Civilians have gained economically form this relationship and many switched from farming professions into economic positions created by the new and expanding commerce in the city. How long the peaceful relationship between natives and knights has yet to be determined however for now both parties are working together for the betterment of the state.