The Kights Templar were founded around 1120 when a French nobleman named Hugh dePayens and eight other knights arrived in Jerusalem and offered their services to King Baldwin. Baldwin was another French nobleman who was ruling Jerusalem because the Crusaders captured it in 1099.
Baldwin accepted their offer to patrol the dangerous routes leading from the port of Jaffa to Jerusalem, and allowed them to set up headquarters in the Temple Mount.
The formal name of the organization was The Poor Knights of Christ And the Temple of Solomon. Solomon entered the picture because the Temple Mount was reputed to be situated over the original Temple of Solomon.
Very early in their history, the Templars adopted the symbol of the red cross on a field of white.
They were actually set up as a religious order, and this might explain the strong support they received from Bernard of Clairvaux. What they were really up to in Jerusalem has been a subject of conjecture for many years, however, membership, power, and wealth began to increase almost immediately. One measure of their swift success is their recognition as an official order of the Church at the Council of Troyes in 1128. They were now a favorite of the Church and a recognized order.
In the Prolog of The Templar Concordat, the Templar Marshall refers to this origin when he says, "We grew from nine penniless knights in Jerusalem to the most powerful force in Europe over the last two hundred years… military, banking, commerce…"