Everyone knows about the Knights Templar and their crucial part in the European resistance to Islamic aggression. But far away to the east another powerful Order of Christian knights played a key role in defeating paganism. The Teutonic Knights also distinguished themselves by fighting to the last man against the Mongol invasion. Even in death, their courageous efficiency was a factor in the Mongol decision to look for easier pickings elsewhere.
Their full name was the Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem. Latin: Ordo domus Sanctæ Mariæ Theutonicorum Hierosolymitanorum, German: Orden der Brüder vom Deutschen Haus der Heiligen Maria in Jerusalem), commonly the Teutonic Order (Deutscher Orden, Deutschherrenorden or Deutschritterorden).
The Teutonic Knights crusader state was established on the edges of the eastern Baltic during the 13th century, in the area since called Prussia. It went on to include large parts of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and even Russia.