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Is the story of the fleet true or myth? I am looking for the historical documentation for that. It seems likely that they would sail to a friendly country like Portugal.
What I’ve learned, according to several sources that I’ve referenced below, the Templars had 18 ships left that they sailed out of France at the time when the King of France was persecuting them. From one of those sources:
“Actually, it is doubtful that the surprise attack on the Templars was unexpected. Considerable evidence suggests that the order knew that catastrophe was imminent. In any case, precautions had been taken. There is persuasive evidence to suggest that the order’s treasurer and a group of knights, took the “treasure of the temple”, along with almost all of the order’s documents and records, and smuggled them by wagons to the coast — presumably to the order’s naval base at La Rochelle — and loaded everything aboard eighteen galleys, which were never heard of again. [In later traditions, the significance of a Navy has never been lost on the inheritors of the Templar traditions.]” From: 5 paragraphs down: http://www.halexandria.org/dward222.htm
Another source also listing 18 Templar ships: http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=55569