Topic: Former countries

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Loulan Kingdom

China/Chinese history China Central Asia Archaeology Buddhism Former countries

Loulan, also called Krorän or Kroraina (simplified Chinese: 楼兰; traditional Chinese: 樓蘭; pinyin: Lóulán; Uyghur: كروران, Кроран‎, ULY: Kroran) was an ancient kingdom based around an important oasis city along the Silk Road already known in the 2nd century BCE on the northeastern edge of the Lop Desert. The term Loulan is the Chinese transcription of the native name Krorän and is used to refer to the city near Lop Nur as well as the kingdom.

The kingdom was renamed Shanshan (鄯善) after its king was assassinated by an envoy of the Han dynasty in 77 BCE; however, the town at the northwestern corner of the brackish desert lake Lop Nur retained the name of Loulan. The kingdom included at various times settlements such as Niya, Charklik, Miran, and Qiemo. It was intermittently under Chinese control from the early Han dynasty onward until its abandonment centuries later. The ruins of Loulan are near the now-desiccated Lop Nur in the Bayingolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture, Xinjiang, and they are now completely surrounded by desert.

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Sovereign Military Order of Malta

Military history Heraldry and vexillology Catholicism Military history/Crusades Military history/Medieval warfare Countries Former countries Military history/National militaries Malta Orders, decorations, and medals

The Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM), officially the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta (Italian: Sovrano Militare Ordine Ospedaliero di San Giovanni di Gerusalemme di Rodi e di Malta; Latin: Supremus Militaris Ordo Hospitalarius Sancti Ioannis Hierosolymitani Rhodiensis et Melitensis), commonly known as the Order of Malta, Malta Order or Knights of Malta, is a Catholic lay religious order, traditionally of military, chivalric and noble nature. Though it possesses no territory, the order is a sovereign entity of international law and maintains diplomatic relations with many countries.

SMOM claims continuity with the Knights Hospitaller, a chivalric order that was founded c. 1099 by the Blessed Gerard in the Kingdom of Jerusalem. The order is led by an elected Prince and Grand Master. Its motto is Tuitio fidei et obsequium pauperum ('defence of the faith and assistance to the poor'). The order venerates the Virgin Mary as its patroness, under the title of Our Lady of Philermos. Its modern-day role is largely focused on providing humanitarian assistance and assisting with international humanitarian relations, for which purpose it has had permanent observer status at the United Nations General Assembly since 1994.

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