Driven out, the Hospitallers re-established themselves at Acre, now in northern Israel.

In Europe the Hospitallers built up a network of properties and lands, known as Priories and Commanderies, which generated income to finance their care for the sick and their military campaigns.

In 1291, Acre was captured by Muslim forces, and the Hospitallers were forced to relocate again. The Hospitallers retreated to Cyprus for 20 years, during which time they took part in the conquest of Rhodes.

It was on Rhodes that the Hospitallers then established their main base, remaining for a further two centuries. Rhodes was attacked numerous times, and on 1 January 1523 it fell to the army of Suleiman the Magnificent, Sultan of the Turkish Ottoman Empire, and the Hospitallers were permitted, in view of the courage they had shown, to withdraw with colours flying and their honour intact.