Order of Santiago

Originally established as a small military brotherhood in Extremadura for the protection of pilgrims to Santiago de Compostella in the twelfth century, the knights adopted the Augustinian rule and became a religious military order approved by the pope in 1175. Like other orders of the time, the knights of Santiago patterned themselves after the Templars and the Hospitallers, with the exception that the vow of celibacy was taken as a vow of marital chastity, permitting the knights to have families; other religious military orders in Spain would later adopt a similar approach. By the end of the twelfth century the order had founded several hospitals and received castles from the kings of Castile and León. The latter would cause repeated schisms within the order as knights gave their loyalty to the respective monarchs, and the feuding kings would attempt to bind the militarily powerful but potentially disloyal order to their respective crowns. After the Moors were driven from Spain and the crown unified, the order was officially under the dominance of the Spanish Habsburg kings after 1523.

Knights of Santiago must serve six months on the galleys as part of their novitiate. They observe vows of poverty and obedience, but may marry; both knight and wife must be of noble ancestry.


Order of Santiago

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