Military Order of Calatrava

[Knight of Calatrava]
A branch of the Cistercians founded in Castile in the 12th century. The name is derived from that of a castle recovered from the Moslems by King Alfonso of Castile in 1147. At first it was composed of lay brothers of the monastery of Fitero and subject to Morimond, in Burgundy. The order was defeated by the Almohades at Alarcos in 1195 and then took the name of the new stronghold of Salvatierra which was lost to the Moslems in 1209. By the aid of foreign Crusaders Calatrava was reconquered in 1212. In the same year the order took part in the great victory of Las Navas de Tolosa, which broke the Moslem power. The name of Calatrava was resumed by the order and Calatrava la Nueva made its headquarters. Two new orders, Alcantara in Leon, and Aviz in Portugal, were founded. The last independent grand master was Lopez de Padilla (14821487) who fought with distinction in the last Moorish War. In 1487 Ferdinand of Aragon by a papal Bull obtained administrative authority. The canonical bond with Morimond was then relaxed and the order became secularized by release from vows of poverty and chastity. Their property was confiscated by Charles III in 1775, and general secularization was finally accomplished in 1838.