Order of Saint James of Compostela

Also known as

  • Order de Santiago de la Espada


Founded in the 12th century to fight the Moors. Leon and Ucles in Castile both claim its birth, but after the union of the two crowns Ucles became the headquarters of the order. The rule of Saint Augustine was adopted and Pope Alexander III recognized it as a religious order in 1175. It comprised several classes:

Marriage required the king‘s authorization and during Advent, Lent, and on certain festivals the knights lived in their monasteries, observing continence. The order extended into Portugal, France, Italy, Hungary, and Palestine, and at one time comprised 83 commanderies, 2 cities, 178 boroughs and villages, 200 parishes, 5 hospitals, 5 convents and 1 college; it numbered 400 knights and could muster over 1000 lances. The order waged war separately and with the royal army, finally joining the maritime expeditions; the unhappy part it took in the dissensions among the Christians of Spain caused several schisms among its members. Authority was vested in a grand master and Council of Thirteen, the Council electing the master and having the privilege of deposing him. Pedro Fernandez de Fuente Encalato, the first master, was followed by 39 successors. In 1499 the pope made Ferdinand the Catholic administrator of the order, and under Charles V the three orders, Alcantara, Calatrava, and Santiago, were united to the crown of Spain.


  • their insignia was a red cross terminating in a sword

MLA Citation

  • “Order of Saint James of Compostela”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 25 December 2010. Web. 19 January 2019. <http://catholicsaints.info/order-of-saint-james-of-compostela/>