Order of Santiago

The Order of Santiago (/ˌsɒntiˈɑːɡ/; Spanish: Orden de Santiago [sanˈtjaɣo]), is a religious and military order founded in the 12th century. It owes its name to the Patron Saint of Spain, "Santiago" (St. James the Greater). Its initial objective was to protect the pilgrims on the Way of St. James, to defend Christendom and to remove the Muslim Moors from the Iberian Peninsula.[1] Entrance was not however restricted to nobles of Spain exclusively, and so many of her members have been prominent Catholic Europeans in general. The Order of Santiago is one of the most renowned military orders in the history of the world, its insignia being particularly recognisable and abundant in Western art.[2]

Order of Santiago
Orden de Santiago
The Cross of Saint James as used by the Order
TypeReligious Order of Honour and formerly a Military Order
Royal houseHouse of Bourbon-Spain
Religious affiliationCatholic
SovereignKing Felipe VI
EquivalentOrder of Calatrava
Order of Alcántara
Order of Montesa
RelatedOrder of Saint James of the Sword

After the death of the Grand Master Alonso de Cárdenas in 1493, the Catholic Monarchs incorporated the Order into the Spanish Crown. Pope Adrian VI forever united the office of grandmaster of Santiago to the crown in 1523.

The First Republic suppressed the Order in 1873 and, although it was re-established in the Restoration, it was reduced to a nobiliary institute of honorable character. It was ruled by a Superior Council dependent on the Ministry of War, which was also extinguished after the proclamation of the Second Republic in 1931.

The Order of Santiago is one of the four Spanish military orders, together with those of Calatrava, Alcántara, and Montesa. It was restored as a civil association with the kingship of Juan Carlos I with the character of a nobiliary, honorable, and religious organization that remains as such.