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The warrior on the white horse

The discovery of the apostle’s tomb was quickly related by Bishop Teodomiro of Iria Flavia to the Asturian king Alfonso II, who considered it a momentous event: not only would it lead to a Holy City in the kingdom of Asturias, independent from Rome and the Carolingian Empire, capable of attracting pilgrims, population, knowledge and trade; but it would also be a rallying factor in the Christian territories of the Iberian Peninsula against the Islamic invasion.

The figure of James the Moor-Slayer, the warrior apostle, became the veritable banner of the Reconquest from May 23, 844 AD, when he “appeared” before King Ramiro I and other monarchs riding on top of a white horse and brandishing a sword, to help them defeat Abd-ar-Raham II’s troops in the Battle of Clavijo.

This was followed by a series of miracles attributed to the apostle and numerous appearances, encouraging the warriors who, in his name (“Santiago y cierra España” or “For James and the glory of Spain”), finally reconquered Spain in 1492; and propitiating more and larger pilgrimages from all over Europe to the miraculous Compostela through the reconquered territories, crossed by the St. James Way.

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The warrior on the white horse St. James
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