‘Military orders’ was the name given to the ecclesiastical knights or ‘warrior monks’ who emerged in Europe during the late 11th century. They were the military arm of the Catholic Church and consisted of the Templars, Hospital, Teutonic and Spanish orders. The Spanish Orders emerged as part of the Reconquista, the ‘reconquest’ of the Iberian Peninsula against its Muslim overlords. Although the concept of Christian reconquest dates to the 9th century, it was the religious ideology of the Crusades (late 1100s) that fostered the creation of organizations that were not only vehemently opposed to Islam, but also had their own oath of loyalty and codes of behaviour. These Christian knights prided themselves on their physical fitness and chivalric deeds. Orders in Spain included the Hospital, Santiago, Calatrava, Alcántra, Avis, Cristo and Montesa. By c. 1320 most of Spain was under Christian domination, with the Muslim sphere of influence confined to Granada.
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