Military Order of Calatrava, Breast Star
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The Military Order of Calatrava (Orden Militar de Calatrava) was founded by Sancho III of Toledo, King of Castile, in 1158. It was established at behest of Sancho III who offered the Castle of Calatrava to the monks of Fitero with the tasks of its defense, and the defense of Navarre town from Moor invasions. The Order was approved by Pope Alexander III in 1164.
The Order was perpetually incorporated to the Spanish Monarchy during the 15th century. After its incorporation, it became a Military and Religious Order at the service of the Spanish Crown.
For a long time this Order was known as the Order of Salvatierra due to its seat was transferred to the Castle of Salvatierra when Alphonso IX lost the territory of Calatrava in 1195. Just after the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212, the Order was able to return to Calatrava to keep fighting against the Moors until 1492.
The Order was suppressed in 1873 during the First Spanish Republic, but it was re-instituted next year by Alfonso XII during the Bourbon Restoration (1874-1931.) Later, during the Second Spanish Republic (1931-1939), the statutes were transferred to Rome under the command of the Pope. It was only until 1939, just after the end of the Spanish Civil War, that the Order returned under Spanish control.
The Cross Flory design was assigned by Pope Benedict XIII in 1396. It became red in the 14th century, and it became how it is known today in the 16th century.
All members held the rank of Chevalier (Knight) and once the Order fell under control of the Kingdom of Spain, noble birth was mandatory to enter into the Order.
A ladies' Order of Calatrava was started in 1219 by Dona Gazelas Maria Yonnes.
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