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The origin of the Camino de Santiago: A short history

Many perform or want to make the Camino de Santiago at least once in their life, however, they are attracted by its tourist and non-historical attraction. However, we must remember that we are facing a very old pilgrimage, where history is important and is part of our culture.

Camino de Santiago

Camino de Santiago

In the ninth century the monarch who ruled Asturias at that time, Alfonso II, was in Oviedo when the news that the remains of the Apostle Santiago had been found came to his knowledge. Given the importance of the news, the monarch himself moved from the place where he was to be able to verify with his own eyes that this fact was true, being the first to make a section of what we know today as the Primitive Way and becoming, by chance , on the first pilgrim of the Camino de Santiago.

Once he made sure of the discovery of the remains of the Apostle, the monarch himself ordered that a sepulcher be built in that place so that everyone who wanted it could worship him, starting from that moment on pilgrimages from all points of Spain and good part of Europe.

With the news going through more and more places and the tomb already built, many people visited the tomb of the Apostle daily to show their respects. However, it was not until the conqueror Charlemagne made the roads leading there much safer, that the number of visitors began to rise markedly.

In 1884 the Camino de Santiago returned to have great popularity

The popularity of the tomb of the Apostle grew more and more with the passing of days and in just a century later thousands of pilgrims from all over Europe made long journeys to visit it. This influx of pilgrims caused both the clergy and the noblest families to adapt the old Roman roads and roads, and build bridges, hospices and hospitals where pilgrims could access.

However, when the fourteenth century arrived the number of pilgrims and the popularity of the Camino de Santiago declined, due to the economic and political problems of the time. This fact worsened with the crises and wars of the following century, and although some time later they were able to recover some popularity, new scientific discoveries negatively influenced him.

It was not until 1884 that the Camino de Santiago returned to have great popularity, when Pope Leo XIII declared that the remains found were really those of the Apostle and the Jacobean route was named as Universal Patrimony of Humanity. From that moment on, the flow of pilgrims increased enormously, being currently at its peak with the visit of more than 300,000 pilgrims from all parts of the world, only during the year 2018. This figure, this year, has already been exceeded.

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