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A Short City History

ca. 825: Discovery of the sepulcher of the Apostle Saint James.

899: Consecration of the basilica built under Alfonso III.

950: Bishop Godescalc from Le Puy, France, undertakes the first verifiable pilgrimage to Santiago.

997: The Moor Al-Mansur Ibn Abi Aamir devastates the city and destroys the basilica of Saint James on 10th August.

ca. 1050: Construction of a second city wall as a protection against attacks. Rise in the number of pilgrims.

1100: The initiator of important transformations of the city and the cathedral, Diego Gelmírez, becomes bishop of Santiago.

1116: First of two uprisings against the misuse of power by the church and bishop Gelmírez.

ca. 1140: The monk Aimeric Picaud composes the Codex Calixtinus whose fifth book is considered the world's first pilgrim's guide.

1182: The first Holy Compostelan Year ("Año Santo") is celebrated (controversial →Año Santo).

1211: Consecration of the cathedral by bishop Pedro Muñiz on 21st April 1211.

1504: Founding of the university by Alonso III. de Fonseca.

1520: Charles V. (Charles I. of Spain) holds court in Santiago de Compostela.

ca. 1569: Devastating outbreak of the plague.

1589: The city is threatened by the English sea captain/pirate Francis Drake. Archbishop Sanclemente hides the remains of the Apostle in an unknown place in the cathedral in order to protect them. However, they are not found until 1879.

ca. 1750: Work on the western facade of the cathedral comes to an end.

1753: Santiago becomes the capital of the kingdom of Galicia.

1755: The heavy earthquake of Lisbon puts the resistance of the new cathedral towers to a test.

1809: Napoleonic troops take quarters in the cathedral's cloisters and take the silver botafumeiro with them.

1833: The medieval city walls are dismantled.

1858: Introduction of gas lighting.

1879: The remains of the Apostle - hidden in 1589 - are rediscovered in the cathedral.

1890: The city counts 24.302 inhabitants.

1941: Santiago is declared "Conjunto Histórico Artístico".

1980: Santiago de Compostela becomes the capital of the Autonomous Region Galicia.

1985: The old town of Santiago de Compostela is declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

2004: Holy Year ("Año Santo").

2010: The last Holy Year before 2021.

2011: Santiago celebrates the 800th anniversary since the consecration of the cathedral by bishop Pedro Muñiz on 21st April 1211. Restoration of the 12 crosses of consecration.

latest update: 7.1.2014