Cities 'Santiago', the origin of its name
On December 5, 1492 Christopher Columbus founded on the island La Española (what is today Haiti and Dominica Republic) the first European colony in the New World. In this way, the Spanish colonization of America begins, the domination would continue until the nineteenth century when the Spanish American independence occurs.
Three years later, in 1495, the admiral Genovés colonizes the city of Santiago de los Caballeros, the first 'Santiago' of America. What do we mean by that? You have probably noticed that there are municipalities called 'Santiago' in the majority of countries colonized by the Spaniards. But, what is the reason?
PATRON SAINT OF SPAIN
According to some studies, the origin of the choice of this name is in remembrance of the day of the patron saint of Spain, Santiago el Mayor. In addition, many cities called like that were colonized precisely the saint's day, on July 25, although other places conquered at a different date also pay homage to the apostle.
Santiago el Mayor, or Zebedeo, was one of the apostles of Jesus who traveled to Hispania to preach the word of his Master. Beheaded by order of King Herodes Agripa I, some stories tell that his disciples brought his mortal remains to Spain, which currently rest in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela (except for the head which is in Jerusalem). In the sixteenth century, before the arrival of pirate Francis Drake, the remains were hidden and it was not until three centuries later that were found behind the altar.
In addition, Santiago el Mayor is a warrior apostle, that's why he is the patron saint of Spain, as the legend tells while he was riding a white horse and brandishing his sword, he encouraged Spanish soldiers to help them in the American conquest. For this reason he is also the patron saint of many Latin American cities.
Meanwhile, the battles cry "Santiago and closes Spain" is used by Spanish soldiers since the Reconquest times.
THE FIRST OF AMERICA
As regards first 'Santiago' of America, the one of Caballeros, there are different versions of his name, although most of them states that it is due to its first settlers, 30 knights of the Order of Santiago el Mayor.
In 2005 the cities of Santiago de Compostela (Spain) and Santiago de los Caballeros (Dominican Republic) signed a twinning agreement, which was ratified a year later, where they agreed to cooperate in cultural, social, economic and tourism fields.
Other cities 'Santiago' in honor of the apostle are: Santiago de Chile; Santiago de Cuba; Santiago de Guatemala; Santiago de Querétaro (Mexico); Santiago de Guayaquil (Ecuador); Santiago del Estero (Argentina); Santiago de León de Caracas (Venezuela); Santiago de Cali (Colombia); Santiago de Veraguas (Panama); Santiago de Chiuitos (Bolivia); Santiago de Sesimbra (Portugal). These are just some of the many cities in Latin America, which carry the name of Spanish patron of saint. Some Spanish colonies in Asia and Africa were also 'baptized' with the name of the apostle.
The oldest of all these is Santiago de Compostela in Spain, a place of pilgrimage for thousands of faithful people that came from all over the world.