Monastery of Guadalupe in Cáceres – History
The origins of the monastery church as a sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe has a close relationship with the reign of Alfonso XI.
There was a monk named Diego de Écija who chronicled the construction of the monastery sustained that the reason the chapel or hermitage that was built as a result of the appearance of the image to a shepherd of unknown name, at the dawn of the century XIV.
Centuries later, in 1743, a monk by the name of Francisco de San José identified the shepard as Gil Cordero de Santa María, one of the first settlers of the place. On the site of the humble hermitage a small church was built in the early 14th century. The king ordered it to be expanded in such a way that it would become a temple worthy of the devotion of the Virgin of Guadalupe, with the addition of a hospital. It took just six years to make the appropriate extensions and arrangements under the supervision of Toribio Fernández. The resulting temple was to emulate the famous Toledo Mudejar style was applied.
As a result of the victory obtained in the battle of the Salado, King Alfonso XI donated several trophies obtained in the battle and also issued a royal privilege on December 25, 1340 in which the monastery was declared royal patronage. On January 6, 1341, the Bishop of Toledo Gil Álvarez de Albornoz drew up a document establishing the secular priory of Santa María de Guadalupe and recognizing the patronage in the figure of the king and of their successors.
From a sanctuary to a monastery
Juan I had inherited the patronage of the sanctuary as it had been established since the times of Alfonso XI. While still in possession of his rights as patron, he dictated on August 15, 1389 in Sotosalbos a royal provision by which he ordered that the sanctuary be expanded and raised into a monastery ruled by regular monks.
The king also gave up all the properties related to the sanctuary and that he himself had received from his predecessors. On his side, the Archbishop of Toledo Pedro Tenorio, who had jurisdiction over the territory where the sanctuary was located, granted his consent by means of a letter written in Alcalá de Henares.
When the Hieronymite monks arrived from Lupiana, they took possession of the monastery in October 1389. The Hieronymite monks were the absolute rulers for 463 years. Over the centuries the monastic complex grew and became enormous, with an area of around 22,000 square meters. Many and very important were the works and improvements made by the Hieronymites during this time.
In 1493 Columbus returned to Guadalupe in fulfillment of the promise written in his log to give thanks for the discovery of America. On July 29, 1496, the baptism of the Native Americans who were transferred to the old continent as servants took place.