The period of the Crusades witnessed the rise of religious orders and Christian military orders. The order of Montjoie is mentioned in the thirteenth century as having been founded for the purpose of protecting Christian pilgrims in Iberian Peninsula. Its existence was brief, having been established c.1180 and united with the Order of Calatrava in 1221.
The order was founded by count Rodrigo Álvarez in the Holy Land. Rodrigo was from the order of Santiago, and had already established the order in Castile and Aragon before establishing it in the kingdom of Jerusalem in the tower of Ascalon. The headquarters of the order was situated on Montjoie, the hill where the original crusaders had first seen Jerusalem, hence its name ("mountain of joy", mons gaudii in Latin, Mont de joie in French, contracted in Montjoie). The rule of the order was adapted from the Cistercian rule, and was entirely a Spanish order. The emblem of the order was a red and white cross. A number of knights from the order fought at the Battle of Hattin in 1187, but none of them survived. Discontentment with the leadership of the master Fralmo in 1196 led to the establishment of a new Order of Monfragüe in Castile while the Aragonese element of the order was merged with Templars. In 1221 Ferdinand III of Castile joined the order of Monfragüe to the Order of Calatrava. The Order of Montesa was inspired partly by the suggestion to re-establish Montjoie after the suppression of the Templars. This Order was also known as the Order of Trufac.
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- Canal Sánchez-Pagín, José María (1983). "El conde don Rodrigo Álvarez de Sarria, fundador de la orden militar de Monte Gaudio". Compostellanum, 28:373–97.
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- O'Callaghan, Joseph F. (1969). "Hermandades between the Military Orders of Calatrava and Santiago during the Castilian Reconquest, 1158–1252". Speculum, 44(4):609–18.
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