Before the fact of the discovery of the Saint James grave in 813 became worldwide and famous, the news spread around locally. The very first people who heard about the miracle were the inhabitants of the Kingdom of Galicia whose territories were the lands of the today’s Autonomous Community of Galicia, part of Asturias and León and Northern Portugal.
The first capital of the ancient Kingdom of Galicia was Braga. It was the religious and cultural center since the times of Suebi (or Suevi) – the Germanic tribe who ruled this piece of land after the dusk of the Roman Empire. The importance of connecting the capital with the place of the new discovery – first Iria Flavia and then Santiago, was crucial. This is how the first route to Santiago was drawn from Braga.
Only during the next two centuries, the grave of Saint James became worldwide known and pilgrims from all over the world decided to check out this mystery and started to come to Santiago. The first international pilgrims came from France and made their route the classical route of all times.
With so many foreigners coming to Santiago, the quickly growing town gained the importance over Braga. Soon also Portugal won the independence and the ancient connection between Galicia and Portugal was lost almost forever. As the result, the first local route was forgotten as soon as the French Way won its fame and significance.
Today pilgrims of all nations arrive to Santiago. Even though Portugal is the only and best Galicia’s neighbor, it still feels surprising to discover that the first pilgrims came to Santiago from today’s Portugal.