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Isabella I ( es, Isabel I; 22 April 1451 – 26 November 1504), also called Isabella the Catholic (Spanish: ''la Católica''), was Queen of Castile from 1474 until her death in 1504, as well as Queen consort of Aragon from 1479 until 1504 by virtue of her marriage to King
Ferdinand II of Aragon Ferdinand II ( an, Ferrando; ca, Ferran; eu, Errando; it, Ferdinando; la, Ferdinandus; es, Fernando; 10 March 1452 – 23 January 1516), also called Ferdinand the Catholic (Spanish: ''el Católico''), was King of Aragon and List of Sardin ...
. Reigning together over a dynastically unified
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = ''Plus ultra'' (Latin)(English: "Further Beyond") , national_anthem = (English: "Royal March") , i ...
, Isabella and Ferdinand are known as the Catholic Monarchs. After a struggle to claim the throne, Isabella reorganized the governmental system, brought the crime rate to the lowest it had been in years, and unburdened the kingdom of the enormous debt her half-brother King Henry IV had left behind. Isabella's marriage to Ferdinand in 1469 created the basis of the ''de facto'' unification of Spain. Her reforms and those she made with her husband had an influence that extended well beyond the borders of their united kingdoms. Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon are known for being the first monarchs to be referred to as "Queen of Spain" and "King of Spain" respectively, labeled such for completing the
Reconquista The ' (Spanish language, Spanish, Portuguese language, Portuguese and Galician language, Galician for "reconquest") is a Historiography, historiographical construction describing the 781-year period in the history of the Iberian Peninsula be ...
, for issuing the Alhambra Decree which ordered the mass expulsion of Jews from Spain, for establishing the
Spanish Inquisition The Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition ( es, Tribunal del Santo Oficio de la Inquisición), commonly known as the Spanish Inquisition ( es, Inquisición española), was established in 1478 by the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, Cathol ...
, for supporting and financing
Christopher Columbus Christopher Columbus * lij, Cristoffa C(or)ombo * es, link=no, Cristóbal Colón * pt, Cristóvão Colombo * ca, Cristòfor (or ) * la, Christophorus Columbus. (; born between 25 August and 31 October 1451, died 20 May 1506) was a ...
's 1492 voyage that led to the arrival at the
New World The term ''New World'' is often used to mean the majority of Earth's Western Hemisphere, specifically the Americas."America." ''The Oxford Companion to the English Language'' (). McArthur, Tom, ed., 1992. New York: Oxford University Press, p. 3 ...
by Europeans and established the
Spanish empire The Spanish Empire ( es, link=no, Imperio español), also known as the Hispanic Monarchy ( es, link=no, Monarquía Hispánica) or the Catholic Monarchy ( es, link=no, Monarquía Católica) was a colonial empire governed by Spain and its History ...
, for making Spain a major power in Europe and much of the world, and for ushering in the Spanish Golden Age. Isabella was granted, together with her husband, the title of "Catholic monarch" by the Spanish
Pope Alexander VI Pope Alexander VI ( it, Alessandro VI, va, Alexandre VI, es, Alejandro VI; born Rodrigo de Borja; ca-valencia, Roderic Llançol i de Borja ; es, Rodrigo Lanzol y de Borja, lang ; 1431 – 18 August 1503) was head of the Catholic Churc ...
, and was recognized in 1974 as a
Servant of God "Servant of God" is a title used in the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized ...
by the
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics Catholic Church by country, worldwide . It is am ...
.


Life


Early years

Isabella was born in Madrigal de las Altas Torres to John II of Castile and his second wife, Isabella of Portugal, on 22 April 1451. At the time of Isabella's birth, she was second in line to the throne after her older half-brother Henry IV of Castile. Henry was 26 at that time and married, but childless. Isabella's younger brother Alfonso of Castile was born two years later on 17 November 1453, demoting her position to third in line. When her father died in 1454, her half-brother ascended to the throne as King Henry IV of Castile. Isabella and her brother Alfonso were left in King Henry's care.Prescott, William. ''History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, The Catholic.'' J.B Lippincott & Co., 1860, p. 28 Isabella, her mother, and Alfonso then moved to Arévalo.Prescott, William. ''History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, The Catholic.'' J.B Lippincott & Co., 1860, p. 83 These were times of turmoil for Isabella. The living conditions at their castle in Arévalo were poor, and they suffered from a shortage of money. Although her father arranged in his will for his children to be financially well taken care of, King Henry did not comply with their father's wishes, either from a desire to keep his half-siblings restricted or from ineptitude. Even though her living conditions were difficult, Isabella was instructed in lessons of practical piety and in a deep reverence for religion under the supervision of her mother. When the King's wife, Joan of Portugal, was about to give birth to their daughter Joanna, Isabella and her brother Alfonso were summoned to court in Segovia to come under the direct supervision of the King and to finish their education. Alfonso was placed in the care of a tutor while Isabella became part of the Queen's household. Some of Isabella's living conditions improved in Segovia. She always had food and clothing and lived in a castle that was adorned with gold and silver. Isabella's basic education consisted of reading, spelling, writing, grammar, history, mathematics, art,
chess Chess is a board game between two Player (game), players. It is sometimes called international chess or Western chess to distinguish it from chess variant, related games, such as xiangqi (Chinese chess) and shogi (Japanese chess). The current ...
, dancing, embroidery, music, and religious instruction. She and her ladies-in-waiting entertained themselves with art, embroidery, and music. She lived a relaxed lifestyle, but she rarely left Segovia since King Henry forbade this. Her half-brother was keeping her from the political turmoil going on in the kingdom, though Isabella had full knowledge of what was going on and of her role in the feuds. The noblemen, anxious for power, confronted King Henry, demanding that his younger half-brother Alfonso be named his successor. They even went so far as to ask Alfonso to seize the throne. The nobles, now in control of Alfonso and claiming that he was the true heir, clashed with King Henry's forces at the Second Battle of Olmedo in 1467. The battle was a draw. King Henry agreed to recognize Alfonso as his heir presumptive, provided that he would marry his daughter, Princess Joanna la Beltraneja. Soon after he was named Prince of Asturias, Isabella's younger brother Alfonso died in July 1468, likely of the plague. The nobles who had supported him suspected poisoning. As she had been named in her brother's will as his successor, the nobles asked Isabella to take his place as champion of the rebellion. However, support for the rebels had begun to wane, and Isabella preferred a negotiated settlement to continuing the war. She met with her elder half-brother Henry at Toros de Guisando and they reached a compromise: the war would stop, King Henry would name Isabella his heir-presumptive instead of his daughter Joanna, and Isabella would not marry without her half-brother's consent, but he would not be able to force her to marry against her will.Plunkett, Ierne. ''Isabel of Castile''. The Knickerbocker Press, 1915, p. 68 Isabella's side came out with most of what the nobles desired, though they did not go so far as to officially depose King Henry; they were not powerful enough to do so, and Isabella did not want to jeopardize the principle of fair inherited succession, since it was upon this idea that she had based her argument for legitimacy as heir-presumptive.


Marriage

The question of Isabella's marriage was not a new one. She had, at the age of six, a betrothal to Ferdinand, the younger son of John II of Navarre (whose family was a cadet branch of the House of Trastámara). At that time, the two kings, Henry and John, were eager to show their mutual love and confidence and they believed that this alliance would make their eternal friendship obvious to the world. This arrangement, however, did not last long. Ferdinand's uncle Alfonso V of Aragon died in 1458. All of Alfonso's Spanish territories, as well as the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, were left to his brother John II. John now had a stronger position than ever before and no longer needed the security of Henry's friendship. Henry was now in need of a new alliance. He saw the chance for this much-needed new friendship in Charles of Viana, John's elder son. Charles was constantly at odds with his father, and because of this, he secretly entered into an alliance with Henry IV of Castile. A major part of the alliance was that a marriage was to be arranged between Charles and Isabella. When John II learned of this arranged marriage, he was outraged. Isabella had been intended for his favourite younger son, Ferdinand, and in his eyes, this alliance was still valid. John II had his son Charles thrown in prison on charges of plotting against his father's life. Charles died in 1461. In 1465, an attempt was made to marry Isabella to Afonso V of Portugal, Henry's brother-in-law. Through the medium of the Queen and Count of Ledesma, a Portuguese alliance was made.Edwards,John. ''The Spain of the Catholic Monarchs 1474–1520''. Blackwell Publishers Inc, 2000, p. 5 Isabella, however, was wary of the marriage and refused to consent. A civil war broke out in Castile over King Henry's inability to act as sovereign. Henry now needed a quick way to please the rebels of the kingdom. As part of an agreement to restore peace, Isabella was then to be betrothed to Pedro Girón Acuña Pacheco, Master of the Order of Calatrava and brother to the King's favourite, Juan Pacheco. In return, Don Pedro would pay into the royal treasury an enormous sum of money. Seeing no alternative, Henry agreed to the marriage. Isabella was aghast and prayed to God that the marriage would not come to pass. Her prayers were answered when Don Pedro suddenly fell ill and died while on his way to meet his fiancée. When Henry had recognized Isabella as his heir-presumptive on 19 September 1468, he had also promised that his half-sister should not be compelled to marry against her will, while she in return had agreed to obtain his consent. It seemed that the years of failed attempts at political marriages were finally over. There was talk of a marriage to Edward IV of England or to one of his brothers, probably Richard, Duke of Gloucester, but this alliance was never seriously considered. Once again in 1468, a marriage proposal arrived from Afonso V of Portugal. Going against his promises made in September, Henry tried to make the marriage a reality. If Isabella married Afonso, Henry's daughter Joanna would marry Afonso's son John II and thus, after the death of the old king, John and Joanna could inherit Portugal and Castile. Isabella refused and made a secret promise to marry her cousin and very first betrothed, Ferdinand of Aragon. After this failed attempt, Henry once again went against his promises and tried to marry Isabella to Louis XI's brother Charles, Duke of Berry. In Henry's eyes, this alliance would cement the friendship of Castile and France as well as remove Isabella from Castilian affairs. However, Isabella once again refused the proposal. Meanwhile, John II of Aragon negotiated in secret with Isabella a wedding to his son Ferdinand. On 18 October 1469, the formal betrothal took place.Plunkett,Ierne. ''Isabel of Castile''. The Knickerbocker Press, 1915, p. 78 Because Isabella and Ferdinand were second cousins, they stood within the prohibited degrees of
consanguinity Consanguinity ("blood relation", from Latin '':wikt: consanguinitas, consanguinitas'') is the characteristic of having a kinship with another person (being descended from a common ancestor). Many jurisdictions have laws prohibiting people who ar ...
and the marriage would not be legal unless a dispensation from the Pope was obtained. With the help of the Valencian Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia (later Alexander VI), Isabella and Ferdinand were presented with a supposed papal bull by Pius II (who had actually died in 1464), authorising Ferdinand to marry within the third degree of consanguinity, making their marriage legal. Afraid of opposition, Isabella eloped from the court of Henry with the excuse of visiting her brother Alfonso's tomb in Ávila. Ferdinand, on the other hand, crossed Castile in secret disguised as a servant. They married immediately upon reuniting on 19 October 1469 in the Palacio de los Vivero in the city of
Valladolid Valladolid () is a Municipalities of Spain, municipality in Spain and the primary seat of government and de facto capital of the Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community of Castile and León. It is also the capital of the province o ...
.Gerli, p. 219


War with Portugal

On 12 December 1474, news of King Henry IV's death in
Madrid Madrid ( , ) is the capital and most populous city of Spain. The city has almost 3.4 million inhabitants and a Madrid metropolitan area, metropolitan area population of approximately 6.7 million. It is the Largest cities of the Europ ...
(which had happened on 11 December) reached Segovia. This prompted Isabella to take refuge within the walls of the
Alcázar of Segovia The Alcázar of Segovia ("Segovia Castle") is a medieval castle located in the city of Segovia, in Castile and León, Spain. Rising out on a rocky crag at the western end of the old town, above the confluence of rivers Eresma River, Eresma and ...
, where she received the support of Andres de Cabrera and Segovia's council. The next day, Isabella was proclaimed Queen of Castile and León. Isabella's reign got off to a rocky start. King Henry IV had named Isabella as his successor, so when she ascended to the throne in 1474, there were already several plots against her. Diego Pacheco, the Marquis of Villena, and his followers maintained that Joanna la Beltraneja, Henry's daughter, was the rightful queen. Shortly after the Marquis made his claim, a longtime supporter of Isabella, the
Archbishop of Toledo This is a list of Bishop (Catholic Church), Bishops and Archbishops of Toledo, Spain, Toledo ( la, Archidioecesis Metropolitae Toletana).
, left court to plot with his great-nephew the Marquis. The Archbishop and Marquis made plans to have Joanna marry her uncle King Afonso V of Portugal and invade Castile to claim the throne for themselves. In May 1475, King Afonso and his army crossed into Spain and advanced to Plasencia. Here he married the young Joanna. A long and bloody war for the Castilian succession then took place. The war went back and forth for almost a year, until the Battle of Toro on 1 March 1476, in which both sides claimed Spanish historian Ana Carrasco Manchado: ''"...The battle f Torowas fierce and uncertain, and because of that both sides attributed themselves the victory. John, the son of Afonso of Portugal, sent letters to the Portuguese cities declaring victory. And Ferdinand of Aragon did the same. Both wanted to take advantage of the victory's propaganda."'' I
''Isabel I de Castilla y la sombra de la ilegitimidad: propaganda y representación en el conflicto sucesorio (1474–1482)''
2006, pp. 195, 196.
Spanish historian Cesáreo Fernández Duro: ''"...For those who ignore the background of these circumstances it will certainly seem strange that while the Catholic Monarchs raised a temple in Toledo in honour of the victory that God granted them on that occasion, the same fact he Battle of Torowas festively celebrated with solemn processions on its anniversary in Portugal" '' i
''La batalla de Toro (1476). Datos y documentos para su monografía histórica''
in Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia, tome 38, Madrid, 1901,p. 250.
and celebrated Manchado
''Isabel I de Castilla y la sombra de la ilegitimidad: propaganda y representación en el conflicto sucesorio (1474–1482)''
2006, p. 199 (foot note nr.141).
victory: the troops of King Afonso V were beaten Pulgar
''Crónica de los Señores Reyes Católicos Don Fernando y Doña Isabel de Castilla y de Aragón''
chapter XLV.
Garcia de Resende- ''Vida e feitos d'El Rei D.João II'', chapter XIII. by the Castilian centre-left commanded by the Duke of Alba and Cardinal Mendoza while the forces led by John of Portugal defeated chronicler Hernando del Pulgar (Castilian): ''"...promptly, those 6 Castilian captains, which we already told were at the right side of the royal battle, and were invested by the prince of Portugal and the bishop of Évora, turned their backs and put themselves on the run."'' i
''Crónica de los Señores Reyes Católicos Don Fernando y Doña Isabel de Castilla y de Aragón''
chapter XLV.
chronicler Garcia de Resende (Portuguese): ''"... And being the battles of both sides ordered that way and prepared to attack by nearly sunshine, the King ordered the prince to attack the enemy with his and God's blessing, which he obeyed (...). (...) and after the sound of the trumpets and screaming all for S. George invested so bravely the enemy battles, and in spite of their enormous size, they could not stand the hard fight and were rapidly beaten and put on the run with great losses."'' In ''Vida e feitos d'El Rei D.João II'', chapter XIII. chronicler Juan de Mariana (Castilian): ''"(...) the '' astilian/nowiki>'' horsemen (...) moved forward(...).They were received by prince D. John... which charge... they couldn't stand but instead were defeated and ran away "'' i
''Historia General de España''
tome V, book XXIV, chapter X, pp. 299–300.
chronicler Damião de Góis (Portuguese): ''"(...) these Castilians who were on the right of the Castilian Royal battle, received '' he charge of/nowiki>'' the Prince's men as brave knights invoking Santiago but they couldn't resist them and began to flee, and '' o/nowiki>'' our men killed and arrested many of them, and among those who escaped some took refuge (...) in their Royal battle that was on left of these six '' astilian/nowiki>'' divisions. "'' i
''Chronica do Principe D. Joam''
chapter LXXVIII.
the Castilian right wing and remained in possession chronicler Juan de Mariana (Castilian): ''"...the enemy led by prince D. John of Portugal, who without suffering defeat, stood on a hill with his forces in good order until very late (...). Thus, both forces '' astilian and Portuguese/nowiki>'' remained face to face for some hours; and the Portuguese kept their position during more time (...)"'' i
''Historia General de España''
tome V, book XXIV, chapter X, pp. 299–300.
chronicler Rui de Pina (Portuguese): ''"And being the two enemy battles face to face, the Castilian battle was deeply agitated and showing clear signs of defeat if attacked as it was without King and dubious of the outcome.(...) And without discipline and with great disorder they went to Zamora. So being the Prince alone on the field without suffering defeat but inflicting it on the adversary he became heir and master of his own victory"'' i
''Chronica de El- rei D.Affonso V...''
3rd book, chapter CXCI.
of the battlefield. But despite its uncertain French historian Jean Dumont i
''La "imcomparable" Isabel la Catolica/ The incomparable Isabel the Catholic''
Encuentro Ediciones, printed by Rogar-Fuenlabrada, Madrid, 1993 (Spanish edition), p. 49: ''"...But in the left '' ortuguese/nowiki>'' Wing, in front of the Asturians and Galician, the reinforcement army of the Prince heir of Portugal, well provided with artillery, could leave the battlefield with its head high. The battle resulted this way, inconclusive. But its global result stays after that decided by the withdrawal of the Portuguese King, the surrender... of the Zamora's fortress on 19 March, and the multiple adhesions of the nobles to the young princes."''
French historian Joseph-Louis Desormeaux: ''"... The result of the battle was very uncertain; Ferdinand defeated the enemy's right wing led by Afonso, but the Prince had the same advantage over the Castilians."'' I
''Abrégé chronologique de l'histoire de l'Éspagne''
Duchesne, Paris, 1758, 3rd Tome, p. 25.
outcome, the Battle of Toro represented a great political victory Spanish academic António M. Serrano: ''" From all of this it is deductible that the battle '' f Toro/nowiki>'' was inconclusive, but Isabella and Ferdinand made it fly with wings of victory. (...) Actually, since this battle transformed in victory; since 1 March 1476, Isabella and Ferdinand started to rule in the Spain's throne. (...) The inconclusive wings of the battle became the secure and powerful wings of San Juan's eagle'' he commemorative temple of the Battle of Toro/nowiki>'' ."'' i
''San Juan de los Reyes y la batalla de Toro''
revist
Toletum
, segunda época, 1979 (9)
pp. 55–70
. Real Academia de Bellas Artes y Ciencias Históricas de Toledo, Toledo.
ISSN An International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) is an eight-digit serial number used to unique identifier, uniquely identify a serial (publishing), serial publication, such as a magazine. The ISSN is especially helpful in distinguishing betwee ...

0210-6310
A. Ballesteros Beretta: ''"His moment is the inconclusive Battle of Toro.(...) both sides attributed themselves the victory.... The letters written by the King '' erdinand/nowiki>'' to the main cities... are a model of skill. (...) what a powerful description of the battle! The nebulous transforms into light, the doubtful acquires the profile of a certain triumph. The politic '' erdinand/nowiki>'' achieved the fruits of a discussed victory."'' I
''Fernando el Católico, el mejor rey de España''
''Ejército'' revue, nr 16, p. 56, May 1941.
Vicente Álvarez Palenzuela
''La guerra civil Castellana y el enfrentamiento con Portugal (1475–1479)''
''"That is the battle of Toro. The Portuguese army had not been exactly defeated, however, the sensation was that D. Juana's cause had completely sunk. It made sense that for the Castilians Toro was considered as the divine retribution, the compensation desired by God to compensate the terrible disaster of Aljubarrota, still alive in the Castilian memory"''.
Spanish academic Rafael Dominguez Casas: ''"...San Juan de los Reyes resulted from the royal will to build a monastery to commemorate the victory in a battle with an uncertain outcome but decisive, the one fought in Toro in 1476, which consolidated the union of the two most important Peninsular Kingdoms."'' I
''San Juan de los reyes: espacio funerário y aposento régio''
in ''Boletín del Seminário de Estúdios de Arte y Arqueologia'', number 56, p. 364, 1990.
for the Catholic Monarchs, assuring them the throne since the supporters of Joanna la Beltraneja disbanded and the Portuguese army, without allies, left Castile. As summarised by the historian Justo L. González:
Both armies faced each other at the camps of Toro resulting in an indecisive battle. But while the Portuguese King reorganised his troops, Ferdinand sent news to all the cities of Castile and to several foreign kingdoms informing them about a huge victory where the Portuguese were crushed. Faced with these news, the party of "la Beltraneja" '' oanna/nowiki>'' was dissolved and the Portuguese were forced to return to their kingdom. Justo L. González
''Historia del Cristianismo''
, Editorial Unilit, Miami, 1994, Tome 2, Parte II (La era de los conquistadores), p. 68.
With great political vision, Isabella took advantage of the moment and convoked courts at Madrigal-Segovia (April–October 1476) Historian Marvin Lunenfeld: "In 1476, immediately after the indecisive battle of Peleagonzalo '' ear Toro/nowiki>'', Ferdinand and Isabella hailed the result as a great victory and called a cortes at Madrigal. The newly created prestige was used to gain municipal support from their allies (...)" i
''The council of the Santa Hermandad: a study of the pacification forces of Ferdinand and Isabella''
University of Miami Press, 1970, p. 27.
where her eldest child and daughter Isabella was first sworn as heiress to Castile's crown. That was equivalent to legitimising Isabella's own throne. In August of the same year, Isabella proved her abilities as a powerful ruler on her own. A rebellion broke out in Segovia, and Isabella rode out to suppress it, as her husband Ferdinand was off fighting at the time. Going against the advice of her male advisors, Isabella rode by herself into the city to negotiate with the rebels. She was successful and the rebellion was quickly brought to an end. Two years later, Isabella further secured her place as ruler with the birth of her son John, Prince of Asturias, on 30 June 1478. To many, the presence of a male heir legitimised her place as ruler. Meanwhile, the Castilian and Portuguese fleets fought for hegemony in the Atlantic Ocean and for the wealth of Guinea (gold and slaves), where the decisive naval Battle of Guinea was fought. Battle of Guinea: Alonso de Palencia
Década IV
Book XXXIII, Chapter V (''"Disaster among those sent to the mines of gold '' uinea/nowiki>''. Charges against the King..."''), pp. 91–94. This was a decisive battle because after it, in spite of the Catholic Monarchs' attempts, they were unable to send new fleets to Guinea, Canary or to any part of the Portuguese empire until the end of the war. The ''Perfect Prince'' sent an order to drown any Castilian crew captured in Guinea waters. Even the Castilian navies which left Guinea before the signature of the peace treaty had to pay the tax ("quinto") to the Portuguese crown when they returned to Castile after the peace treaty. Isabella had to ask permission of Afonso V so that this tax could be paid in Castilian harbours. Naturally all this caused a grudge against the Catholic Monarchs in Andalusia.
Historian Malyn Newitt: ''"However, in 1478 the Portuguese surprised thirty-five Castilian ships returning from Mina '' uinea/nowiki>'' and seized them and all their gold. Another...Castilian voyage to Mina, that of Eustache de la Fosse, was intercepted ... in 1480. (...) All things considered, it is not surprising that the Portuguese emerged victorious from this first maritime colonial war. They were far better organised than the Castilians, were able to raise money for the preparation and supply of their fleets, and had clear central direction from ... '' rince/nowiki>'' John."'' I
''A history of Portuguese overseas expansion, 1400–1668''
New York:
Routledge Routledge () is a British multinational publisher. It was founded in 1836 by George Routledge, and specialises in providing academic books, journals and online resources in the fields of the humanities, behavioural science, education ...
2005, pp. 39–40.
The war dragged on for another three years and ended with a Castilian victory on land Bailey W. Diffie and George D. Winius ''"In a war in which the Castilians were victorious on land and the Portuguese at sea, ..."'' i
''Foundations of the Portuguese empire 1415–1580''
volume I, University of Minnesota Press, 1985
p. 152
and a Portuguese victory on the sea. The four separate peace treaties signed at Alcáçovas (4 September 1479) reflected that result: Portugal gave up the throne of Castile in favour of Isabella in exchange for a very favourable share of the Atlantic territories disputed with Castile (they all went to Portugal with the exception of the
Canary Islands The Canary Islands (; es, Canarias, ), also known informally as the Canaries, are a Spanish autonomous community and archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster, or collecti ...
: Alonso de Palencia
Decada IV
book XXXII, chapter III: in 1478 a Portuguese fleet intercepted the armada of 25 navies sent by Ferdinand to conquer Gran Canary – capturing 5 of its navies plus 200 Castilians – and forced it to fled hastily and definitively from Canary waters. This victory allowed Prince John to use the Canary Islands as an "exchange coin" in the peace treaty of Alcáçovas.
Guinea with its mines of gold,
Cape Verde , national_anthem = () , official_languages = Portuguese , national_languages = Cape Verdean Creole , capital = Praia , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , demonym ...
, Madeira,
Azores ) , motto =( en, "Rather die free than subjected in peace") , anthem= ( en, "Anthem of the Azores") , image_map=Locator_map_of_Azores_in_EU.svg , map_alt=Location of the Azores within the European Union , map_caption=Location of the Azores wi ...
, and the right of conquest over the Kingdom of Fez) plus a large war compensation: 106.676 dobles of gold. Mendonça, 2007, pp. 101–103. The Catholic Monarchs also had to accept that Joanna la Beltraneja remain in Portugal instead of Spain and to pardon all rebellious subjects who had supported Joanna and King Afonso.Edwards,John. ''The Spain of the Catholic Monarchs 1474–1520''. Blackwell Publishers Inc, 2000, p. 38 And the Catholic Monarchswho had proclaimed themselves rulers of Portugal and donated lands to noblemen inside this countryhad to give up the Portuguese crown. At Alcáçovas, Isabella and Ferdinand had conquered the throne, but the Portuguese exclusive right of navigation and commerce in all of the Atlantic Ocean south of the Canary Islands meant that Spain was practically blocked out of the Atlantic and was deprived of the gold of Guinea, which induced anger in
Andalusia Andalusia (, ; es, Andalucía ) is the southernmost Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community in Peninsular Spain. It is the most populous and the second-largest autonomous community in the country. It is officially recognised as a ...
. Spanish academic Antonio Rumeu de Armas claims that with the peace treaty of Alcáçovas in 1479, the Catholic Monarchs "... buy the peace at an excessively expensive price ..." António Rumeu de Armas
book description
MAPFRE, Madrid, 1992, page 88.
and historian Mª Monserrat León Guerrero added that they "... find themselves forced to abandon their expansion by the Atlantic ...". Mª Monserrat León Guerrero i
''El segundo viaje colombino''
University of Valladolid, 2000, chapter 2, pp. 49–50.
Christopher Columbus Christopher Columbus * lij, Cristoffa C(or)ombo * es, link=no, Cristóbal Colón * pt, Cristóvão Colombo * ca, Cristòfor (or ) * la, Christophorus Columbus. (; born between 25 August and 31 October 1451, died 20 May 1506) was a ...
freed Castile from this difficult situation, because his New World discovery led to a new and much more balanced sharing of the Atlantic at Tordesillas in 1494. As the orders received by Columbus in his first voyage (1492) show: " he Catholic Monarchshave always in mind that the limits signed in the share of Alcáçovas should not be overcome, and thus they insist with Columbus to sail along the parallel of Canary." Thus, by sponsoring the Columbian adventure to the west, the Spanish monarchs were trying the only remaining path of expansion. As is now known, they would be extremely successful on this issue. Isabella had proven herself to be a fighter and tough monarch from the start. Now that she had succeeded in securing her place on the Castilian throne, she could begin to institute the reforms that the kingdom desperately needed.


Reform


Regulation of crime

When Isabella came to the throne in 1474, Castile was in a state of despair due to her brother Henry's reign. It was known that Henry IV was a big spender and did little to enforce the laws of his kingdom. It was even said by one Castilian denizen of the time that murder, rape, and robbery happened without punishment. Because of this, Isabella needed desperately to find a way to reform her kingdom. Due to the measures she imposed, historians during her lifetime saw her to be more inclined to justice than to mercy, and indeed far more rigorous and unforgiving than her husband Ferdinand.


La Santa Hermandad

Isabella's first major reform came during the cortes of Madrigal in 1476 in the form of a police force, La Santa Hermandad (the Holy Brotherhood). Although 1476 was not the first time that Castile had seen the Hermandad, it was the first time that the police force was used by the crown. During the late medieval period, the expression ''hermandad'' had been used to describe groups of men who came together of their own accord to regulate law and order by patrolling the roads and countryside and punishing malefactors. These brotherhoods had usually been suppressed by the monarch, however. Furthermore, before 1476, the justice system in most parts of the country was effectively under the control of dissident members of the nobility rather than royal officials. To fix this problem, during 1476, a general Hermandad was established for Castile, Leon, and Asturias. The police force was to be made up of locals who were to regulate the crime occurring in the kingdom. It was to be paid for by a tax of 1800 maravedís on every one hundred households. In 1477, Isabella visited Extremadura and Andalusia to introduce this more efficient police force there as well.


Other criminal reforms

Keeping with her reformation of the regulation of laws, in 1481 Isabella charged two officials with restoring peace in Galicia. This turbulent province had been the prey of tyrant nobles since the days of Isabella's father, John II. Robbers had infested the highways and oppressed the smaller towns and villages. The officials Isabella charged set off with the Herculean task of restoring peace for the province and were ultimately successful. Indeed, they drove over 1,500 robbers from Galicia.


Finances

From the very beginning of her reign, Isabella fully grasped the importance of restoring the Crown's finances. The reign of Henry IV had left the kingdom of Castile in great debt. Upon examination, it was found that the chief cause of the nation's poverty was the wholesale alienation of royal estates during Henry's reign.Plunkett,Ierne. ''Isabel of Castile''. The Knickerbocker Press, 1915, p. 150 To make money, Henry had sold off royal estates at prices well below their value. The Cortes of Toledo of 1480 came to the conclusion that the only hope of lasting financial reform lay in a resumption of these alienated lands and rents. This decision was warmly approved by many leading nobles of the court, but Isabella was reluctant to take such drastic measures. It was decided that the Cardinal of Spain would hold an enquiry into the tenure of estates and rents acquired during Henry IV's reign. Those that had not been granted as a reward for services were to be restored without compensation, while those that had been sold at a price far below their real value were to be bought back at the same sum. While many of the nobility were forced to pay large sums of money for their estates, the royal treasury became even richer. Isabella's one stipulation was that there would be no revocation of gifts made to churches, hospitals, or the poor. Another issue of money was the overproduction of coinage and the abundance of mints in the kingdom. During Henry's reign, the number of mints regularly producing money had increased from just five to 150. Much of the coinage produced in these mints was nearly worthless. During the first year of her reign, Isabella established a monopoly over the royal mints and fixed a legal standard to which the coinage had to approximate. By shutting down many of the mints and taking royal control over the production of money, Isabella restored the confidence of the public in the Crown's ability to handle the kingdom's finances.


Government

Both Isabella and Ferdinand established very few new governmental and administrative institutions in their respective kingdoms. Especially in Castile, their main achievement was to use more effectively the institutions that had existed during the reigns of John II and Henry IV. Historically, the center of the Castilian government had been the royal household, together with its surrounding court. The household was traditionally divided into two overlapping bodies. The first body was made up of household officials, mainly people of the nobility, who carried out governmental and political functions for which they received special payment. The second body was made up of some 200 permanent servants or ''continos'' who performed a wide range of confidential functions on behalf of the rulers. By the 1470s, when Isabella began to take a firm grip on the royal administration, the senior offices of the royal household were simply honorary titles and held strictly by the nobility. The positions of a more secretarial nature were often held by senior churchmen. Substantial revenues were attached to such offices and were therefore enjoyed greatly, on an effectively hereditary basis, by the great Castilian houses of nobility. While the nobles held the titles, individuals of lesser breeding did the real work. Traditionally, the main advisory body to the rulers of Castile was the Royal Council. The council, under the monarch, had full power to resolve all legal and political disputes. The council was responsible for supervising all senior administrative officials, such as the Crown representatives in all of the major towns. It was also the supreme judicial tribunal of the kingdom. In 1480, during the Cortes of Toledo, Isabella made many reforms to the Royal Council. Previously there had been two distinct yet overlapping categories of royal councillor. One formed a group which possessed both judicial and administrative responsibilities. This portion consisted of some bishops, some nobles, and an increasingly important element of professional administrators with legal training known as ''letrados''. The second category of traditional councillor had a less formal role. This role depended greatly on the individuals' political influence and personal influence with the monarch. During Isabella's reign, the role of this second category was completely eliminated. As mentioned previously, Isabella had little care for personal bribes or favours. Because of this, this second type of councillor, usually of the nobility, was only allowed to attend the council of Castile as an observer. Isabella began to rely more on the professional administrators than ever before. These men were mostly of the
bourgeoisie The bourgeoisie ( , ) is a social class, equivalent to the middle or upper middle class. They are distinguished from, and traditionally contrasted with, the proletariat by their affluence, and their great cultural and financial capital. ...
or lesser nobility. The council was also rearranged and it was officially settled that one bishop, three '' caballeros'', and eight or nine lawyers would serve on the council at a time. While the nobles were no longer directly involved in the matters of state, they were welcome to attend the meetings. Isabella hoped by forcing the nobility to choose whether to participate or not would weed out those who were not dedicated to the state and its cause. Isabella also saw the need to provide a personal relationship between herself as the monarch and her subjects. Therefore, Isabella and Ferdinand set aside a time every Friday during which they themselves would sit and allow people to come to them with complaints. This was a new form of personal justice that Castile had not seen before. The Council of State was reformed and presided over by the King and Queen. This department of public affairs dealt mainly with foreign negotiations, hearing embassies, and transacting business with the Court of Rome. In addition to these departments, there was also a Supreme Court of the Santa Hermandad, a Council of Finance, and a Council for settling purely Aragonese matters. Although Isabella made many reforms that seem to have made the Cortes stronger, in actuality the Cortes lost political power during the reigns of Isabella and Ferdinand. Isabella and her husband moved in the direction of a non-parliamentary government and the Cortes became an almost passive advisory body, giving automatic assent to legislation which had been drafted by the royal administration. After the reforms of the Cortes of Toledo, the Queen ordered a noted jurist, Alfonso Diaz de Montalvo, to undertake the task of clearing away legal rubbish and compiling what remained into a comprehensive code. Within four years the work stood completed in eight bulky volumes and the Ordenanzas Reales took their place on legal bookshelves.


Events of 1492


Granada

At the end of the
Reconquista The ' (Spanish language, Spanish, Portuguese language, Portuguese and Galician language, Galician for "reconquest") is a Historiography, historiographical construction describing the 781-year period in the history of the Iberian Peninsula be ...
, only Granada was left for Isabella and Ferdinand to conquer. The
Emirate of Granada ) , common_languages = Official language: Classical ArabicOther languages: Andalusi Arabic, Mozarabic Mozarabic, also called Andalusi Romance, refers to the medieval Romance languages, Romance varieties spoken in the Iberian Penins ...
had been held by the Muslim Nasrid dynasty since the mid-13th century. Protected by natural barriers and fortified towns, it had withstood the long process of the
reconquista The ' (Spanish language, Spanish, Portuguese language, Portuguese and Galician language, Galician for "reconquest") is a Historiography, historiographical construction describing the 781-year period in the history of the Iberian Peninsula be ...
. On 1 February 1482, the king and queen reached Medina del Campo and this is generally considered the beginning of the war for Granada. While Isabella's and Ferdinand's involvement in the war was apparent from the start, Granada's leadership was divided and never able to present a united front. It still took ten years to conquer Granada, however, culminating in 1492. The Spanish monarchs recruited soldiers from many European countries and improved their artillery with the latest and best cannon. Systematically, they proceeded to take the kingdom piece by piece. In 1485 they laid siege to Ronda, which surrendered after only a fortnight due to extensive bombardment. The following year, Loja was taken, and again Muhammad XII was captured and released. One year later, with the fall of Málaga, the western part of the Muslim Nasrid kingdom had fallen into Spanish hands. The eastern province succumbed after the fall of Baza in 1489. The siege of Granada began in the spring of 1491 and Muhammad XII finally surrendered at the end of the year. On 2 January 1492, Isabella and Ferdinand entered Granada to receive the keys of the city and the principal
mosque A mosque (; from ar, مَسْجِد, masjid, ; literally "place of ritual prostration"), also called masjid, is a Place of worship, place of prayer for Muslims. Mosques are usually covered buildings, but can be any place where prayers (sujud) ...
was reconsecrated as a church. The Treaty of Granada was signed later that year; in it, Ferdinand and Isabella gave their word to allow the Muslims and Jews of Granada to live in peace. During the war, Isabella noted the abilities and energy of Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba and made him one of the two commissioners for the negotiations. Under her patronage, De Córdoba went on to an extraordinary military career that revolutionised the organisation and tactics of the emerging Spanish military, changing the nature of warfare and altering the European balance of power.


Columbus and Portuguese relations

Just three months after entering Granada, Queen Isabella agreed to sponsor
Christopher Columbus Christopher Columbus * lij, Cristoffa C(or)ombo * es, link=no, Cristóbal Colón * pt, Cristóvão Colombo * ca, Cristòfor (or ) * la, Christophorus Columbus. (; born between 25 August and 31 October 1451, died 20 May 1506) was a ...
on an expedition to reach the
East Indies The East Indies (or simply the Indies), is a term used in historical narratives of the Age of Discovery. The Indies refers to various lands in East (disambiguation)#Geography, the East or the Eastern hemisphere, particularly the islands and ...
by sailing west (for a distance of 2000 miles, according to Columbus). The crown agreed to pay a sum of money as a concession from monarch to subject.Edwards, John. ''Ferdinand and Isabella''. Pearson Education Limited, 2005, p. 120 Columbus's expedition departed on 3 August 1492, and arrived in the
New World The term ''New World'' is often used to mean the majority of Earth's Western Hemisphere, specifically the Americas."America." ''The Oxford Companion to the English Language'' (). McArthur, Tom, ed., 1992. New York: Oxford University Press, p. 3 ...
on 12 October. He returned the next year and presented his findings to the monarchs, bringing natives and gold under a hero's welcome. Although Columbus was sponsored by the Castilian queen, treasury accounts show no royal payments to him until 1493, after his first voyage was complete. Spain then entered a Golden Age of
exploration Exploration refers to the historical practice of discovering remote lands. It is studied by geographers and historians. Two major eras of exploration occurred in human history: one of convergence, and one of divergence. The first, covering most ...
and
colonisation Colonization, or colonisation, constitutes large-scale population movements wherein migrants maintain strong links with their, or their ancestors', former country – by such links, gain advantage over other inhabitants of the territory. When ...
—the period of the
Spanish Empire The Spanish Empire ( es, link=no, Imperio español), also known as the Hispanic Monarchy ( es, link=no, Monarquía Hispánica) or the Catholic Monarchy ( es, link=no, Monarquía Católica) was a colonial empire governed by Spain and its History ...
. In 1494, by the
Treaty of Tordesillas The Treaty of Tordesillas, ; pt, Tratado de Tordesilhas . signed in Tordesillas, Spain on 7 June 1494, and authenticated in Setúbal, Portugal, divided the newly discovered lands outside Europe between the Portuguese Empire and the Spanish Emp ...
, Isabella and Ferdinand agreed to divide the Earth, outside of Europe, with King John II of
Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a Sovereign state, country whose mainland is located on the Iberian Peninsula of Southern Europe, Southwestern Europe, and whose territory also includes ...
. The Portuguese did not recognize that South America belonged to the Spanish because it was in Portugal's sphere of influence, and King John II threatened to send an army to claim the land for the Portuguese.


Position on slavery

Isabella was not in favor of enslaving the American natives. She established the royal position on how the indigenous people should be treated by following the recent policies implemented in the
Canary Islands The Canary Islands (; es, Canarias, ), also known informally as the Canaries, are a Spanish autonomous community and archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster, or collecti ...
(which had a small amount of native inhabitants), which stated that all peoples were subjects of the
Crown of Castile The Crown of Castile was a medieval polity in the Iberian Peninsula that formed in 1230 as a result of the third and definitive union of the crowns and, some decades later, the parliaments of the kingdoms of Kingdom of Castile, Castile and King ...
, and could not be enslaved in most situations.F. Weissberger, Barbara ''Queen Isabel I of Castile: Power, Patronage, Persona''
Tamesis Books, 2008, p. 27, accessed 9 July 2012
There were some circumstances in which a person could be enslaved, including being a
prisoner of war A prisoner of war (POW) is a person who is held Captivity, captive by a belligerent power during or immediately after an armed conflict. The earliest recorded usage of the phrase "prisoner of war" dates back to 1610. Belligerents hold priso ...
, or for practising
cannibalism Cannibalism is the act of consuming another individual of the same species as food. Cannibalism is a common ecology, ecological interaction in the animal kingdom and has been recorded in more than 1,500 species. Human cannibalism is well docum ...
or sodomy. After an episode in which Columbus captured 1,200 men, Isabella ordered their return and the arrest of Columbus, who was insulted in the streets of
Granada Granada (,, DIN: ; grc, Ἐλιβύργη, Elibýrgē; la, Illiberis or . ) is the capital city of the province of Granada, in the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain. Granada is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, at t ...
. Isabella realized that she could not trust all the conquest and evangelization to take place through one man, so she opened the range for other expeditions led by Alonso de Hojeda,
Juan de la Cosa Juan de la Cosa (c. 1450 – 28 February 1510) was a Castilian navigator A navigator is the person on board a ship or aircraft responsible for its navigation.Grierson, MikeAviation History—Demise of the Flight Navigator FrancoFlyers.org ...
, Vicente Yáñez Pinzón, or Pedro Alonso Niño. To prevent her efforts from being reversed in the future, Isabella instructed her descendants in her last will as follows: "do not give rise to or allow the Indians ndigenous Americansto receive any wrong in their persons and property, but rather that they be treated well and fairly, and if they have received any wrong, remedy it."


Expulsion of the Jews

With the institution of the Roman Catholic Inquisition in Spain, and with the Dominican friar Tomás de Torquemada as the first Inquisitor General, the Catholic Monarchs pursued a policy of religious and national unity. Though Isabella opposed taking harsh measures against Jews on economic grounds, Torquemada was able to convince Ferdinand. On 31 March 1492, the
Alhambra decree The Alhambra Decree (also known as the Edict of Expulsion; Spanish language, Spanish: ''Decreto de la Alhambra'', ''Edicto de Granada'') was an edict issued on 31 March 1492, by the joint Catholic Monarchs of Spain (Isabella I of Castile and Ferd ...
for the expulsion of the Jews was issued.Liss,Peggy. "Isabel the Queen," Oxford University Press, 1992. p. 298 The Jews had until the end of July, four months, to leave the country and they were not to take with them gold, silver, money, arms, or horses. Traditionally, it had been claimed that as many as 200,000 Jews left Spain, but recent historians have shown that such figures are exaggerated: Henry Kamen has shown that out of a total population of 80,000 Jews, a maximum of 40,000 left and the rest converted. Hundreds of those that remained came under the Inquisition's investigations into relapsed ''conversos'' ( Marranos) and the Judaizers who had been abetting them.


Later years

Isabella was given the title of Catholic Monarch by
Pope Alexander VI Pope Alexander VI ( it, Alessandro VI, va, Alexandre VI, es, Alejandro VI; born Rodrigo de Borja; ca-valencia, Roderic Llançol i de Borja ; es, Rodrigo Lanzol y de Borja, lang ; 1431 – 18 August 1503) was head of the Catholic Churc ...
, of whose behavior and involvement in matters Isabella did not approve. Along with the physical unification of Spain, Isabella and Ferdinand embarked on a process of spiritual unification, trying to bring the country under one faith (
Roman Catholicism The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics Catholic Church by country, worldwide . It is am ...
). As part of this process, the Inquisition became institutionalised. After a Muslim uprising in 1499, and further troubles thereafter, the Treaty of Granada was broken in 1502, and Muslims were ordered to either become Christians or to leave. Isabella's confessor, Cisneros, was named Archbishop of Toledo. He was instrumental in a program of rehabilitation of the religious institutions of Spain, laying the groundwork for the later
Counter-Reformation The Counter-Reformation (), also called the Catholic Reformation () or the Catholic Revival, was the period of Catholic resurgence that was initiated in response to the Protestant Reformation. It began with the Council of Trent (1545–1563) a ...
. As Chancellor, he exerted more and more power. Isabella and her husband had created an empire and in later years were consumed with administration and politics; they were concerned with the succession and worked to link the Spanish crown to the other rulers in Europe. By early 1497, all the pieces seemed to be in place: The son and heir John, Prince of Asturias, married a Habsburg princess, Margaret of Austria, establishing the connection to the
Habsburg The House of Habsburg (), alternatively spelled Hapsburg in Englishgerman: Haus Habsburg, ; es, Casa de Habsburgo; hu, Habsburg család, it, Casa di Asburgo, nl, Huis van Habsburg, pl, dom Habsburgów, pt, Casa de Habsburgo, la, Domus Hab ...
s. The eldest daughter, Isabella of Aragon, married King Manuel I of Portugal, and the younger daughter,
Joanna of Castile Joanna (6 November 1479 – 12 April 1555), historically known as Joanna the Mad ( es, link=no, Juana la Loca), was the nominal Queen of Castile from 1504 and Queen of Aragon from 1516 to her death in 1555. She was married by arrangement to Phi ...
, was married to a Habsburg prince, Philip I of Habsburg. In 1500, Isabella granted all non-rebellious natives in the colonies citizenship and full legal freedom by decree. However, Isabella's plans for her eldest two children did not work out. Her only son, John of Asturias, died shortly after his marriage. Her daughter, Isabella of Aragon, died during the birth of her son, Miguel da Paz, who died shortly after, at the age of two. Queen Isabella I's crowns passed to her third child, Joanna, and her son-in-law, Philip I. Isabella did, however, make successful dynastic matches for her two youngest daughters. The death of Isabella of Aragon created a necessity for Manuel I of Portugal to remarry, and Isabella's third daughter, Maria of Aragon, became his next bride. Isabella's youngest daughter,
Catherine of Aragon Catherine of Aragon (also spelt as Katherine, ; 16 December 1485 – 7 January 1536) was Queen of England as the first wife of King Henry VIII from their marriage on 11 June 1509 until their annulment on 23 May 1533. She was previousl ...
, married England's Arthur, Prince of Wales, but his early death resulted in her being married to his younger brother, King Henry VIII of England. Isabella officially withdrew from governmental affairs on 14 September 1504 and she died that same year on 26 November at the Medina del Campo Royal Palace. She had already been in decline since the deaths of her son Prince John of Asturias in 1497, her mother Isabella of Portugal in 1496, and her daughter Princess Isabella of Asturias in 1498. She is entombed in
Granada Granada (,, DIN: ; grc, Ἐλιβύργη, Elibýrgē; la, Illiberis or . ) is the capital city of the province of Granada, in the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain. Granada is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, at t ...
in the Capilla Real, which was built by her grandson,
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, french: Charles Quint, it, Carlo V, nl, Karel V, ca, Carles V, la, Carolus V (24 February 1500 – 21 September 1558) was Holy Roman Emperor and Archduke of Austria from 1519 to 1556, King of Spain (Crown of Castile, Castil ...
(Carlos I of Spain), alongside her husband Ferdinand, her daughter Joanna and Joanna's husband Philip I; and Isabella's 2-year-old grandson, Miguel da Paz (the son of Isabella's daughter, also named Isabella, and King Manuel I of Portugal). The museum next to the Capilla Real holds her crown and scepter.


Appearance and personality

Isabella was short but of strong stocky build, of a very fair complexion, and had a hair color that was between strawberry-blonde and auburn. Other descriptions, however, describe her hair as golden (blonde), and period illuminations show her several times with golden or strawberry blond hair. Some portraits show her as a brunette. That is due to a phenomenon occurring in old portraits, which often causes hair pigments to go dark brown. Many portraits from the 15th and 16th centuries are a victim of it. However, the statue of her in Granada Cathedral, by Burgundian sculptor Philippe de Vigarny (born in Langres, in what is now France), also shows her as a dark-haired brunette. Her daughters, Joanna and Catherine, were thought to resemble her the most in looks. Isabella maintained an austere, temperate lifestyle, and her religious spirit influenced her the most in life. In spite of her hostility towards the Muslims in
Andalusia Andalusia (, ; es, Andalucía ) is the southernmost Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community in Peninsular Spain. It is the most populous and the second-largest autonomous community in the country. It is officially recognised as a ...
, Isabella developed a taste for Moorish decor and style. Isabella's contemporaries described her as follows: * Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés: "To see her speak was divine." * : "She was an endeavored woman, very powerful, very prudent, wise, very honest, chaste, devout, discreet, truthful, clear, without deceit. Who could count the excellences of this very Catholic and happy Queen, always very worthy of praises." * Hernando del Pulgar: "She was very inclined to justice, so much so that she was reputed to follow more the path of rigor than that of mercy, and did so to remedy the great corruption of crimes that she found in the kingdom when she succeeded to the throne." * : " he_royal_knight_Álvaro_Yáñez_de_Lugo.html" ;"title="Álvaro_Yáñez_de_Lugo.html" ;"title="he royal knight Álvaro Yáñez de Lugo">he royal knight Álvaro Yáñez de Lugo">Álvaro_Yáñez_de_Lugo.html" ;"title="he royal knight Álvaro Yáñez de Lugo">he royal knight Álvaro Yáñez de Lugowas condemned to be beheaded, although he offered forty thousand ''ducados'' for the war against the Moors to the court so that these monies spare his life. This matter was discussed with the queen, and there were some who told her to pardon him, since these funds for the war were better than the death of that man, and her highness should take them. But the queen, preferring justice to cash, very prudently refused them; and although she could have confiscated all his goods, which were many, she did not take any of them to avoid any note of greed, or that it be thought that she had not wished to pardon him in order to have his goods; instead, she gave them all to the children of the aforesaid knight." * Ferdinand, in his testament, declared that "she was exemplary in all acts of virtue and of fear of God." * Fray Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros, her confessor and the Grand Inquisitor, praised "her purity of heart, her big heart and the grandness of her soul".


Family

Isabella and Ferdinand had seven children, five of whom survived to adulthood: * Isabella (1470–1498) married firstly to Afonso, Prince of Portugal, no issue. Married secondly to
Manuel I of Portugal Manuel I (; 31 May 146913 December 1521), known as the Fortunate ( pt, O Venturoso), was list of Portuguese monarchs, King of Portugal from 1495 to 1521. A member of the House of Aviz, Manuel was Duke of Beja and Duke of Viseu, Viseu prior to su ...
, had Miguel da Paz, who died before his second birthday. * A son, miscarried on 31 May 1475 in Cebreros * John (1478–1497), Prince of Asturias. Married Archduchess Margaret of Austria, no surviving issue. * Joanna (1479–1555), Queen of Castile. Married Philip the Handsome, had issue. * Maria (1482–1517), married
Manuel I of Portugal Manuel I (; 31 May 146913 December 1521), known as the Fortunate ( pt, O Venturoso), was list of Portuguese monarchs, King of Portugal from 1495 to 1521. A member of the House of Aviz, Manuel was Duke of Beja and Duke of Viseu, Viseu prior to su ...
, her sister's widower, had issue. * A daughter, stillborn twin sister of Maria. Born on 1 July 1482 at dawn. * Catherine (1485–1536), married firstly to Arthur, Prince of Wales, no issue. Married his younger brother,
Henry VIII of England Henry VIII (28 June 149128 January 1547) was King of England from 22 April 1509 until his death in 1547. Henry is best known for his Wives of Henry VIII, six marriages, and for his efforts to have his first marriage (to Catherine of Aragon) ...
, had Henry, Duke of Cornwall and
Mary I of England Mary I (18 February 1516 – 17 November 1558), also known as Mary Tudor, and as "Bloody Mary" by her Protestant opponents, was List of English monarchs, Queen of England and List of Irish monarchs, Ireland from July 1553 and Queen of Sp ...
.


Cause of beatification and canonization

In 1958, José García Goldaraz, the Bishop of Valladolid where she died in 1504, started the canonical
Catholic The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics worldwide . It is among the world's oldest and largest international institutions, and has played a ...
process of the Cause of Beatification and
Canonization Canonization is the declaration of a deceased person as an officially recognized saint, specifically, the official act of a Christianity, Christian communion declaring a person worthy of Cult (religious practice), public veneration and enterin ...
of Isabella. 17 experts were appointed to investigate more than 100,000 documents in the archives of Spain and the Vatican and the merits of opening a canonical process of canonization. 3,500 of these were chosen to be included in 27 volumes. In 1970, that Commission determined that "A Canonical process for the canonization of Isabella the Catholic could be undertaken with a sense of security since there was not found one single act, public or private, of Queen Isabella that was not inspired by Christian and evangelical criteria; moreover there was a 'reputation of sanctity' uninterrupted for five centuries and as the investigation was progressing, it was more accentuated." In 1972, the Process of Valladolid was officially submitted to the
Congregation for the Causes of Saints In the Catholic Church, the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints, previously named the Congregation for the Causes of Saints (), is the dicastery of the Roman Curia that oversees the complex process that leads to the canonization of saints, passi ...
in the Vatican. This process was approved and Isabel was given the title "
Servant of God "Servant of God" is a title used in the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized ...
" in March 1974. The cause was initially stopped in 1991, one year before the commemoration of the fifth centenary of the discovery of the New World, due to her expulsion of the Jews. In April 2020, Cardinal Cañizares confirmed that
Pope Francis Pope Francis ( la, Franciscus; it, Francesco; es, link=, Francisco; born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 17 December 1936) is the head of the Catholic Church. He has been the bishop of Rome and sovereign of the Vatican City State since 13 March 2013. ...
had requested that Spanish bishops reopen Isabella's cause for canonization. Some authors have claimed that Isabella's reputation for sanctity derives in large measure from an image carefully shaped and disseminated by the queen herself.


Arms

As Princess of Asturias, Isabella bore the undifferenced royal arms of the Crown of Castile and added the Saint John the Evangelist's Eagle, an eagle displayed as single
supporter In heraldry, supporters, sometimes referred to as ''attendants'', are figures or objects usually placed on either side of the Escutcheon (heraldry), shield and depicted holding it up. Early forms of supporters are found in medieval seals. H ...
. As queen, she quartered the Royal Arms of the Crown of Castile with the Royal Arms of the Crown of Aragon, she and Ferdinand II of Aragon adopted a yoke and a bundle of arrows as
heraldic badge A heraldic badge, emblem, impresa, device, or personal device worn as a badge indicates allegiance to, or the property of, an individual, family or corporate body. Medieval forms are usually called a livery badge, and also a cognizance. They are ...
s. As co-monarchs, Isabella and Ferdinand used the motto " Tanto Monta" (''"They amount to the same", or "Equal opposites in balance"''), which refers to their prenuptial agreement. The conquest of
Granada Granada (,, DIN: ; grc, Ἐλιβύργη, Elibýrgē; la, Illiberis or . ) is the capital city of the province of Granada, in the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain. Granada is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, at t ...
in 1492 was symbolised by the addition enté en point of a quarter with a pomegranate for Granada (in Spanish, ''Granada'' means pomegranate). There was an uncommon variant with the Saint John the Evangelist's eagle and two lions adopted as Castilian royal supporters by John II, Isabella's father. File:Coat of Arms of Isabella of Castile as Princess of Asturias (with crest).svg, Coat of arms as Princess of Asturias
(1468–1474) File:Coat of Arms of Queen Isabella of Castile (1474-1492).svg, Coat of arms as queen
(1474–1492) File:Coat of Arms of Queen Isabella of Castile (1492-1504).svg, Coat of arms as queen
(1492–1504) File:Ornamented Coat of Arms of Queen Isabella of Castile (1492-1504).svg, Coat of arms as queen with Castilian royal supporters (1492–1504) File:Escudo de Isabel la Católica ca 1495.jpg, Coat of arms of Isabella I of Castile depicted in the manuscript from 1495 ''Breviary of Isabella the Catholic''


Legacy

Isabella is most remembered for enabling Columbus' voyage to the New World, which ushered in an era of great wealth for Spain and Europe. Her reign saw the founding of the
Spanish Empire The Spanish Empire ( es, link=no, Imperio español), also known as the Hispanic Monarchy ( es, link=no, Monarquía Hispánica) or the Catholic Monarchy ( es, link=no, Monarquía Católica) was a colonial empire governed by Spain and its History ...
, which in turn ultimately led to establishment of the modern nations of the Americas. She and her husband completed the Reconquista, driving out the most significant Muslim influence in Western Europe and firmly establishing Spain and the Iberian peninsula as staunchly Catholic. Her reign also established the
Spanish Inquisition The Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition ( es, Tribunal del Santo Oficio de la Inquisición), commonly known as the Spanish Inquisition ( es, Inquisición española), was established in 1478 by the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, Cathol ...
.


Commemoration

The Spanish crown created the Order of Isabella the Catholic in 1815 in honor of the queen. Isabella was the first woman to be featured on US postage stamps,Scotts Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps namely on three stamps of the Columbian Issue, also in celebration of Columbus. She appears in the 'Columbus soliciting aid of Isabella', 5-cent issue, and on the Spanish court scene replicated on the 15-cent Columbian, and on the $4 issue, in full portrait, side by side with Columbus. The $4 stamp is the only stamp of that denomination ever issued and one which collectors prize not only for its rarity (only 30,000 were printed) but its beauty, an exquisite carmine with some copies having a crimson hue. Mint specimens of this commemorative have been sold for more than $20,000.Scotts Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps:Quantities Issued Isabella was also the first named woman to appear on a United States coin, the 1893 commemorative Isabella quarter, celebrating the 400th anniversary of Columbus's first voyage.


Ancestry


Explanatory notes


References


Further reading

* Boruchoff, David A. ''Isabel la Católica, Queen of Castile: Critical Essays''. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003. * , Bailey W. and Winius, George D. (1977
''Foundations of the Portuguese Empire, 1415–1580''
Volume 1, University of Minnesota Press. * Downey, Kirsten "Isabella, The Warrior Queen,". New York, Anchor Books, Penguin, 2014. * , Edmondo Michael (1992
''Medieval Iberia: An Encyclopedia''
Taylor & Francis. * Edwards, John. ''The Spain of the Catholic Monarchs, 1474–1520''. Oxford: Blackwell 2000. * Hillgarth, J.N. ''The Spanish Kingdoms, 1250–1516. Castilian hegemony''. Oxford 1978. * Hunt, Joceyln (2001) ''Spain, 1474–1598''. Routledge, 1st Ed. * Kamen, Henry. ''The Spanish Inquisition: a historical revision'' (Yale University Press, 2014) * Liss, Peggy K. (1992) ''Isabel the Queen''. New York: Oxford University Press; * , Marvin (1970
"The council of the Santa Hermandad: a study of the pacification forces of Ferdinand and Isabella"
University of Miami Press. * Miller, Townsend Miller (1963) ''The Castles and the Crown: Spain 1451–1555''. New York: Coward-McCann * Prescott, William H. (1838). ''History of the Reig of Ferdinand and Isabella''. * Roth, Norman (1995) ''Conversos, Inquisition, and the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain''. (Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press) * Stuart, Nancy Rubin. ''Isabella of Castile: the First Renaissance Queen'' (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1991) * Tremlett, Giles. ''Isabella of Castile. Europe's First Great Queen'' (London: Bloomsbury, 2017) * Tremlett, Giles. ''Catherine of Aragon. Henry's Spanish Queen'' (London: Faber and Faber, 2010) * Weissberger, Barbara F. ''Queen Isabel I of Castile: Power, Patronage, Persona'' (2008) * Weissberger, Barbara F. ''Isabel Rules: Constructing Queenship, Wielding Power'' (2003)


In Spanish and Portuguese


Books

* , Antonio Rumeu (1992) ''El tratado de Tordesillas''. Madrid: Colecciones MAPFRE 1492
book description
* Azcona, Tarsicio de. ''Isabel la Católica. Estudio crítico de su vida y su reinado''. Madrid 1964. * , Joseph-Louis Ripault (1758
''Abrégé chronologique de l'histoire de l'Éspagne''"> ''Abrégé chronologique de l'histoire de l'Éspagne''
Duchesne, Paris, 3rd Tome. * , Jean (1993
''La "imcomparable" Isabel la Catolica''
(The "incomparable" Isabella, the Catholic), Madrid: Encuentro Editiones, printed by Rogar-Fuenlabrada (Spanish edition). * , Justo L. (1994
''Historia del Cristianismo''
Miami: Editorial Unilit, Tome 2. * , Mª Monserrat León (2002
''El segundo viaje colombino''
Alicante: Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes. * Ladero Quesada, Miguel Angel. ''La España de los Reyes Católicos'', Madrid 1999. * , Ana Isabel Carrasco (2006
''Isabel I de Castilla y la sombra de la ilegitimidad. Propaganda y representación en el conflicto sucesorio (1474–1482)''
Madrid: Sílex ediciones. * , Manuela (2007) ''O Sonho da União Ibérica – guerra Luso-Castelhana 1475/1479'', Lisboa: Quidnovi
book description
. * Pereira, Isabel Violante (2001) ''De Mendo da Guarda a D. Manuel I''. Lisboa: Livros Horizonte * Perez, Joseph. ''Isabel y Fernando. Los Reyes Católicos''. Madrid 1988. * Suárez Fernández, L. and M. Fernández (1969) ''La España de los reyes Católicos (1474–1516)''.


Articles

* , Antonio Ballesteros (1941
''Fernando el Católico''
in ''Ejército'' revue, Ministerio del Ejercito, Madrid, nr 16, p.  54–66, May 1941. * , Rafael Dominguez (1990
''San Juan de los reyes: espacio funerário y aposento régio''
– in ''Boletín del Seminário de Estúdios de Arte y Arqueologia'', number 56, p.  364–383, University of Valladolid. * , Cesáreo Fernández (1901
''La batalla de Toro (1476). Datos y documentos para su monografía histórica''
Madrid: Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia, tomo 38. * ,Vicente Ángel Alvarez (2006
''La guerra civil castellana y el enfrentamiento con Portugal (1475–1479)''
Universidad de Alicante, Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes. * , Miguel-Ángel Ladero (2000
''Portugueses en la frontera de Granada''
Revista En la España medieval, Universidad Complutense, nr. 23, pages 67–100. * , António Macia
''San Juan de los Reyes y la batalla de Toro''
revist
Toletum
segunda época, 1979 (9)
pp. 55–70
. Toledo: Real Academia de Bellas Artes y Ciencias Históricas de Toledo.
ISSN An International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) is an eight-digit serial number used to unique identifier, uniquely identify a serial (publishing), serial publication, such as a magazine. The ISSN is especially helpful in distinguishing betwee ...

0210-6310


Chronicles

* , Damião de (1724
''Chronica do Principe D. Joam''
edited by Lisboa occidental at the officina da Música, Lisboa (Biblioteca Nacional Digital). * , Juan de (1839
''Historia General de España''
tome V Barcelona: printing press of D. Francisco Oliva. * , Alfonso de – ''Gesta Hispaniensia ex annalibus suorum diebus colligentis, Década II
and IV''
(the three first ''Décadas were'' edited as ''Cronica del rey Enrique IV'' by Antonio Paz y Meliá in 1904 and the fourth as Cuarta Década by José Lopes de Toro in 1970). * , Ruy de (1902
''Chronica de El- rei D. Affonso V''
Project Gutenberg Ebook, Biblioteca de Clássicos Portugueses, 3rd book, Lisboa. * , Hernando del (1780
''Crónica de los Señores Reyes Católicos Don Fernando y Doña Isabel de Castilla y de Aragón''
(Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes), Valencia: edited by Benito Monfort. * , Garcia de''Vida e feitos d'El Rei D.João II'' electronic version, wikisource.


External links


Isabella I in the Catholic Encyclopedia


* ttps://web.archive.org/web/20060105155606/http://www.goldbergweb.com/en/magazine/essays/2004/02/20213_print.php Music at Isabella's court
University of Hull: Genealogy information on Isabella I


A report in Spanish about the beatification in ''El Mundo''
Isabella I of Castile – Facts (Video)
, Check123 – Video Encyclopedia {{DEFAULTSORT:Isabella 01 Of Castile 1451 births 1504 deaths 15th-century Castilian monarchs 16th-century Castilian monarchs Aragonese queen consorts Burials at the Royal Chapel of Granada Castilian infantas Countesses of Barcelona History of Catholicism in Spain House of Trastámara Majorcan queens consort People from the Province of Ávila Princes of Asturias Queens regnant Order of Isabella the Catholic Royal consorts of Naples Royal consorts of Sicily Spanish people of English descent Spanish people of Portuguese descent Spanish Renaissance people Spanish Servants of God Roman Catholic royal saints 15th-century Spanish women 16th-century Spanish women 15th-century women rulers 16th-century women rulers 16th-century venerated Christians Spanish exploration in the Age of Discovery