Isabella I

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Related to Isabella of Castile: Ferdinand of Aragon, Bartolome de las Casas

Isabella I


Isabella the Catholic,

1451–1504, Spanish queen of Castile and León (1474–1504), daughter of John II of Castile. In 1469 she married Ferdinand of Aragón (later King Ferdinand IIFerdinand II
or Ferdinand the Catholic,
1452–1516, king of Aragón (1479–1516), king of Castile and León (as Ferdinand V, 1474–1504), king of Sicily (1468–1516), and king of Naples (1504–16).
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 of Aragón and Ferdinand V of Castile). At the death (1474) of her half-brother Henry IVHenry IV,
1425–74, Spanish king of Castile and León (1454–74), son and successor of John II. His weakness opened the way to civil strife and anarchy. The Castilian nobles refused to recognize Henry's alleged daughter Juana la Beltraneja as his heiress and
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 of Castile, the succession to Castile was contested between Isabella and Juana la BeltranejaJuana la Beltraneja
, 1462–1530, Castilian princess, daughter of Juana of Portugal, queen of Henry IV of Castile. Her paternity was generally attributed to the court favorite Beltrán de la Cueva, whence her name.
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, who was supported by Alfonso VAlfonso V,
1432–81, king of Portugal (1438–81), son of Duarte and Queen Leonor. During his minority there was a struggle for the regency between the queen mother and Alfonso's uncle, Dom Pedro, duke of Coimbra.
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 of Portugal. The civil war ended with Isabella's victory in 1479, the year in which Ferdinand became king of Aragón. Isabella and Ferdinand, known as the Catholic kings, ruled Castile and Aragón jointly. Although the union of their crowns was personal rather than institutional, their reign in effect marked the beginning of the unified Spanish kingdom. Isabella's principal aim was to assert royal authority over the lawless Castilian nobility. To this end she revived the medieval hermandadhermandad
[Span.,=brotherhood], a peacekeeping association of armed individuals, a characteristic of municipal life in medieval Spain, especially in Castile. Hermandades are known to have existed as early as the 12th cent.
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 and confiscated the lands of many magnates. She also took over the administration of the holdings of the powerful religious military orders (by making Ferdinand their grand master) and established the InquisitionInquisition
, tribunal of the Roman Catholic Church established for the investigation of heresy. The Medieval Inquisition

In the early Middle Ages investigation of heresy was a duty of the bishops.
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 under royal control. She was a prime mover in the expulsion (1492) of the Jews from Spain, the conquest (1492) of Granada, and the forced conversion of the Moors. She showed foresight in her patronage of Christopher ColumbusColumbus, Christopher,
Ital. Cristoforo Colombo , Span. Cristóbal Colón , 1451–1506, European explorer, b. Genoa, Italy. Early Years
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. The Catholic kings furthered learning and the arts and promoted great building activity. The style of the period is called isabelino after the queen; it combines Gothic, Mudejar, and Renaissance features. Isabella bequeathed Castile to her daughter JoannaJoanna
(Joanna the Mad), 1479–1555, Spanish queen of Castile and León (1504–55), daughter of Ferdinand II and Isabella I. She succeeded to Castile and León at the death of her mother.
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, with Ferdinand as regent.


See biographies by I. L. Plunket (1915), W. T. Walsh (1987), and K. Downey (2014); W. H. Prescott, History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella the Catholic (3 vol., 1838; abr. ed. 1962); J. H. Mariéjol, The Spain of Ferdinand and Isabella (1892, tr. 1961); R. B. Merriman, The Rise of the Spanish Empire, Vol. II (1918, repr. 1962); J. H. Elliott, Imperial Spain: 1469–1716 (1963).

Isabella I


Born Apr. 22, 1451, in Madrigal; died Nov. 26, 1504, in Medina del Campo. Queen of Castile from 1474. Daughter of King John II.

Isabella’s marriage in 1469 to Ferdinand of Aragon, who became the king of Aragon in 1479, led to the dynastic union of Castile and Aragon (in fact, to the unification of Spain). Isabella broke the resistance of the feudal aristocracy with the help of the league of cities (hermandad). She subsequently restricted city liberties, laying the foundation for the system of centralized administration. With the capture of Granada, the Reconquista was completed under Isabella. Columbus’ expedition was equipped during her reign. Isabella’s religious policy was notable for its fanaticism and included the establishment of the Inquisition in 1480, the expulsion of the Jews in 1492, and the forcible conversion of the Arabs to Christianity.

Isabella I

known as Isabella the Catholic. 1451--1504, queen of Castile (1474--1504) and, with her husband, Ferdinand V, joint ruler of Castile and Aragon (1479--1504)
References in periodicals archive ?
Some of the better pieces were heirloom jewels Joanna had inherited from Isabella of Castile, dubbed with special nicknames.
THE POLITICAL kaleidoscope of Italy in 1500 involved shifting combinations of alliance and hostility among the city states of Venice, Milan and Florence, the Papal States under the Borgia pope, Alexander VI, and his son Cesare, and the kingdom of Naples under a branch of the Spanish royal house of Aragon, while Sicily was ruled by Ferdinand II of Aragon himself (the husband of Isabella of Castile, Columbus's backer).
1421: Sea broke through the dykes at Dort in Holland, drowning more than 100,000 people; 1492: Ferdinand and Isabella of Castile signed their grant to Columbus; 1521: Martin Luther excommunicated by the Diet of Worms; 1790: Death of American author and scientist Benjamin Franklin; 1860: The first international boxing match between American boxer John C Heenan and British boxer Tom Sayers ended in a draw after 42 rounds of bare-knuckle brawling; 1940: Yugoslavia surrendered to the Germans; 1956: Premium Savings Bonds introduced in Britain.
Catherine of Aragon of course, the daughter of the great Isabella of Castile, saw no reason why her own daughter, Mary Tudor, should not also be a great woman sovereign.
It is the story of Isabella of Castile, Spain's greatest monarch, whose dedication to her people and religion led to establishing Christian Europe as a powerful force in the medieval world.
The lavish colour and naturalism of the decoration of such manuscripts reflected the wealth and aspirations of not only the dukes of Burgundy, but also such foreign grandees as Queen Isabella of Castile and her daughter Joanna 'the Mad', and King James IV of Scotland.
During the first few years, there were few if any names to write; then as the years went by the blackboard began to fill with the names of "queens, religious leaders, warriors, and writers such as Elizabeth I, Isabella of Castile, Joan of Arc, Lady Jane Grey, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Hildegard of Bingen, Heloise, Margery Kempe, Julian of Norwich, and Christine de Pizan" (xiii).
Anniversaries: 23rd:Civil war ended in Cambodia after Phnom Penh surrendered to the Khmer Rouge; 38th: Death of rockstar Eddie Cochran in a car crash; 42nd: Premium Savings Bonds were introduced in Britain; 138th: The first international boxing match; 50 6th: Ferdinand and Isabella of Castile signed their grant to Columbus.