Biography of Fernando II. King of Aragón y V de Castilla (1452-1516)

King of Sicily (Fernando II, 1468-1474), King of Castile and León (Fernando V, 1474-1504), King of Aragon (Fernando II, 1479-1516), King of Naples (Fernando III, 1503-1516), and Regent of Castile and Leon (1506-1516) on behalf of her daughter, the Queen Joanna I. He/She was born in Zaragoza villa de Sos (today called for this reason Sos del Rey Católico), may 10, 1452, and died January 23, 1516 in Madrigalejo (Cáceres),. Nicknamed the Catholic King, it is one of the most powerful monarchs in history.

Fernando the Catholic, King of Castile and Aragon. Real Palacio. Madrid.


First years ofthe infant comu(1452-1460)

Fernando was the first son of the King Juan I, then King of Navarre (later also would be Juan II of Aragon), and the second wife of the Castilian Lady Juana Enríquez. The first-born of Juan I was Carlos de Aragón, Príncipe de Viana, begotten in his first marriage with Queen Blanche of Navarre, so that, at the moment of his birth, Fernando was not destined to reign, but part of the nobility of the Pyrenean Kingdom, probably at the head of a prominent noble title, or by enjoying a rich prebenda ecclesiastical. But the political situation in which was born the infante Fernando was really complicated and the further development of the events enabled that finally arrived to reign. By of soon, if Fernando was born in Sos, villa belonging to Aragon but very near the border with Navarre, it was because his mother, Juana Enríquez, despite her advanced pregnancy, had to flee from Sangüesa because of the civil war that Carlos faced two political factions, the agramonteses and beaumonteses, supporting respectively the King Juan I and his son. At least in Sos was received by an lineage of the local nobility, the Sada family, supporters of her husband, in whose Palace the birth of the future King Catholic took place. In the region of the milestone he/she had spend their first months of life, as his father waited for the war situation is calmed to make him baptize in Seo from San Salvador, the capital mana, the 11 February 1453, almost a year after being born, something not usual at the time.

Shortly thereafter, he/she left to Barcelona, where he/she lived until March 1457, that left for Castile to attend the signing of a peace between Castile and Aragon regarding the conflict between the agramonteses and beaumonteses with the staff of the Court. The scrupulous Barcelona conselleres referred to in the documentation as the infant community, to distinguish him from his brother Carlos, and emphasizing that he/she was son of Juana Enríquez. In 1458 died his uncle, Alfonso the magnanimous, King of Aragon and Naples, so her father was crowned as Juan II of Aragón, in such a way that the July 25, 1458 the infante Fernando was invested with the titles of Duke of Montblanc, count of Ribagorza and Lord of Balaguer, as well as some Italian titles in Naples and in Sicily that belonged to the Crown of Aragon. These privileges allowed him to have an important economic asset which was administered during the minority of age by Pedro de Vaca, who Juan II had designated as tutor of the young Fernando. During this time, the relationship between Fernando must have been cordial with his older brothers (bastards of his father), Juan of Aragon and Alfonso of Aragon, Duke of Villahermosa, as well as his cousin, nicknamed Enrique Fortuna, posthumous son of the master Enrique of Aragon, who had to share experiences in the itinerant court of Juan II. Traditionally, has been that the future King Catholic not was object of a meticulous education style of the time, following to the letter the expressed will of the Marineo Sículochronicler, who was during the 15th and 16th centuries in the service of Fernando:

Being seven years old, which was appropriate to learn letters, he/she gave signs of great wit and great memory. But the wickedness of the times and envy of cruel fortune, prevented the great ingenuity of Prince, which was rigged to the letters, and turned it from the good arts studies; Because starting to be taught to read and write, as he/she is customary in Spain, and entering in grammar, waved the war to Don Carlos, improperly persuaded some, cruelly against their father; and so it was removed from the letters and studies.(I marineo Siculo, life and made..., p. 21).

But we should not make this claim an absolute, since that, as in other similar cases, is known the name of teachers who had the then-Prince of Aragon, all of them are very prestigious and from different parts of Europe, as the Catalan Miguel's Morer and Antoni Vaquer, Spanish fray Hernando de Talavera, the Sicilian Gregory of Prestimarco andabove all, two characters of great importance: the Italian Francisco Vidal de Noya, renowned humanist, translator of Sallust and prominent poet, who was a teacher of reading and arts of the Prince; Finally, it should be noted this list of masters to Cardinal Joan Margarit, the Bishop of Girona, author of a work (now lost) Epistola seu Libellus de educatione Ferdinandi Aragoniae principis, written as a guide for the future King Catholic education. Thus, and as it will be seen below, the specific historical circumstances surrounding his childhood were no more appropriate to Prince Fernando received an education to use, but not because he/she is escatimasen media or preceptors to do so, or he/she wouldn't, although is sensed by the likes of the monarch as an adult, that already child must feel more inclined to military and chivalrous disciplines that reading habits. Or, even, as related thumb, other certain activities, which undoubtedly had distracting their educational obligations:

Plaziale play all games, tables and axedrez e ball; therein, while was mucus, algund longer than gastava devia.(Thumb, chronic..., I, p. 75).

The first battle of the Duke of Montblanc (1460-1468)

As already seen in the narration of Marineo Siculo, between 1459 and 1460 conflict that kept Juan II of Aragon and his son, Carlos of Viana, it resumed again. If the Prince Fernando, who just had eight years of age, was involved in the conflict was because the rumours pointed to his father Juan II, harassed by his second wife, Juana Enríquez, and faced the rebellion of Carlos of Viana, wanted to appoint first-born to his son Fernando with everything thus making: inherit Navarre and Aragon. The concern of this decision expressed so Melchor Miralles, Chaplain of Alfonso the magnanimous and author of a diary of great value to historians:

In the dit [...] any, the senyor King e senyora reyna [...] volentse Crown; and aco terra not u consented, per sguart com the primogenit don Carles not hera in the regne, per the qual raho hac grans congoxes that the King volia the regnes e terres and gents senyor juraren don Fernando, are fill and fill of senyora reyna dona Johana. And in aco, the règne de Aragó e totes les altres terres li contradigueren [...], of which the dit senyor King pres molt congoxa e senyora reyna molt magor, in such a way that there's poria dir ottima congoxa e ennug of the dita senyora.(The capella Dietari, pp. 240-241).

This news of Miralles represents the starting point of some legend related to Fernando the Catholic black, or better said, the black legend of his mother, Juana Enríquez, whom some historians (even today), have been as the maquinadora evil plan by which Juan II turned to Carlos of Viana of the primogeniture in favour of Fernando, the son of both. The truth is that at that time relations between Juan II and his first son were deteriorated, because Carlos was able to gain a foothold in the conflict which maintained power in Barcelona two political factions, the search for and the Biga, to be supported by the buscaires in their struggle against the authority of the King. In December 1460 Juan II ordered the Prince of Viana prison, which ignited the revolt of the Catalans and the resumption of war in Navarre. Prince Fernando, in the Royal Entourage, was transferred from a site to another, from Fraga to Zaragoza, as the danger stalking him.

The Prince of Viana, died September 22, 1461 and barely a month later Fernando was sworn firstborn and successor real in Catalonia and Aragon. Both sibling relationships is just so, non-existent in reality, thus only agreed twice in his life, while some texts changed this reality wanting to introduce Carlos as exegete of the greatness of his brother Fernando, who, for his part, since then finally abandoned the path of humanistic studies to stay beside her parents in the different events of the reign. It already had a home of servants, where already appeared many of the characters that were going to be key in his reign, as his guardian, Gaspar de Espés, your greater Butler, Espés Ramón, waiter Diego Torres, Treasurer Diego de Trujillo, the Chancellor Pedro Santángel, Luis de la Cavallería, the notary Miquel Climent counter, scribe Juan Sánchez... But while he/she was received with enthusiasm in Barcelona in 1461, in March 1462 Prince Fernando and his mother, Juana Enríquez, had out hurriedly to take refuge in Girona, Barcelona where they were encircled by the troops of the count of Pallars in one of the episodes of the conflict between the Catalans and Juan II. Traditionally, it has to this siege of Girona as the "baptism of fire" of the Prince Fernando, who had 10 years of age and who participated in the defence of Girona as one more, until his brother-in-law Gastón, count of Foix, arrived with French troops to liberate the city from the siege. Since then, during the years 1463 and 1466, it helped militarily his father in the fight that this was against some Catalan nobles, highlighting his victory in Tortosa (1466) decision and its defeat in Vilademat (1467) against the French. In case outside little, Fernando had to suffer the first big personal setback, as it was the death of his mother, the 13 February 1468, which meant even more joining his father, Juan II of Aragon, that already 70 years and falls sick, needed his son to continue rightly governed the destinies of Aragon.

The wedding with the Princess Isabel and its consequences (1469-1473)

In 1459, during the negotiation of Henry IV and Juan II of truces with regard to the conflict of Navarra, the Aragonese monarch had suggested the link between Fernando and Isabel, but his Castilian counterpart had other plans in this regard. After the defeat of Vilademat, Fernando of Aragon, who already had 16 years (the majority of informal age at the time), saw that the conflict between the rebels and Juan II is complicated a lot with the entrance of France against him, so he/she decided that it needed more allies. Spanish Princess to marry would provide, from the political and military point of view the reinforcements necessary to end the complex war in Catalonia. From a personal perspective, Fernando was also able to give up the single life; not in vain, already maintained relations with Aldonza Roig Iborra and Alemany, natural Lady of Cervera and first known lover of the newly appointed (1468) King of Sicily, who in those years was to be the handsome young and virtuous gentleman, in short, the best waiter of Spain who immortalised one century late Lope de Vega in his famous comedy so entitled. Physical description that made thumb is good illustrative concerning the physiognomy of Prince Fernando:

Was home of medium height, well proportioned in its members, and in the actions of his face well compound, believers eyes, the hair tight and flat; OME well complisionado. He/She had the speech like, no hurry and no much spacious. Era of good understanding, very temperate in their eating and drinking, and in the movements of his person, because neither the yra nor the plazer fazia in grand alteration. Cavalgaba very well to cavallo, Chair of the guise and of the Genet; justava, Lanka e fazia tirava everything that ome deve fazer, so loosely and with so much dexterity that none at all its reynos the best fazia. It was great birds caçador, ome of good esfuerco and great worker in the wars. Its natural condition was very inclined to hazer justice, and was also pious and compadeciase of Les miserables to veya in some distress. I had a singular grace: than any which he/she had spoken, then you amava e deseava serve, because he/she had friendly communication.(Thumb, chronic..., I, p. 75).

In the first month of 1469 was signed agreement Cervera castellanos ambassadors and mosen Pierres de Peralta, Constable of Navarre, who represented Aragon by order of Juan II; Cervera economic link, advantageous conditions are agreed for the Spaniards, while political revenue expected to get it with the Aragonese. Soon after, the King of Sicily was en route to Valladolid, performing a complex journey from Valencia to Zaragoza, to pass to Castile by Ariza, Monteagudo, Burgo de Osma and Berlanga. And it is that the curious circumstance that the then King of Sicily, who would have become the most powerful monarch of Christendom, traveled to Castile incognito, accompanied only by his more faithful collaborators (the brothers Espés, Pedro Vaca, Guillén Sánchez and his master, Noya Vidal), in addition to Gutierre de Cárdenas y Alonso de Palencia wassent by Isabel la Católica as legacies. In Castilla, a small contingent of troops under the command of Gómez Manrique served as escort to Valladolid, protecting Fernando of Aragon border surveillance ordered by Enrique IV of Castile, who tried to prevent the entrance into his Kingdom that was to become his brother-in-law. Finally, after seeing for the first time to his future wife three days before, the 19 October 1469, the current Chancery of Valladolid, then Palace of the family nursery, witnessed a crucial link in the history of Spain, but held in his time almost in secrecy, with few guests flashy, thanks to a papal dispensation falsified by Alonso CarrilloArchbishop of Toledo, for spouses were cousins in second grade.

A year later, Fernando of Aragon was father twice: his wife Isabel gave birth in Dueñas to the eldest daughter, Isabel, and almost at the time was born Alonso of Aragón, son of the mistress of the King, Doña Aldonza. The situation in Castile became complicated, every time that Enrique IV, in Valdelozoya, had returned to nominate his daughter, Juana la Beltraneja, heiress to the detriment of his sister Isabel, whom he/she accused of having married Fernando without their consent. The King of Sicily opted for prudence and retreated to Medina de Rioseco, stronghold of the admirals of Castile, the Enriquez, matrilineal relatives. Through emissaries, embassies, talks and diplomatic maneuvers, little by little future Catholic Kings were winning the sympathies of the Castilian nobility, especially the support of the Mendoza line. Thus, with the situation of Castile in a tense calm, Prince Fernando began the trip back to Aragon, where, in October 1472, signed the capitulation of Pedralbes, putting an end to the civil conflict between the Catalans and Juan II, conflict which had accompanied Fernando from the very first moment of his birth.

The reign of the Catholic Kings.

Fernando V of Castile and Leon (1474-1479)

If by signing several agreements with the Castilian nobility before his departure Fernando of Aragon already had shown signs of that tremendous political sagacity which became proverbial with the passage of time, the resumption of its activity how firstborn aragones began to see its military capacity as director of campaigns. His father, Juan II, was already a man of 75 years, with different ailments of health, especially a few waterfalls that barely allowed him to view, so Fernando, as a lieutenant general of the Crown of Aragon, was in charge of helping his father in an attempt to reconquer the Roussillon and Cerdagne to the French King Luis XIthat had occupied them during the war. During 1473 Fernando was received with honors by the old rebel cities to your figure and parental authority, as Barcelona and Girona, in addition to personally directing the siege of Perpignan. However, the French went on the offensive in 1474 and forced the Aragonese to withdraw from such advanced positions, which meant that the Prince Fernando pactase a defense of the area. In addition, in this retreat, there was another powerful reason: the death of Enrique IV, who became King of Castile and Leon to the King of Sicily. The reception of the news by Fernando was daunting, as both Archbishop Carrillo and Gaspar de Espés wrote two separate alerts so be it immediately, ordered in Castile since his wife had decided to Crown without waiting for her husband. This moment must have been one of the most troublesome of the couple, as Fernando feared no doubt that Isabel had reached some agreement with the Castilian nobility to remove him from power. With an unusual speed, the Aragonese entered in Segovia in the early days of 1475 to carry out negotiations between all the parties involved. The agreement is known as the Arbitral Award of Segovia (1475), which were formed in the contractual basis of reign of the Catholic Kings: neither would exercise power alone, but always after mutual Concord; Isabel accepted that her husband, as man, antecediese le in titration, but instead that the Kingdom of Castile was before the of Aragon. Later opted for joint formula "the King and the Queen", used to allude to the fortress and indivisibility of the newborn aragonesa-castellana diarchy. A lawyer of all the confidence of Fernando of Aragon, Alfonso de la Cavallería, was the guarantor of the position Aragonese in this agreement.

After the Arbitral Award, Fernando could entitled King of Castile and Leon with all of law, although this legality did not match an idyllic situation to impose his Government. By suddenly, entry in the running of the Mendoza in favor of the new Kings caused the break between them and his long-time ally, Archbishop Carrillo, perhaps the person who most had worked to hold the link. In addition, Fernando received the sad news affecting the Aragonese Affairs in Castile: the French had taken Perpignan. Taking almost certain that the defection of Carrillo predicted problems, Fernando decided to take the reins of Spanish politics, hit perfectly visible rudder throughout the year 1475, when Alfonso V, King of Portugal, decided to invade Castile for the rights to the throne of his wife, Juana la Beltraneja, with whom it had shortly before married Archbishop Carrillo guidelines. In the concealed civil war Castilla delivered under the guise of a Portuguese invasion, Fernando began to erect in the astute and courageous military that has passed to posterity, making good all that experience in the Catalan war when just a teenager was. Even with the help of the Castilian nobles related to your program, and also huge effort provided by bastards siblings, Fernando personally led the siege of Zamora and the decisive battle of Toro, at the same time that, in union with his wife, dictated the rules of brotherhood in the courts of Madrigal (1476). The military and the political, the determined monarch, ended up succeeding not only Portuguese enemies, but also all those nobles who had dared to challenge his authority, that were gradually accepting the pardon offered by the Catholic monarchs, strongly impressed by the character of the monarch. In this regard, the words Gómez Suárez Figueroa, count of Feria, wrote to Juan II over his son Fernando in 1478 seem significant that had brought the spirit of the new King of Castile at the time of the war:

I think that nature cannot Prince fazer in which more knowledge, the greatness of the soul, the kindness and humanity sparkle or fit as his Majesty, nor is creedera thing you learn, that seems more divine than human [...], therefore all the Spaña nor the world-d' he/she fablarán syno dezir greatness and virtues. (Collected by Sesma Muñoz, Fernando of Aragon, p. 111).

Fernando II of Aragon (1479-1490)

In 1478 was born Prince Juan, son of the Catholic monarchs, and that time would become heir to both Crowns, what seemed to unite further the legality of Fernando as King of Castile. But when still he/she was pacifying this territory and resolving the last embers of the Portuguese invasion, came the news of the death of his father, Juan II (19 January 1479), by what Fernando joined crowns he/she already possessed, Sicily and Castilla y León, the great Crown of Aragon, becoming the most powerful monarch of his time. As happened five years ago when he/she was proclaimed King of Castile, the situation was certainly complicated the relationship between the new monarch and his subjects of the Crown of Aragon, though for opposite reasons: after rales of the catalan civil conflict, indeed, nothing affected the legitimacy of Fernando, but the traditional corporate and pactist idiosyncrasy of the kingdoms that formed the Crown of Aragon married not too well with the rigid characterauthoritarian and absolutist Fernando II, already beginning to glimpse, through the grab, crowns, becoming the Emperor of Spain which is alluded to at the time by the profusion of texts and writings of Exegetical and even messianic character.

Once sorted the funeral of his father, and having defeated the Portuguese at the decisive battle of Albuera, Fernando II of Aragon traveled to Zaragoza, where he/she was crowned on June 28 after swearing the Fueros of Aragon. There it would remain for two months, ordering matters relating to governance and putting in front of a realm their men, as Treasurer Luis Sánchez, dancing Juan Fernández de Heredia, and, in particular, his bastard son, Alonso of Aragón, who tried to promote the cesaraugustana Archdiocese in an attempt to keep him safe from hypothetical intrigues of Castile, as Alonso, as son of the King, even with its illegitimacy, could someday reign; as Archbishop of Zaragoza, Alonso was beyond the rules of succession and would lend to her father a crucial political support, as we will see later. But the succession provisions of the courts of Aragon, as well as the bankruptcy of the Royal Treasury, continued struggling with the relationship between Fernando and his subjects, who always tried to make sure their statutory privileges against monarchical strengthening intended by the King. Perhaps the biggest sticking point was the establishment of the Court of the Inquisition in Zaragoza (1484), in the image and likeness of the orderly in Castile in 1482, following the instructions given to all Christendom by the Pope Sixtus IV by his bull Exigit sinceras devotionis affectus (1478). Attorneys and deputies complained everywhere about the infringement which the Court carried out on charters and legal customs of the Kingdom, but the King remained constant in their attempt to maintain its hegemony in these matters. The murder of the Inquisitor General of Aragon, 1485, Pedro Arbués , and subsequent clashes between Jewish and old Christians in the aljama of Zaragoza, were a time of high tension in the Kingdom, defeated by the unquestionable authority of the King, who did not hesitate one iota in severely punishing those guilty of such wicked crime.

In the summer of 1479 Fernando II entered Barcelona, city which kept not too good memory despite there live some time in his childhood, due to the zeal with which had risen against his father. The pulse between the two most important bodies of Catalonia, the Consell de Cent and the Generalitat, continued struggling with the politics of the Principality by its virulence, aggravating everyday with the conflict of the farmers of remensa. The new monarch, yet again by placing their men in the vicinity of the Governor's office, as his cousin, Enrique Fortuna, count of Ampurias and Lieutenant of Catalonia, has always had to deal with the end of the 15th century Catalan crisis. Served only as trivial palliative some personal provisions of Fernando II, as the Arbitral ruling of Guadalupe (1486), with which it was intended to put an end to the conflict between the two Catalan political sides, the search for and the Biga, and the secular problem of the remences. Even attempts to recover the Roussillon and Sardinia were reason enough to join the forces of Catalonia around the politics of their new King, as a frustrated were the attempts of the man of confidence of Fernando in Catalonia, Jaume Destorrent to positively channel the economic resources of the Principality. The interventionist policy (redrec) of the Catholic King on the appointment of charges and procedures of choice at the Consell and the Generalitat was the cause of this bad relationship, constant but with ups and downs, between the monarch and the Catalan institutions.

The more placid and happy relationship with all the territories that were part of the Crown of Aragon kept Fernando II with the Kingdom of Valencia, which, unlike Aragon and Catalonia, lived a time of great economic boom because of trade, prosperity only disturbed by some embers of the terrible erroneus that had plagued the territory during the first half of the 15th century. The Valencian nobles did not hesitate to give their full support in the military (from Italy or Granada) campaigns, while their men, as the Cabanilles or Torres Diego, dance-general, assured the Valencian institutions fernandino government stability, while in the late 15th century and early 16th attended an economic crisis of tremendous magnitudethat even the successive appointment of agents of the King as rational of Valencia (Gaspar Amat, Bertomeu Cruilles, Joan Figuerola), managed to solve, as borrowing to finance companies of Fernando el Católico had cut severely the growth of the Kingdom.

Fernando II, as King of Aragon, never felt comfortable among the austere and reluctant courts Aragon, very different operation to the Castilian and much more reluctant to accept the real will to the Castilla. For this reason, the policy of the Catholic King in its natural Kingdom was the establish a close network of effective partners in the institutions of the Kingdom, in addition to the nobility of the Kingdom passivated and always ready to serve their interests, as a counterpoint to the great power that the Crown of Aragon had municipalities and courts. Unlike the expansionist policies practiced by Fernando as King of Castile, Aragon had much more important trying to balance all the estates of the realm, only way to strengthen the Royal authority and put an end to the crisis that struck with force to the Crown during the 15th century. Sometimes with authoritarian firmness, sometimes through the assignment and the Covenant, you can say that Fernando II succeeded in its mission, while the balance was always pretty precarious.

The road to the magical year (1480-1492)

Objectives and accomplishments of the actual performance.

The conquest of Granada (see war of Granada), even with their high economic and temporary costs, it was not only one of the fundamental pillars of the time of the Catholic monarchs, but also one of the areas where more accurately can be seen the eagerness of Fernando II to become this solicitous emperor who restored the unity of Spain, lost since the Goths. By having the resources of Aragon from 1479 and once pacified and ordered Castilla from the courts of Toledo of 1480, in the resumption of the Granada company Fernando saw a double opportunity: on the one hand, to reinforce the bellicosity of the Hispanic nobilities (Castilian and Aragonese) in pursuit of a common military objective; on the other hand, continue to get extraordinary income of their kingdoms and even instructing them to church, so pretext of the crusade against the secular Christian enemy. Therefore, the capture of Alhama by Muslims in 1480 was the spark that ignited the conflict, and which had to Fernando of Aragon as the main protagonist to erect in general of the troops that were going to fight against the Muslims. Leaving behind the conquest of Alhama, the monarch was facing a first setback, as it was the unsuccessful siege of Loja (1482), where its excessive momentum prompted both the removal of the Christian troops and the death of some famous Knights, especially that of Rodrigo Téllez Girón, master of Calatrava. But, according to the chronicler,

Went school to the King this fence first of Loxa, who took licion and deprendió science with which I did after the war and with God's help won the land. (Bernaldez, memoirs, p. 125).

And, certainly, from the following year campaigns changed sign: in 1483 took place the battle of Lucena, where the prisoner was made Boabdil el Chico, King of Granada, which did not hesitate to accept a pact with the Catholic monarchs. In 1484 were conquered Alora and Setenil, and in 1486 was Loja, avenging the events of 1482. The successive conquests of Malaga (1487), Baza and Almeria (1489) narrowed the siege of Granada, which was much more in 1491, when the Santa Fe camp practically next door to the Muslim city was built. In addition to addressing issues related to the governance of Aragon and Castile, Fernando II personally led all large movements of troops, which fostered the praises his character of King just, pious, and extraordinary military, such as those contained in this anonymous sermon:

Would who never vido King so cristianissimo and so human, so extrenuo in weapons, which used the war not as a King but as equal and conpanero? (Delgado Scholl and Perea Rodríguez, ed. cit., p. 25).

From a more personal level, away from the popular praises, it is not surprising that the own monarch feel exultant at the fact of end of the secular enterprise of reconquest and become, now yes, the great unifier of Spain. The same day that was the entrance of the Catholic monarchs, Fernando II wrote in his own letter this letter to all the kingdoms and European States, announcing to the world the achievement of such a great company:

It has plazido to our Senyor, after many and major works, expenses and hardships of our reynos, deaths and bloodshed of many of our subjects and natural, blissful ending the war that I've had with the King and moors of the Kingdom and cibdad of Granada; the qual taken and occupied by them more than seven hundred and eighty years, oy, two days of January d' this year of ninety and two, is coming to our power and Lordship... (Collected by Sesma Muñoz, Fernando of Aragon, p. 211).

Since the said murder of Pedro Arbués in 1485, the tension between Jews and Christians had elevated a lot in the Kingdom of Aragon, still proved the innocence of the Hebrews in the assassination. In this sense, the conquest of Granada worked against the Jewish minority, since the popular presentation of Fernando of Aragon as the champion of faith did was accelerate the plan of mandatory conversion to Christianity from the Jews. In essence, and so with regard to the Crown of Aragon, the Jews maintained an important place in the trade, but the vast majority of them had developed much earlier, and in fact, lineages of converts are left to see in the chart of collaborators of the King Fernando (the Santangel, Sánchez, those of the Cavalleria...) Therefore, the Decree of expulsion, which featured different version in Aragon than Castile, formalised a situation that already existed in different areas of the Crown, although it meant the dismantling of major Jewish quarters of the Kingdom, some deep roots, like those of Huesca or Tortosa. But Fernando II remained firm in his decision, convinced of its authoritarian and propaganda advantages over his person (see: Expulsion of the Jews).

The third major milestone of the year 1492, the discovery of America, is a source of deep controversy in the analysis of Fernando II of Aragon. On the one hand, then reckless Columbus enterprise support was carried out by Council of a large group of collaborators of his entourage, such as Alfonso de la Cavallería, Felipe Climent, Juan Coloma or Gabriel Sánchez, at the time that was a family of Valencian merchants, Santangel, also close collaborators of the King of Aragon, who find the financial avenues for the expedition of the Genoese Admiral. To lend their support to it, in the spirit of the King weighed almost as much as the attainment of new trade routes the fact of the expansion of Christianity by other peoples, messianic doctrine that Columbus himself was presented as an attractive ingredient of his expedition in various interviews with both monarchs. Once received the news of the discovery, Fernando II rushed to respect what has been agreed with his wife, at the same time that issued an opinion in which, officially, away from evangelism, trade and use of America to all those foreign kingdoms to Castile, which obtained the monopoly of the new world in all its aspects. While this fact has earned Fernando el Católico many criticisms, in his time and in the following, the decision is perfectly logic from the perspective of the time: wasn't Aragon cornering, but prevent other powers maritime, as Portugal, England and, mainly, France, credited with Castile in the achievement of American benefits. In addition, individually, Aragon, Navarre, Catalan, Valencian and Balearic Islands participated with the same conditions as the rest of Spanish in the American company, which will also be included as a main landmark of the reign of Fernando II of Aragon on exclusively merit. The monarch has always had to the administration of the new world as one of its priorities, not only for the logical financial reasons, but also by their desires expanders; This concern is visible even in the era of the Spanish Regency, when it created the Board of sailors (1508) or upheld the Ordinances of the House of hiring (1510), in addition to the concern expressed in the laws of Burgos (1512) by the legal, labour and personal situation of the indigenous people of the conquered lands. America has always been important for the Catholic King.

The attack (1492)

After the signing of the capitulations of Santa Fe (1492), the level of popularity of Fernando and Isabel grew to unsuspected limits, particularly by the Catholic King, the great conqueror of Granada, not suspecting that, if he/she proposed it, it would even be able to continue the spirit of the Crusades and recover the Holy Sepulchre, as some poets sang:

Fernando fail by profeciade ancient books sacadaque is your name diriaaquel to Conquistariajherusalem and Granada.the such is, and the way well vós demuestraque the conquistares; race decided, not dudes, serving God, that you train. (Cancionero de but Marcuello, ed. Blecua, p. 51).

But this splendour of the year 1492 was on the verge of becoming tragedy due to what, no doubt, was one of the critical moments of the reign of Fernando II and, of course, episode keyword in your own life: the assassination attempt which was subjected, work of a visionary called Juan de Cañamares or Canyamas, which dealt a tremendous stab when the monarch walked with some members of his Entourage in the surroundings of the Cathedral of Barcelona. The narration of Bernaldez is good proof of the dramatic incident, on December 7, 1492:

E to close allegose d' he/she [i.e., the King], from behind, that traitor and dapnado onbre; and as well as the ACAV King of converse with the Treasurer, abaxo a step for cavalgar on his Mule, and who had, and the traitor that tirava hit with an alfange or sword cortancha as fasta three spans. And our Lord would miraculously save it; If you give him rather than moved, by half the fasta cabeça tajarale the honbros; (e) how moved, alcancole with the tip of that tip a slash from the top of the head, by close to the ear, the pescueco ayuso fasta honbros, that gave him seven points. And as the King felt wounded, pusose hands at the cabeça e said: "or, Santa María and valme!" And embarked from looking at all and said: "O, what betrayal! O, what betrayal!" (Bernaldez, memoirs, p. 266).

Fernando II thought that, indeed, a plot by some of his enemies had been guilty of the assassination attempt, which only except for a few tenths of a second, as he/she narrated Bernáldez. The stir in Barcelona to know who was the author did not last long, but it meant the existence of attacks between one and another Kingdom, people to see where the author was. Finally, the peasant confessed that he/she had carried out the crime to be upset and think that it would prevail if he/she killed Fernando II, although his mental derangement not delivered you from suffering a dramatic condemnation. The fighting in Barcelona were calmed by the news that the King had been saved from death, although it was convalescing for six months for his wounds. In the spring of 1493, the city of Barcelona gave to the Catholic King with one of the largest celebrations of all medieval Hispanic, jousts and tournaments, inventions and crests, Bulls, rods and other courtiers entertainment. Everything was to demonstrate popular joy emanating from the fortune of Fernando II, unharmed after the brutal attack.

Tordesillas companies in Italy (1494-1503)

Shortly before the end of 1493, as recovered from his wounds and return to issues of governance, the King of Aragon could definitely smile to negotiate with Carlos VIII , the solution to the dispute between the French and Aragonese: delivery of the counties of Roussillon and Cerdagne to Fernando, in compliance with the agreement, which was reached one of the most persecuted by the monarch wishes, as it was the recover these territories, lost during between the conflict between his father and his brother. Before tackling the transalpine business in all its glory, Fernando was found present in the famous signature of the Treaty of Tordesillas between Castile and Portugal, in which both Crowns traced a through line which divided the areas of influence in the new worlds, discovered at the mercy of his scientific expeditions and colonizing.

External action.

A few days later, in January 1494, the death of Ferrante I, King of Naples, caused to happen him his son, Alfonso II the Guercho, Prince hated by his people thanks to its tyrannical character. The weakness of this ruler lit the fuse of Aragonese intervention in Italy, in conflict with the interests of France. It should be recalled that another sister of the Catholic King, Juana of Aragon, became the diplomatic arm for rooting interests in Italy, as the wife of the deceased Ferrante I. But in February 1495, when Alfonso II of Naples abdicated in his son, Ferrante II, with the French army in Naples, Fernando II of Aragon could then started its offensive, to have broken the French monarch pacts signed on the occasion of the Roussillon and Cerdagne. Allied with Venice, Genoa, and the Papacy, the Catholic King had in the conquest of Naples his main point of action in the hinge between the 15th and 16th centuries, although not directed military operations but that he/she entrusted them to the Gran Capitán, Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, the main architect of the Aragonese conquest of Naples. In a manner parallel to, and covered in his ideal of recovery of the Holy Land, Fernando II gave the go-ahead to several expeditions in North Africa, such as the conquest of Melilla (1497), while the theoretical expansion was braking for other reasons. Years later, with the uprising of the moors of the Granada Alpujarras (1499-1500), the Catholic King realized how much that needed to be having to please the North African territories, but other larger companies claimed his attention (see: rebellion of the Alpujarras).

Fernando II raised a clear political slogan during these years: isolate France, the traditional rival of the Crown of Aragon and at that time enemy in Italy, in the international context, de ahi que these years the monarch do in making different alliances with surrounding Kings through the negotiation of the marriages of their children. Especially important was the marriage Covenant confirmed in 1496: the hispano-imperial double bond through which Prince Juan married the Archduchess Margaret, daughter of the Emperor Maximiliano I, while the Princess Juana would marry the Archduke Felipe the beautiful one. At the time, the eldest daughter, Isabel, who in 1491 Alfonso of Portugal, widow remarried in 1497 with Manuel I, new Portuguese King, keeping the Alliance between the Iberian kingdoms. But the string of deaths gave the fret with these plans: Juan died in 1497, while Isabel did in 1498, in Zaragoza, at the very moment in which Fernando II was by all means that the courts of Aragon jurasen as heir. The son of Isabel, Prince Miguel, which Yes was sworn as heir, died in 1500, again giving the fret with the succession plans. The Catholic King tried to react to these adversities in the political arena through new compacts: Wired link between Felipe and Juana (becoming Inheritors of Castile), Emperor infanta María replaced his sister Isabel as wife of Manuel I of Portugal in 1499, while small, Catalina, was betrothed to Prince Arturo de Gales, heir to England. But these adversities predicted bad omens for the future. Only the great captain in Cerignola (1503) victory against the French, which helped king crowned as Fernando III of Naples, was gratifying during these dark times.

Death of Elizabeth and marriage to Germaine of Foix (1504-1506)

After withstand a serious illness which impaired his health for several months, of November 26, 1504 died Isabella I of Castile at the castle of la Mota, Medina del Campo. King Fernando hurt much of this death, because not in vain, he/she kept a deep feeling of love for his wife, which had been married thirty-five years. The memory of his first wife would always be very present in the monarch, as demonstrated in these lines written by the own monarch in his last will:

Item considering that among the other many and large mercedes, goods and thanks that in our Lord, by his infinite goodness, not our merit, avemos rescibido, a e very marked has been in avernos given by women and company the serene queen Doña Ysabel, the fallescimiento of which knows our Lord quanto hurt our hearts and endearing than d feeling ' it ovimos, as it is just, that allende be so-and-so and so connjunta to us, merescia for itself to be doctada of so many and such singular excellence, that has been in his life an exemplar in all abtos of virtue and of the fear of God, and loved, and consists in both our lives, health and honor that forced us to love and love her on all the things of this world.(Testament of Catholic King, year 1516, f. 22r).

Isabel died, the heirs of Castilla y León, with all the American colonial empire, passed to his daughter Juana, married to the Archduke of Austria, Felipe the beautiful one, a highly uncomfortable son-in-law that already in 1498 had tried various maneuvers to cinch the Castilian Crown. In this frame of mind, the King Fernando sensed quickly the danger of the succession to the Crown of Aragon, which could end up in the hands of Juana and her husband, or the son of both, so, despite their 52 years of age, had no qualms about marrying a Princess of 18 years, who could bear children so they were immediately recognized as heirs of Aragon remarried. The chosen lady was Úrsula Germana de Foix, niece of the King of France, under the Treaty of Blois, of October 12, 1505 and whereby, through primarily from the quoted marriage, Fernando el Católico ensured a truce with their old Gallic enemies that would serve to undertake a reorganization of their Iberian and Mediterranean territories. Such was the essence of this "marriage by reason of State", as named in his day and José Maria Doussinague scholar examined it closely.

From a Spanish perspective, and thanks to a testamentary clause of the Catholic Queen, Fernando II was invested as Regent of Castile in the absence of Juana, situation that occurred between the death of Isabel I in November of 1504 and the arrival to the peninsula of Juana I and Felipe I, in April 1506. This first fernandina Regency was very difficult and was always under suspicion: the Aragonese the Castilians always felt you that you used the financial resources of Castile to fund military enterprises of Aragon in the Mediterranean. In addition, the celebration of the marriage to Germaine of Foix, just one year later widowed, was taken with extreme displeasure by the Castilians, very upset because, in his view, it had missed to the memory of the Catholic Queen with such bridal link, held March 15, 1506 in Dueñas (Palencia). If the wedding was held in Castilla was because Fernando was way interview with his daughter Juana and her son-in-law Felipe. The appointment came to pass in the vicinity of Villafáfila (Zamora), and it was agreed a transfer of powers based on legality, because in any case the Catholic King sinned ambition and relented without any problem (although probably with resquemor) the Spanish Crown to their legitimate cataloged. However, very bitter it must have been that day for Fernando II, which saw how, combining his remarried confounds and theoretically promising future arising in the form of mercedes and gifts of one new monarch, nearly all the Castilian nobility turned his back to pretend to make pleasant impression to Felipe I. The testimony of Bernáldez returns to be illustrative:

The King don Fernando there showed feeling those large and nobles of Castile, how without cabsa as aborrecieron and showed enemy; and thought that otherwise is ovieran there with the King don Felipe.(Bernaldez, memoirs, pp. 499-500).

All those knights who had shared the military Conference in the wars against Portugal and Granada preferred their new, young King. Only the Duke of Alba, the count of Haro and the Admiral of Castile, United by ties of kinship to Fernando of Aragon, remained so loyal as long ago in new and delicate times. After Villafáfila, Fernando II undertook a journey to Naples with the Germanic Queen prior step by Genoa. After the death of Isabel la Católica, the relationship between Fernando II and the great Captain not passed through a good moment, and the monarch wanted to ensure full possession of their Italian lands even at the expense of taking an unpopular measure, as it was the Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba of the Neapolitan command to remove and replace it by nobles and bureaucrats Aragonese his entire confidence. This downfall of Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba before the King was one of the reasons, and even the main, of the decline in popularity of the Catholic King in Castile; but putting aside the disappointment of the military and his companions from range, the monarch remained always faithful to his skill as a political strategist, as he/she quickly realized that it was time to abandon weapons in Italy to the bureaucratic administration. Therefore, the realization of a real entry into Naples November 1, 1506, accompanied by the German Queen and with all the ceremonial inherent in the ideological propaganda of the Aragonese domination of Italy, meant a milestone of importance in the maturity of the third King of Naples named Fernando.

The death of Elizabeth and regencies.

Fernando, Regent of Castile and King of Aragon (1506-1515)

While still in Genoa, Fernando received the news of the death of his son Felipe, King of Castile, that took place from September 25, 1506. The unexpected event forced him to improvise on the fly, although Italy was of the utmost concern, the messages arriving on Castilla were alarming, given the extremely deep depression in which fell the Queen Juana after the death of her husband and the adjacent Government chaos. Fernando reorganized the taxation and the Treasury of Naples and appointed as Viceroy to his nephew, Juan of Aragon, count of Ribagorza, quickly taking the way back to Spain. Arrived in Valencia in July 1507, left his wife, Germana de Foix, as Governor of Aragon and it rode swift to Castile, reaching the funeral procession that moved the corpse of Felipe to Granada in the village of Tórtoles de Esgueva (Burgos). There, the 29 August 1507, Fernando II could finally see his daughter; leaving aside the logical consolatorias words, which surely was a little nice for Fernando to see that depression was that Juana was unworkable as Queen of Castile, which had been fuel in the Kingdom so the Burgundian faction, headed by don Juan Manuel, favourite of the late Felipe, tried to cancel the probate of Isabel the Catholic clause and prevent that Fernando II was Regent of Castile by the inability of Juana, wavering even in attempting to kidnap the infant Fernando, son of Juana and Felipe, who was three years old. The Catholic King agreed an alliance with the Emperor Maximiliano, which was invested as Regent instead of committing to respect the interests of the heir, Prince Carlos of Ghent, resident in Brussels. With the consent of his daughter Juana and the Emperor Maximiliano, Fernando II began his second time as Alderman of the destinations in Castile, although there were some nobles, such as the Duke of Nájera and the Marquis of Zenete, who resisted until 1509, year in which also, with the final residence of Joanna I in Tordesillas, in charge of father Luis Ferrerwaiter Queen and extremely close collaborator of the Catholic King, the story seemed to turn the page on the gruesome past events and start a new stage. The courts of Madrid (1510) marked the staging of the Regency of Fernando, characterized by the resumption of the traditional Spanish expansionist policy.

Fernando of Aragon, even at age 57, had not lost nor an iota of his character, so that in 1509 returned to raise a high-flying company: the conquest of Africa. So it was with the help of Cardinal Cisneros, become the new strong man of the Kingdom of Castile, which had overseen some achievements of small draught in the first years of the 16th century, the conquest of Mazalquivir (1505), Cazaza (1506), or the Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera (1508). In 1509, and in theory as previous step to sending a great crusade against the Turks, the Spanish troops, following instructions of the Regent Fernando and led by Cardinal Cisneros, conquered Oran. Some time later, the Aragonesa Army directed by Pedro Navarro, count of Oliveto, conquered Bejaia (1509) and Tripoli (1510), achieving the vassalage of the province of Algiers. The spirit millennial and cross that Fernando the Catholic flag was accompanying his greatest feats, coming to think even in access to Cyprus and conquer Alexandria, then attacking the own Istanbul, capital of sultan Bayezid II. But the defeat of the Spaniards in Djerba (Tunisia) in 1510, as well as the announcement of Cortes de Aragón in the town of Monzón (1510), paralyzed plans African conquest, and with it the dreams millenarian of Fernando II. In monsoon, while the King succeeded the granting of a high amount of money to finance their businesses, local government intervention and management plans (known in Catalonia with the name of redrec) raised huge suspicions and weighed the relations between the King and the territories of the Crown of Aragon until his death.

From 1510 to 1516 misfortunes seemed to accumulate: Although Fernando el Católico in 1511 achieved the signing of a League between Castile, Aragón, the Papacy, Venice and England to ensure your domain in the South of Italy, in 1512 the French inflicted a most defeats the troops of the League in the battle of Ravenna, forcing Fernando II to rethink something that wasn't to your liking, as it was resending the great captain to Neapolitan land, although finally the expedition broke back. The death of the great Captain (1515) coincided in time with the victory of the new King of France, Francisco I, in the Milan, which reopened the conflict in Italy but in times of the Emperor Carlos, without the Catholic King. The last energies of this would be spent on an Iberian affair that had to be solved by means of weapons: the question of Navarre.

The conquest of Navarre (1512-1515)

The Kingdom of Navarre, which was owned by the father of the Catholic King, Juan II, went to his death (1479) Eleanor of Aragon, sister of Fernando, Gastón de Foix-married; but with the early death of Leonor (which already was a widow) 24 days of being crowned, his son Francisco Febo was the King of Navarre. To the death of Francisco Febo in 1483, succeeded him, his sister Catherine, also niece of Fernando the Catholic but married to Juan de Albret, relative of the King of France. Therefore, although the King of Aragon from 1479 he/she supervised undertaken events in Navarre, covered in its absolute power not only as hegemonic Iberian monarch, but as relative of the lineage, disputes between Fernando II and France affected negatively on the future of the small Kingdom of the Pyrenees, up to the point of making the traditional situation untenable Navarre bridge between Spain and France. César Borja, hijo del Papá died in 1507, in some skirmishes around the fortress of Viana in the unending conflict between the agramonteses and beaumonteses, Alejandro VI, brother-in-law of the King Juan de Albret and enemy odiadisimo by Fernando el Católico, now that both had clashed in the wars of Italy. Despite the fact that the marriage between Fernando of Aragon and Catherine de Foix seemed to soothe relations between France and Spain, the navarra issue erupted in the summer of 1512, in which the armies of Castilian, captained by the Duke of Alba, the most faithful and collaborator Strait of the imperialist policy of the Catholic King, penetrated into the Kingdom and took Pamplonaforcing the Albret to exile to France. Between 1513 and 1515, it was verified the incorporation of Navarre to the territories dominated by Fernando II, becoming, now yes, and with all of the law, in the unifier of the Spains, in the greatest monarch of the history, because he/she had managed to complete the Visigoth broken unit by Muslims in 711, as the same Fernando wroteproud and jubilant, its Ambassador to the Emperor Maximiliano in the year 1514:

One thing haveys answer: which has more than seven hundred years nunqua the Crown d' Spain was so increased or as large as agora, assi in West as in the East; and all (after God), for my work and feature. (Collected by Belenguer Cebriá, 1999, p. 365).

The most delicate problem of the conquest of Navarre was precisely their incorporation to the Crown of Castile and Leon, and not to the Aragon. Needless to say that this decision was taken since the logic more rotunda in terms of the time, as nobody argued that Naples was incorporated into the Crown of Aragon despite being carried out by soldiers of Castile and Castilian economic resources-funded. If the Catholic King, in the case of Navarre, was decided by their incorporation to Castile was to avoid France, to ever return to being under French influence, which will finish no cane in case of incorporated into the Crown of Aragon. Obviously, this decision found its support at the time (especially the beaumonteses), but it also had its detractors (the agramonteses), who reacted by calling the monarch Fernando the badmouth. Such problems on Navarre passed to historiography, where supporters and critics have debated their different perspectives of how vigorous and passionate (as seen in the study of Víctor Pradera), or form more detailed (as it can be seen in the work of Luis Suárez Fernández). Lacking an agreement among all parties concerned, will have to be content with consider to Navarre as the last big company carried out by Fernando el Católico, as his days were close to completion.

The humble death of the mightier King (1516)

In 1509, the Germanic Queen gave birth to a son of Fernando the Catholic, that Juan was named in tribute to his paternal grandfather; However, the baby would survive just a few hours. The interest of the monarch by fathering children in his second wife was the most visible personal concern in his later years, especially after this event. To achieve this purpose, the King was even eating a prepared liquid with invigorating effects, which, according to some, was supplied by the own Germanic Queen. The potion, however, obtained a completely opposite to the intended result, in such a way that not only it did not serve to bear children but that it seriously lastró the health of the King in his last five years of life. The chronicler Prudencio de Sandoval picked up this rumor about the BREW, which was born in the Aragonese Court, and was spread by the common people, few years later, telling in his imperial chronicle the death of del Rey Católico:

He died dressed in the habit of St. Dominic. It was very undone because ensued her cameras, which not only removed the swelling which had the dropsy, but disfigured him and consumed in such a way that did not seem to him. And to the truth, his illness was dropsy with evil heart, although some would say that they had given herbs, because some part of a jaw; dropped but you might not know some more of that many believed that that stew the Germanic Queen gave her to make you powerful prostrated him natural virtue.(Sandoval, Historia..., I, p. 63).

Dropsy or drop, disease very prone to cause deaths in the ruling class by the abusive of their diet, was aggravated by the presence of pustules (cameras), guilty almost certainly of the disfigurement of his body. With respect to the fall of the jaw, is a simple description of an Embolic episode or partial paralysis of the nervous system, surely the derivations of a cardiovascular problem product. At the age of 63, the monarch was suffering the consequences of a full life full of excesses in all directions.

Fernando II was planning to spend the spring of 1516 in Andalusia, where he/she apparently was to oversee the formation of a fleet to resume the North African company; But passing through Extremadura, Sevilla road, became very ill and stayed in Madrigalejo, a humble town that witnessed his death, January 23, 1516, as well as other humildisima villa, Sos, it had been his birth. Following the news of Zurita, in his testament the Catholic King asked to be buried in the Royal Chapel of Granada, next to his wife Queen Isabel I, at the time that had the temptation to appoint heir at the expense of Carlos infante Fernando, Fernando had been raised in the Iberian Peninsula and not in Flanders. They were collaborators, such as Luis Zapata, Francisco de Vargas and the doctor Carvajal, who persuaded him embrollar over the succession issue and offer two clearly opposing sides to the nobility to civil strife, which had been finiquitadas by the Catholic monarchs, were returned as ghosts of the past. Thus, as regards governance, Cardinal Cisneros was appointed regent of Castilla y León, while his illegitimate son, Alonso of Aragón, Archbishop of Zaragoza, it would be the Crown of Aragon until the arrival of Carlos de Gante, finally heir to both thrones. The testamentary provisions the deceased monarch also included the formation of a strong heritage to the infante Fernando, as well as to the future Carlos I advised that he/she take care of his widow, the Queen Germana. And so humble, austere and Christian, he/she ended his days the most powerful monarchs of Renaissance, as he/she relates in one of his Epistles Mártir de Anglería :

Look at what little they must rely on the applause of fortune and secular favors. The Lord of so many kingdoms and adorned with both cluster of palms, the amplifier King of the Christian religion and domenador of its enemies, has died in a rustic