Biography of la Católica. Queen of Castilla Isabel I (1451-1504)

Queen of Castile (1474-1504), born at Madrigal de las Altas Torres (Ávila) from April 22, 1451, and died November 26, 1504 in Medina del Campo (Valladolid). Known as Isabel la Católica, it is probably the most important Queen in the history of Spain.


This biography be performed closer to the Catholic Queen in its purely vital future, avoiding as far as possible the relationship of the political events of his reign. It is clear that at the time when Isabel I lived, the autumn middle ages leaving step to the incipient Renaissance, was absolutely impossible to separate, as a Queen, the public and private spheres so sometimes it will send to these same events which, however, are intended to avoid. The emphasis of this biographical tour, also within the maximum possibilities that sources have, pretends to be the rich, complex and overwhelming personality of Elizabeth as a woman and as a Queen, so loada how vilified, so defended as furious attacks prey, so studied as unknown, trying to be more about which can be virtuous archetype of the term half Aristotelian to analyze one of the figures of our history.

Isabel la Católica. Bermejo. Palacio Real de Madrid.

Childhood and early years (1451-1461)

Isabel was the daughter of the King of Castile, Juan II, and the second wife of the Portuguese Princess Isabel of Avis. In this marriage also Juan II continued the Infante Alfonso, called the innocent. But in what regards to the succession to the throne, both brothers, Isabel and Alfonso, had ahead to the eldest son of Juan II, in the first marriage of the King with María de Aragón: the future Henry IV of Castile, who then held the title of Prince of Asturias as a successor of Juan II. For this reason, the first feature to highlight in the biography of Isabel la Católica is that he/she wasn't destined to reign for not being firstborn, but its future is headed to be delivered to a marriage advantageous with someone of high rank, as he/she used to be usual among medieval Royal families. Therefore, if Isabel got reign was, first of all, by a combination of different circumstances, but also, certainly, for his determined performance in order to govern when that range of events put in tray the possibility of being Queen of Castile and León.

The place of his birth, the Avila town of Madrigal, could quickly become the place where the infanta Isabel spent his early childhood. In this sense, the first linked places its evolution must have been the Palacio de Madrigal, built by his father, Juan II, as well as the small church of San Nicolás de Bari, where the Princess was baptized. However, when Elizabeth was just three years old, died his father (1454), leaving her and his brother Alfonso in the care of her mother, Isabel de Avís, who had been invested as a tutor of small infants through the testament of the deceased monarch. Also in these parental provisions were nominated the three characters who would be responsible for the education of children: two clergy, fray Lope de Barrientos and Gonzalo de Illescas prior; and a layman, the waiter Juan de Padilla. All them joined you Gonzalo Chacón, former servant of the Constable Álvaro de Luna as administrator of this newborn Court of the widowed Queen, which, contrary to the usual roaming of the medieval courts, with a fixed in another Avila villa headquarters: Arévalo. There was where Isabel took contact with that would be his tutor: fray Martín de Córdoba, who wrote the garden of noble maidens after 1468, a treaty which, as the author explains, was addressed to the "generation e condition, compusicion of the noble owners; in particular, those that are or expect to be Queens"(ed. cit., p. 68). It is complex to know to what extent influenced the ideas of fray Martín Princess Isabel, but, of course, many of the points recommended in the garden were then put into practice by the Queen, especially those relating to piety and charity, as we will see later.

The researcher who has more approached Isabel, Professor N. education Miguel Salvador, holds with reasonable arguments which, by maternal influence, the future Queen Catholic must learn to speak Portuguese, stressing this bilingualism above the little news that we have during the years of formation of the Queen. Thus, until the transfer of Isabella and Alfonso the Court of Enrique IV in 1461, by order of his brother the King (and it seems that by influence of Enrique IV's wife, the Queen Juana), Arévalo was where Elizabeth learned the rudiments of education, i.e., reading, writing and calculation; Perhaps this teaching would not be accompanied by some other well regarded as matters for the medieval female education, as they were the music and dance. And, in any case, knowledge of Christian doctrine formed an essential part of this first stage in the life of the future Queen.

The turbulence in the Court of Henry IV (1461-1465)

As already mentioned in the previous section, in the year 1461 two small infants, Isabel (at 10 years of age) and Alfonso (7 years), went to reside in the itinerant court of her brother, King Enrique IV of Castile and León. Accustomed to the tranquility and repose of Arévalo, first contacts with the regio courtly surroundings that would later preside Isabel due not to be too positive. 1461 was the year began the political career of a key character in the time: Beltrán de la Cueva, Butler older regia House. In the same year Queen Juana, second wife of Enrique IV, announced that he/she was pregnant; They soon precipitated all kinds of palatial and courtly gossip about that was the Beltrán don Butler, alleged lover of Queen Juana, the real father of that creature. Isabel surely knew these rumors in the qualms of the Court, although it can not know with certainty what could then think of the infant of her niece Juana, best known with the nickname La Beltraneja, to which few years later the own Isabel would deviate from the Castilian throne in his own benefit.

Juana was recognized as a legitimate daughter of Enrique IV and sworn as heir to the throne in 1462. Courtly and political tensions rose with the establishment of a faction that is contrary to the interests of Juana, headed by the former private King, the intriguing Juan Pacheco, Marquis of Villena, aided by his brother, the Maestre de Calatrava Pedro Girón. After two years of constant strips and removal, in 1464 several aristocratic interviews in Cigales and Cabezón ended up delimit both political sides in Castile: one in favor of Enrique IV, headed by don Beltrán and powerful lineage Mendoza; another, against Enrique IV, which were precisely the aforementioned brothers, Pacheco and Giron, aided by his uncle, Alonso Carrillo, the powerful Archbishop of Toledo. It is complex to find out the impact all these political events in infanta Isabel, and special kind of deals, what kind of conversation could Elizabeth have had with these aforementioned characters, who would become key, in favour or against, their subsequent candidature for the throne of Castile.

Of the farce of Avila (1465) to the Covenant of the bulls of Guisando (1468)

5 June 1465 took place the incident that historiography known as the farce of Avila: certain members of the Castilian nobility, mainly the three listed above as directors of the side opposite to the legitimate monarch, took place on a scaffold of the Avila capital a figurative staging of a puppet dressed in Regal attributes (Crown(, Scepter and sword), deposing him as King of Castile and hoisting into place the infant Alfonso, who was Alfonso XII, King of Castile, who then many cities recognized as legitimate monarch responding affirmatively to the rebellion. They opened and three years of civil war, promoted by the split in the monarchy, since other nobles and many cities remained loyal to Enrique IV. The second battle of Olmedo (1467), waged between both sides, did not solve the conflict from the military point of view, but it was all about solving based on covenants, agreements and negotiations among principals involved, especially the intriguing Marqués de Villena, who always played for two bands. During this conflict, Isabel remained beside his young brother, but in others the political route and conducted conspiracies theory. But of course, when his name jumped to the forefront of the controversy was after July 5, 1468, once died his brother Alfonso in Cardeñosa (Ávila), victim of the plague (although there were great suspicions by poisoning).

In 1468 the infanta Isabel was 17 years old; He/She had been an orphan of father at age 3 and he/she had suffered with patience and understanding, his life in Arévalo, the crises of his mother, affected mental health problems. In addition, he/she met during this time swings in the Court of Enrique IV, political infighting and courtly stress, being a second mother to her brother, the sadly deceased Alfonso. For this reason, when after the summer of 1468 all eyes of Enrique IV opposite side went to the infanta Isabel, the young Princess gave samples of a commendable maturity in all decisions taken, as well as put on the negotiating table their personal virtues. Thus, the scandalous life of Queen Juana (which, at that time, as an example of its licentious evolution, just escape from his residencia-prision of Alaejos with her latest lover, Pedro of Castile), Isabel represented modesty and simplicity of a maiden with deep moral and spiritual convictions. Different rumors involving the paternity of the infanta Juana, Isabel always showed her devotion (and would demonstrate it throughout their lives) towards their parents, Isabel of Avis and Juan II. And, of course, before continuing doubts, hesitations and ups and downs of Enrique IV with regard to succession, Isabel, even with all his prudence, maintained a strong will to govern, arising as a guarantee of social peace to those members of the Castilian nobility enemies of Enrique IV, especially Archbishop Carrillo and the Marquis of Villena. After some meetings of first refusal among both parties, finally Princess Isabel moved from Cebreros to bulls of Guisando: before the horned ancient Iberian, Enrique IV told his sister Isabel as his legitimate successor in the kingdoms of Castile and Leon (see: Pact of the bulls of Guisando).

The wedding with Fernando the Catholic (1469)

Although everything seemed to favour the succession of Elizabeth on the throne, hiring (as called the Professor j. Torres Fontes) de Toros de Guisando, setbacks suffered by Enrique IV in the courts of Ocaña (1469), and perhaps also his own personal regrets, returned insecurity to the measure, mostly by the Charter wanted to play Enrique IV: the marriage of Isabelcould not marry without the consent of his brother. There was no new question: in 1466, in full confrontation between alfonsinos and enriquenos, Enrique IV had agreed with the Marquis of Villena, Juan Pacheco, the marriage between his own brothers, i.e., the infanta Isabella and Pedro Girón, master of Calatrava. On this occasion, according to the news provided by the Castilian Chronicles, Elizabeth accepted his fate reluctantly, passing

a day and a night without eating and in contemplation, asking God that either the master or he/she die rather than be bput marriage.(Palencia, Chronicle of Henry IV, I, pp. 203-204, note)

Prayers of the Princess were favorable to their destination, since the master Giron died of an unexpected postema and Isabel of a compromise that did not want freed. For these reasons, you can see a change of attitude in it from those moments, since who personally made the decision of his marriage, understanding that the Covenant of the bulls of Guisando only obliged him to consult with his brother Enrique IV who would be chosen, but he/she reserves the final decision. It is not surprising, therefore that Elizabeth rejected marriage proposed by his brother, Carlos Berry, Duke of Guyenne and brother of the King of France, with both Alfonso V, King of Portugal, who was the more effort put into making Enrique IV. For this reason, the monarch flew into a rage when he/she had proof that two ambassadors of the Archbishop Carrillo, Gutierre de Cárdenas (servant of the infanta Isabel) and Alonso de Palencia (the famous chronicler, bitter enemy of Enrique IV), had traveled to Aragon to negotiate with King Juan II marriage between the Princess of Castile and his son, Fernando. In January 1469, Juan II signed with Castilian ambassadors Cervera agreement by which remained committed marriage in advantageous conditions for both spouses, reserving Isabel legitimate succession in the kingdoms of Castile and León. Fernando of Aragon had travel almost incognito to Castile and, after overcome some difficulties, would arrive to Valladolid, where they finally met both future spouses. October 19, 1469, in the Palace that the Vivero family owned in the Valladolid town, held a link almost in secret, with few assistants and with very little support from the families of the nobility of the Kingdom. The importance of this event in the evolution of the peninsular history showed a posteriori, since at the time the event joined Chronicles without too much impact, as seen in the grim reaper information that supplies the regio shuttle chronicler Alonso de Palencia:

Vanished that night D. Fernando to the houses of the Archbishop, and the next day, October 19, returned to the de Juan de Vivero, abode of the Princess, where before celebrating the sacrifice were read again the capitulations of the betrothal and the ready-made protestación; pasose the day dances and public rejoicing, and finally the crowd dispersed to leave that the princes are collect to your camera. Seven days lasted the festivities and Fireworks, attending together the Princes the collegiate of Santa María, to receive the blessings, according to Catholic custom.(Palencia, Chronicle of Henry IV, I, p. 297).

The reign of the Catholic Kings.

Married almost in secret, as Enrique IV, brother of Princess Isabel and Fernando, it should unauthorized wedding, so the groom came to Castilla hidden and escorted by Gómez Manrique, one of the Knights loyal to the Elizabethan cause. But also, it is required to refer to papal dispensation required for binding, since the papacy had to authorize the marriage of Isabel and Fernando to be intending spouses cousins in second grade; to win time and that the wedding could be made, the Archbishop Carrillo, the true architect of this wedding by his decisive clash with Enrique IV, did not have the least inconvenience in manipulating a false Bull which was which gave legal validity to the marriage. The authentic Bull of Papal dispensation would arrive some time later, perhaps to leave without arguments those who thought accuse of illegitimate marriage. All those involved in political alliances that entailed the wedding were agreed that the speed of its celebration was key, especially Archbishop Carrillo. Isabel, on the other hand, must remain outside this type of legal provisions and, in particular, the falsification of the Bull.

The road to Coronation (1470-1474)

In a meeting with its notable in Valdelozoya during 1470, Enrique IV again declared his legitimate heir to his daughter Juana, who planned to marry several of the candidates rejected by Isabel. But the logical reaction of the King against the wedding celebrated by his rebel and fractious sister wasn't surprised the Elizabethan side, which counter-attacked in the way most favorable to their interests, that is, returning to the representation of Isabel as a virtuous Lady, against the illegitimacy of Juana la Beltraneja, licentious life of Queen Juana andof course, the inability of Enrique IV to bear children. In this sense, Princess Isabel continued offering their supporters, with nothing calculated generosity, the twigs required to refine this image of pious and virtuous maiden: in Dueñas (Palencia), 1 October 1470, the future Queen Catholic was mother for the first time, of a girl that was also called Isabel. Between the shadows dyeing dark political decisions and the family life of Enrique IV, Isabel appeared as a light in the eyes of the families of the Castilian nobility, which gradually were supporting the Princess. The same happened with the various European kingdoms whose legacies were visiting Archbishop Carrillo between 1471 and 1472, such as Burgundy, France and England. But perhaps the Summit event was the arrival of Rodrigo de Borja (future Pope Alejandro VI) as Pontifical legate in the year 1473; upon arrival at Valencia was received by the own Fernando el Católico, while in Alcala de Henares both Princess Isabel and the Archbishop Carrillo everything to achieve what finally succeeded: the endorsement of the papacy of Elizabeth to reign. More worthy of note is that the claims of the infanta was made bellicose manner and low ambition without measure of nobility, as on other occasions, but Isabel did turn a deaf ear to proposals of violent sedition to prefer a really amazing prudence, which was, to the end, which caused their cause to win the wills noble and popular at the time. Andrés de Cabrera, future Marquis of Moya and then warden of the Alcázar de Segovia in favor of Enrique IV, described to perfection this prudence, as innate as calculated, Isabel:

Virtue and modesty of the Infanta oblige us to expect that you will be very obedient and that you won't have more will than yours, nor encourage the ambition of the great, because not to have this wish there were refused the title of Queen, offering it, knowing that it was no reason take away what you touch, content with the Princessthat in his opinion it belongs it. (Peace and Melia, the chronicler Alonso de Palencia, p. 322).

11 December 1474 Enrique IV, who had spent the past year very ill, died in the city of Madrid. Isabel was in Segovia, enriquena town par excellence and in which alcazar was the Royal treasure Chamber, and did not hesitate to represent a para-theatrical maneuver with regard to his coronation, which had already been some time preparing because Isabel was aware in great degree that the bombshell about the Kingdom will increase in direct proportion to the speed with which the coronation was carried out. On 13 December, under the robes of mourning for the funeral of his brother, Isabel wore dresses of gala, which began shortly after the ceremony as the notary Act of the event, recorded by Pedro García de la Torre:

In the square more d' this bliss city Madam Queen, on a scaffold of wood which was made on the portal of the Church against the square, and sitting on his Royal Chair, ende was sunset [...] stated certain reasons, where said to belong to Queen Lady Bliss succession and inheritance and right to reign in these such kingdoms of Castile and León; and d property ' them as a legitimate sister and universal heir of the said Lord King Henry, have gone from this present life without leaving a son or daughter who might inherit these these kingdoms, as saying is. And there was entitled the said Lord King, recognizing differently, and sworn to by Princess and his legitimate heir of these these kingdoms, after their day, a day of the month of September of the year who became Lord of sixty-eight thousand quatrocientos [...] And pitch the confession of this oath, His Highness said: "Yes, I swear". Amen.(Proclamation of Queen Elizabeth, f. 2r).

By Isabel, the issue was clear: Juana was not legitimate daughter of King Henry, and as such it had recognized him in Guisando, naming it her legitimate heiress. Therefore, he/she had no qualms about crowned quickly, urging all cities of Castile to send prosecutors to courts and that recognize it as legitimate Queen. Andrés de Cabrera, the warden of Segovia, opened the Alcázar so Isabel provided the Royal Treasury. The maneuver had taken effect and gradually started to listen the Kingdom the usual in this kind of situations clamour: "Castilla, Castilla by Queen Elizabeth!"

Pacification of the Kingdom (1474-1480)

The speed of the coronation did sprout tensions in the Kingdom, as some cities refused obedience to Isabel to see how events developed. In addition, these tensions came to the marriage itself, since Fernando of Aragon, aware of the coronation of his wife, rode swiftly towards Segovia, where it entered the 2 January 1475 in order to negotiate the situation contractually. The agreement between both spouses and their advisers is known with the name of Arbitral Award of Segovia, where basically all left happy: the Castilians, because they were to Fernando of Aragon (which for them was a foreign King, remember) would not exert power alone, but always according to Isabel. The King, for his part, also said that his wife didn't intend to remove him from the Governor's office, but always the direction of political affairs would be shared. Isabel, for its part, agreed to appear behind her husband in the official entitlement, but instead that the Kingdom of Castilla antecediera de Aragón. In addition, shortly after it advocated joint formula "the King and the Queen", used extensively in the Castilian life to allude to the fortress and indivisibility of the monarchy. In fact, as it picks up Suárez Fernández (foundations of the monarchy, p. 17), Hernando del Pulgar is credited with a humorous anecdote, because he/she was severely reprimanded for not using the phrase "the King and the Queen", so that the chronicler Avenged of the Guv'nor writing years later "on this day, the King and the Queen gave birth a daughter".

Joking aside, and even though the events of Segovia (coronation and Arbitral Award) had supposed a salvo of confidence in Queen Elizabeth to begin its task of Government, problems would soon move to the field of battle. Alfonso V of Portugal (who, as it has been, was rejected by Isabel as husband), decided to marry Juana the Beltraneja and thus wield his rights to the Spanish throne against the Catholic Queen. The Portuguese monarch, in addition, had the support of the nobility to Isabel, as the Pacheco and the Estuñiga, but especially with the noble second, aspiring to a new (and beneficial to themselves) Division of mercedes after a hypothetical victory of the invader. However, what no doubt more must of hurt Isabel was who until then had been its maximum Defender, his best Advisor and his mentor in the political field, the Archbishop Carrillo, was to defend the interests of Juana and Alfonso, in an inexplicable change of attitude that even the entreaties of the Catholic Queen could vary. Pedro González de Mendoza, then Bishop of Sigüenza, replaced Carrillo as head Chancellor of Elizabethan party, and it would not take much longer to reach the same toledano Archbishopric, to the death of her rival, the Warrior Carrillo. For about five years, between 1475 and 1480, under the guise of a luso-castellana war, actually Castilla lived a civil war covert, a continuation of the problems incurred during the reign of Enrique IV. King Fernando's military expertise, as well as the progressive abandonment of the nobility who supported Alfonso and Juana, were the cause of progressive Spanish victories in the battles of Toro (1476) and La Albuera (1479). Finally, the Treaty of Alcáçovas-Toledo (1479) put an end to the conflict through peace between Portugal and Castile.

The Catholic Kings with his daughter Juana.

From a personal perspective of Queen Elizabeth, the years of conflict were characterized by a frenetic activity traveler for his whole Kingdom, wanting to keep abreast of everything that happened in front of the fire; also, remember that during this time Elizabeth was mother twice more: in Seville, June 30, 1478, was born Prince Juan, heir of the crowns of Aragon and Castile as son, while dona was born in Toledo, November 6, 1479, Juana. Birth of Prince Juan was very difficult and was feared even that the Queen could have an abortion, because surely the fatigue accumulated by the travel. Remember that in Castilla y León, according to standard adopted by King Pedro I, it was necessary that several witnesses were present at the birth of the Queen; Isabel, always characterized by its exquisite modesty, then agreed to a new habit that chronicles the chronicler Hernando de el Pulgar:

Guardava both continence of the face that even at the time of their births masked his feelings, and esforcavase not dezir nor show the shame that in that hour feel and show the women.(Thumb, chronic..., I, p. 76)

The veil with which Isabel la Católica covered his face during childbirth was a sign of his reputation for purity, that would be remembered in posterity, as well as its ease of delivery and the relative absence of pain with that carried them out (cf. Junceda Avello, I, pp. 35-45). Elizabeth, when it was not yet thirty years old, had to share the tasks of mother and Queen, and of course, with the passage of the years, gives the impression that had enough energy to perform both functions successfully.

The internal reorganization (1480-1491)

The configuration of the new monarchy.

Six years after his coronation in Segovia, the courts held in Toledo during 1480 assume a historic landmark, to carry out a whole set of authoritarian exaltation of the Elizabethan monarchy. In addition to the work of the Church of San Juan de los Reyes, true visiting panegyric in stone of the Elizabethan political propaganda, the Queen performed two impeccable maneuvers: the first, the solemn oath of the Juan Prince as heir to the kingdoms of Castile and León. To legitimize the succession, the Kingdom was also accepting the legality of the Catholic Queen as monarch. The second maneuver performed by Isabel I in Toledo was the reorganize debt and trim the economic privileges that the nobility had the monarchy since the times of his brothers, Enrique IV and Alfonso XII. It was not the only action taken by Isabel to regulate the proverbial bellicosity of the Castilian nobility: after the war, offered forgiveness to the rebellious nobles, that many accepted; But if they did not accept, they were courts with all the consequences. For this reason, Isabel ended up getting the obedience of lineages such as the Pacheco and the Estuñiga, and had no qualms about moving Andalusia during the 1980s to place order and end sides struggles between nobles in the region. Ora with affectionate recommendations, prays with firm authority, Isabel finished with noble resistances and struggles that kept the Duke of Medina Sidonia and the Marquis of Cádiz. The Isabel policy was neither much less antinobiliaria, as it enriched many of them continuing with the mercedes donated by its predecessors, the other monarchs of the Trastámara dynasty, but always tried to keep them apart from the Government line, marked by strong authoritarianism of the monarchy. This strengthening of the monarchical authority against the intervention of the nobles in the Government was based on a thorough personal conviction of Isabel, who completely believed that that was the only solution to the endemic problems of the Kingdom of Castile. As an illustrative example, usually give veracity to the story according to which the Catholic Queen, into another Chamber of the Court, listened to unflinching how a member of the nobility was to Fernando the Catholic with excessive familiarity. Their servers, to try to reassure her, he/she was told it was the Admiral Fadrique Enríquez, cousin of the King, and hence the cordial treatment, what Isabel said: "the King has no cousins, but vassals" (made and such..., p. 47).

Another outstanding aspect of this renewal of the bellicosity of the nobility was that it resulted in the presentation of the image of Isabel I as a loving Queen of Justice, becoming the main reason of its popularity among the common people, which, weary of the excesses committed by the nobles in previous reigns with the consent of the KingsHe saw how his new Queen, Isabel, cut off economic transfers to the nobles, ajusticiaba the rebels (such as Marshal Pardo de Cela, principal culprit of the Irmandiñas wars in Galicia) and created institutions to protect the most disadvantaged of the feudal, as audience and the Chancery known malfetrias, in addition to extending the appointment of the corregidores in all cities. From 1476, in the war against Portugal and in the same year of popular uprising in Fuenteovejuna (theatrically immortalized by Lope de Vega years later), Isabel I regrouped all the old brotherhoods in the Holy brotherhood, kind of police of rural surveillance, which not only amply fulfilled its main task, but it was also as a popular support of great draught in the security policy of Isabel la Católica. The Queen was very smart to the iudex rex topic so dear and medieval, incarnating as few rulers have been in the history of Spain to justice on its territory, that person could use somebody to solve an injustice. The Ordinances of Castilla, updated and revised by the prestigious jurist Alonso Díaz de Montalvo was printed in 1484. Although there is no doubt that the concern of Isabel was real, as it is derived from this publication and other measures already commented, of course that the Queen was able to reap the fruits of propaganda of the maxima established by Nicolás Machiavelli: "To govern is to make believe". For example, during your visit to Seville in recent years, took place acts like the following:

Friday the Queen sat under a canopy at the door of the Alcázar Palace so that any citizen could go to lodge complaints. Pure theatre, because statements were prepared by the experienced judges of the Council, but folk Theatre at the end, as the civic processions on the occasion of the entry of the King or the baptism of the heir in the Cathedral. The monarchy is the ceremonial indispensable finish. (Suárez Fernández, key historical..., pp. 60-61).

In 1481, continuing with the frantic activity traveler of the Queen, came the turn of his first stay in Aragon, Kingdom which was holder her husband Fernando from two years before (1479), died when Juan II. In 1481 Isabel was named easy of Aragon, since, contrary to Fernando (which Yes was, with full-fledged, King of Castile), Isabel le was not homonymous range of law in Aragon, although obtained it in fact. The relationship between Isabel la Católica and the Aragonese Kingdom was not easy: the traditional Pact of the Aragonese Crown, where the courts were used to delay the actual decisions until there was not a joint agreement of all the estates of the realm, not hit well with the authoritarianism of the Castilian Queen, who saw an element of consultation in the courts, never an organism that restrain the authority of the King. For example, given some truth to this story: in 1498, when gathered in Zaragoza courts were reluctant to the jura of Princess Isabel, Queen of Portugal, as heir to the throne of Aragon, the Catholic Queen showed his upset saying: "If Aragon is not ours, we will have to conquer it". (Collected by Plains and Torriglia, op. cit., p. 242).

In 1482 Isabel and Fernando were already back in Andalusia, alerted by the loss of Zahara; This event, apparently without importance, ignited the spark so will resume the war of Granada. Day 29 of June of the same year, during a stay in Cordoba, Isabel broke water and had to be assisted by their doctors. Although the Queen was pregnant with twins, finally only the first stem could live, because the second was born dead. It was the Princess María, born in reconquistadora effervescence, when the idea of recovering grenade began to accompany the evolution of his mother. It is also the case of the younger daughter of the Catholic monarchs, Catalina, born 15 December 1485 in Alcala de Henares. Queen Elizabeth, who was then 34 years old, put an end to its maternal journey with little Catalina. But the most obvious of all this time was that the preparations for the war of Granada were the end most coveted Queen, as it derives from this poetry of Messianic dyes that Pedro de Cartagena dedicated to the Catholic Queen:

That has been completed and cierrevuestra company Comencadadios may want to, without that is err, which auctions you the Granada name Ren, seeing be cause by quienllevan end facts such 'stares contents well, until qu' in Jerusalempinten no weapons real. (General Songbook, 1511, f. 88r).

The eventful year: 1492

The conquest of Granada

Objectives and accomplishments of the actual performance.

In 1482 Queen Elizabeth had to deal with unsuccessful decision of Loja, in which the troops led by her husband the King Catholic were rejected by Muslims. But from there, the reconquest began to be favourable to the Christians: in 1483 did prisoner to Boabdil el Chico in the battle of Lucena, while in 1484 were conquered Alora and Setenil, and in 1486 finally Loja fell into Christian hands. From this moment on, the successive conquests of Malaga (1487), Baza and Almeria (1489) left the old Kingdom of Granada to be reduced to the city of the Darro and its closest area. The Santa Fe camp, little leagues from Granada, from where Isabel and Fernando headed the war machine against the Muslims was built in 1491. It is clear that, in essence, the military direction of the matter was conducted by the Catholic King; but Isabel was not limited to wait events in Santa Fe, but wanted to be useful (such as already happen in the siege of Toro in 1476) and worried not only about spiritual covering to the Warriors by prayers with her bridesmaids, but had special emphasis on create, provide and order hospitals, so they attend to sick and wounded in war, and highlights the text, an anonymous Sermon in praise for the conquest of Granada (1492):

Would who never vido Kings use as much piadad and mercy with the poor aflitos than continuous toviesen in its actual supplied hospital of all things nescesarias for remedy of the sick poor and field? Who never vido reigns give his real persona and her ladies mules so truxesen ill pobrezicos and field that were prostrata in PTV without ningund remedy? Would who never vido reigns as cristianissima to toviese monastery of fixed women of something in their House, so such closure and enforcement where, during all the time of this holy war is ofrescieron God continuous prayers and prayers, with many fasts and abstinence, as in the more narrow monesterio realm? (Delgado Scholl and Perea Rodríguez, ed. cit., p. 25).

Finally, after the signing of a capitulation agreed with Boabdil, on January 2, 1492 the Catholic monarchs entered Granada. In principle, the capitulations were benign for Muslims from Granada, who also counted with the support of fray Hernando de Talavera, tolerant and open man, former confessor of Isabel, named for her first Archbishop of Granada. The Government remained in the hands of another great collaborator of Isabel: Iñigo López de Mendoza, Conde de Tendilla, which had also featured in the war of Granada. By mutual agreement between Isabel and Fernando, Granada was incorporated into the Crown of Castile, thus completing the secular enterprise of Reconquista. In popular eyes, those Spains which had remained separated for centuries returned to join, first with the wedding of Isabel and Fernando joining Castile and Aragon, and then conquering Granada. Chroniclers in his Chronicles, poets in his verses, preachers in his sermons and artists in their works not tired then presented to Isabel la Católica as the Messianic sent to fulfill such a mission: the Bachelor Palma, in his best-known work, came to use the term divine retribution to explain this brilliant exegesis of the unity of Spain, lost by the sins of Rodrigo, the last King of goth, and recovered by his virtuous descendant, Queen Elizabeth.

The discovery of America

The nearest antecedent of the Spanish maritime expansion must be found in the support that the Catholic Queen had lent to an old project initiated at the time of his grandfather, Henry III, and continued with some ups and downs at times of his father Juan II and his brother Enrique IV: the conquest of the Canary Islands. In 1484 Vera Pedro completed the conquest of Gran Canaria, while in 1492 Alonso Fernández de Lugo did the same with La Palma. This news was received by Queen Elizabeth with great joy, since it has always considered that you among the missions of a monarch of the European Christendom, in addition to extending his dominions, was the evangelize to all those people who still did not know the religion of Rome. It is important to highlight this personality trait of Isabel I, quite visible in his conception of how should be conducted the Government of the recently incorporated fortunate Islands, to understand how the project of Christopher Columbus, who had been rejected by other European Kings, found accommodation in the heart of Isabel la Católica to the point of financing the Columbian plan: search for a route to the Indies alternative to the Mediterranean, unviable after the capture of Constantinople by the Turks (1453), whose ships (or pirates) not ceased harassing Christian commercial convoys. A family of conversos Valencian merchants the Santangel, and the lineage of the sow, Dukes of Medinaceli, put your financial support, at the time that a Committee of experts, headed by fray Hernando de Talavera, gave the go-ahead, even with serious doubts and reluctance, to Colon curricula. Yet was the enthusiasm of the own marine thing that ultimately persuaded monarchs, if credit is given to authorised Bernaldez testimony:

So Cristóval Colón came to the Court of King don Fernando and queen Doña Isabel, and I did them relationship of his imagination; which either not davan much credit, and he/she talked of very true what you used, and showed them the map mundi [...], in a way that put les in desire to know of those lands. (Bernaldez, memoirs, p. 270).

The echoes of the discovery of a new continent called for throughout Spain during the times after the conquest of Granada, until Columbus himself presented the fruits of the expedition in Barcelona. The administrative organization of America, incorporated into the Crown of Castile, and managed by a special Council is carried out during successive voyages. Although Cristóbal Colón remained for years the Plenipotentiary power, Isabel I always put special effort into the Christianization of those good people described by the Admiral, by which commissioned to fray Bartolomé de las Casas to take charge of evangelization. On defense the father homes made of not enslaving native Americans always found accommodation in the will of the Queen, moved by Christian piety that continuously made gala in his life, so it was the end of his life drafted the rules by which the inhabitants of America not lived under servitude, but in freedom; Obviously, legislation was not fulfilled, but at least sought to mitigate the impact of the settlers in the lives of indigenous peoples, and from the perspective of Isabel Christian willingness was beyond doubt. The American gold and silver discoveries and trade, of tremendous importance for the future of the history of Spain (and even in Europe), was thus set up fully (see: discovery of America).

The expulsion of the Jews

As stipulated by the Pope Sixtus IV in the bull Exigit sinceras devotionis affectus, in the year 1478 Isabel I gave their full support to the establishment of the Tribunal of the Inquisition to Castile becoming the first European Kingdom in having a congregation aimed at preserving the correction of the spirituality of his subjects. So quickly not be understood without the deep conviction of reform of religion as the displayed by the Catholic Queen during their lifetime. The restoration of the secular and regular clergy also began in 1478, in the general Congregation of Seville, trying to clerics to scrupulously respect the ecclesiastical rules. The reform was entrusted to the Cardenal Cisneros, who had all the energy of Isabel for Kings the morals of the clergy. The own Queen, advised by Beatriz de Silva, founder of the conceptionist, protected these new nuns, deep mariano Court. But although Isabel recognized the superiority of the Pope in spiritual matters, it was not so willing to accept the Episcopal appointments, where always intervened to appoint to the natives of his Kingdom, preventing absenteeism and revenue leakage. The clearest example of this intervention was in the subrogation of the provision of Lordship of the military orders of Santiago, Alcántara and Calatrava, than Isabel l was able to leave under the authority of the Crown. As in other aspects of his life, you should undoubtedly are root really spiritual and Catholic of the Queen, but not be underestimated that if these spiritual actions was mined a political benefit from his side, Isabel never hesitated to take advantage of it. That is why reform of the religious customs, political independence from the papacy and support the Inquisition are closely linked, at least in regards to the Isabel I thought.

The deep support of the Catholic Queen the Inquisition is one of the points of maximum disagreement among historians in assessing your figure, especially if such support is compounded the Decree of expulsion of the Jews, issued on 31 March 1492. Logically, the criticism has been many, though, following the opinion of Alvar Ezquerra (op. cit., p. 95), is any groundless accuse Elizabeth of racist or anti-Semitic for these reasons. Remember that measures against the Jews in Europe stay were constant in the middle ages, and Castile (and Aragon) were of the kingdoms that later took such a decision: in England and in France expelled them in the 15th century, Portugal would in 1494 and the German principalities issuing similar sentences in the first decades of the 16th century. In addition, the Crown lost an exceptional source of income, since the Jews were considered subjects of the King and paid a very high annual tax. If Isabel la Catolica took the decision to expel the Jews, certainly must bear in mind that the unit was preferable to diversity in matters of Government, because the decision cost him face in economic terms. However, when the Kingdom without noble brawls, no sides in the cities and (after the expulsion) fights, without violent antisemitic pogroms, it was guaranteed that the Kingdom remained in that social peace that craved the Queen and that, undoubtedly, was also key to Decree the expulsion of the Jews, perhaps both as religious elements. This desire of religious homogeneity of the Kingdom was joined with the providential sense of Isabel, who always thought that extending Christianity he/she was doing by converted Jews or Pagans (for example, the natives of America) most splendid gift that a human being could do, because true faith carried about eternal life. Isabel Yes firmly believed in these ideas, and as a good Christian sought to make all possible proselytizing, but without falling into any violent tyranny.

The fullness of the reign (1493-1496)

After the end of that year of admirable of 1492 (as Bernard Vincent hispanist described it), the first event to be highlighted is the tremendous shock suffered by Queen Elizabeth on the occasion of the attack that her husband Fernando suffered in Barcelona at the end of 1492, when a madman, named Juan de Cañamares, jumped from the crowd and dealt a blow to the Catholic King who was nearly killed. Tension was high in the Court and Queen Elizabeth suffered as much as it can be seen in this letter that, days later and some both recovered from the fright, sent to her confessor, fray Hernando de Talavera, when notifying you that

the wound so large, said Guadalupe doctor (that I had no heart to see it), it was so big and so deep, that Honda he/she entered four fingers [...], which trembles my heart to say it, that whoever tremble his greatness, how much more in who was [i.e., the King](Recogido por Sesma Muñoz, op. cit., p. 230).

Although the wound was really serious, finally the Catholic King did not suffer any prejudice in their health; the city of Barcelona wanted to pay tribute to its monarchs by a huge holiday for 1493, in which there were fair, dances and all kinds of shows, also to celebrate the Roussillon and Cerdagne to returned to Aragonese hands. The following year, 1494, Portuguese and castellanos signed the Treaty of Tordesillas, by which is mapping a dividing line between the colonial and mercantile interests of both countries: Asian and African routes were left for Portugal, while throughout the Americas (except for a small part of Brazil) fell into Spanish hands. December 19, 1496, as the culmination of these events, Alejandro VI attached to Isabel and Fernando the title of "Catholic", with both them as all its descendants intitularían thus, for all the goods they had offered to Christianity. Needless to say that such entitlement the Catholic Queen caused a deep joy in a mood so spiritual and Christian as the Queen Elizabeth, now yes, full.

The fullness of the reign of Isabel I years were marked by the celebration of various double links, wedding, which, at that time, were often used as seals of political alliances. The children of the Queen were not less and committed themselves to various princes, on the basis of isolated in the international context to France, traditional rival of the Aragonese monarchy. The eldest daughter of the Catholic monarchs, Isabel, already had been promised with Alfonso de Portugal (1490), although he/she widowed the next year because of an unfortunate accident of the Portuguese Prince. The Covenant of marriage closed in these years was the hispano-imperial double bond: Prince Juan married the Archduchess Margaret, daughter of the Emperor Maximiliano I, while the Princess Juana would marry the Archduke Felipe the beautiful one. The fleet that brought Flanders to Joanna was responsible for bring the Archduchess to Spain, where the peninsula adorned to attend the wedding of Prince Juan, link that ensured the future of the Kingdom. Queen Elizabeth relaxed tremendously with these events, daring to break their spiritual customs to do something that usually never did, as it was even certainly result of immense joy, the attending bullfights or even dancing in the evenings courtesans. The festive spirit accompanied the evolution of Isabel I Court in these years of benefits, as it tells us authorized Madrid polygraph pen:

The year of 1493, and one or two later (and even the aged 1497) was when the Court of the Kings Cathólicos don Fernando et Doña Ysabel, of glorious memory, more joyful times and more regozijos looked at his court, and most exalted walked the gala and parties and services leading men and ladies; because in house of those princes were the daughters of the main Lords e cavalleros by ladies of the Queen and the princesses her daughters, and in the Court andavan all mayoradgos and sons of great, and the more their reynos eredados. (Fernández de Oviedo, battles, ed. Pérez de Tudela, II, p. 151).

Only a black dot in the Catholic Queen mackled brilliance in these years, plagued by parties, weddings, celebrations and joy: the death of his mother, Isabel de Avís, at his residence in Arévalo, 15 August 1496. Although reasonable for reasons of age, the Queen of Castile felt much this death, because I used to visit it all often as possible, at least once a year. Still more Isabel I felt it at the not be able to accompany his mother in his last hours, since the Queen was with the Court in Laredo, bidding farewell to the Castilian fleet that was to lead to the infanta Juana to Flanders to marry the Archduke Felipe el Hermoso. Without a doubt, the death of the Queen Mother was a disturbing harbinger of misfortune that would befall in the future.

The " "" three knives of pain"Elizabeth I (1497-1503)

Even lasted in the Kingdom the glares of the link between Juan and Margarita when future of Isabel la Católica plans began to be crippled by the death, which hit with hardness to the Trastamara line during the final years of the 15th century. The chronicler Bernaldez coined in his memoirs the expression «three knives of pain» to describe, really accurate way, not only the suffering endured by the Catholic Queen before these deaths, but also irreparable damage caused since very ailing health:

The first knife of pain that pierced the soul of Queen Doña Isabel was the death of the Prince. The second was the death of Doña Isabel, his first daughter, Queen of Portugal. The third knife of pain was the death of don Miguel, his grandson, already with him is consolavan. And since these timing bivio without plazer Bliss queen Doña Isabel, very nescesaria in Castile, and shortened his life and health.(Bernaldez, memoirs, p. 380)

The chain of events was really miserable: Prince Juan died in Salamanca October 6, 1497; the curious fact that, as it happened when his mother died, Isabel was absent, as he/she was in Valencia de Alcántara delivering to his eldest daughter in marriage to the King of Portugal, Manuel I. The arrival in Salamanca was tremendous and heartbroken, described by the humanist martyr D'anghiera in one of his Epistles:

The Kings strive to conceal his deep sadness, but we guess collapsed inside the spirit. When they are sitting in public, they're not continually set eyes one on the face of the other, where it reveals what is hidden inside.(Mártir de Anglería, correspondence, I, p. 347)

Prince Juan had left his wife, the Archduchess Margaret, in advanced state of gestation, but time, the child was born dead. Broken thus the succession of regio last male of the House of Trastámara, the legacy of the kingdoms went to Princess Isabel, eldest daughter of the Catholic monarchs, which at that time was Queen of Portugal by marrying Manuel I just when his brother died. But in 1498, when Fernando el Católico tried to the Cortes de Aragón jurasen her as heir to the Crown, Isabel died August 23, 1498, by complications in the birth of his son, Prince Miguel. All off losing two children, Isabel la Católica also saw how her grandson, heir to the Crown of Castile, Aragon and Portugal, Prince Miguel died in Granada when he/she was just two years old, in July 1500. Personal mishaps joined you the concern for the future of the Kingdom, which, as a result of these deaths, remained in the hands of the infanta Juana and her husband, the Archduke Felipe el Hermoso, which, in principle and although it wasn't the desired way, seemed a good choice, all time Juana, barely four years of their marriagehad already ensured their offspring and had no fewer than three children, one of them male (Carlos, the future emperor, born the same year as Prince Miguel died in Ghent). But when Juana and Felipe came to Castile to be sworn heirs, at the beginning of the year 1502, Isabel found in-situ that all those rumors that arrived from Flanders were true. And these rumors were not so much the alleged madness of Joan, but the fact that marital stability was not ideal, as the effort excessive by the women of the Archduke Felipe, capricious and dissolute Prince, constantly lit the jealousy of Juana, turning the Court into a scenario of nerves and loss of papers by both spouses. The worst of this scenario was that the Catholic Queen, that had already begun to give symptoms of being sick and wounded in the mood for knives of pain, lived his final two years with the concern to see how all his work, the spectacular Castilla forged with size suffering, seemed to crumble at your feet. In a deeply religious woman as Isabel, guilt had to be huge.

The death of the Catholic Queen (1504)

November 26, 1504 Isabel died in Medina del Campo, after his health was deteriorating more and more. Even today there are doubts about what was the illness affecting the Queen. A month before his death, the humanist Pedro Mártir de Anglería wrote Íñigo López de Mendoza, Conde de Tendilla, and carried out a description of the disease:

The mood has spread through the veins and dropsy will gradually be declaring. Do not leave the fever, already entered to the core. Day and night an insatiable thirst, dominates it while the food gives you nausea. The deadly tumor is running between the skin and the meat.(Mártir de Anglería, Epistolario, II, pp. 85-86)

In principle, the fever and the danger of dehydration (dropsy) could be indicative of diabetes, but also to be affected by the plague, because the town of Medina del Campo and surrounding areas suffered during that year a terrible pandemic medieval regrowth. But the reference to the existence of a tumor clears all the unknowns, as it later emerged that the Catholic Queen suffered a "fistula in the parts vergonosas e cancer that has spawned him in their nature" (Junceda Avello, op. cit., I, p. 44). Judging by this information, it seems conclusive that Isabel I suffered a cancer of uterus or rectum, which by its well-known and already mentioned sense of modesty, refused to put all the possible remedy. The doctors who treated her were the most notable of the Kingdom, as Juan de Guadalupe, Nicolás de Soto and Mateo de la Parra, and if they could do anything to save his life, or to alleviate his final moments, of course it wasn't because they escatimasen media. From a spiritual perspective, the last will of Isabel I was that his body was not embalmed, but amortajase in the most humble of all, of San Francisco, habit so descansase always at peace with her husband, the Catholic King. And, of course, these feelings were corresponded customer, who wrote in his will that is perhaps the best Epitaph for Isabel la Católica, recalling excited way to his late wife:

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).

The Católicos Reyes sepulcro. Fancelli. Royal Chapel. Granada.

Isabel and Fernando rest in peace in the Royal Chapel of Granada, who themselves had to build to such effect, uniting the sceptres that achieved with the feelings that were in his last will.

The legacies of the Catholic Queen

The foundations of the Imperial Spain

The most powerful monarch in the modern age, Felipe II, when he/she walked inside the Chambers of his palace of El Escorial, used to stop in AWE in front of a portrait in which appeared his two great-grandfathers, Isabel and Fernando, the Catholic monarchs; whenever I did that stop, his words were always the same: "Everything we owe it to them". And in the words of the King in whose empire was not put the Sun is not a single gorgorito rhetoric of praise to the past, but no one better that the paradigm of bureaucrat King, knew how much there was existing even model launched by their great-grandparents. For example, many of the imperial policy issues still remained on trial for that system polisinodial powered by the Catholic monarchs. Queen Elizabeth encouraged the reform of the Royal Council and created new councils, as the orders military, India (for the Affairs of America) and Inquisition. One marked territorial imprint, as the Aragon Council, specifically went to the Affairs of this Crown, whereupon the Hapsburg successors on the throne of Elizabeth imitated and increased the polisinodial system creating a Council for each territory that they ruled. In this way, the administrative essence of the Spanish Empire sinks its foundations in the reorganization carried out by Isabel at the end of the 15th century. The Catholic Queen not innovated too much in this organization, but they preferred to reform many of the already existing traditional structures; personal seal introduced by the Queen was that years later ensalzaría thumb: that all this structure, Isabel I always placed to "omes generous or great lawyers, and honest life, which does not read that with so much diligence oviese saved no King of the last". (Thumb, chronic..., I, p. 77).

Peace and prosperity fostered a time of tremendous economic growth, primarily in the Kingdom of Castile, more populous and more financial resources than Aragon. Three links engarzaron the economy at the time of the Catholic Queen: the powerful Mesta, System govern transhumant cattle farming, fostered the growth of the cabin that generated the wool from Castile, appreciated in all European markets. Through the wool market surpluses occurred to originate a rich trade in national and international range that had the best exponent to the fairs of Medina del Campo. A story about the beginning of the reign testifies how much the Catholic Queen appreciated these fairs, when he/she asked God that give you three sons: one to be King, his successor; another to be Archbishop of Toledo, and a third to be clerk in Medina del Campo, hinting the immensely rich were the scribes of the fair town Valladolid, by the large number of businesses that were made there and requiring their services. The importance of the fairs of Medina del Campo in the economy of the reign of Isabel the Catholic was recently subject to a profuse monograph (trade, market and economy in times of Queen Elizabeth, 2004), in which several of the most reputed specialists analyzed from various perspectives one of the fundamental pillars that led the Castilian takeoff during the final years of the 15th century.

Isabel la Católica, patron of artists and writers

To the three landmarks that are accustomed to point out in the year 1492, conquest, discovery and expulsion of the Jews, should join a quarter of no less importance to the future: the publication of the Spanish grammar by Elio Antonio de Nebrija, work that the Andalusian humanistic wanted to spend exactly the same Catholic Queen. If political, economic and social achievements of the reign of Isabel I reached a very large degree of maturity and development, the same, or even more, it should be said of the momentum that they found under their patronage and arts sponsorship and books. Indeed, was the Catholic Queen lover of reading, as it is derived from the large Royal Library that was gathering, which included more diverse books and treaties. But Isabel was also concerned about extend intellectual by all his court pruritus, this been highlighted by the Protonotary Juan de Lucena in his Epistle hortatory letters (around 1490), when perfectly summarizes this cultural by the well-known judgment impulse: "I played the King, were all gamblers: studia Queen, we are now students". Simple review of the writers, novelists, poets and works dedicated to the Queen would extended in excess these lines, by which refers to studies that this fear have made several specialists: Sánchez Canton (1950) inventoried items that the Catholic Queen had gathered in their eagerness to collectibles, books, paintings and any element of artistic type; Gómez Moreno (1999) framed chronologica