Queen Isabella I of Castile
One king, one law, one faith
Early Life Queen Isabella was born April 22nd, 1451 in Madrigal de las Atlas Torres. Her parents were John II of Castile and Isabella of Portugal. Her father died when she was three, her older brother Henry then became king. He was an awful ruler, and the people were calling for him to be overthrown. Her younger brother then died from the plague, this left Isabella to inherit the throne. Queen Isabellas older brother, Henry VI, passed the throne on to her December 10, 1474. She was now the official Queen of Castile and Leon.
Marriage She had agreed to marry whomever Henry IV, her brother, chose for her. She refused all his marriage proposals. She wanted to Marry Ferdinand of Aragon, but they were second cousins. The Pope at the time granted them a Papal Bull, allowing them to marry. They met secretly and were married on Oct. 19 1469 in Palacio de los Vivero in Valladolid. Henry tried to have the Pope undo the marriage, but he refused to. The marriage was made final when they had their first child.
Hermandad When Isabella became Queen nobles throughout Castile and Leon thought they had as much power as the Queen Isabella reinstated the Hermandad to solve this problem. The Hermandad was a peace keeping group Isabella controlled. This broke the power of nobles throughout Castile and Leon, it left Isabella I in complete control.
Granada Isabella then looked to reunite Spain. By marrying Ferdinand she had already started doing this. Together they then had enough power to start a campaign against Moors (Muslims living in Spain). They attacked the main Muslim stronghold Granada. After 11 years of fighting they gained control of Granada in 1492. This unified Spain for the time being, the people of Spain saw Isabella as a symbol of unification. In the beginning they allowed Muslims to keep their religion, but this would not last.
Columbus Also in 1492 Isabella granted Christopher Columbus the ability to try and sail west to the Indies. She had rejected him 2 times already but finally allowed him to go on Aug. 3, 1492. When he returned and shared what he had found, Spain began to send ships and people to this new land. Spain became a world power in trading and exploration. Isabella and Ferdinand split control of all land found outside of Europe with the leader of Portugal. Spain started new colonies in America and became one of the largest world powers of the time. Spanish tradition was spread around the world.
Removal of Muslims and Jews and the Spanish Inquisition The other major goal of Queen Isabella was the religious unification of Spain under Roman Catholicism. In 1492 the Alhambra decree resulted in 200,000 Jews leaving Spain. The Muslims of the Granada also were either forced to convert or leave Spain. The goal of the Spanish Inquisitions was to completely unify Spain under one religion. The goal was reached but many Jews and Muslims not only had to leave Spain but were killed in the process. Spain was finally unified for a time being under Roman Catholicism.
Death Queen Isabella died in 1504 in Medina del Campo. She was buried at Granada in Capilla Real. There is a museum next to the tomb containing her crown and scepter. She left her throne to her daughter, Joanna the Mad.
Lasting Legacy Queen Isabella I and Ferdinand II of Aragon were married but ruled separately. They helped each other in battle and completed goals together. She laid the foundation for the unification of Spain to come in later years. She unified Spain under one religion, and spread Spanish colonies and tradition around the world. For all her work with religion (creation of Conceptionists and spread of Roman Catholicism.) the Pope called her the Roman Monarch Spain benefited greatly from the rule of Queen Isabella I. It was said Queen Isabella forged a nation and a national character.