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Isabella of Castile
Isabella of Castile (Spanish: Ysabel, Isabel or Isabela) (April 22, 1451 – November 26, 1504) was queen of Castile. This monarch is known by a variety of other names including Isabel I of Castile and Isabel La Católica.
She was great-great-granddaughter of both Henry II of Castile and his half-brother Peter I of Castile and their respective wives Joan of Villena and Maria de Padilla. She was also great-great-granddaughter of Peter IV of Aragon and his wife Leonor of Portugal , daughter of King Afonso IV of Portugal, as well as of her half-brother Peter I of Portugal and his mistress Teresa Lourenço. Through John of Gaunt she was great-great-grandaughter of King Edward III of England and his wife Philippa of Hainault and through his first wife of Henry of Grosmont, Duke of Lancaster and his wife Isabel de Beaumont . Finally she was great-great-grandaughter to Nuno Alvares Pereira, Count de Barcelos and his wife Leonor Alvim, Countess of Barcelos.
She was great-granddaughter of John I of Castile and his wife Eleanor of Aragón, a sister of Kings John I of Aragon and Martin I of Aragon. She was also great-granddaughter of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster and his second wife Constanza of Castile, a daughter of Peter I of Castile. Her third set of great-grandparents were King John I of Portugal and his wife Philippa of Lancaster, daughter of John of Gaunt from his first wife Blanche of Lancaster . Her final set of grandparents were Afonso, Duke de Braganza , a son of John I of Portugal by Inez Perez, and his wife Beatriz Pereira, countess da Barcellos.
Her paternal grandparents were King Henry III of Castile and Catherine Plantagenet of the House of Lancaster, a half sister of King Henry IV of England. Her maternal grandparents were Prince Joao of Portugal, Grand Master of Santiago , who was a brother of Henry the Navigator, and his wife Isabella de Bragança .
The issue of the succession of the King divided Castile. The rumor circulated that the rightful heiress, Juana, was actually the daughter of nobleman Beltrán de la Cueva (hence her nickname, la Beltraneja).
Isabella claimed her right to succession. She secretly married her cousin, the future Ferdinand II of Aragon, assuring the support of the neighbour kingdom and defusing eventual claims by Ferdinand. She finally could overthrow the supporters of Juana, and became queen of Castile. The Pope forgave their unauthorized marriage. Because of the different laws of their kingdoms, Ferdinand was king to Castile, but Isabella was not queen of Aragon. However they acted together.
Isabella was known as the "Traveling Queen" because she rode all over Castile gaining support when support was needed, or supplies and troops when in war. Pregnancy could not even stop her wanderings; all five of her children were born in different towns.
Their children included Joanna of Castile and Catherine of Aragon. Because of the power of their joint kingdoms, their daughters married with several European dynasties, setting the bases for the huge heritage of her grandson Charles V.
One of her goals was the unification of Spain on a Catholic basis. In 1492, the last Moorish stronghold in Spain, Granada, was taken, fulfilling Isabella's long-held dream. Ferdinand and Isabella are buried together in Granada Cathedral . Motivated by politics and religious zealotry, she and her husband started the Inquisition in Spain, which targeted falsely converted Moors and Jews. The Valencian Pope Alexander VI, father of Cesare Borgia and Lucrezia Borgia, gave them each the sobriquet "The Catholic Monarchs" (Reyes Católicos) because of those efforts.
During her reign, she approved the voyage by Christopher Columbus that ultimately led to the "discovery" of the Americas. The colonization of the Americas was a responsibility of Castile. Consequently, together with Ferdinand, Isabella initiated the chain of events that would lead to the Golden Age of Spanish imperialism. As a legacy of this empire, Spanish is the fourth most spoken language in the world after Mandarin, Hindi, and English.
"In the love of Christ and his Maid-Mother," she says, "I have caused great misery. I have depopulated towns and districts, provinces and kingdoms."
Isabella was the first named woman to appear on a United States coin, an 1893 commemorative quarter, celebrating the 400th anniversary of Columbus's first voyage.
The regime of Francisco Franco claimed the prestige of the Catholic Monarchs. As a reaction, Isabella was despised by opposers to Franco.
- Cardinal Cisneros, Isabella and Ferdinands famous and powerful Cardinal.
- History of Spain.
- A geneological profile of her
- El obispo judío que bloquea a la "santa". A report in Spanish about the beatification at El Mundo.
- Isabella I in the Catholic Encyclopedia
| Preceded by:|
Henry IV of Castile
| Queen of Castile|
with Ferdinand V
| Succeeded by:|
Joanna of Castile
| Queen of Leon|
with Ferdinand V
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