Aragon and Castille were united by the marriage of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castille (1469). It was a personal union with the two kingdoms remainly largely indenendent. The Catholic monarchs were co-rulers and pursued the Reconquista. They seized the Canary Islands (1478). The last Muslim kingdom (Granada) fell (1492). In that sane years the Jews and Muslims were expelled and Columbus discovered the Americas--the beginning of the Spanish Empire. Isabella and Ferdinand began the centralization of their kingdoms and royal authority at the expense of the local nobility. Itwas during their reigns that the word España began to be used. Isabella and Ferdinand had five surviving children, four girls and one boy: they were Isabella, John, Joan, Maria and Catherine. Queen Isabella insisted the girls be educated and trained to rule. The secession is complicated because Isabella and Ferdinand were co-rulers and their only son before inheriting the throne. Their only son to survive infancy was Don Juan, Prince of Asturias. He was to inherit the throne of a united Spain. Don Juan still a teenager married Margaret of Austria (1480-1530) in the Cathedral of Burgos (1497). Only 6 months later while traveling to attend the wedding of his older sister in Portugal, he died in Salamanca. It is believed after contracting tuberculosis. He left his wife Margaret pregnant, but she gave birth to a stillborn child. Princess Isabella became Queen of Portugal, but she died in child birth only a year after Don Juan (1498). Her son Miguel died while still a small child (1501?). Catherine married England's Prince Arthur and when he died Prince Henry who became King Henry VIIId, but after a long marriage he divorced her when she failed to produce a male heir. It was through Joan/Juanna that the Spanish royal line would pass. She married the Hapsburg prince, Philip the Handsome (1478-1506). His father was the Archduke Maximilian of Austria who would become the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I. Through his mother Mary of Burgundy he inherited most of the Burgundian state. Joan developed mental problems as is known as Joana/Juanna the Mad. Philip briefly succeeded to the kingdom of Castile on the death of Isabella (1504). He was the first Spanish Habsburg ruler. Thus he is sometimes referred to as Philip I. He never inherited his father's Austrian territories or became Holy Roman Emperor, because he died before his father (1506). Ferdinand rulled for another 12 years after Isabella's death, dieing in Madrigalejo (1516). He was succeeded by his grandson Charles, the son of Philip and his daughter Joan. Charles became the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V--the most powerful soverign in Europe, inheriting the Hapsburg Austrian and Spanish possessions and new Spanish American Empire.
The kingdom of Castile was founded around what was known as Old Castile, including the northern cities of Burgos, Santander, and Segovia. New Castill in the south included Cuenca, Madrid, and Toledo. Castille included most of the arid plateau of central Spain. The principal rivers are the Duero, Guadiana, and Tagus. The economy was based on agriculture and sheap raising. Old Castille was originally a country of the Kingdom of Leon. Castile grew in imporance and became largely autonomous (10th century). King Sancho II of Navarre acquired Castille (1028). He made it a sepate kingdom for his son Ferdinand I. Subsequent monarchs took Morrish territory to the south (New Castile). Catille and Leon were unified (1230). Subsequent monsrchs struggled to control rebelious nobels. Castille emerged as the most powerful of the Christian kingdoms on the Iberian Peninsula. Isabel after a revolt contesting her claim to the crown became queen. The marriage with King Ferdinand resulted in a personal union of Castile and Aragon (1479) which would lead to formal union of the two kingdomes (1516).
The kingdom of Aragon was located in what is now northeastern Spain, around the eastern Pyrrnees and the Ebro plain. The chief cities were Huesca, Saragossa, and Teruel. It was an arid and sparsely populated. Irrigation enabled agriculture (cereals, wine, olives, and sugar beets). There was also some sheep and cattle raising. The kingdom was created out of western Navarre for Ramiro I (1035). Rulers of Aragon expanded at the expense of the Emirate of Saragossa. A personsal union with Catalonia occurred (1137). The kingdom acquired Naples, Sardinia, Sicily, and other Mediterranean islands. These possessions were not all ruled centrally, but rather by different family members. King Ferdinand's marrige with Isabel meant a personal union with Castile (1479).
Aragon and Castille were united by the marriage of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castille (1469). It was a personal union with the two kingdoms remainly largely independent. The Catholic monarchs were co-rulers. Isabel as queen of Castille, the larger kingdom, had presedent. But during their long rule there was no major issue on which they were known to disagree. They pursued the Reconquista with vigor. They seized the Canary Islands (1478). Then came the fateful year of 1492. The last Muslim kingdom (Granada) fell. In that same year, they expelled the Jews and Muslims. And Columbus discovered the Americas--the beginning of the Spanish Empire. Isabella and Ferdinand began the centralization of their kingdoms and royal authority at the expense of the local nobility. It was during their reigns that the word España began to be used.
Isabella was Spain's greatest queem ans along with her husband Ferdinand were the country's two greatest monarchs. In fact the royal couple created Spain out of the many different kingdoms that by their time were essentially Castille and Aragon. They oversaw Spain's passage from the medieval era to the Renaissance.
Isabel also written as Isabella was born (1451). Her parents were King John II (Juan II) of Castile, King of Castile and León (1405- ) and Isabella of Portugal (1428- ). She ruled as queen of Castille (1474-1504). Isabella succeeded to the throne of Castile on the death of her half brother Henry IV (December 1474). Her claim to the crown was contested by Juana La Meltraneja and resulted in a civil war that was not resolved untl 1479. Her new husband, King Ferdinand of Aragon, helped win her throne. She and Ferdinand jointly rules a unified for 35 years. The two kingdoms as well as other regions of Spain (Leon, Catalonia, and others) maintained their separate laws, institutions and governments, but 35 years of joint rule was a powerful step toward union. She was known as "The Catholic" of Castile (1451- ) because she was very pious. Her piety did not impair her interest in jewels and beautiful gowns. Contemporary accounts describe her as having beautiful blue eyes and chestnut hair and a striking accounts. Surviving portraits do not seem to do her justice. Unlike many queens at the time, she and her husband ruled as co-soverigns. In fact, as Catille was the much larger kingdom, she took precedence. The relationship was notable for the absence of differences as they completed the Reconquista, took thhe initiial steps that would lead to uniting the two kingdoms and launched the Spanish Empire. There may have been discussions in private, but historians can not identify even one issue of any importance on which the two disagreed. It was Isabel and Ferdinand after much peocrastination, finally after the fall of Granada approved Columbus' voyage. Isabella died several years before Ferdinand (1504). Isabella was undeniably a great queen. She played a mjor role in completing the Reconquisa, laubching the Spanish Empire, uniting the country, and establishing the authority of the monarchy. Her Catholcism, however, led her to establish the Spanish Inquisition as a royal council under royal control (1478). And it was the Iquisition that led her to expel Jews and Muslims (1492). This was seen as the time as an importantvstep needed for national unity. The intolerance of the Inquistion and supressing diversity of thought as a danger insulated Spain from the scientific, cultural, and economic trends that would propel Western Europe into the modern age and turn Spain into a European backwater.
King Ferdinand V was known as "The Catholic" of Aragon (1452- ). His parents were John II of Trastámara, King of Aragón, (1398- ) an Juana Enriquez/Henriquez (1425- ). Juana was King John's second wife. Herfamily was that of the hereditary grand admirals of Castile. Ferdinand was born at Sos (1452). He married Isabella of Castille (147?). He helped her win her contested crown. As joint monarchs with Isabella, he played a larger role in European politics ran would have been possible only as king of Aragon. Ferdinand was judged by Maciavelli to be the cleverest prince of Christendom. He married cousin Isabella of Castile (1469). Historians believe that Ferdinand's choice was dictated primarily by his desire to unite his own claims to the crown of Castille, in case Henry IV should die childless which is precisely what occurred. When King Henry died (1474), Fedinand first first attempted to obtain his own proclamation as king without recognizing Isabella's claim. Isabella firmly asserted her claims and thriought their reign insisted on a voice in the government of Castile. Ferdinand respected her ability and high character. And support for Isabella anong Castillian nobility cemented her position. Ferdinans helped Isabella establishing the royal authority throughout Spain. With Isabella he conquerred Granada, thus comleting the Recoquista. He and Isabella also began the Spasnush empire by finamncing Columbus' voyasges. After Isabella death's he conquered Navarre except for the small French prtion north of the Pyrenees. A major concern was as a result of his Aragon territories was Italy and Sicily and defending them from France. While Ferdinand and Isabella were referred to as the Catholic Kings, it was Isabella that was passionate over religion. Ferdinand's passion was politics. Their married life was both dignified and harmonious. Historians can not point to a single major political difference between the two. This is probably because he defferred to her on issues of religion and she supported him in his adventures in Italy. Ferdinand had none of the common vices often seen in monarchs. Ferdinand's focus after the conquest of Granada was on Aragon's clims to Naples and Sicily which were threatened when King Francois I invaded Italy setting off the Italian Wars. Ferdinand gave much less consideration to the Indies. Hs primary interest was the gold and other reveue that helped to finance his Italian wars with France. Ferdinand died at Madrigalejo in Estremadura (1516).
Isabella and Ferdinand had five surviving children, four girls and one boy: they were Isabella, John, Joan, Maria, and Catherine. Two died before Isabella. The death of the Infate (prince) John was a great personal tragedy, ending the family line. Somewhat ironically for the founder of the Inquisition. Isabella was a patron of education. She insisted that her daughters be educated and trained to rule. (This would cause Henry VIII considerable poblems in his efforts to divorce Catherine.) The secession is complicated because Isabella and Ferdinand were co-rulers and their only son died before inheriting the throne. Two of the children played major roles in European history, Joan and Katherine. Ther daughter Juana (Joanna) la Loca was mentally unstable. As a result after the death of Juana's husband Philip the Fair, their grandson Charles, after Ferdinand's death, became King of Spain (and Holy Roman Emperor).
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