Isabella: The Warrior Queen by Kirstin DowneyAn engrossing and revolutionary biography of Isabella of Castile, the controversial Queen of Spain who sponsored Christopher Columbuss journey to the New World, established the Spanish Inquisition, and became one of the most influential female rulers in history
Born at a time when Christianity was dying out and the Ottoman Empire was aggressively expanding, Isabella was inspired in her youth by tales of Joan of Arc, a devout young woman who unified her people and led them to victory against foreign invaders. In 1474, when most women were almost powerless, twenty-three-year-old Isabella defied a hostile brother and mercurial husband to seize control of Castile and León.
Her subsequent feats were legendary. She ended a twenty-four-generation struggle between Muslims and Christians, forcing Moorish invaders back over the Mediterranean Sea. She laid the foundation for a unified Spain. She sponsored Columbuss trip to the Indies and negotiated Spanish control over much of the New World with the help of Rodrigo Borgia, the infamous Pope Alexander VI. She also annihilated all who stood against her by establishing a bloody religious Inquisition that would darken Spains reputation for centuries.
Whether saintly or satanic, no female leader has done more to shape our modern world, where millions of people in two hemispheres speak Spanish and practice Catholicism. Yet history has all but forgotten Isabellas influence, due to hundreds of years of misreporting that often attributed her accomplishments to Ferdinand, the bold and philandering husband she adored.
Using new scholarship, Downeys luminous biography tells the story of this brilliant, fervent, forgotten woman, the faith that propelled her through life, and the land of ancient conflicts and intrigue she brought under her command.
King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain
The two young monarchs had initially to fight a civil war against Juana, princess of Castile also known as Juana la Beltraneja , the purported daughter of Henry IV. They were ultimately successful. Ferdinand succeeded his father as King of Aragon in and the Crown of Castile and the various territories of the Crown of Aragon were united in a personal union. For the first time since the 8th century this created a single political unit which might be called Spain , although the various territories were not properly administered as a single unit until the 18th century. The first decades of Ferdinand and Isabella's joint rule were taken up with the conquest of the Kingdom of Granada , the last Muslim enclave in the Iberian peninsula. This was completed by In that same year, the Jews were expelled from both Castile and Aragon, and Christopher Columbus was sent by the couple on his expedition which would ultimately discover the New World.
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Her marriage to Ferdinand II of Aragon in became the basis for the de facto unification of Spain. After a struggle to claim her right to the throne, she reorganized the governmental system, brought the crime rate to the lowest it had been in years, and unburdened the kingdom of the enormous debt her brother had left behind. Her reforms and those she made with her husband had an influence that extended well beyond the borders of their united kingdoms. Isabella and Ferdinand are known for completing the Reconquista , ordering conversion or exile of their Muslim and Jewish subjects, and for supporting and financing Christopher Columbus 's voyage that led to the opening of the New World and to the establishment of Spain as the first global power which dominated Europe and much of the world for more than a century. Her younger brother Alfonso of Castile was born two years later on 17 November , lowering her position to third in line. Isabella and her brother Alfonso were left in King Henry's care.
Isabella I was the queen of the central region of modern-day Spain known as Castile and ruled from until her death in She was born on April 22, in the town of Madrigal de las Altas Torres. During her reign, Isabella and her husband equally shared power and established a code of law, strengthened the monarchy and enabled the dismantling of powers of the nobles within the country. Queen Isabella I is a powerful and iconic figure in Spanish history whose life story is a fascinating read. Here are some interesting facts about Isabella for Spanish language learners or anyone interested in expanding their Spanish knowledge! Download Now. The Spanish Queen agreed to pay a sum of money as a concession from monarch to subject.