THIS DAY IN HISTORY: Isabella I Of Castille Was Born; "The Inquisition Queen"

Isabella the Catholic, together with her husband Ferdinand the Catholic, laid the foundations of modern Spain by unifying the country's kingdoms and expanding its dominions beyond its borders.

Isabella was born on April 22, 1451 in Madrigal de las Altas Torres, Avila. She was the third daughter of King John II of Castile and his wife Isabella of Portugal.

She spent her childhood in Arévalo, where her mother began to show signs of insanity. There she would learn to read and write. She stayed there until 1464 when her brother, King Henry IV, offered her to go to court, giving her rents, grants, and a villa in Casarrubios del Monte.

In the court, there was a confrontation between the different nobles, since there were discussions between those who wanted a strong monarchy and those who preferred a manageable king.

In this atmosphere, the well-known Farsa de Ávila took place, in which the nobles deposed Enrique IV and named Alfonso of Castile king, since according to them, Enrique's daughter, Juana, was, in reality, the daughter of Beltrán de la Cueva, the king's valiant.

Alfonso dies in 1468. The immediate action is that Alfonso's supporters elect Isabella as the candidate for the throne.

The Pact of the Toros de Guisando is signed in 1468 in which Enrique recognizes Isabel as princess of Asturias. Faced with this responsibility, Isabella had to choose a suitable husband.

There were several suitors, such as Alfonso V of Portugal, Pedro Girón and Fernando of Aragón.

Finally, she chose Ferdinand, with whom she would marry on October 19, 1469, in Valladolid after obtaining a papal dispensation, since they were cousins.

This marriage will provoke a confrontation between Isabella and Henry. The latter declares illegal the appointment of Isabella as princess of Asturias, giving the honor to his daughter Juana in 1470.

Isabella does not obtain support at first, so she withdraws to Medina de Rioseco. However, little by little, allies such as the Basque Country, Burgundy, Rome, and the Mendoza family will appear.

Seeing the power he was acquiring, Enrique agreed to negotiate but died on the night of November 11-12, 1474 without having written a will. Isabella proclaims herself queen of Castile on December 13 in Segovia.

In January 1475 Isabella and Ferdinand signed the Concord of Segovia, where the distribution of the competencies of each one is made. Together they form an inseparable unity, which provokes the outbreak of a civil war that would end in 1479.

During the war, Portugal and France gave their support to Joanna, while Isabella only got the support of Aragon. The war ends with the Treaties of Alcaçovas in September 1479 with Isabella being named queen.

In addition, that year John II dies, so Ferdinand becomes king of Aragon.

For the dynastic union, several measures began to be taken, such as the constitution of the Santa Hermandad; the reorganization of the Royal Council; the competence of the "corregidores" was extended; the Royal Treasury was regulated; the mercedes granted by Enrique IV were revised; the mastery of the military orders was incorporated to the Crown, naming Fernando as Grand Master; Chancillerías were established in Granada and Valladolid; a permanent army was formed by the Royal Guards, the urban militias and the Santa Hermandad.

On the religious level, the drastic measure of expelling the Jews from the peninsula was taken in 1492; the religious orders were reformed at the hands of Cardinal Cisneros, and the Holy Inquisition was created.

The year 1492 was very important since important events took place that would mark the future of the country.

In foreign policy matters, the kings had set in motion the reconquest of the territories under Islamic rule. It began in 1482 and ended in 1492 with the reconquest of the kingdom of Granada.

Boabdil the Younger handed over the keys of the city on January 2, 1492. Thanks to this, Pope Alexander VI granted them the title of Catholic Monarchs in 1494.

Another important event was the discovery of America. Christopher Columbus discovered America on October 12, 1492 thanks to the confidence that Isabel had placed in his mission.

This meant that Spanish lands were greatly expanded since the crown of Aragon was expanding in the Mediterranean.

In addition, thanks to the Inter Caetera bulls of Pope Alexander VI, he granted them sovereignty over all the discovered lands.

In addition, in foreign policy, they tried to expand their domains and isolate France thanks to the marriage of their children with European personalities and heirs. Thus, their daughter Isabella married the Portuguese prince Alfonso, but when he died she married his heir, Don Manuel the Fortunate.

John would marry Margaret of Austria, daughter of Emperor Maximilian I; Joan would marry Philip of Austria, known as Philip the Handsome; Mary would marry Manuel of Portugal; and finally Catherine would be the first wife of King Henry VIII of England.

In 1497 Prince John died, which caused Elizabeth to fall into a deep depression.

There was also the problem of succession, since her daughter Isabella died in 1498 and her son in 1500, who would be the heir of Portugal, Castile and Aragon.

Therefore, he wrote in his will that the successor would be his daughter Juana. Isabella died on November 26, 1504 in Medina del Campo.

She was buried in the Royal Chapel of the Cathedral of Granada, where later the remains of her beloved husband Ferdinand would rest next to her.

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