Isabella


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Traditionally, the main advisory body to the rulers of Castile was the Royal Council. The Council, under the monarch, had full power to resolve all legal and political disputes.


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The Council was responsible for supervising all senior administrative officials, such as the Crown representatives in all of the major towns. It was also the supreme judicial tribunal of the kingdom. Previously there had been two distinct yet overlapping categories of royal councillor.

One formed a group which possessed both judicial and administrative responsibilities. This portion consisted of some bishops, some nobles, and an increasingly important element of professional administrators with legal training known as letrados. The second category of traditional councillor had a less formal role. This role depended greatly on the individuals' political influence and personal influence with the monarch.

During Isabella's reign, the role of this second category was completely eliminated. Because of this, this second type of councillor, usually of the nobility, was only allowed to attend the council of Castile as an observer. Isabella began to rely more on the professional administrators than ever before. These men were mostly of the bourgeoisie or lesser nobility. The Council was also rearranged and it was officially settled that one bishop, three caballeros , and eight or nine lawyers would serve on the council at a time.

While the nobles were no longer directly involved in the matters of state, they were welcome to attend the meetings. Isabella hoped by forcing the nobility to choose whether to participate or not would weed out those who were not dedicated to the state and its cause. Isabella also saw the need to provide a personal relationship between herself as the monarch and her subjects.

Therefore, Isabella and Ferdinand set aside a time every Friday during which they themselves would sit and allow people to come to them with complaints. This was a new form of personal justice that Castile had not seen before. The Council of State was reformed and presided over by the King and Queen. This department of public affairs dealt mainly with foreign negotiations, hearing embassies, and transacting business with the Court of Rome.

In addition to these departments, there was also a Supreme Court of the Santa Hermandad, a Council of Finance, and a Council for settling purely Aragonese matters. Isabella and her husband moved in the direction of a non-parliamentary government and the Cortes became an almost passive advisory body, giving automatic assent to legislation which had been drafted by the royal administration.

After the reforms of the Cortes of Toledo, the Queen ordered a noted jurist, Alfonso Diaz de Montalvo, to undertake the task of clearing away legal rubbish and compiling what remained into a comprehensive code. Within four years the work stood completed in eight bulky volumes and the Ordenanzas Reales took their place on legal bookshelves. At the end of the Reconquista , only Granada was left for Isabella and Ferdinand to conquer. The Emirate of Granada had been held by the Muslim Nasrid dynasty since the midth century.

On 1 February , the king and queen reached Medina del Campo and this is generally considered the beginning of the war for Granada. While Isabella's and Ferdinand's involvement in the war was apparent from the start, Granada's leadership was divided and never able to present a united front. The Spanish monarchs recruited soldiers from many European countries and improved their artillery with the latest and best cannons. In they laid siege to Ronda , which surrendered after only a fortnight due to extensive bombardment.

The eastern province succumbed after the fall of Baza in The siege of Granada began in the spring of and at the end of the year, Muhammad XII surrendered. On 2 January Isabella and Ferdinand entered Granada to receive the keys of the city, and the principal mosque was reconsecrated as a church.

Just three months after entering Granada, Queen Isabella agreed to sponsor Christopher Columbus on an expedition to reach the Indies by sailing west miles, according to Columbus. He named it San Salvador after Jesus the Savior. Although Columbus was sponsored by the Castilian queen, treasury accounts show no royal payments to him until , after his first voyage was complete. The Portuguese did not recognise that South America belonged to the Spanish because it was in Portugal's sphere of influence, and the Portuguese King John II threatened to send an army to claim the land for the Portuguese.

Isabella was not in favour of Columbus' enslavement of the American natives and attempted to enforce the recent policies of the Canaries upon the 'New World', stating that all peoples were under the subject of the Castilian Crown and could not be enslaved in most situations. The principles she established would have very little effect during her lifetime, however. Though Isabella opposed taking harsh measures against Jews on economic grounds, Torquemada was able to convince Ferdinand.

Isabella received the title of Catholic Monarch by Pope Alexander VI , a pope of whose behavior and involvement in matters Isabella did not approve [ citation needed ].

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Along with the physical unification of Spain, Isabella and Ferdinand embarked on a process of spiritual unification, trying to bring the country under one faith Roman Catholicism. As part of this process, the Inquisition became institutionalised. After a Muslim uprising in , and further troubles thereafter, the Treaty of Granada was broken in , and Muslims were ordered to either become Christians or to leave.

Isabella's confessor, Cisneros , was named Archbishop of Toledo. As Chancellor, he exerted more and more power.

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Isabella of Portugal

Isabella and her husband had created an empire and in later years were consumed with administration and politics; they were concerned with the succession and worked to link the Spanish crown to the other rulers in Europe. By early , all the pieces seemed to be in place: The son and heir John, Prince of Asturias , married a Habsburg princess, Margaret of Austria , establishing the connection to the Habsburgs.

In Isabella granted all non-rebellious natives in the colonies citizenship and full legal freedom by decree. However, Isabella's plans for her eldest two children did not work out. Her only son, John of Asturias, died shortly after his marriage. Her daughter Isabella of Aragon, whose son Miguel da Paz died at the age of two, died in childbirth. Isabella did, however, make successful dynastic matches for her three youngest daughters.

Isabella of Aragon, Queen of Portugal - Wikipedia

The death of Isabella of Aragon created a necessity for Manuel I of Portugal to remarry, and Isabella's third daughter, Maria of Aragon , became his next bride. Isabella officially withdrew from governmental affairs on September 14, and she died that same year on 26 November at the Medina del Campo Royal Palace. It is said that she had truly already been in decline since the death of her son Prince John of Asturias in Isabella was short but of strong stocky build, of a very fair complexion, and had a hair color that was between strawberry-blonde and auburn. Some portraits, however, show her as a brunette.


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  6. Isabella maintained an austere, temperate lifestyle, and her religious spirit influenced her the most in life. In spite of her hostility towards the Muslims in Andalusia , Isabella developed a taste for Moorish decor and style. Of her, contemporaries said:. Towards the end of her life, family tragedies overwhelmed her, although she met these reverses with grace and fortitude [ citation needed ]. The death of her beloved son and heir and the miscarriage of his wife, the death of her daughter Isabella and Isabella's son Miguel who could have united the kingdoms of the Catholic Monarchs with that of Portugal , the madness of her daughter Joanna and the indifference of Philip the Handsome, and the uncertainty Catherine was in after the death of her husband submerged her in profound sadness that made her dress in black for the rest of her lifetime [ citation needed ].

    Her strong spirituality is well understood from the words she said after hearing of her son's death: "The Lord gave him to me, the Lord hath taken him from me, glory be His holy name. In , the Commission determined that "A Canonical process for the canonization of Isabella the Catholic could be undertaken with a sense of security since there was not found one single act, public or private, of Queen Isabella that was not inspired by Christian and evangelical criteria; moreover there was a 'reputation of sanctity' uninterrupted for five centuries and as the investigation was progressing, it was more accentuated.

    In , the Process of Valladolid was officially submitted to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in the Vatican.

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    This process was approved and Isabel was given the title " Servant of God " in March Some authors have claimed that Isabella's reputation for sanctity derives in large measure from an image carefully shaped and disseminated by the queen herself. As Princess of Asturias , Isabella bore the undifferenced royal arms of the Crown of Castile and added the Saint John the Evangelist's Eagle , an eagle displayed as single supporter.

    As co-monarchs, Isabella and Ferdinand used the motto " Tanto Monta " "They amount to the same", or "Equal opposites in balance" , it refers their prenuptial agreement. Isabella is most remembered for enabling Columbus' voyage to the New World, which began an era for greatness for Spain and Europe. In particular her reign saw the founding of the Spanish Empire. This in turn ultimately led to establishment of the modern nations of the Americas, in addition to the decimation of the pre-Columbian nations of the Americas.

    She and her husband completed the Reconquista, driving out the most significant Muslim influence in Western Europe and firmly establishing Spain and the Iberian peninsula as staunchly Catholic. Her reign also established the Spanish Inquisition. The Spanish crown created the Order of Isabella the Catholic in in honor of the queen.

    Isabella was the first woman to be featured on US postage stamps, [] namely on three stamps of the Columbian Issue , also in celebration of Columbus. Isabella is the subject of The Queen's Vow by C. Gortner , published in As the leader of the Spanish civilization in Sid Meier's Civilization V , Isabella I is depicted carrying a gilded Christian cross while standing behind a Moorish-style palace likely to be the Alhambra.

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