Queen Isabella Essay, Research Paper
Queen IsabellaQueen Isabella Live in midevil times, or in, “The Dark Ages,” as some referred toit. She lived in a time when the majority of the population was catholic, and shedid her best to see to it that those who weren’t a part of that majority, became apart. The queen was born on April 22, 1451. She was born in Madrigal, Castile,which is why she later became know as Queen Isabella of Castile. Her father wasJohn II of Castile and her mother was Isabella of Portugal. Her marriage was a politically arranged marriage. What I mean by this isthat it wasn’t a marriage where guy meets girl and they fall in love, it means thatthey were wedded for certain political reasons, sometimes against their will. Isabella was fortunate enough to actually fall in love with her husband, manypolitically arranged marriages where arranged by the couple’s father, and marriedagainst there will because they could not stand one another. This was not the casein queen Isabella’s situation. She was married to Ferdinand II of Argon in Octoberof 1469 in Segovia. Their marriage was intended to unify the two countries,Castile and Argon. The odd part about this was that Isabella almost forfeited herrights to the throne by marrying Ferdinand. It all started when Louis XI of France, a very clever king, made separatetreaties with both Castile and Argon in hope of someday gaining control of a placecalled Catalonia. Louis realized that Isabella was going to become heir to thethrone and so if she married Ferdinand, the rulers of the two countries that hemade treaties with might join forces against him. Not only that, but they mightdestroy his dream of taking over Catalonia. So what Louis figured he would dowas see to it that they never became married, and that would solve all of hisproblems. He did this by strongly urging King Henry Iv of Castile, the current onein the throne, Isabella’s brother and, most importantly, the one who would choosethe heir to the throne when he died, to reject his permission for Isabella to marryFerdinand. However, even though he rejected them his permission, they stillmarried. Now Louis was becoming very nervous that now they were married andthey were only one step away of becoming king and queen. Becoming verydesperate, he now came back to king Henry and reminded them that they marriedagainst his will, and should therefore forfeited their rights to the throne. He addedthat he should consider the rights of Henry’s daughter, Juana la Beltraneja, be ofbecoming queen. Louis made his proposal to Henry even more tempting byoffering the same brother of Louis, that Isabella had rejected earlier, as a husbandfor Juana. Henry agreed that Isabella had forfeited her rights to the throne by marryingagainst his will, however, making a big mistake, he never actually said that Juanawas going to be the new heir to the throne. Well, this cause and enormous uproar throughout Castile about who thenext queen should be, Isabella or Juana. As a part of the uproar, old feuds wererevived, armies were raised, towns were burned down, And crops were destroyed. Isabella started campaigning throughout Castile in hope that a personal appearancewould create enthusiasm and support for her. Louis, again being the clever kingthat he is, he took advantage of this situation to take Roussillon and Cerdagne(located in the northeast pyrenees of Argon) from Argon while this civil war wasgoing on in Castile. Because of this, Ferdinand couldn’t help rally up support forIsabella because he was busy with his father fighting France for the possession ofRoussillon and Cerdagne. When King Henry died in 1474, like I said before, without specifying theheir to the throne, Isabella immediately had herself proclaimed Queen of Castile inSegovia. Once queen, the cortes met in Segovia to swear allegiance to her. Ferdinand immediately rushed over to be at her side as king consort. Once Queen, she and Ferdinand accomplished and took part in many smallthings, as well as many large things such as the Conquest of Granada. In 1478,they established the Spanish Inquisition. The Inquisition was intended stop all
unorthodox opinion towards Spain and strengthen the Church. It was also used toeither expel, or kill, all Moors and Jews depending upon whether they agreed toconvert, leave the country, or both. They tried to unify the country by persuadingthe pope to revive the inquisition and put it under their control. However, theSpanish Inquisition really turned out to be a bad idea because while they obtainedreligious uniformity, they also lost most, if not all, of their best artisans andbusinessmen. Their expulsion accentuated the economic weakness of Spain. In the conquest of Granada in 1492, Isabella hoped for a few small Islandsto conquer, instead she received vast kingdoms that could be conquered andmanaged by a few thousand soldiers and officials. The conquest, however, wasvery expensive, so the queen had to do a lot of collecting money and taxes tosupport it. Once she ran out of tax money, she sent letters to all of the cities,villages, knights, ladies, merchants, and other asking them for loans to support thewar. Believe it or not, each and every one of them did. Then once she used up allof that money, she again sent out letters, this time apologizing, but again asking forloans to support the war. And again the people sent in their money. The reasonthat they did this without the slightest bit of hesitation was not only because theywere honored to send money to her majesty, but because the queen had a verygood reputation of paying back the loans she borrowed. Don’t ask me how a queengets this type of reputation. Then, when all of that money was used up, she tooksome of her jewels and pearls, and had the brought into town, and bid off in orderto raise money. When Columbus came to Isabella about requesting her sponsorship in hisfinding a way to reach India sailing west, thus proving that the world was round,she, oddly enough, was easily convinced by him that the world was round and thathe could discover a way so sail west instead of east. The queen said that the onlything holding her back was the lack of money that Spain had at the time. However, she was very careful to make it very clear to Columbus that she wasinterested in sponsoring him, so that he shouldn’t go wondering off to some othercountry requesting sponsorship. Columbus agreed and the queen saw to it that hewas taken very well care of, just like a member of the palace. She appointed herconfessor, Hernando de Talavera to examine his proposal. He had Columbusbrought infront of a council of the queen’s to discuss, how and why he thought thatthe world was round and that he could sail west instead of east and not fall overthe edge of the world. Columbus must have been a very good speaker because,once again, he persuaded the council into believing that the world was round. Eventually, the queen saved up enough money to sponsor him, and theyagreed that while the queen got to keep some of the riches that he was going tofind, he too would be able to keep a pretty generous share of the riches. So he setoff, and when he reached America, thinking it was India, he called the people,”Indians” and that is how the Native Americans get the name Indians being that itwas they he discovered, along with America. Well, he certainly came back withplenty of riches for him and the queen. The queen had certainly gotten more thanshe bargained for, much more. That is why Columbus, along with many, made afew journeys over to America only to come back with a lot of gold and riches. Queen Isabella died in Medina del Campo on November 26, 1504 and theSpanish mourned for many days. She died at the age of 53. She left the throne behind to her daughter Joan (Joan the Mad) and herhusband. Her husband died in 1506. Ferdinand married Germaine de Fox. Theyhad a son, but he died in 1509. Ferdinand was left the ruler of Castile until deathin Madrigalejo on January 23, 1516. The crown eventually passed onto hisgrandson, Charles I, ruler of the Netherlands and heir to the Holy Roman Empireas Charles V. Over all, I think that Isabella had a very good influence of the world, andinspired a lot of good things to happen. While she did take part in a couple of notso great things like the Spanish Inquisition, she took part in lots of good things likehelping discover America, unifying Spain, strengthening the church, and helpingSpain become what it is today.