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.
Queen Isabella & King Ferdinand's conflict for the leadership of Castile (Isabel s02e01)
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.
He united the Spanish kingdoms into the nation of Spain.
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Isabella I was not originally heir to the throne. In terms of accomplishments, Isabella I unified Spain through her marriage to Ferdinand II of Aragon , and she financed the expedition of Christopher Columbus , leading to the discovery of the Americas. She also completed the Reconquista but infamously expelled Jews and Muslims and empowered the Spanish Inquisition. Three years after she was born, her half brother became king of Castile as Henry IV. Though her early years were spent quietly with her mother, she was soon drawn into Castilian politics. Three years after her birth her half brother became king as Henry IV. At first the opposition to Henry IV gathered around Alfonso, but when the latter died in July , the rebellious magnates naturally turned to Isabella.