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Isabella I

Isabella I

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Isabella I, also known as Isabella of Castile is the legendary Queen of Spain who financed the first voyage of Columbus to the New World. Born in 1451, at the age of six she was betrothed to Ferdinand of Navarre, who would become king. Together, they would unite Spain and drive the Moors back into Tunisia, completing the Reconquista.

Isabella I facts:

  • Born April 22, 1451
  • Died November 26th, 1504
  • Married Ferdinand II of Aragon
  • Children: Joanna of Castile, Catherine of Aragon, Isabella of Aragon, John, Maria of Aragon

Isabella and Ferdinand

Isabella and Ferdinand were married in 1474 following permission by Pope Pius II, since they were second cousins. In 1474, she ascended to the throne of Castile, although there were numerous plots against her life. King Alfonso V of Portugal soon invaded, and war dragged on, climaxing the Battle of Toro (1476), a great political victory for Castile.

Together, Isabella and Ferdinand conquered most of the Iberian Peninsula, but peace treaties signed at Alcacovas in 1479 saw them relinquish claim to the throne of Portugal. However, the terms of the agreement left Portugal in charge of much of the navigational rights to the Atlantic Ocean. By the time Columbus approached Isabella and Ferdinand in 1492, his idea of bypassing the Portuguese control over trade routes to the Indies found willing ears.

Isabella I and the Catholic Church

Isabella and Ferdinand were devout Catholics, expelling Jews from Spain and initiating the Spanish Inquisition, naming Tomas de Torquemada as the first Inquisitor General. For their support of the faith, Pope Alexander VI gave Isabella the title of "Catholic Monarch." She died in 1504.

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