THE CATHOLIC KINGS IN THE HISTORY OF SPAIN

THE CATHOLIC KINGS IN THE HISTORY OF SPAIN

 

Isabel of Castilla and Fernando of Aragon were known as the Catholic Kings, a title given to them by a Pope of Valencian origin called Rodrigo de Borja or Alexander VI. The reign of the Catholic Kings would mean the transition from the middle ages to modern times. Through their marriage, two crowns were united within the Trastamara dynasty, namely those of Castilla and Aragon, giving way to the Hispanica monarchy.

At the end of the middle ages, in the XV century, the Iberian peninsula was made up of the kingdoms of Portugal, Castilla, Aragon, Navarra and the Muslim kingdom of Granada. The war of succession, after the death of the King of Castilla, Enrique IV, and between Juana La Beltraneja and Isabel, ended with the victory at the battle of Toro. The Castillian court recognised the marriage between Isabel and Fernando. The spouses signed the Agreement of Segovia, summarised as “Tanto monta, monta tanto, Isabel como Fernando” that means “Both Isabel and Fernando are in charge”

Machiavelli introduced Fernando as the model prince, for whom the reasons of the state were the priority; the end justifies the means. They formed part of the crown of Aragon: the kingdoms of Aragon, Valencia, Mallorca, Cerdena, Sicily and the county of Rosellon.

The crown of Castilla centred its forces on increasing royal power and ousting the nobles who hadn`t supported Isabel in the war. With the conquests of the Nazari kingdom of Granada, the Canary Islands, Melilla and the kingdom of Navarra, and incorporating the southern part of the Pyrenees with the capital in Pamplona, their plans were complete.

In 1492 the Catholic Kings financed the expedition of three caravels captained by Christopher Columbus, in search of a new commercial route to India; they arrived in America on the 12 th of October, extending the power of the crown to overseas territories and this was the starting point of the Spanish Empire of the XVI- XIX centuries.

Their reign was characterized by the religious unification around Catholicism, the forced conversion to Christianity through the Alhambra Decree and the expulsion of Jews and Muslims. The establishment of the Inquisition allowed them to actively intervene in religious matters without the involvement of the Pope and put an end to the powerful Jewish minority. The naming of the inquisitors was also in the hands of the monarchy.

The inclusion of the military orders in the Crown, namely Santiago, Calatrava and Alcantara, through a papal bull which Inocencio VIII agreed to, resulted in huge territories for the Crown.

The conquest of the kingdom of Naples, with the troops under the command of Don Gonzalo Fernandez de Cordova, “the great Captain”, would be the start of the “Spanish Third” and their new military techniques, relying heavily on the artillery and in the process creating a professional army.

The economy was based on an efficient tax collection system, agriculture, wool and the export of prime resources in Castilla. In order to defend the wealth brought in by wool, the Kings granted privileges to the Mesta (sheep farmers) with the control of the drover`s roads.

The Kings established a common foreign policy based on links with several European royal families, the most important of which were the Austrian House of Habsburg. The regency of Cardinal Cisneros made possible the arrival of the Emperor Carlos V, first of Spain, that later was succeeded by his son Philip II.

The Catholic Kings in The History of Spain

Isabel of Castilla and Fernando of Aragon were known as the Catholic Kings, a title given to them by a Pope of Valencian origin called Rodrigo de Borja or Alexander VI. The reign of the Catholic Kings would mean the transition from the middle ages to modern times. Through their marriage, two crowns were united within the Trastamara dynasty, namely those of Castilla and Aragon, giving way to the Hispanica monarchy. At the end of the middle ages, in the XV century, the Iberian peninsular was made up of the kingdoms of Portugal, Castilla, Aragon, Navarra and the Muslim kingdom of Granada. The war of succession, after the death of the King of Castilla, Enrique IV, and between Juana La Beltraneja and Isabel, ended with the victory at the battle of Toro. The Castillian court recognised the marriage between Isabel and Fernando. The spouses signed the Agreement of Segovia, summarised as “Tanto monta, monta tanto, Isabel como Fernando”. (Both Isabel and Fernando are in charge)

Machiavelli introduced Fernando as the model prince, for whom the reasons of the state were the priority; the end justifies the means. They formed part of the crown of Aragon: the kingdoms of Aragon, Valencia, Mallorca, Cerdena, Sicily and the counties of Barcelona, Rosellon and Cerdana. The crown of Castilla centred its forces on increasing royal power and ousting the nobles who hadn`t supported Isabel in the war. With the conquests of the Nazari kingdom of Granada, the Canary Islands, Melilla and the kingdom of Navarra, and incorporating the southern part of the Pyrenees with the capital in Pamplona, their plans were complete.

In 1492 the Kings financed the expedition of three caravels captained by Christopher Columbus, in search of a new commercial route to India; they arrived in America on the 12 th of October, extending the power of the crown to overseas territories and this was the starting point of the Spanish Empire of the XVI- XIX centuries.

Their reign was characterized by the religious unification around Catholicism, the forced conversion to Christianity through the Alhambra Decree and the expulsion of Jews and Muslims. The establishment of the Inquisition allowed them to actively intervene in religious matters without the involvement of the Pope and put an end to the powerful Jewish minority. The naming of the inquisitors was also in the hands of the monarchy. The inclusion of the military orders in the Crown, namely Santiago, Calatrava and Alcantara, through a papal bull which Inocencio VIII agreed to, resulted in huge territories for the Crown. The conquest of the kingdom of Naples, with the troops under the command of Don Gonzalo Fernandez de Cordova, “the great Captain”, would be the start of the “Spanish Third” and their new military techniques, relying heavily on the artillery and in the process creating a professional army. The Kings established a common foreign policy based on links with several European royal families, the most important of which were the Austrian House of Habsburg which would lead to the regency of Cardinal Cisneros. This made the arrival of the Emperor Carlos V, first of Spain, possible and he was later succeeded by his son Philip II. The economy was based on an efficient tax collection system, agriculture, wool and the export of prime resources in Castilla. In order to defend the wealth brought in by wool, the Kings granted privileges to the Mesta (sheep farmers) with the control of the drover`s roads.

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