Queen Isabella had two brothers – King Henry IV, and Alfonso. Henry was her half brother, and Alfonso was the sole heir – but being too young to rule, Henry took over. Isabella’s father died when she was three. Her mother, Isabella of Portugal, raised her daughter until 1457, when the two children were brought to court by Henry IV to keep them in his rule and out of opposing forces.
The peasants and noble forces were trying to get Alfonso the crown by defeating King Henry – but they were crushed when Alfonso died of poisoning in July, 1468. King Henry only had one child, Juana la Beltraneja, but no one believed she was his legitimate daughter. So, when Isabella refused the crown the nobles tried to give her, Henry compromised with the aristocrats and accepted Isabella as his sole heiress in September.
Isabella married Ferdinand of Argon, who is a second cousin, without Henry’s approval, and soon gets her title revoked. A war breaks out when Henry died, and Juana moves to a convent instead of becoming queen. Isabella is, officially, the queen and rules alongside Ferdinand. Ferdinand had been, by this time, become King of Aragon; the two lined with equal authority and helped unify Spain. Their first act was to reduce the power of nobles and to increase the power of the crown.
In 1480, the Inquisition in Spain came into effect. Basically, the inquisition states that if you are a Muslim or Jew who has converted to Christianity but were thought to be practicing your own religion, you were expelled in Spain. Soon, all of the Muslim’s and Jew’s were out of Spain, and the Muslim kingdom of Grenada fell to the royals. Ferdinand and Isabella were named “The Catholic Monarchs” by the Pope.
Isabella, who was also a patron of scholars and artists, establishing educational institutions and building a large collection of art work, learnt Latin as an adult – which was widely read all over the...