Isabella of Castile
Isabella I of Castile was Queen of the Kingdom of Castile y Leon, or Queen of Spain, from 1474 - 1504. Though she shared her reign with her husband Ferdinand II of Aragon, she is known to have been the more powerful and influential of the two, and during her rule created a more stable and unified Spain, reorganized the government, brought crime to the lowest rate it had been for decades, freed her country of an enormous debt, and formed diplomatic relationships with other countries. She is also known for funding Christopher Columbus' voyage to the New World, and for ordering the conversion or exile of Muslim or Jewish inhabitants of Spain during the Spanish Inquisition. 

Full Name Isabella I of Castile y Leon
Who Queen of Spain
Birth Date April 22, 1451
Death Date November 26, 1504
Country Spain
Born Madrigal de las Altas Torres, Spain
Died Medina del Campo, Spain
Cause of Death increasing ill health
Education n/a
Father John II of Castile
Mother Isabella of Portugal
Spouse Ferdinand II of Aragon

Henry IV of Castile

Alfonso of Asturias


Isabella of Aragon, Queen of Portugal

John, Prince of Asturias

Juana of Castile

Maria of Aragon, Queen of Portugal

Catherine of Aragon


Isabella was betrothed to Ferdinand II of Aragon in 1457, at the age of six. At the time, the union would have been a great diplomatic strategy, but as she grew up, this changed. Their betrothal was broken off less than a year later, in 1458. However, Isabella always felt that she shared a secret connection to her cousin Ferdinand. In 1468, when Isabella was 17, she began secret arrangements to enter back into a betrothal with Ferdinand. In 1469, the two were formally betrothed, 

In 1465, Isabella's older half-brother Henry pushed for her to marry his brother-in-law, Afonso V of Portugal, but Isabella refused. Henry and Afonso tried again in 1468, but Isabella again refused.

Henry at one point had high hopes that he could match Isabella into marrying Edward IV of England or Richard III of England, but no negotiations of these potential betrothals were ever made.

Isabella was close to her father-in-law, John II of Aragon.

When marrying her cousin Ferdinand, Isabella sought the Pope's blessing by appealing to Rodrigo Borgia, later to be Pope Alexander VI, for help in 1469. After Borgia became pope, he would endorse Isabella with the title of Catholic Monarch in the late 1490's. However, Isabella disapproved of Borgia and had a frosty relationship with him.

During the War for Granada between 1482 - 1492, Gonzalo Fernandez de Cordoba rose to prominence in the military, and became a favorite commander of Isabella's. She gave him many honors and promotions, and helped to begin his decorated career.

Isabella commissioned Christopher Columbus to find passage to India in 1492, but he instead discovered the New World, which would make her kingdom wealthy and powerful. She granted Columbus various honors and promotions, though she frequently disagreed with him on matters such as the slave trade of natives found in the New World. She attempted to pass laws against this, but they had little effect.

Francisco Jimenez de Cisneros was a religious advisor and confessor to Isabella during the later years of her reign.

Through her daughter Joanna of Castile, Isabella was the grandmother of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.

Through her youngest daughter Catherine of Aragon, Isabella was the mother-in-law of Arthur Tudor and Henry VIII. She was also the grandmother of Mary I of England.


Madrigal de las Altas Torres, Spain - Born here, 1451. Lived here, 1451 - 1454.

Arevalo, Spain - Grew up here, 1454 - 1462.

Segovia, Spain - Lived here, 1462 - 1504.

Avila, Spain - Attended brother's funeral here, 1468.

Valladolid, Spain - Married here, 1469.

Medina del Campo, Spain - Traveled here, 1482. Died here, 1504.

Tordesillas, Spain - Traveled here, 1494.

Granada, Spain - Buried here, 1504.

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