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Isabella of Castile

Europe's First Great Queen

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


In 1474, a twenty-three year old woman ascended the throne of Castile, the largest and strongest kingdom in Spain. Ahead of her lay the considerable challenge not only of being a young, female ruler in an overwhelmingly male-dominated world, but also of reforming a major European kingdom that was riddled with crime, corruption, and violent political factionism. Her marriage to Ferdinand of Aragon was crucial to her success, bringing together as it did two kingdoms, but it was a royal partnership in which Isabella more than held her own. Her pivotal reign was long and transformative, uniting Spain and setting the stage for its golden era of global dominance. For by the time of her death in 1504, Isabella had laid the foundations not just of modern Spain, but of one of the world's greatest empires.

Acclaimed historian Giles Tremlett chronicles the life of Isabella of Castile as she led her country out of the murky middle ages and harnessed the newest ideas and tools of the early Renaissance to turn her ill-disciplined, quarrelsome nation into a sharper, modern state with a powerful, clear-minded, and ambitious monarch at its centre. With authority, insight and flair he relates the story of this legendary, if controversial, first initiate in a small club of great European queens that includes Elizabeth I of England, Russia's Catherine the Great, and Britain's Queen Victoria.

From Publishers Weekly

Jan 02, 2017 – Tremlett (Catherine of Aragon), Madrid correspondent for the Economist, reveals how decades of ineffective rulers led the Crown of Castile to land on the unlikely head of Isabella (1451 1504), who usurped the throne of her underage niece in her quest to create a powerful unified Spain. He successfully argues that Isabella's strong sense of duty to God and country strengthened her resolve for unification and her drive to convert heretics to Christianity, resulting in a reign with long-lasting consequences in the Western world. Much of this well-written account covers Isabella's unique working relationship with her less politically astute husband, Ferdinand of Aragon, and her eagerness to wage war. Tremlett emphasizes her zeal and deftness with resources in furthering Spain's interests as she perceived them. Clear descriptions of Castilian court politics reveal how the hopeful explorer Columbus finally received Isabella's funding and approval for his westbound routes, inadvertently launching the Native American genocide while expanding Spanish supremacy. However, despite much attention, there's little sense of immediacy regarding the Moorish invasions that Isabella (and the Iberian Peninsula generally) feared, making her forced conversions during the Inquisition and Reconquista less understandable to modern readers. Tremlett's unsentimental portrait reveals an ambitious queen whose accomplishments of prescient religious reform, westward exploration, and empire-building far outshone those of her contemporary European monarchs.
Isabella of Castile
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  • $23.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Europe
  • Published: Feb 09, 2017
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
  • Seller: INscribe Digital
  • Print Length: 624 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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