Securing the Castilian Throne Essay

Securing the Castilian Throne Essay

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To suggest that Isabella was successful from the outset in securing the Castilian crown and the support of its people would be a foolish interpretation. It took ten years before she was fully accepted as rightful ruler, during which time a number of important factors developed that today can be seen as the clearest reasons for her success. Paramount among these was her determined, intellectual and shrewd personality and character. Without these traits, the other factors would have been irrelevant.

In October 1469, Isabella was married to Ferdinand of Aragon. What is interesting here is the terms of the treaty drawn up after the ceremony that both of them signed. It claimed Isabella to be the rightful and true heir of Castile, that their children were to be educated in Castile and that Ferdinand was to have no power in Castile, just as Isabella was to be impotent in Aragon. However, the clause in the terms that stated that Ferdinand was to supply Isabella with 100,000 gold florins and 4000 troops if necessary is significant. It shows us that from the beginning of their relationship, Isabella was going to have the support of her husband. This idea was to become all the more important during her bid to secure her crown. An allegiance with the Aragonese, in a military sense would send out a clear message to her rivals. The ultimate option of force, and outside intervention, was a very real alternative if the situation deteriorated.

This building of an inter-relationship between Aragon and Castile was important to Isabella, but it was just as important that Ferdinand's influence was kept in check, so as to not aggravate the aristocracy who may have considered Ferdinand too powerful in Castile. As a result, Aragonese nobles were...


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...her rule, to carry out her dream of a developed, economically, socially and politically sound Castile. Chroniclers of the time perhaps do the other contributions, like that of Ferdinand, little justice, spending much time also on devaluing most of the previous monarch's work. They may well be contributing to royalist propaganda but, ultimately, despite being appointed by the Queen to record her history in a favourable light, Isabella was a good Queen. While she alone did not secure her succession to the thrown, her positive and admirable attributes as a person and leader can be seen to be the best possible reason, above any others, for her accomplishment.

"It was certainly a marvellous thing that what many men and great lords could not agree to effect in many years, one lone woman carried out in a little time."

`Decadas', Alonso de Palencia, 1485.

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