1451 - 1504
Queen of Castile & Aragon
Queen of Spain
Isabella was born in Madrigal de las Altas Torras, Spain,
the daughter of John II, King of Castile and Leon. In 1469 she married
Ferdinand V of Aragon, with whom she ruled jointly from 1479.
Isabella's marriage to Ferdinand of Aragon united Spain's two largest kingdoms and laid the foundation of the Spanish state. They governed independently, however, and Isabella initiated a program of reform which reduced the power of her rebellious nobles, streamlined her government, and encouraged scholarship.
Intensely religious, she helped establish the Inquisition in Andalusia, which led to the expulsion from Spain of over 170,000 Jews. With Ferdinand, she conquered Granada, the remaining territory of the Moors. Eventually, they too were expelled from Spain.
Isabella sponsored the voyages of Columbus, which gave Spain its first claims in America.
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