Spanish Monarch. Born in the castle of La Mota at Madrigal de las Altas Torres, the daughter of Juan II of Castile, and his second wife, Isabella of Portugal. Her father died in 1454 and her half-brother, Henry IV, succeeded to the Castilian throne. Henry recognized Isabella as his heir over his daughter, Juana, whose paternity he apparently doubted. Isabella married Ferdinand of Aragon in 1469 and would eventually have five children with him. Henry IV died in December 1474, and Isabella was proclaimed Queen of Castile. A civil war erupted as Juana made her bid for the crown, supported the Portuguese king, Alfonso V. Juana eventually abandoned her claims, taking the veil in 1480, and removing all obstruction toward making Isabella's claim to the throne of Castile unquestioned. In 1478, Isabella and Ferdinand had established the Spanish Inquisition as a royal council and set out on a campaign of religious homogenization. The monarchs began a conquest of Granada which was under Moorish control in 1481, achieving a final victory by 1492. That same year the crown ordered both the expulsion of the Jews from Spain and chose to finance the expedition of Christopher Columbus which would bring New World wealth to Spain. Following an abortive Moorish revolt in 1502, Moslems who refused Christian baptism were also expelled from Spain. In 1503, she organized the Secretariate of Indian Affairs, which was the origin of the Supreme Council of the Indies. Isabella received the title of Reina Católica from Pope Alexander VI. Before her death, Isabella and Ferdinand managed to unite Spain, centralize the crown's power, successfully execute the reconquista of Granada, and lay the groundwork for the dominant power of the next century. Isabella died in Medina del Campo at the age of 53 and was succeeded in her Castilian titles by her daughter Juana called la Loca.
Bio by: Iola