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Crown of Castile
The Crown of Castile in the early 16th century
|Capital||Burgos, Toledo, Madrid [a]|
|Common languages||Official languages:|
Old Spanish (Castilian), Latin
Basque, Galician, Astur-Leonese, Mozarabic, Andalusian Arabic, Judaeo-Spanish, Guanche
|Government||Monarchy subject to fueros|
|Ferdinand III (first)|
|Isabella I and Ferdinand V|
|Legislature||Cortes of Castile|
|Historical era||Middle Ages|
|23 September 1230|
|19 October 1469|
|2 January 1492|
(11 June 1515 officially)
• Ascension of Charles I
|23 January 1516|
|1516||380,000 km2 (150,000 sq mi)|
|Currency|| Spanish real,|
|Today part of|
The Crown of Castilewas a medieval state in the Iberian Peninsula that formed in 1230 as a result of the third and definitive union of the crowns and, some decades later, the parliaments of the kingdoms of Castile and León upon the accession of the then Castilian king, Ferdinand III, to the vacant Leonese throne. It continued to exist as a separate entity after the personal union in 1469 of the crowns of Castile and Aragon with the marriage of the Catholic Monarchs up to the promulgation of the Nueva Planta decrees by Philip V in 1715.
The Iberian Peninsula, also known as Iberia, is located in the southwest corner of Europe. The peninsula is principally divided between Spain and Portugal, comprising most of their territory. It also includes Andorra, small areas of France, and the British overseas territory of Gibraltar. With an area of approximately 596,740 square kilometres (230,400 sq mi)), it is both the second largest European peninsula by area, after the Scandinavian Peninsula, and by population, after the Balkan Peninsula.
The Kingdom of Castile was a large and powerful state located on the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Ages. Its name comes from the host of castles constructed in the region. It began in the 9th century as the County of Castile, an eastern frontier lordship of the Kingdom of León. During the 10th century its counts increased their autonomy, but it was not until 1065 that it was separated from León and became a kingdom in its own right. Between 1072 and 1157 it was again united with León, and after 1230 this union became permanent. Throughout this period the Castilian kings made extensive conquests in southern Iberia at the expense of the Islamic principalities. The Kingdoms of Castile and of León, with their southern acquisitions, came to be known collectively as the Crown of Castile, a term that also came to encompass overseas expansion.
The Kingdom of León was an independent kingdom situated in the northwest region of the Iberian Peninsula. It was founded in AD 910 when the Christian princes of Asturias along the northern coast of the peninsula shifted their capital from Oviedo to the city of León.
The Indies, Islands and Mainland of the Ocean Sea were also a part of the Crown of Castile when transformed from lordships to kingdoms of the heirs of Castile in 1506, with the Treaty of Villafáfila, and upon the death of Ferdinand the Catholic.
The Treaty of Villafáfila is a treaty signed by Ferdinand the Catholic in Villafáfila on 27 June 1506 and by Philip the Handsome in Benavente, Zamora, on 28 June.
The title of "King of Castile" remained in use by the Habsburg rulers during the 16th and 17th centuries. Charles I was King of Aragon, Majorca, Valencia, and Sicily, and Count of Barcelona, Roussillon and Cerdagne, as well as King of Castile and León, 1516–1556.
Habsburg Spain refers to Spain over the 16th and 17th centuries (1516–1700), when it was ruled by kings from the House of Habsburg. The Habsburg rulers reached the zenith of their influence and power. They controlled territory that included the Americas, the East Indies, the Low Countries and territories now in France and Germany in Europe, the Portuguese Empire from 1580 to 1640, and various other territories such as small enclaves like Ceuta and Oran in North Africa. This period of Spanish history has also been referred to as the "Age of Expansion".
In the early 18th century, Philip of Bourbon won the War of the Spanish Succession and imposed unification policies over the Crown of Aragon, supporters of their enemies. This unified the Crown of Aragon and the Crown of Castile into the kingdom of Spain. Even though the Nueva Planta decrees did not formally abolish the Crown of Castile, the country of (Castile and Aragon) was called "Spain" by both contemporaries and historians.
Philip V was King of Spain from 1 November 1700 to his abdication in favour of his son Louis on 14 January 1724, and from his reaccession of the throne upon his son's death on 6 September 1724 to his own death on 9 July 1746.
The War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714) was a European conflict of the early 18th century, triggered by the death of the childless Charles II of Spain in November 1700, eventually evolving into a global conflict due to overseas colonies and allies. His closest heirs were members of the Austrian Habsburg and French Bourbon families; acquisition of an undivided Spanish Empire by either threatened the European balance of power.
The Nueva Planta decrees were a number of decrees signed between 1707 and 1716 by Philip V—the first Bourbon King of Spain—during and shortly after the end of the War of the Spanish Succession by the Treaty of Utrecht.
"King of Castile" also remains part of the full title of Felipe VI of Spain, the current King of Spain according to the Spanish constitution of 1978, in the sense of titles, not of states.
Philip VI or Felipe VI is the King of Spain. He ascended the throne on 19 June 2014 upon the abdication of his father, King Juan Carlos I. His mother is Queen Sofía, and he has two older sisters, Infanta Elena, Duchess of Lugo, and Infanta Cristina. When Spanish dictator Francisco Franco chose Juan Carlos as his successor in 1969, Felipe became second in line to the Spanish throne.
The Kingdom of León arose out of the Kingdom of Asturias. The Kingdom of Castile appeared initially as a county of the Kingdom of León. From the second half of the 10th century to the first half of the 11th century it changed hands between León and the Kingdom of Navarre. In the 11th century it became a kingdom in its own right.
The Kingdom of Asturias was a kingdom in the Iberian Peninsula founded in 718 by the Visigothic nobleman Pelagius. It was the first Christian political entity established after the Umayyad conquest of Visigothic Hispania in 718 or 722. That year, Pelagius defeated an Umayyad army at the Battle of Covadonga, in what is usually regarded as the beginning of the Reconquista.
The two kingdoms had been united twice previously:
Ferdinand III received the Kingdom of Castile from his mother, Queen Berengaria of Castile granddaughter of Sancho III in 1217, and the Kingdom of León from his father Alfonso IX of León son of Ferdinand II in 1230. From then on the two kingdoms were united under the name of the Kingdom of León and Castile, or simply as the Crown of Castile. Ferdinand III later conquered the Guadalquivir Valley, while his son Alfonso X conquered the Kingdom of Murcia from Al-Andalus, further extending the area of the Crown of Castile. Given this, the kings of the Crown of Castile traditionally styled themselves "King of Castile, León, Toledo, Galicia, Murcia, Jaén, Córdoba, Seville, and Lord of Biscay and Molina", among other possessions they later gained. The heir to the throne has been titled Prince of Asturias since the 14th century.
Almost immediately after the union of the two kingdoms under Ferdinand III, the parliaments of Castile and León were united. It was divided into three estates, which corresponded with the nobility, the church and the cities, and included representation from Castile, León, Galicia, Toledo, Navarre and the Basque provinces. Initially the number of cities represented in the Cortes varied over the next century, until John I permanently set those that would be allowed to send representatives (procuradores): Burgos, Toledo, León, Sevilla, Córdoba, Murcia, Jaén, Zamora, Segovia, Ávila, Salamanca, Cuenca, Toro, Valladolid, Soria, Madrid and Guadalajara (with Granada added after its conquest in 1492).
Under Alfonso X, most sessions of the Cortes of both kingdoms were held jointly. The Cortes of 1258 in Valladolid comprised representatives of Castile, Extremadura and León ("de Castiella e de Estremadura e de tierra de León") and those of Seville in 1261 of Castile, León and all other kingdoms ("de Castiella e de León e de todos los otros nuestros Regnos"). Subsequent Cortes were celebrated separately, for example in 1301 that of Castile in Burgos and that of León in Zamora, but the representatives demanded that the parliaments be reunited from then on.
Although the individual kingdoms and cities initially retained their individual historical rights-including the Old Fuero of Castile (Viejo Fuero de Castilla) and the different fueros of the municipal councils of Castile, León, Extremadura and Andalucía-a unified legal code for the entire new kingdom was created in the Siete Partidas (c. 1265), the Ordenamiento de Alcalá (1248) and the Leyes de Toro (1505). These laws continued to be in force until 1889, when a new Spanish civil code, the Código Civil Español, was enacted.
In the 13th century there were many languages spoken in the Kingdoms of León and Castile among them Castilian, Leonese, Basque and Galician-Portuguese. But, as the century progressed, Castilian gained increasing prominence as the language of culture and communication- one example of this is the Cantar de Mio Cid .[ citation needed ]
In the last years of the reign of Ferdinand III, Castilian began to be used for some important documents, such as the Visigothic Code, the basis of the legal code for Christians living in Muslim Cordova, but it was during the reign of Alfonso X that it became the official language. Henceforth all public documents were written in Castilian, likewise all translations of Arabic legal and government documents were made into Castilian instead of Latin.
Some scholars think that the substitution of Castilian for Latin was due to the strength of the new language, whereas others consider that it was due to the influence of Hebrew-speaking intellectuals who were hostile towards Latin, the language of the Christian Church.[ citation needed ]
In 1492, under the Catholic Monarchs, the first edition of the Grammar of the Castilian Language by Antonio de Nebrija was published. Castilian was eventually carried to the Americas in the 16th century by the conquistadors. Because of Castilian's importance in the land ruled by the Spanish Crown, the language is also known as Spanish.
Furthermore, in the 13th century many universities were founded where instruction was in Castilian, such as the Leonese University of Salamanca, the Castilian Estudio General of Palencia and the University of Valladolid, which were among the first universities in Europe.
On the death of Alfonso XI a dynastic conflict started between his sons, the Infantes Peter (Pedro) and Henry, Count of Trastámara, which became entangled in the Hundred Years' War (between England and France). Alfonso XI had married Maria of Portugal with whom he had his heir, the Infante Peter. However, the King also had many illegitimate children with Eleanor of Guzman, among them the above-mentioned Henry, who disputed Peter's right to the throne once the latter became king.
In the resulting struggle, in which both brothers claimed to be king, Pedro allied himself with Edward, Prince of Wales, "the Black Prince". In 1367, the Black Prince defeated Henry II's allies at the Battle of Nájera, restoring Pedro's control of the kingdom. The Black Prince, seeing that the king would not reimburse his expenses, left Castile. Henry, who had fled to France, took advantage of the opportunity and recommenced the fight. Henry finally was victorious in 1369 in the Battle of Montiel, in which he had Peter killed.
In 1371 the brother of the Black Prince, John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, married Constance, Peter's daughter. In 1386, he claimed the Crown of Castile in the name of his wife, the legitimate heir according to the Cortes de Seville of 1361. He arrived in A Coruña with an army and took the city. He then moved on to occupy Santiago de Compostela, Pontevedra and Vigo. He asked John I, Henry II's son, to give up the throne in favor of Constance.
John declined but proposed that his son, the Infante Henry, marry John of Gaunt's daughter Catherine. The proposal was accepted, and the title Prince of Asturias was created for Henry and Catherine. This ended the dynastic conflict, strengthened the House of Trastámara's position and created peace between England and Castile.
During the reign of Henry III royal power was restored, overshadowing the much powerful Castilian nobility. In his later years Henry delegated some of his power to his brother Ferdinand I of Antequera, who would be regent, along with his wife Catherine of Lancaster, during the childhood of his son John II. After the Compromise of Caspe in 1412, Ferdinand left Castile to become King of Aragon.
Upon the death of his mother, John II at the age of 14, took to the throne and married his cousin Maria of Aragon. The young king entrusted his government to regent Álvaro de Luna, the most influential person in court and allied with the lesser nobility, the cities, the clergy, and the Jews. This brought together the mutual dislikes of the king shared by the greater Castilian nobility and the Aragonese Infantes , sons of Ferdinand I of Antequera, who sought to control the Castilian crown. This eventually led to war in 1429 and 1430 between the two kingdoms. Álvaro de Luna won the war and expelled the Aragonese Infantes from Castile.
Henry IV unsuccessfully tried to re-establish the peace with the nobility that his father, John II, had shattered. When his second wife, Joan of Portugal, gave birth to Infanta Joanna, it was claimed that she was the result of an affair of the Queen with Beltrán de la Cueva, one of the King's chief ministers.
The King, besieged by riots and the demands of the nobles, had to sign a treaty in which he named as his successor his half-brother Alfonso, leaving Infanta Joanna out of the line of succession. After the death of Alfonso in an accident, Henry IV signed the Treaty of the Bulls of Guisando with his half-sister Isabella I in which he named her heiress in return for her marrying a prince chosen by him.
In October 1469 Isabella I and Ferdinand II, heir to the throne of Aragon, married in secret in the Palacio de los Vivero in Castilian Valladolid. The consequence was a dynastic union of the Crown of Castile and the Crown of Aragon in 1479 when Ferdinand ascended to the Aragonese throne. This union however was not effective until the reign of his grandson Charles I (Holy Roman Emperor Charles V). Ferdinand and Isabella were related and had married without papal approval. Although Isabella wanted to marry Ferdinand, she refused to proceed with the marriage until she received a Papal dispensation. Consequently, Ferdinand's father forged a papal dispensation for the two to marry. Isabella believed that the dispensation was authentic and the marriage went ahead. A genuine papal dispensation arrived afterwards. Later Pope Alexander VI bestowed upon them the title of 'los Reyes Católicos' ('the Catholic Monarchs').
Henry IV, half brother of Isabella, considered the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella as breaking the treaty of Tratado de los Toros de Guisando under which Isabella would ascend to the Castilian throne on his death only if her suitor was approved by him. Henry wanted to ally Castile with Portugal or France rather than Aragon. He therefore decided to name his daughter Infanta Joanna as heiress to the throne rather than Isabella I. When he died in 1474 the War of the Castilian Succession broke out over who would ascend to the throne. It lasted until 1479 when Isabella and her supporters came out victorious.
After Isabella's victory in the civil war and Ferdinand's ascension to the Aragonese throne the two crowns were united under the same monarchs. However, this was a personal union and both kingdoms remained administratively separate to some extent, each maintaining largely its own laws; both parliaments remained separate, the only common institution would be the Inquisition. Despite their titles of "Monarchs of Castile, Leon, Aragon and Sicily" Ferdinand and Isabella reigned over their respective territories, although they also took decisions together. Its central position, larger territorial area (three times greater than that of Aragon) and larger population (4.3 million as opposed to the 1 million in Aragon) led to Castile becoming the dominating partner in the union.
As a result of the Reconquista (Reconquest) the Castilian aristocracy had become very powerful. The monarchs needed to assert their authority over the nobility and the clergy. With this end in mind they founded a law enforcement body, the Consejo de la Hermandad, more commonly known as the Santa Hermandad (the Holy Brotherhood), which was staffed and funded by the municipalities. They also took further measures against the nobility, destroying feudal castles, prohibiting private wars and reducing the power of the Adelantados (a governor-like military office in regions recently conquered). The monarchy incorporated military orders under the Consejo de las Órdenes in 1495, reinforced royal judicial power over the feudal one and transformed the Audiencias into the supreme judicial bodies. The crown also sought to better control the cities, and so in 1480 in the Cortes of Toledo it created the corregidores, representatives of the crown, which supervised the city councils. In religion, they reformed religious orders and sought unity of the various sections of the church. They pressured Jews to convert to Catholicism, in some cases persecuted by the Inquisition. Finally in 1492, the monarchs decided that those who would not convert would be expelled. It is estimated that between 50,000 and 70,000 people were expelled from Castile. From 1502 onwards, they began to convert the Muslim population.
Between 1478 and 1497 the monarchs' forces conquered the three Canary Islands of Gran Canaria, La Palma and Tenerife. On 2 January 1492 the monarchs entered Granada's Alhambra marking the completion and end of the Reconquista. Also in 1492, the Christopher Columbus maritime expedition claimed the newly found lands in the Americas for the Crown of Castile and began the New World conquests. In 1497 Castile conquered Melilla on the north coast of North Africa. After Castile's conquest of the Kingdom of Granada, its politics turned towards the Mediterranean, and Castile militarily helped Aragon in its problems with France, culminating in the reconquest of Naples for the Crown of Aragon in 1504. Later that same year, Isabella died, on November 26.
Upon Isabella I's death 1504, the crown passed to her daughter Joanna, who was married to Philip of Austria (nicknamed 'Philip the Handsome'). But Isabella knew of her daughter's possible mental health incapacities (and so nicknamed 'Juana la Loca' or 'Joanna the Mad' ) and named Ferdinand as regent in the case that Joanna "didn't want to or couldn't fulfil her duties". In the 'Salamanca Agreement' of 1505, it was decided that the government would be shared by Philip I, Ferdinand V and Joanna. However, poor relations between Phillip, who was supported by the Castilian nobility, and Ferdinand resulted in Ferdinand renouncing his regent's powers in Castile in order to avoid an armed conflict.
Through the Concordia de Villafáfila of 1506, Ferdinand returned to Aragon and Phillip was recognized as King of Castile, with Joanna a co-monarch. In the Treaty of Villafáfila in 1506 King Ferdinand the Catholic renounced not only the government of Castile in favour of his son-in-law Philip I of Castile but also the lordship of the Indies, withholding a half of the income of the kingdoms of the Indies. Joanna of Castile and Philip immediately added to their titles the kingdoms of Indies, Islands and Mainland of the Ocean Sea. Phillip died and Ferdinand returned in 1507 once again to be regent for Joanna. Her isolated confinement-imprisonment in the Santa Clara Convent at Tordesillas, to last over fifty years until death, began with her father's orders in 1510.
In 1512 a joint Castilian-Aragonese force invaded Navarre and most of the Kingdom of Navarre south of the Pyrenees was annexed to Castile.
Charles I received the Crown of Castile, the Crown of Aragon and the empire through a combination of dynastic marriages and premature deaths:
Charles I was not well received in Castile. This was partly because he was a foreign-born king (born in Ghent), and even before his arrival in Castile he had granted important positions to Flemish citizens and had used Castilian money to fund his court. The Castilian nobility and the cities were on the verge of an uprising to defend their rights. Many Castilians favoured the king's younger brother Ferdinand, who grew up in Castile, and in fact the Council of Castile opposed the idea of Charles as King of Castile.
In 1518 the Castilian parliament in Valladolid named the Wallonian Jean de Sauvage as its president. This caused angry protests in the parliament, which rejected the presence of foreigners in its deliberations. Despite threats, the parliament led by Juan de Zumel representing Burgos, resisted and forced the king to respect the laws of Castile, remove all foreigners from important governmental posts, and learn to speak Castilian. After taking his oath, Charles received a subsidy of 600,000 ducats.
Charles was conscious of the fact that he had options to become emperor and needed to impose his authority over Castile to gain access to its riches for his imperial goals. The riches from the Americas came through Castile which was one of the more dynamic, rich, and advanced territories in Europe in the 16th century. It started to realise that it could become immersed within an empire. This, added to the broken promise of Charles, only increased hostility towards the king. In 1520 in Toledo Parliament rejected a further subsidy for the king. Parliament in Santiago de Compostela reached the same decision. Finally, when Parliament was held in A Coruña, many members were bribed and others denied entry, with the result that the subsidy was approved. Those members who voted in favour were attacked by the Castilian people and their houses were burned. Parliament was not the only opposition which Charles would come up against. When he left Castile in 1520, the Castilian War of the Communities broke out. Los comuneros were defeated one year later (1521). After their defeat, Parliament was reduced to a merely consultative body.
Philip II continued the politics of Charles I, but unlike his father he made Castile the core of the Spanish Empire, centralising all administration in Madrid. The other Spanish regions maintained certain degree of autonomy, being governed by a Viceroy.
In fact, since the reign of Charles I the financial burden of the empire had fallen mainly on Castile, but under Philip II the cost quadrupled. During his reign, as well as increasing existing taxes he created some new ones, among them the excusado in 1567. That same year Philip ordered the proclamation of the La Pragmática; an act whereby all Moriscos had to abandon all Moorish traditions and become true Catholics. This edict limited religious, linguistic and cultural freedom of the Morisco population and provoked the Morisco Revolt (1568–1571), which was put down by John of Austria.
Castile entered a phase of recession in 1575; Spain as a whole followed, which provoked the suspension of wages (the third of his reign). In 1590 the Cortes approved the millones; a new tax on food. This exhausted Castilian cities and hindered the economy. In 1596, pay was once again suspended.
In the previous kingdoms, positions in national institutions were filled by educated gentlemen. Philip II's administrators would normally come from either the University of Alcalá or the University of Salamanca. After Philip III the nobility once again asserted their right to govern the country. In order to show that there was a new order ruling there was a cleansing of the blood of Spain. Religious persecution led Philip to declare the expulsion of the Moriscos in 1609.
Faced with the collapse of the Exchequer, in order to maintain the hegemony of Philip IV's Spanish Empire, the Count-Duke of Olivares, the king's favourite (valido) from 1621 to 1643, tried to introduce a series of reforms. Among these was the Unión de Armas, the creation of a new army of 140,000 reservists. Every territory within the kingdom contributed citizens proportionally in order to maintain the force. His aims of union did not work and the Spanish Crown continued as a confederation of kingdoms.
Luis Méndez de Haro took over from Olivares as favourite Philip IV between 1659 and 1665. This was in order to alleviate interior conflicts sparked off by his predecessor (revolts in Portugal, Catalonia and Andalusia) and achieve peace in Europe.
Upon the death of Philip IV in 1665, and with the incapacity of Charles II to govern, Spain suffered an economic slowdown and battles for power between the different 'favourites'. The death of Charles II in 1700 without descendants provoked the War of the Spanish Succession.
After the war, all the territories were unified as a single country under the Crown of Spain.
North – Septentrional
South – Meridional
Charles V was Holy Roman Emperor from 1519, King of Spain from 1516, and Prince of the Habsburg Netherlands as Duke of Burgundy from 1506. Head of the rising House of Habsburg during the first half of the 16th century, his dominions in Europe included the Holy Roman Empire extending from Germany to northern Italy with direct rule over the Low Countries and Austria, and a unified Spain with its southern Italian kingdoms of Naples, Sicily, and Sardinia. Furthermore, his reign encompassed both the long-lasting Spanish and short-lived German colonizations of the Americas. The personal union of the European and American territories of Charles V, spanning over nearly 4 million square kilometres, was the first collection of realms labelled "the empire on which the sun never sets".
Ferdinand IV of Castile called the Summoned, was a King of Castile and León from 1295 until his death.
Joanna, known historically as Joanna the Mad, was Queen of Castile from 1504, and of Aragon from 1516. Modern Spain evolved from the union of these two crowns. Joanna was married by arrangement to Philip the Handsome, Archduke of the House of Habsburg, on 20 October 1496. Following the deaths of her brother, John, Prince of Asturias, in 1497, her elder sister Isabella in 1498, and her nephew Miguel in 1500, Joanna became the heir presumptive to the crowns of Castile and Aragon. When her mother Queen Isabella I of Castile died in 1504, Joanna became Queen of Castile, while her father, King Ferdinand II of Aragon, proclaimed himself 'Governor and Administrator of Castile'. In 1506 Archduke Philip became King of Castile jure uxoris, initiating the rule of the Habsburgs in the Spanish kingdoms, and died that same year. Despite being the ruling Queen of Castile, she had little effect on national policy during her reign as she was declared insane and imprisoned in Tordesillas under the orders of her father, who ruled as regent until his death in 1516, when she inherited his kingdom as well. From 1516, when her son Charles I ruled as king, she was nominally co-monarch but remained imprisoned until her death.
Philip of Habsburg, called the Handsome or the Fair, was Duke of Burgundy from 1482 to 1506 and the first member of the house of Habsburg to be King of Castile as Philip I.
Joanna la Beltraneja was a claimant to the throne of Castile, and Queen of Portugal as the wife of King Afonso V, her uncle.
The Catholic Monarchs is the joint title used in history for Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon. They were both from the House of Trastámara and were second cousins, being both descended from John I of Castile; on marriage they were given a papal dispensation to deal with consanguinity by Sixtus IV. They married on October 19, 1469, in the city of Valladolid; Isabella was eighteen years old and Ferdinand a year younger. It is generally accepted by most scholars that the unification of Spain can essentially be traced back to the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella. Some newer historical opinions propose that under their rule, what later became Spain was still a union of two crowns rather than a unitary state, as to a large degree Castile and Aragon remained separate kingdoms, with most of their own separate institutions, for decades to come. The court of Ferdinand and Isabella was constantly on the move, in order to bolster local support for the crown from local feudal lords.
The Kingdom of Navarre, originally the Kingdom of Pamplona, was a Basque-based kingdom that occupied lands on either side of the western Pyrenees, alongside the Atlantic Ocean between present-day Spain and France.
The Crown of Aragon was a composite monarchy, also nowadays referred to as a confederation of individual polities or kingdoms ruled by one king, with a personal and dynastic union of the Kingdom of Aragon and the County of Barcelona. At the height of its power in the 14th and 15th centuries, the Crown of Aragon was a thalassocracy controlling a large portion of present-day eastern Spain, parts of what is now southern France, and a Mediterranean "empire" which included the Balearic Islands, Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia, Malta, Southern Italy and parts of Greece. The component realms of the Crown were not united politically except at the level of the king, who ruled over each autonomous polity according to its own laws, raising funds under each tax structure, dealing separately with each Corts or Cortes. Put in contemporary terms, it has sometimes been considered that the different lands of the Crown of Aragon functioned more as a confederation than as a single kingdom. In this sense, the larger Crown of Aragon must not be confused with one of its constituent parts, the Kingdom of Aragon, from which it takes its name.
The House of Trastámara was a dynasty of kings in Spain, which first governed in Castile beginning in 1369 before expanding its rule into Aragon, Navarre and Naples. They were an illegitimate cadet line of the House of Ivrea.
The War of the Castilian Succession, more accurately referred to as "Second War of Castilian Succession" or simply "War of Henry IV's Succession" to avoid confusion with other Castilian succession wars, was the military conflict contested from 1475 to 1479 for the succession of the Crown of Castile fought between the supporters of Joanna 'la Beltraneja', reputed daughter of the late monarch Henry IV of Castile, and those of Henry's half-sister, Isabella, who was ultimately successful.
Ferdinand II, called the Catholic, was King of Aragon from 1479 until his death. His marriage in 1469 to Isabella, the future queen of Castile, was the marital and political "cornerstone in the foundation of the Spanish monarchy." As a consequence of his marriage to Isabella I, he was de jure uxoris King of Castile as Ferdinand V from 1474 until her death in 1504. At Isabella's death the crown of Castile passed to their daughter Joanna, by the terms of their prenuptial agreement and her last will and testament. Following the death of Joanna's husband Philip I of Spain, and her alleged mental illness, Ferdinand was recognized as regent of Castile from 1508 until his own death. In 1504, after a war with France, he became King of Naples as Ferdinand III, reuniting Naples with Sicily permanently and for the first time since 1458. In 1512, he became King of Navarre by conquest. In 1506 he married Germaine of Foix of France, but Ferdinand's only son and child of that marriage died soon after birth; had the child survived, the personal union of the crowns of Aragon and Castile would have ceased.
Isabella I reigned as Queen of Castile from 1474 until her death. Her marriage to Ferdinand II of Aragon became the basis for the political unification of Spain under their grandson, Charles V. After a struggle to claim her right to the throne, she reorganized the governmental system, brought the crime rate to the lowest it had been in years, and unburdened the kingdom of the enormous debt her brother had left behind. Her reforms and those she made with her husband had an influence that extended well beyond the borders of their united kingdoms. Isabella and Ferdinand are known for completing the Reconquista, ordering conversion or exile of their Muslim and Jewish subjects, and for supporting and financing Christopher Columbus's 1492 voyage that led to the opening of the New World and to the establishment of Spain as the first global power which dominated Europe and much of the world for more than a century. Isabella, granted together with her husband the title "the Catholic" by Pope Alexander VI, was recognized as a Servant of God by the Catholic Church in 1974.
Coming to power in 1369, the House of Trastámara was a lineage of rulers of the Castilian and Aragonese thrones. The line of Trastámaran royalty in Castile ruled throughout a time period of military struggle with Aragon. Their family was sustained with large amounts of inbreeding, which led to a series of disputed struggles over rightful claims to the Castilian throne. This lineage ultimately ruled in Castile from the rise to power of Henry II in 1369 through the unification of the crowns under Ferdinand and Isabella.
Louis XIV accepted [in 1700] on behald of his grandson, who succeeded as Philip V on condition that the Crowns of France and Spain should never be united. (...) This provoked the great War of the Spanish Succession. (...) Barcelona fell in 1714 and the Aragonese privileges were abolished. Spain had become one country.
Mas que con los Reyes Católicos (a finales del siglo XV), como todavia suele repetirse, es a partir de Felipe V (a principios del sigo XVIII) cuando podemos comenzar a considerar España como un Estado auténticamente unificado o, mejor, unitario: es a partir de entonces cuando podemos empezar a hablar con propiedad de un rey de España o de una Corona de España y, consecuentemente de un Reino de España.