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Ferdinand and Isabella: Securing the Throne


1469: I and F marry, cousins, marriage is a secret-hoping to bolster chances of becoming rulers of respective countries.
Marriage Contract:
-F should live in Castile & support policy of reconquering land from Moors
-F to respect Castile’s customs
-All public decisions to have both signatures
1474: contract altered, I and F jointly dispense justice
1475: F can act without I in Castile

Only Isabella could grant patronage and gifts to nobles, she was also solely responsible for administration of Castile and it’s territories.


Fight For Crown Of Castile

  • King Henry dies, I proclaims herself queen, she is half sister of Henry.
  • Henry has daughter, Joanna, but she is thought to be illegitimate.
  • I has been building support for years: she is proclaimed queen in Segovia.
  • Joanna also claims throne, becomes engaged to King Alfonso V of Portugal, strengthens claim.
  • 1475: War breaks out between I and J supporters, it took Isabella 5yrs to gain control of Castile- with help of Ferdinand.

Isabella Gaining Support

  • Supported by Grandees (highest nobles) e.g. Mendoza Family.
  • Backed by Toledo and other towns, because she confirms their privileges.
  • Receives F’s support: travels country rallying support

Gains support of Grandees on Joanna’s side by:

  • Giving grants of new land
  • Grants of titles and royal offices, either confirmed or newly given.
  • Reaffirmation of right to collect financial grants awarded since 1464.

Joanna goes to convent in Portugal in 1479, I gains throne.
1479: F father dies, F becomes king of Aragon.


Joint Rule

  • Each kingdom kept own language and style of governance.
  • They had little say in each other’s kingdoms.
  • Secured succession, 3 daughters and a son.
  • Worked in harmony: both on seals and coins, signed documents together, F given active role in governing Castile and foreign policy.
  • However, Only Castile allowed to trade in New World.
  • Customs duties between 2 kingdoms.