Abella who were thought to be illegally seizing the throne in Castile It was difficult to recount later exactly what happened because the Portuguese and Castilian accounts differedthe Castilians seized the battle flag the royal standard of Portugal despite the valiant efforts of a Portuguese soldier Duarte de Almeida to retain it Almeida had been holding the flag aloft in his right arm which was slashed from his body and so he transferred the pendant to his other arm and ept fighting Then his other arm was cut off and he held the flag in his teeth until he finally succumbed to deathCount Dracula Mehmed the Conuerer was determined to expand the Ottoman Empire and conuered Constantinople in 1453 Mehmed renamed the city Istanbul and swore to take Rome within two years He didn t but he managed to take Athens and Corinth and Serbia In 1462 as Mehmed was attempting to subdue the geographical region of Romania then called Wallachia Mehmed came up against his father s former hostage Vlad who had been beaten and abused in the Turkish court and then sent back to Wallachia to rule Vlad fought Mehmed ferociously earning himself the name of Vlad the Impaler the prototype for the character that came to be The Fiend Next Door known as Count Dracula He is estimated to haveilled tens of thousands of people partly in efforts to repel the Turks He was finally assassinated The game of chess Chess was enormously popular in Spain during Isabella s ruleand soon after the battle of Almeria during the Reconuest the ueen became the single most powerful piece on the chessboard able to move great distances in all directions her mission is to protect and defend the ey piece on the board the King Some versions of chess had had a ueen figure before Isabella s birth but it was at this time that the fame originally invented in India underwent a complete metamorphosis and the ueen became a dominant figure The changes in the game were chronicled in a popular book on the new rules of chess published in Salamanca about 1496 written by Ramirez de Lucena He described the game now as ueen s chess and her new powers allowed her to advance as far as she liked as long as her path was clear ueen Isabella had memorialized herself as a powerful player in the game of war1492 was the year that Americans have enshrined as the year Columbus discovered North America But in Spain it is the year that Isabella and Ferdinand finally took back Granada after the fighting of many years from the Muslim Nasrid dynasty The victory over Granada won acclaim for Isabella and Ferdinand throughout Europe because it was the first significant triumph against Islam in hundreds of years and to many Europeans it was partial payback for the loss of Constantinople Crist bal Col n was at Granada when the city finally fell to the Christians to petition the ueenbut court scholars once again rejected Columbus s proposal as unsound Shortly after that unsuccessful meeting of Columbus with the ueen in Granada however the ueen sent a messenger after Columbus reaching him about ten miles outside of Granada The trip was approved Three well nown mariners the Pinzon brothers agreed to sign on in leadership positions Juan de la Costa brought his own ship Santa Maria They left August 3 1492 and sighted land in the Caribbean on October 12 1492Crist bal Col n Christopher Columbus was a dreamer with a streak of madness He wrote in cipher signed his name in and indecipherable combination of letters and images He heard voices in the air and spent many hours writing feverishly in the margins of books developing his theories although Columbus showed himself to be an excellent mariner he was also exposed as a terrible administrator and a man of poor judgementhe faced an almost constant seuences of mutinies among his crewColumbus s ferocity in dealing with the Indians was a direct contradiction of his orders from ueen Isabella about how to interact with themColumbus was viewed with a measure of contemptColumbus had become very unpopularat court and it was getting difficult for others to stand up for himHe compounded his own problems by denying what was patently obvious He had promised the sovereigns that he would find a path to the Orient He had stumbled on something large and important but it was not the Indies Syphilis It is thought Columbus s returning ship brought the disease to Europe in 1493The Inuisition initially began as an attempt to ferret out insincere Christians and to correct them Those deemed unrepentant were burned at the stake the traditional penalty for heresy The thing was Spain was filled with Muslims and Jews as a result of previous conuests Many declared themselves to be Christians to get along but retained their old customs and methods of worship The governing principle of an Inuisition is that failing to conform to religious and political norms is treason In Isabella s age church and state were one religious authority and secular power were intermingledHistorians once believed that immense numbers of people were burned at the stake but recent scholarship has cast doubt on those assertionsThere is no uestions that during Isabella s reign hundreds of people were put to the flame probably at least 1000 Isabella chose a religious zealot Cisneros as archbishop of Toledo the most important and powerful cleric in Spain With this she put her ingdom on a less tolerant and religious path leading to excesses in the Inuisition Cesare Borgia Isabella was a devout Catholic and was pleased when Rodrigo Borgia ascended to the papacy in August 1492 the second time a Spaniard managed to do so However Borgia who had taken the name of the Greek conuerer Alexander IV proved himself a corrupt and promiscuous pontiff fathering a vast number of beautiful and intelligent children whom he suired to important ranks in society Cesare the cynical man whom Machiavelli called a political genius was one of theseBonfire of the Vanities took place in Florence Italy during Lent in 1497 and 1498 when an Italian preacher determined to rid the Catholic church of corruption convinced crowds to burn objects that represented human vices and unnecessary luxury Items thrown into the bonfire included rich clothing mirrors playing cards and paintings of books some of which represented pornography but others of which were great works that represented the celebration of sensuality at the heart of the Italian Renaissance Vasco de Gama rounded the Cape of Good Hope in 1498 and returned to Portugal with Indian and Asian spices just about the time Isabella s daughter Maria married Manuel King of Portugal ueen Isabella was at the end of her reign but now that her daughter was ueen of Portugal together they ruled over much of the world and wealth poured into their countries Isabella had always been a patron of the arts commissioning paintings to mark major victories or family events Catherine of Aragon was Isabella s fourth daughter She was wed to Britain s Prince of Wales Arthur but it is uncertain whether or not the marriage was consummated before Arthur died of the plague in 1502 It was suggested that she marry Arthur s brother Henry instead of returning to Spain but in order to do so Isabella needed a papal dispensation from the Pope she had begun to hate for his excesses Pope Alexander IV Rodrigo Borgia King Ferdinand therefore drafted the reuest and after two years the dispensation returned from Italy and was subseuently sent to EnglandWhen Isabella died in 1504 even her enemies in other countries recognized her as one of the wisest and most honourable persons in the world In the prosaic way we might recognize today her son dumped her vast collection of jewels and worldly goods selling them far below market value so that they were resold later at far higher prices Her priceless collection of paintings was salvaged in part by a daughter in law Margaret who bought many of the paintings of Christ s life which were ept as a set Today most of them remain in Madrid s Royal Palace the rest are part of the treasured collections of major art museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the National Gallery of Art in Washington
I Am Not am not a problem I had with this as a work of popular history is that Downey seemed to swoop and swerve stall and reverse to include every detail that she d encountered in her researches The result is a spectacularly detailed if sometimes mind numbing parade of personalities The back and forth nature of writing history I found disconcerting though it is surely the most logical way to go about telling such a large personal story We certainly see the scope and importance of Isabella s rule I read the paper copy and listened to the audio version published by Random House and narrated by Kimberly Farr Both Downey and Farr did a herculean job. Nturies Whether saintly or satanic no female leader has done to shape our modern world where millions of people in two hemispheres speak Spanish and practice Catholicism Yet history has all but forgotten Isabella's influence due to hundreds of years of misreporting that often attributed her accomplishments to Ferdinand the bold and philandering husband she adored Using new scholarship Downey's luminous biography tells the story of this brilliant fervent forgotten woman the faith that propelled her through life and the land of ancient conflicts and intrigue she brought under her comma. Truly enjoyable and highly educating at the very least I suspect it to be a little bit biased by modern gender studies as this book is certainly a part of a very popular trend to empower women from the past Personally I think it is much needed to overturn the concept of world ruled solely by men and restore full meaning of their female companions merits it needs however careful treading so the balance doesn t tip over I cannot tell for sure how much this account of Isabella s life differs from others though as this is my firstserious encounter with this remarkable womanI loved the way the story is being told the fact that we hear from so many first hand sources the discussion around controversial issues that the author tries to present and defend her point of viewThere have been some accusations that the book is also biased in matters of religions I don t think this a valid point however A lot of times Jewish and Muslim point of views have been presented from original sources Isabella is not bleached from her errors in dealing with people of all religions including her own simply shown as a strong leader who sometimes had to be and sometimes chose to be ruthlessThis is a fine example of popular history I was able to retain a lot of names places and events thanks to the method chosen the same facts are sometimes talked about from different positions We are also freuently reminded who are the people talked of at this particular moment by explanations like This is the samewho Great way of The Return of the Carter Boys: The Carter Boys 2 keeping a layman intrigued and clued in especially that wellnown figures Columbus Borgias Toruemadaall the royalties appear alongside multitude of others of whom you may or may not have heard before priests teachers servants advisors etc In short loved it My acuaintance with Spanish history is incidental mostly from Spain being mentioned in biographies and histories of other counties or Europe in general Author Kirsten Downey helped me to put all the fragments for this short period that I ve gleaned together Now I understand Catherine of Aragon s long wait for her second marriage how Jauna came to be considered mad the actual relationship of the Spanish monarchs to their Borgia pope and much You see the Inuisition and expulsion from the side of the monarchs and how Ferdinand was most likely the active partner with Isabella just not stepping inThe book was best for me in the beginning where it is a chronological biography In this part you come to understand Isahella s family and how she engineered her own marriage and coronation You come to understand that marriage her piety and relations with the church and her reliance on childhood friends You see the how the 700 year Reconuest was completedAt time when Columbus enters view spoiler Bettie s Books hide spoiler Since I A Meditation on Murder knew ueen Isabella was the financier of Columbus a force behind the Spanish Inuisition and the mother of Katherine of Aragon first wife of Henry VIII I thought I would find this book about her interesting but that was an underestimation because Isabella The Warrior ueen turned out to be a treasure trove of fascinating information and stories About Columbus the book has detail than I expected also covering early European interactions with various groups of Native Americans About the Inuisition the book gives religious context and history that were unfamiliar to me and after reading about Catherine of Aragon s early life I have a greater understanding of and appreciation for her as a woman of strength and principle Also woven into the narrative is information about the lives and historical impacts of Isabella s other children the balance of power in Isabella s relationship with her husband Ferdinand according to this account she was the one who was eual and fairly extensive background histories of European royal families and their politics Islam s presence on the Iberian Peninsula the evolving role of the papacy and the nature and progress of the Ottoman Empire Isabella was a much stronger monarch than I realized but she s humanized here and I ended up liking her which wasn t something I expected Author Kirstin Downey has taken obvious care to be fair and respectful to all parties in Isabella s story and without doing a lot of undocumented speculation about her subjects inner feelings her book is written in a vivid engaging style that had me hooked from its opening chapter Iept finding myself rushing back to its pages the way you do when reading a gripping novel I received an advanced review copy of this book Review opinions are mine Received from firstreadsThis was probably the most enjoyable biographyhistory book that I ve read in uite a while From the first page it was very even no stretches of boring where you wait to get back to something interesting Suitable for someone with a particular interest in this area also for the reader with a casual interest I would have given it five stars but I felt there was a tendency to gloss over and justify the Spanish Inuisition even going so far as to ind of imply that some people were asking for it That s how it came across to me Finished this book finally Wonderful rich detail about Isabel and the life and times she mastered Isabel is a fascinating if genocidal character On the one hand she was a very powerful ruler in a turbulent ingdom and constantly at war during her reign In a time and place where women control little she controlled her Kingdom had absolute custody and control of her children plus her husband somewhat Travis kinda sorta worked for her She made the real decisions for her Kingdom and managed toeep her eually yoked husband This is indeed a delicate and intricate dance At the same time she used her religion as a vicious weapon of mass destruction She was virulently and violently Catholic which was unfortunately fatal for too many of her subjects She is Islamophobic Antisemtic
BOTH OF WHICH ARE COMMON FEELINGSof which are common feelings her time religion and place She totally steals the thrown from her niece and her brother s rightful heir When family steals the crown they often say the heir is illegitimate or not the ing s etc She steals from her subjects in cringeworthy ways Mostly from her subjects who are already marginalized This book doesn t mention the Romani peoples but it s my understanding she both evicted them with the Jewish AND MOORISH PEOPLES AND PERSECUTED THOSE THAT CONVERTED TO Moorish Peoples and persecuted those that converted to who stayed in Spsin during the InuisitionIn addition this is the ueen that sends Columbus on an expedition that claims populated land masses as her own This ultimately standardizes normalizes and adds the Catholic Church s blessing to a pattern of thinking that results in the horrors of colonialism theft genocide chattel slavery This impacts multiple continents and at the least hundreds probably thousands of nations countries confederates ingdoms empires democracies etc Millions of people die or are displacedYet the author spends much time excusing Isabel s choices and behaviors while demonizing the Moors of Grenada The author opens the book with the no doubt true but extremely detailed info about The Emirate conuering Granada For comparison she talks about other European conuerors who no doubt employed many of the exact methods but she glosses over it with no violence at all It s cringeworthyEspecially given the level of violence that Spain will enact in the Americas for centuries She makes colonialism s crimes seem like misunderstandings taken advantage of by a few bad apples I m unsure how a historian could consider Muslim violence in light of the blood bath that Isabel will unleash over 2 continents considerably larger than all of Europe Clearly this author does not consider the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas as important as the European Catholic peoples living on part of the Iberian PeninsulaHm could it be that this author has a problem valuing people who have brown and black skin Or who don t practice Catholicism Christianity She refers to the Kingdoms of Castile and Aragon by name but refers to the Moors of Grenada as the generic Muslims So Castile is at war with The Muslims vs Castile is at war with Grenada or the Emirate or whatever It s offensive and dismissive and calls into uestion the authenticity of the other facts given The author shares in the Afterward that her theory is that Isabel protects Europe from the Muslims and the expansion of Islam throughout Europe However she seems unconcerned about Isabel doing that very same thing to continents full of millions of peopleThe theory screams Islamophobic and explains much of why this book rubs me the wrong way TLDR The author s bias is so blatant it makes me uncomfortable gleaning any true facts from this biography
It s a shame as this is very readable and interestingUpdatess a shame as this is very readable and interestingUpdates reading as my app was. An engrossing and revolutionary biography of Isabella of Castile the controversial ueen of Spain who sponsored Christopher Columbus's journey to the New World established the Spanish Inuisition and became one of the most influential female rulers in historyBorn at a time when Christianity was dying out and the Ottoman Empire was aggressively expanding Isabella was inspired in her youth by tales of Joan of Arc a devout young woman who unified her people and led them to victory against foreign invaders In 1474 when most women were almost powerless twenty three year old Isabella defied.
Kirstin Downey Ä 5 SummaryGlitchingStill reading I m about 30% done I couldn t update for some reasonSo Isabella has married Ferdinand become ueen of Castile won the war of succession against Portugal and is setting about restoring orderI am enjoying this book but the authors clear bias is difficult to ignore I also am deeply impressed by Isabella s ability to maintain absolute control in Castile It s impressive how she is able to AI Weiwei: Beijing Photographs, 1993-2003 keep Ferdinand both from power and still married to her It s really too bad she turns into such a rampant racist and human rights violator She had such promiseBelow was in response to a comment that was later erasedI am not a European and so I will not be reviewing this book from that standpoint If that causes you to clutch your pearls in shock I advise you not to continue to read my review of this book ueen Isabella is a horrible human rights violator the first in history on such a global scale I have little that is nice to say about her Or the author of this biased biography The book s a comedy of errors and stereotypesIn the first chapter I could see what seemed to be some definite Christianist bias and bad type revisionist history Downey lumps nearly 800 years of Muslim rule in Spain under several different dynasties some Arab some Berber as Muslim rule in general isn t what it has been cracked up to be as in hint hint Muslim Spain was badShe then connects this to wanting to make Isabella out to be a Joan of Arc with ruling powers So the position of women in Muslim Spain has to be called worse than in Christian Spain even though this varied across nearly 800 years tooAnd Muslims going on slave raids just to find Christian women to polygamously breed has to be stressed too It almost sounds racist and also ignores that before the Reconuista was complete Spain had joined Portugal in slaving in Africa and impregnating Africans if not marrying themBack to the Joan of Arc ness It s not enough for Downey to rightly have Isabella as much or than Ferdinand as the driving force behind the Reconuista and certainly the only one of the two to favor ColumbusNo she has to be puffed up as the leader of the Christian response to the Ottoman Turks who were nowhere near a threat to Spain at this time and in this period would not face a semi united Christian opposition until Lepanto long after Isabella was dead and not lead by Spain And Lepanto wasn t a final check on Ottoman power anywayBut wait it gets worseDowney apparently never mentions in the whole book that Isabella had conversomarrano heritage As did Ferdinand Gee don t you think this was worth of mentionBut the topper The guaranteed earning of a 1 star ratingIn the next chapter Downey claims that Enriue Isabella s older half brother Enriue had ocelots among the animals in his menagerieSince ocelots are only native to the New World and this was pre Columbus that s flatly impossibleAnd if you re going to make that big of a gaffe less than 100 pages into an already problematic book ain t no way you re getting off the 1 star schneid in my world People generally seem to either love or hate this book but my take isn t firmly in either camp I think that their opinion of the book is wrapped up in their opinion of Isabella herself Was she evil incarnate or sincerely pious and devout I m still not sure which is most descriptive but her life was definitely fascinating I became interested in ueen Isabella after reading The Constant Princess Philippa Gregory showed Isabella as an intense formidable woman through the eyes of her daughter Katherine of Aragon As it turns out she was all that and ueen Isabella was a warrior an astute politico an intellectual an aesthete a devoted mother and a zealous Catholic She was such a complex person that hundreds of years later it is impossible to reallynow her But Downey has a point of view and it comes through Downey respects Isabella and dislikes Ferdinand She basically says that Isabella was responsible for everything good that happened and Ferdinand was largely responsible for everything bad and Downey makes excuses for Isabella s role in the atrocities of the Inuisition I don t really hold this against Downey too much I believe that writing a biography is often a labor of love Authors come to have affection for the people they write about and it clouds their judgement Downey certainly tries to shield Isabella from much of the responsibility of her crimes against humanityAnother criticism I have is that the book lacked focus It was too long with too many details about the indiscretions and personal lives of various Popes Downey probably included it for the salaciousness but it just added too much irrelevant minutia to the plot of Isabella s life Overall I think that Downey did a good job of compiling much of what is nown about ueen Isabella in one place From the extensive footnotes I don t think that she did a lot of research of primary documents but for my tastes she wrote a very interesting biography When I read European history it s usually English or Church history "Between London And Rome The Rest Of The European Continent "London and Rome the rest of the European continent to sneak into the picture uite freuently and to significant extent As a result I have than a passing exposure to the histories of other European countries though my nowledge of Spanish history is rather limited and primarily involves England and France and Napoleon So recently on a trip to Barnes and Noble in an effort to supplement my TBR shelf I ran across this book near the bottom shelf and there was nothing above it that struck my interest My nowledge of ueen Isabella is limited to her relationship with the Columbus and his voyage of Discovery So finding nothing else of interest I bought the book in hopes of filling a nowledge voidOne thing about English history that is very annoying is the fact that the nobility in that country seemed to have a lack of imagination when it came to naming their sons In most of English history the male participants use only about a half dozen first names These men are primarily Edwards Henrys Williams Richards Johns Harold or Arthur and that s about it Conseuently they seem never to refer to themselves by their names but by their titles and that is the only way to The Social Machine: Designs for Living Online keep track of who is who Now let s start our introduction to Spanish history and what do I find but that the Spanish have their own little naming tradition to make their history incomprehensible In Spain at the time of Isabella Spanish nobility preferred to name their children after their parents Of course the parents had been named after their parents and so on Isabella s mother was named Isabella and so was her grandmother When Isabella had a daughter what else was she going to be named but Isabella There were also some Juans Juanas Joaos etc just toeep the reader on hisher toes Maddening but not impossible to follow if you read slow and carefully So my limited gripe is out of the way so how was the book uite good actuallyTo begin with I picked up an interesting bit of trivia from reading this history concerning the game of chess Chess was certainly in existence long before Isabella However around 1495 the rules were rewritten and a new version of the game called ueen s Chess came into being This is the game we are all familiar with in which the ueen is dominant piece on the board and whose duty is to protect the Collision Course: Endless Growth on a Finite Planet king This new version of chess is attributed to the reign of Isabella and after reading this book I don tnow why Isabella wasted her time on Ferdinand let alone protected him After Isabella died the ing displayed his true colors much to the displeasure of the Spanish nobility and people Aside from learning this little gem about chess there is a great deal to be learned from this biography about Isabella Ferdinand the Inuisition the discovery of the New World and the conseuences of the discovery of course Columbus is featured as is Pope Alexander VI and Isabella and Spain s influence on the world at that time and
In The Present Is Uite Remarkable And To Think Shethe present is uite remarkable and to think she what she did in a time when women were generally regarded as little better than children or incompetents is astonishing Isabella would certainly seem to be the precursor to Elizabeth I Catherine the Great and Victoria and deservedly so This was definitely a biography worth reading This massive undertaking by Kristin Downey gives context to the fifty three years of ueen Isabella s life and shares origin stories of people or events we may have heard bits of in our lives but never new where to find the referencesMonty Python The Monty Python skit of the soldier who first loses a leg then an arm then another armyou now itwas based on the struggles of Portuguese soldier Duarte de Almeida to eep the Portuguese flag flying in the Battle of Toro against Ferdinand and Is. A hostile brother and mercurial husband to seize control of Castile and León Her subseuent feats were legendary She ended a twenty four generation struggle between Muslims and Christians forcing Moorish invaders back over the Mediterranean Sea She laid the foundation for a unified Spain She sponsored Columbus's trip to the Indies and negotiated Spanish control over much of the New World with the help of Rodrigo Borgia the infamous Pope Alexander VI She also annihilated all who stood against her by establishing a bloody religious Inuisition that would darken Spain's reputation for ce.