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Isabella of Castile : Europe's First Great Queen
by Giles Tremlett


Overview -

In 1474, when Castile was the largest, strongest, and most populous kingdom in Hispania (present day Spain and Portugal), a twenty-three-year-old woman named Isabella ascended the throne. At a time when successful queens regnant were few and far between, Isabella faced not only the considerable challenge of being a young, female ruler in an overwhelmingly male-dominated world, but also of reforming a major European kingdom riddled with crime, debt, corruption, and religious factionism.  Read more...


 
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More About Isabella of Castile by Giles Tremlett
 
 
 
Overview

In 1474, when Castile was the largest, strongest, and most populous kingdom in Hispania (present day Spain and Portugal), a twenty-three-year-old woman named Isabella ascended the throne. At a time when successful queens regnant were few and far between, Isabella faced not only the considerable challenge of being a young, female ruler in an overwhelmingly male-dominated world, but also of reforming a major European kingdom riddled with crime, debt, corruption, and religious factionism. Her marriage to Ferdinand of Aragon united two kingdoms, a royal partnership in which Isabella more than held her own. Their pivotal reign was long and transformative, uniting Spain and setting the stage for its golden era of global dominance.

Acclaimed historian Giles Tremlett chronicles the life of Isabella of Castile as she led her country out of the murky middle ages and harnessed the newest ideas and tools of the early Renaissance to turn her ill-disciplined, quarrelsome nation into a sharper, truly modern state with a powerful, clear-minded, and ambitious monarch at its center. With authority and insight he relates the story of this legendary, if controversial, first initiate in a small club of great European queens that includes Elizabeth I of England, Russia's Catherine the Great, and Britain's Queen Victoria.


 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781632865205
  • ISBN-10: 1632865203
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publish Date: March 2017
  • Page Count: 624
  • Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.6 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.29 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Royalty
Books > Biography & Autobiography > Women
Books > History > Europe - Spain & Portugal

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2017-01-02
  • Reviewer: Staff

Tremlett (Catherine of Aragon), Madrid correspondent for the Economist, reveals how decades of ineffective rulers led the Crown of Castile to land on the unlikely head of Isabella (14511504), who usurped the throne of her underage niece in her quest to create a powerful unified Spain. He successfully argues that Isabellas strong sense of duty to God and country strengthened her resolve for unification and her drive to convert heretics to Christianity, resulting in a reign with long-lasting consequences in the Western world. Much of this well-written account covers Isabellas unique working relationship with her less politically astute husband, Ferdinand of Aragon, and her eagerness to wage war. Tremlett emphasizes her zeal and deftness with resources in furthering Spains interests as she perceived them. Clear descriptions of Castilian court politics reveal how the hopeful explorer Columbus finally received Isabellas funding and approval for his westbound routes, inadvertently launching the Native American genocide while expanding Spanish supremacy. However, despite much attention, theres little sense of immediacy regarding the Moorish invasions that Isabella (and the Iberian Peninsula generally) feared, making her forced conversions during the Inquisition and Reconquista less understandable to modern readers. Tremletts unsentimental portrait reveals an ambitious queen whose accomplishments of prescient religious reform, westward exploration, and empire-building far outshone those of her contemporary European monarchs. (Mar.)

 
BAM Customer Reviews