Isabel the Queen: Life and Times

Isabel the Queen: Life and Times

by Peggy K. Liss

Isabel of Castile was one of the most influential monarchs ever known, the central figure in some of the most potent and far-reaching events in world history.

She supported the Spanish Inquisition (which tortured and punished or had executed thousands of baptized Christians accused of practicing Judaism).

She waged a successful war against Muslim Granada.

Why did she introduce the Inquisition?

Why did she expel the Jews from Spain and the Muslims from Castile?

Liss proposes answers and provides both a sweeping biography of a Queen who had a profound impact on history, and a vivid portrait of a vanished, turbulent world.

We learn how Isabel survived plots to disinherit her, how she won her way to succession, and why she secretly married Fernando, Prince of Aragon.

Peggy Liss works through the fact and fiction, legend and opinion that have swirled around Isabel to reveal for the first time how her goals for Spain, her piety, and swelling power culminated in the remarkable year of 1492.

Based on years of research, travel, and reflection, Isabel the Queen brings to life the people, places, and events that surrounded one of history's most dynamic monarchs.

  • Language: English
  • Category: History
  • Rating: 3.91
  • Publish Date: by Oxford Univ Press
  • Isbn10: 0195073568
  • Isbn13: 9780195073560

What People Think about "Isabel the Queen: Life and Times"

I read all sorts of history books, from non-fiction to fiction, and first-source documents. 2. This is a non-fiction book that details (surprise), the life and times of Isabella. This means that while there is intrigue, war, and politicking, it is still historical non-fiction, not heavily researched historical fiction (for an excellent example of one such book, see Legacy). My reading peers being mostly English speakers and readers, we are granted a wealth of literature on similarly strong-willed and powerful queens, such as Elizabeth I and Victoria and, oddly, the French Eleanor of Aquitaine, though it makes sense since her husband Henry II was King of England and her son was Richard the Lionheart. In light of the number of authors who specialize in the above figures, more is the pity that we hardly have any quality English literature on one of the most overlooked yet fascinating queens of all, Isabella of Castile. Don't get me wrong--in Spain, Isabella has maintained a status as the holy Catholic queen, untouchable and unshakable, glorious and illustrious, set upon an equally high (or higher) pedestal that we place Elizabeth I. While Fernando wanted to wage a vanity war against the Italian Kingdom of Naples, which he considered the ancient territory of his homeland Aragon, Isabella was thinking bigger. The beauty of Lisss writing is that she captures Isabellas mindset as well as she explains political undercurrents, and she presents both perspectives simultaneously and cohesively. Liss presents in excruciating detail the political and social situation of a time lost to us long ago, while maintaining the epic vision of the birth of Spain. It is a testament to Isabellas intelligence and will that she is still so very well known in our age when women too easily faded into obscurity or remain as vilified figures that are subject to revisionist history. But this is a good place to start to get an expansive picture of a fascinating woman, especially if youre an aspiring history author who is looking for some solid research material.

This book was chock full of information on not just Isabel as a person, but also the world of Spain and Europe around her. As the book was originally published around the 500th anniversary of Columbus expedition and then was republished around the 500th anniversary of the death of Isabel it makes sense that she treads carefully around these subjects in order to take advantage of these dates. I came away from this book with a much more concrete sense of who Isabel was as a person and as a Queen.

Mention Queen Isabel of Spain and where do peoples minds jump? Events which took place during her early life may well have taught young Princess Isabel that a monarch must be strong. Princess Isabel lived with her mother (also Isabel) in a small, out-of-the-way castle. King Enrique didnt show the moral courage a Catholic Majesty should, by passing laws against Jews and Muslims in his territory. King Enrique had to produce medical proof that he was capable of siring children, but his daughter was called by someone elses name. Isabella learned from her half-brother that a king a monarch must listen to advisors but hold royal opinion above all; must conduct war with vim and vigor and viciousness,; must hold moral war against infidels within the kingdom: a powerful trifecta which led her to a reign filled with powerful acts. King Enrique changed his mind several times about who his half-sister would marry, and whether she or his (his?) daughter would inherit Castile. Princess Isabels mother Isabel was a strong character, daughter of a strong character. She taught young Isabella of strong queens from Castile and Portugal, and of Joan of Arc who heard divine voices and fought and led armies. Once Queen Isabel and King Ferdinand had conquered the land that once belonged to their Visigoth ancestors (which, centuries ago, the Muslims had dared to conquer no, treacherously steal!