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1469: The Wedding that United Two Powerful Kingdoms

1469: The Wedding that United Two Powerful Kingdoms
Photo Credit To http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/ac/Losreyescatolicos.jpg

Story Highlights

  • historical event:
  • In the time of King Ferdinand, the Kingdom of Aragon encompassed the eastern part of what is now Spain. The Aragonese crown also ruled over southern Italy (Naples and Sicily), as well as Sardinia and Corsica. The Kingdom of Castile encompassed a large part of central Spain, and was territorially even larger than Aragon.

One of the most fateful marriages in world history was held on this day. Namely, the marriage of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile united the two Spanish kingdoms into a single state, the one which we today know as Spain.

Namely, one should keep in mind that the territory of the Iberian Peninsula did not constitute a single state in the Middle Ages. Instead, it was the seat of several smaller kingdoms, including Asturias, Galicia, Navarre, Portugal, Aragon, Leon, Valencia, etc. By the 15th century, three of these had become dominant: Aragon, Castile, and Portugal.

In the time of King Ferdinand, the Kingdom of Aragon encompassed the eastern part of what is now Spain. The Aragonese crown also ruled over southern Italy (Naples and Sicily), as well as Sardinia and Corsica. The Kingdom of Castile encompassed a large part of central Spain, and was territorially even larger than Aragon.

Ferdinand and Isabella were married on this day in the city of Valladolid. She was 18 at the time, while he was one year younger. Their marriage required papal dispensation (special approval) because they were second cousins. Isabella didn’t want to marry without said dispensation, so Ferdinand’s father wrote (i.e. forged) the document himself. The pope actually did approve of the marriage, but only after the event.

Pope Alexander VI Borgia (the father of Lucretia Borgia) gave Ferdinand and Isabella the honorary title “Catholic King and Queen” (“los Reyes Católicos”). The kings of Spain have retained the right to this title to this day.

Ferdinand and Isabella are best known for financing Christopher Columbus’s expedition, which led to the Europeans’ discovery of America. This was the beginning of a whole new era in world history.

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