The union that Aragon and also Castile

When Ferdinand II (1479–1516; additionally known as Ferdinand V of Castile from 1474) flourished to the Crown of Aragon in 1479, the union that Aragon (roughly eastern Spain) and Castile (roughly west Spain) was finally achieved, and also the Trastámara became the 2nd most an effective monarchs in Europe, after the Valois the France. The various royal dwellings of the Iberian Peninsula had long search a union of their crowns and had exercised intermarriage for generations. Nevertheless, the union the the Crowns of Castile and also Aragon was much from inescapable in the last quarter of the 15th century. A union in between Castile and Portugal was equally feasible, and also it has been argued that it would have made more sense, because that it would certainly have permitted the 2 western hispanic kingdoms to concentration on overseas exploration and expansion, and it would certainly not have connected Castile in Aragon’s timeless rivalry v France. The factors that led john II the Aragon to arrange the marital relationship of his son and heir, Ferdinand, with Isabella the Castile in 1469 were basically tactical: he required Castilian support versus French aggression in the Pyrenees. In Castile an significant party of magnates, led through Alfonso Carillo, archbishop that Toledo (who later reversed himself), and also opposed come King Henry IV, sustained the succession claims that the princess Isabella, the king’s half sister, versus those that his daughter, Joan. They to be anxious because that the assist and management of the Aragonese prince and also content through the alliance that a nation in i beg your pardon the magnates had such far-reaching privileges together the Aragonese nobility. It essential a forged papal dispensation because that the marriage, the blackmailing of Henry IV right into (wrongly) denying the paternity of his daughter (Joan), and, finally, several years of bitter civil war prior to Ferdinand and Isabella beat Joan’s Castilian supporters and also her husband, Afonso V of Portugal.

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Ferdinand II (left) and also his wife, Isabella I, relief v gilt and polychromy by Alonso de Mena, 1632; in the Capilla Real, Granada, Spain.

Aragon and also Catalonia

Ferdinand and also Isabella rule jointly in both kingdoms and were well-known as the Catholic kings (Reyes Católicos). It was, however, a union the crowns and also not that kingdoms. In size, institutions, traditions, and, partly, also language, the two kingdoms differed greatly. Within the kingdom of Aragon, Aragon and also Valencia each had about 270,000 inhabitants, that whom some 20 percent and an ext than 30 percent, respectively, were Muslims and Moriscos (Muslims officially convert to Christianity). Catalonia had about 300,000 inhabitants. In every of these kingdoms the powers of the crown to be severely limited. The barons rule their manors like kings, dispensing arbitrary justice over your peasants. In Catalonia they had actually the best to wage exclusive war. In Aragon anyone arrested by stimulate of the king can put himself under the jurisdiction that a justicia who held his office because that life and was because of this independent of the king’s pleasure. It was this highest judge that crowned the kneeling king and also made the swear to watch the fueros, the laws and privileges, that the kingdom. Although it is now known that the formula

We who space as great as you, swear come you, who space no better than we, to accept you as our king and sovereign lord, provided you expropriate all ours liberties and laws; however if not, not

is a forgery, most most likely of the mid-16th century, the quotation does summary succinctly the relations between the monarchs of Aragon and also the Aragonese nobility.

Ferdinand made no effort to readjust this position; no one did he do so in Catalonia, wherein the crown had actually just emerged efficiently from a long and confused civil war. The nobility and the metropolitan aristocracy that Barcelona had actually been confronted with violent social motions of the peasants and also the lower classes of the cities and also were us riven by family and factional strife. The crown intervened, mostly on the side of the reduced classes but, inevitably, in alliance with some of the noble factions and versus the French who had actually taken the chance to occupy Cerdagne and also Roussillon. In 1486 Ferdinand settled the Catalan trouble by a compromise, the Sentencia de Guadalupe, which successfully abolished serfdom and also the more-oppressive feudal obligations of the peasants in return for monetary payments come the lords. Otherwise, the political and legal privileges of the rural nobility and the urban aristocracy to be left intact. Effectively, therefore, Ferdinand make no effort to strengthen the strength of the crown and also to give the principality a much more efficient mechanism of government. But Ferdinand had provided Catalonia peace and also the possibility to make an excellent the ravages that the civil wars and also the accident of commercial markets to Italian competitors. This chance was just partially taken by the Catalans. Castle failed totally to protect against the Genoese from establishing a leading position in the economic climate of Castile and, much more especially, in the vital and rapidly expanding Atlantic profession of Sevilla. The union that the Crowns that Aragon and also Castile as such led to neither a political and institutional union no one to an economic integration of the Iberian Peninsula.


Castile, too, was a bad country. Much of its soil was arid, and also its agriculture was undeveloped. The armed shepherds of the an effective sheep-owners’ guild, the Mesta, drove their flocks over numerous miles, from summer to winter pastures and ago again, spoiling much grew land. In spite of the violent hostility that the landowners, the government upheld the Mesta privileges, due to the fact that the guild payment generously because that them and was supported by the vendors who exported the raw wool to the towel industry that Flanders. The tasks of the Mesta were without doubt harmful come the peasant economic situation of large parts of Castile and, through impoverishing the peasants, minimal the industries for metropolitan industries and thus the development of part Castilian towns. A change, however, emerged in the 16th century. Simply as in the rest of Europe, the population of Spain grew, rising in Castile from around 4.25 million in 1528 to around 6.5 million after ~ 1580. To satisfy the increasing demands for farming products, the peasants broadened the cultivation of grain and also other foodstuffs, and the Mesta and its migratory flocks slowly lost their dominant position in the Castilian economy. Their contributions to government finances declined as a ratio of total government revenue. The cultivation market additionally stimulated metropolitan industries. Segovia, Toledo, Córdoba, and also other towns increased their manufactures the textile and metal. The apex the this growth was got to in the 3rd quarter that the 16th century, but it never ever matched the of Flemish and northern Italian cities. Overall, Spain continued to be a country that exported raw materials and imported manufactures.

In the northern provinces of Castile there live a large class of boy nobles, the hidalgos. The citizens of Guipúzcoa (by the westernmost French border) even claimed that castle were all of noble birth. But the south, brand-new Castile (southeast the Madrid), Extremadura (southwest that Madrid), and also especially Andalusia—that is, those provinces most recently reconquered from the Muslims—were the domain that the great nobility. Over there the Enríquez, the Mendoza, and the Guzmán families and also others owned substantial estates, sometimes covering almost fifty percent a province. They had actually grown well-off as a an outcome of the boom in wool exports to Flanders throughout the 15th-century, when there were an ext than 2.5 million sheep in Castile, and it was they, through their hordes that vassals and also retainers, who had actually attempted to conquer a constitutionally practically absolute, however politically weak, monarchy.

It remained in this kingdom that the Catholic Monarchs established to restore the power of the crown. Once this to be achieved, or so that seemed, the for free of the smaller kingdoms would certainly become fairly minor problems. Favor their modern-day Henry VII the England, they had actually the benefit of your subjects’ yearning for strong and efficient government after many years of polite war. Thus, they might count top top the assistance of the urban in restoring law and also order. Throughout the civil wars the cities of northern Castile had formed leagues because that self-defense versus the aggressive magnates. A nationwide league, the hermandad (“brotherhood”), perform a wide variety of police, financial, and also other administrative functions. Isabella supported the hermandad yet kept some manage over the by the meeting of royal officials, the corregidores, to the town councils. In ~ the same time, both municipal efficiency and civic proud were enhanced by the obligation enforced on all communities to develop a city hall (ayuntamiento).

With the an excellent nobles that was vital to move an ext cautiously. The Catholic majesties revoked usurpations that land and also revenues by the nobility if this had occurred since 1464, but most the the good noble estates had actually been collected before that date and were effectively left intact. From a modern-day chronicler, Hernán Pérez del Pulgar, historians know how they conduct piecemeal yet systematically versus the magnates, sometimes using a nobleman’s defiance that the law, occasionally a breach that the peace or the a pledge, come take over or ruin his castles and also thus his independent armed forces power. Even more effective in handling the nobility was the huge increase in royal patronage. Isabella was stage manager to Ferdinand’s election together grand master of one after one more of the three good orders of knighthood: Santiago, Calatrava, and also Alcántara. This position permitted the king to distribute numerous hundred commanderships with their attached revenue from the vast estates the the orders. Equally important was royal control over all necessary ecclesiastical appointments, which the Catholic majesties insisted upon with ruthless neglect of all papal cases to the contrary. In the Spanish dependencies in Italy, Ferdinand claimed the ideal of exequatur, according to which all papal bulls and also breves (authorizing letters) could be published just with his permission. A letter native Ferdinand to his viceroy in Naples, composed in 1510, upbraids the viceroy for permitting the pope to publish a brief in Naples, threatens that he will renounce his own and also his kingdoms’ allegiance to the divine See, and orders the viceroy come arrest the papal messenger, pressure him to explain he never published the brief, and then hang him. In Spain the Catholic Monarchs had actually no formal ideal of exequatur, but they and their Habsburg followers behaved very much together if they did. From the time onward the Spanish clergy had actually to look to the crown and not come Rome because that advancement, and also so go the good nobles who traditionally declared the richest ecclesiastical benefices for your younger sons.

Perhaps most effective of all in reducing the political strength of the high nobility was their virtual exclusion from the imperial administration. The old royal council, a the supervisory board of good nobles advising the king, was transformed right into a bureaucratic body because that the execution of royal policy, staffed by a prelate, three nobles, and also eight or nine lawyers. This lawyers, mostly drawn from the poor hidalgo class, were totally dependent on the imperial will and also became willing tools of a much more efficient and powerful main government. The Catholic Monarchs established the board of directors of Finance (1480, but not completely developed until lot later), the the supervisory board of the Hermandad (1476–98), the council of the Inquisition (1483), and also the council of the order of Knighthood (for the administration of the property and also patronage of the orders of Santiago, Calatrava, and also Alcántara), and also they reorganized the board of directors of Aragon. Charles i (Holy roman emperor as Charles V) and Philip II were later to continue this work and also to add further councils, especially those of the Indies (1524) and also of Italy (1558).

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After Isabella’s death in 1504, the nobles showed up to be tamed and also politically innocuous. In fact, their social position and also its financial basis, your estates, had actually not been touched. The laws of Toro (1505), which extended the ideal to entail family members estates ~ above the eldest child, more safeguarded the stability of noble property. In 1520 Charles ns agreed come the nobles’ need for a fixed pecking order of rank, native the 25 grandees that Spain v the remainder of the titled nobility, down to part 60,000 hidalgos, or caballeros, and also a similar variety of urban nobility, all of them distinguished from the rest of the population, the pecheros, by far-reaching legal privileges and exemption from direct taxation. Thus, the Catholic Monarchs’ antinoble plan was far from consistent. Having actually won the civil war, they essential the nobility for their campaigns versus the kingdom the Granada and, later, the kingdoms in north Africa and also Italy. They currently favoured the nobles against the towns, enabling them to encroach top top the territory approximately the cities and discouraging the corregidores and the royal courts native protecting the cities’ interests. Thus, the seed were sown because that the development of the comunero activity of 1520.