free ebooks

A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

1276 1479 Sidenote General characteristics of the era


The marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella.]

[Sidenote: The union of Castile and Aragon.]

Meanwhile Isabella had contracted a marriage of surpassing importance in the history of Spain. In 1469 she married Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Aragon, rejecting Henry IV's proposal of a marriage with the king of Portugal. Isabella was proclaimed queen on the death of her brother, but many nobles now took the other side, upholding the cause of Juana, including some who had formerly fought on the side of Isabella,--for example, the archbishop of Toledo. The hand of Juana was promised to the king of Portugal, who therefore joined in the war on her side. The forces of Isabella were victorious, and in 1479 a treaty was made whereby she was recognized as the queen. The unfortunate Juana chose to enter a convent. In the same year, 1479, Ferdinand became king of Aragon, and at last a political union of the greater part of Christian Spain had become a fact.



[Sidenote: General characteristics of the era.]

The general remarks made with respect to Castilian history in this period apply, with but few modifications, to that of the kingdom of Aragon. In Aragon the victory of monarchy over seigniorial

anarchy was externally clear as early as the middle of the fourteenth century. The civil wars after that date (and there were very few until the last reign of the period) were due to the vast power of the city of Barcelona in conflict with the king, to the difference in interests of Aragon proper and Catalonia, and to social uprisings. Social progress in this region, but especially in Catalonia, was much more marked than in Castile, merely because there was so much more to gain, and great as were the advances made they did not bring the masses to a state of social freedom equal to that which had been attained in Castile. Of great importance to the future of Spain was the embarkation of Aragon on a career of Italian conquest. Fatal as Spain's Italian aspirations were to be in succeeding centuries, that evil was balanced, at least in part, by a contact with Renaissance influences proceeding out of Italy, and by a favorable commerce which redounded in many ways to the benefit of Spain. This was one of the periods when the advantages of the Italian connection were greater than the disadvantages.

[Sidenote: Pedro III and the nobles.]

Pedro III (1276-1285) showed in his short reign that he was a man of his father's mould. Able as he was he had to yield not a little to his nobles and the oligarchical towns, as indeed had Jaime I,--as witness the case of the independent position of the _Justicia_ won from Jaime I. From Pedro III these elements, especially those of Aragon proper, obtained the rights embodied in a document called the "General Privilege"; by this the _Justicia_ was proclaimed chief justice for all cases coming before the king, and was made to depend more closely on the nobles and allied towns. They also gained many other privileges, such as the restoration of the goods and lands taken from them by Jaime, exemption from naval service, and a reduction in the number of days of military service required of them. Yet Pedro was able to keep them sufficiently in hand to enable him to embark upon an ambitious foreign policy.

eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us