Unity and Disunity in Spain (16th century)

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Unity and disunity in Spain
Unity Disunity
F and I took great care to perfect their political
Love came under strain ­ contrast in character
partnership ­ all recorded decisions were made I ­ uncompromising, devout and chaste
in full agreement even when one was absent. F ­ worldly, flexible and frequently unfaithful
F and I had marriage treaty that said: Strengths in different areas:
both to be in accord over appointments and Queen had exceptional ability and was noted
acts by all contemporaries and served well through
reside in realm civil war
pursue reconquest of land from Moors F ­ leadership in foreign policy and warfare
all public decisions to bear signatures of both profited from greater experience of world
partners outside Spain
Monarchs' heads were to appear jointly on all Achievement of a united Spain was never an
coins objective of the Catholic Monarchs.
they were to dismiss justice jointly Example: Although reforms were made to ease
arms of both realms appeared together on transport of goods between realms, customs
seals and banners barriers between each realm remained fully in
force, and their institutions were kept entirely
Isabella ­ April 1475 ­ granted husband full Crowns of Castile and Aragon had differing
powers to act without her in Castile as though ideals and distinct institutions.
she were present. Aragon ­ federation made up of separate
realms and each realm was governed
independently with its own laws (fueros), its own
Cortes, its own language and its own coinage.
Both agreed that they were not prepared to Castile reimposed order through Hermandades
tolerate papal interference in their political which maintained peacekeeping role in the towns
position. and provinces. There was no similar body in
Common aims: No desire to develop common administrative
restoring law and order following civil war thatbody shared by the 2 states instead, the Council
had erupted on the death of Henry IV of Aragon was created to govern F's frequent
absences. No specific body to oversee foreign
Judicial system was an area in which both Financial affairs largely kept separate BUT there
sovereigns wanted significant improvement. were some limited similarities in financial
supervision of C and A : Gonzalo Chacon was
mastermind under supervision of the monarchs
and the coinage.
Both wanted allCatholic Spain. They wanted toEconomic unity limited. Restrictions in parts of
ensure Catholic Church was unchallengeable in Spain EXAMPLE: Catalan merchants had only
its devotion to the faith and the clergy set limited trade concessions in Castile and were not
appropriate standards for ordinary people to allowed to trade with Americas. Aragon was
follow. less productive than Castile.
Both saw law and order and increased control Foreign policy was ones of F's main
over the Church as essential to ensure stability. responsibilities and not a joint activity
Both saw need to impress their personal

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Both continued appointment of the corregidor, A and C in union not unified. Weaknesses could
operating in both Castile and Aragon. prevent real development EXAMPLE:
Aragonese were poorly represented in the
diplomatic world and C had better resources
such as manpower and money etc.
Both thought it important to extend their territory
Was partnership not unification as full unification
where possible, not only for reasons of prestige demands exact replications of systems whereas
but also for religious and economic reasons.…read more

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There was no capital, centralised administration or government officials common to each
kingdom (corregidores were not found in Aragon)
Each kingdom retained its own currency
Trade barriers operated within and between the kingdoms
Castile and Aragon each practised different foreign policies according to tradition
Arguments for unity:
Marriage of Isabella and Ferdinand unified the Iberian kingdoms their grandson, Charles,
was the first King of Spain.
Only the Catholic faith existed in Castile, and it was the predominant faith in Aragon.…read more

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Hispania" had once been a single
political unit and that it could be again a view reflected by a number of humanist works
published at the time.
· The development of printing, leading to the increased use of a standard form of
Castilian throughout the peninsula.
· The marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella, which ultimately led to dynastic union in
the person of Charles I.
· The replacement of much of the external jurisdiction of the Papacy with that of
the crown.…read more

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Isabella's death. Other issues could include different policies in different states vis a vis
Hermandad, corregidores and Moors and in terms of foreign policy. However some balance
is required and students should examine issues of unity such as single currency (the
excelente), the common institution of Inquisition and joint action over issues such as the
Granada war, before reaching a conclusion on `extent'.
http://www.1902encyclopedia.com/S/SPA/spain26.…read more

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Netherlands. Luckily for Spain, F decided to make Charles his heir in 1515. So, more by luck than
judgement, Charles became sole ruler of C and A when F died in 1516.
Economic disunity
Coinage ­ there were 3 different coinage systems in operation. Though attempts were made to fix
exchange rates ­ whereby one Castilian gold ducat was worth one Valencian gold excelente, wich
was worth one Catalonian gold principat ­ the kingdoms continued to have different coin in
circulation.…read more

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With an end to internal fighting and
suspicion, C and A were perceived as the greatest power in Europe by the time of Charles'
The attitude of the aristocracy ­ The aristocracy of both kingdoms also shared F and I's sense of
divine mission. With the aristocracy fired up by projects such as the conquest of Granada there was
little time or energy for the old aristocratic squabbles that had disfigured the kingdoms in the past.…read more


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