Ferdinand and Isabella - Religion

HideShow resource information



  • Unity - political union of Castile and Aragon
  • Concerns with Catholicism becomming dominant religion - McClive 'top priority' for C15th and C16th monarchs
  • Prestige - tomb = 'the destruction of the Islamic sect'


  • Lasted 10 years
  • Encouragement from Pope - allowed collection of cruzada tax, large silver cross, named 'athletes of Christ'
  • Both monarchs highlighted skills - I controlled supplies, F direct campaign
  • Little support for Moors from other Muslim states (e.g. North African coast)
  • Kamen: army of monarchs worked together 'in harmony and obidience'
  • After success, Portugal only independent kingdom
  • Approx 10,000 Muslims died in conflict
1 of 7

Outcome of Granada


  • Showed power
  • Castile and Aragon brought closer together in triumph


  • While 200,000 left others expected to convert
  • Resulted in 1499 revolt and opposition throughout 1500 and 1501
  • Most Muslims did eventually conform (underlying tension)
  • Talavera = leniant however under Cisneros Mudejars had choice of conversion or exile (1502), Arabic manuscripts and books also burned (1501)


  • Need to provide army with food and supplies = shortages and rise in prices
  • However, emergence of national army = positive (united)


  • Land gained to do as monarchs saw fit
2 of 7


'Holy union' which had strong peacekeeping role

Could execute criminals without a trial

Funded own activities and raised large sums for the war effort through national assemblies or juntas - raised 18 million maravedis

Controlled 'overmighty nobles' - provided greater security for monarchs

Concerned power would become threat to the Crown and eventually disbanded in current form (shows the extent of the success)

Elliot - 'perfect medieval institution revived to meet new needs'

Armesto -  'promoted the creation of a strong institution withing government'

3 of 7



  • Spain had never been religiously united (exercised freedom of worship), saw unioformity a strength and diversity a weakness. However, not particularly anti-Jewish I: 'under my care and protection'
  • Growing concern of Christianity becomming under threat
  • Finance - converso property confiscated, contemporaries: 'they burn only the well off'
  • Authority - 1478 papal bull power over appointments and confiscations, F consolidated and expanded royal authority
  • Response vs major policy? - confined to Andalusia at 1st then variations such as Cuenca


  • Suprema = seperate body which met regularly every day
  • Kamen - out of 57 Toledo inquisitors all except two had degrees or doctorates associated with law
  • Tribunals 1492 - operated in 26 towns
  • Familiares = 'eyes and ears of Inquistion'
  • Rules drawn up 1484 and continued till 1500 - Kamen: 'unsystematic' and led to inconsitencies
  • Pope - 1478 Papal bull meant oversaw everything however F&I responsible for tribunals and F said 'without our support you can do very little'. Most important role in inq (Inq General) appointed by Pope
4 of 7

Expulsion of the Jews


  • Smallest religious group (80,000 to 200,000)
  • Number of enquiries by clergy (e.g. Archbishop of Seville) confirmed conversos sig threat 
  • Many Jews were doctors, financiers, traders & artisans (rich so belongings valuable to crown)
  • Negative attitudes - those of Jewish ancestry excluded from high positions, ghettos and wore distinct yellow badges, heavily taxed, autos-de-fe (Seville and Cordoba regularly partook)
  • Every territory, except Naples, involved in policy of expulsion


  • 'The Black Legend' - convert or leave (within 4 months)
  • Up to 200,000 Jews offered money to monarchs to stay
  • Many who left returned and brought back land and regained old positions (contributed still)
  • Concerns over skill gaps in population
  • Jeronimo de Surita - mistake 'to throw out of his realms people who were so industrious and hardworking
  • Woodward cites 250 burnt at stake between 1485 to 1501
5 of 7



1480 Living in serperate communities, a policy caled apartamiento

November 1492 Ferdinand issued a document which stated Jews who had left could return if they agreed to be baptised Christian (coversos had to pay to be absolved)


Edwards claims Talavera personally responsible for the conversion of 100+ people - built 100 parish curches, encouraged clergy to leatn aracbic. Meanwhile he says Cisneros led to 'the introduction of far more drasic and brutal techniques'.

December 1499 rebellion led to Cisneros' more vigourous campaign - mass conversion which said 3000 baptised into faith. Ferdinand forced to intervene militarily (noble support)

1501 copies of Qu'ran being confiscated

1502 - conversion or exile. Choose to go to North Africa or Ottoman Empire and penalties were imposed on Christians who tried to help these Muslims

6 of 7

Beginnings of Church reform


Most credited for Church reform

Interested in reform of religius orders and specfic inspections and visitations

Therefore, Dominicans, Franciscans and female orders ordered to improve conduct to increase credibility

Education enhanced - e.g. the College of Santa Cruz 1484 enabled priests to understand scriptures better and be more authoritative in their guidance


Pope eager for monarchs' support so more able to conduct religious reform. In return, would grant more freedom to run the Spanish Church. Useful in appointing offices in new lands (e.g. Granada). Also didnt have to place foreigners in Spanish benefices (permenant Church appointments)


1500 Isabella wrote to one of her bishops about lack of discipline 'and if our justice intervenes to punish them, they revolt'

Often warned about gambling, fighting, singing and dancing

7 of 7




These flashcards, have really helped me, so happy i've come across them, got this exam on Friday. A good + easy quote for the Inquisition by Kamen is = "veritable holocaust" x 

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all The Emergence of a Great Power: Spain 1492-1556 resources »