The Catholic Monarchs - an overview
- Arguably, F and I greatly increase the weight of Spain in Europe during their repected reign
- it can be further argued that they neglected their domestic priorities and left Charles V to inherit the problems caused by unresolved Spanish issues and the delicate expansion of the Spanish empire.
Significant features of the Catholic Monarchs reig
Significant features of the Catholic Monarchs reigns were
Spain’s unification, foreign and domestic policies, and
the powers of the Cortes and Church.
In 1450, a unified Spain did not exist, however arguably,
it began in 1469 with the marriage of Isabella of Castile
and Ferdinand of Aragon, who ruled their kingdoms
jointly from 1479.
During their reign they were able to limit the powers of
the nobility and gain control of the Catholic Church
whilst obtaining a Spanish Empire
that would arguably lay the foundations for Spain to
become the greatest power in Empire during the reign of
Historians interpretation of the CM's reign
Historians have suggested that Spain’s success under Habsburg rule was a direct result of Ferdinand and Isabella’s unification.
When they inherited their respective kingdoms, the Iberian peninsula was divided, with the power that the nobility yielded over the individual territories being a major problem for the Catholic Monarchs.
Ferdinand was restricted in his power of the territories by the ruler of each particular land and this strong and violent attachment to constitutional property was to be a major concern.
Attempts at unification
By limiting the power of the nobility within their kingdoms, Isabella and Ferdinand gave their people a far greater role in the politics of the city.
As the Northern and Eastern fringes of Iberia had never been conquered they remained divided, and so there was no central authority in the area.
The papacy had tried to unify the area by crusading however theIberian peninsula’s geography of mountains ranges and deep rivers encouraged its political fragmentation.
Reasons for population change ( problems )
Another concern was the Black death which
swept through Europe during their reigns which
alongside the persecution of Muslims and Jews
in Spanish lands left Spain short of manpower
for its army and a decline in skilled labour for
Further problems ( economical )
Along with the shortage of skilled workers in Spain due to a
diminished population, Isabella and Ferdinand faced a lot of
economic problems during their reign. These included, the
difficulty of feeding the growing population of Castile which had
badly irrigated and poorly fertilized soil and the Monarchs
financial need for revenue particularly to fund their wars against
France. In the short term, money was raised through acabala or
sales tax (in total 90% of all revenue), however the Monarchs
needed a stronger economy in the long term.