Today we celebrate Columbus Day which was a very big deal ages ago when I lived in Columbus Ohio.
Many people are focusing on the Columbus part of this event. But I would like to take a look at Isabella I of Castile.
She was born on the 22nd of April 1451 to John II of Castile and Isabella of Portugal. Isabella became third in line of succession after her brother Alfonso was born.
When her brother Henry ascended the throne her, her mother and Alfonso were banished to Arevalo which was then a remote area of Castile. They were left with little money and basically forgotten. Isabella's mother insisted on educating her two children because the will of GOD was greater than the will of King Henry.
Statue of Isabelle of Castile by Bigarny
Isabella quickly learned the ways of court when Henry moved her to Segovia. She was intelligent, quick witted, deeply religious and artistic. She paid attention to strategy for war, how to compromise, when to give in and when not to. By the time she married Ferdinand she had developed an enormous talent for negotiations.
In 1492 Isabella has agreed to sponsor Christopher Columbus and a year later he returns with gold, natives, and an Island he named San Salvador.
The enslaving of the natives of the Americas was the beginning of the end of Queen Isabella's support of Christopher. In her mind the natives were subjects of the Castilian Crown and therefore could not be enslaved.
In her later years Isabella suffered the loss of children, grandchildren and vowed to wear black the remainder of her life. On 26 November 1504 she died.
This week Isabella I of Castile.