Ferdinand and Isabella's Major Accomplishments

Unification of Spain

When Ferdinand and Isabella were wed, Spain only recognized that union of a king and a queen, not the beginning of a new future and a bonding of two rulers and their nations. Little did anyone know that this union was just the beginning of bigger and better accomplishments to come. Ferdinand and Isabella, as a team, were efficient, strong, and effective rulers. Together, they changed and molded Spain from the separated and confused state it was before, to a unified and altered nation. Their alterations to this country reshaped Spain, and for that, they are remembered to this day. Even though some of their decisions and beliefs or goals weren’t exactly moral, they made up for their mistakes in judgement with their giant successes in politics and power. 

Ferdinand, when he married Isabella, was King of Aragon. And, in turn, when Isabella married Ferdinand, she was Queen of Castile. The two ruled over Spain with equal authority, even in both realms. Thus, their equality and sameness as rulers and partners unified Spain entirely. This success was phenomenal, and began to demonstrate the sheer power of their marriage, and all the changes that it could make. This unifying action was also among their first acts as king and queen, which were various reforms to reduce the power of the nobility, and increase the power of the crown, or the royal figures. 




The War Against Islam

Soon, in 1480, Ferdinand and Isabella decided to institute the Spanish Inquisition. This was one of the many changes of the role of the church that were put into place by the monarchs. The Spanish Inquisition was aimed mostly at Jews and Muslims, who on their exterior and social standpoint had converted to Catholicism and Christianity, but were suspected to be secretly practicing their own singular religions of Judaism and Islam secretly and out from under the public eye. The Inquisition was, overall, a court that tried nonbelievers of Christianity and practicers of other religions, and often tortured and  mutilated them in the process, so that this would scare the others into accepting Christianity instead of their native beliefs. These people, in Spain, were known as the morranos and the moriscos, and were often criticized as heretics who rejected Roman Catholic orthodoxy. To further unify Spain and be rid of these other religions, Ferdinand and Isabella used the Spanish Inquisition to expel the Moors (Muslims) who held parts of Spain. These Moors ruled over the kingdom of Granada. There was a two year war in 1492, the same year that Columbus asked the king and queen for permission for funding, men, and ships to discover a new world, which Isabella and Ferdinand won, claiming Granada as their own. This effectively ended the Reconquista, or the reconquering of Spain. 


Besides Ferdinand and Isabella’s success in unification and harsh cruelty towards non-Christians, they also sponsored Christopher Columbus and his voyage of discovery. The lasting effects of this wonderfully bright decision by Isabella were many - when Columbus discovered new lands, they were given to Castile. Isabella even took an interest in the Native Americans of the strange New World, and when some were brought back to Spain to be slaves, Isabella flew into a fury and insisted that they be brought back, and be treated with justice and fairness. Both Ferdinand and Isabella were patrons of scholars and artists, and bettered Spain by establishing educational institutions and building a large art work collection. They both learned Latin as well, were widely read, and educated not only their sons, but their daughters as well. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that these partners in ruling were a phenomenal pair, and together, this duo unified Spain, changed it, bettered it, and discovered new worlds, gaining profit from this. Although they had their problems, like most rulers do, they were strong and effective rulers whose marvelous achievements are sure to be rememberd throughout history.