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By the same Author 


Author of " The Most Illustrious Ladies of the 
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OLD SIENA," ETC. ^ ^ ^ ^ 






I. The Making of Spain 

The Moors in Spain .... 
II. Rise of THE Christian Kingdoms 

The Kingdom of Asturias and Leon . 

The Kingdom of Castile 

The Kingdom of Navarre 

The Story of the Cid .... 

The Kingdom of Aragon 

The Realm of Catalonia and the City of 


III. The United Kingdoms 

Aragon and Catalonia .... 

Castile and Leon 

IV. The Story of Isabel of Castile 
Her Birth and Early Life . 
V. The Suitors of the Infanta Isabel . 
VI. The Marriage of Isabel .... 

She Succeeds to the Crown of Castile 

Vll. Fernando and Isabel 

Allied Sovereigns of Aragon and Castile 

VIII. The Moorish War 

Siege of Alhama 












IX. Civil War IN Granada . 

The Capture of Boabdil 

X. " Remember the Mountains of Malaga' 

Success of the Spanish Artillery 

XI. Queen Isabel takes the Field . 

A War of Sieges . 
XII. The Besieging of Malaga . 

XIII. Isabel: Her Court and Home Life 

XIV. The Inquisition in Spain 
XV. The Fall of Granada . 

The Great Surrender . 
XVI. Christopher Columbus 
XVII. Diplomacy of Fernando 

Wars in Italy 
XVIII. Literature in Spain 
XIX. Art and Architecture 

XX. Royal Marriages .... 

Juan and Margaret 
Philip and Juana . 

XXI. Isabel and Maria, Queens of Portugal 

Katharine, Queen of England 
XXII. Conquest of Naples . 

Rising in the Alpujarras 

XXIII. The Latter Days and Death of the G 


XXIV. Conclusion 

Policy of Fernando 
His Death .... 
Death of Philip I. 
Death of Juana 









Queen Isabel of Castile 

King Fernando of Aragon 

Queen J nana. La Loca . 

Statue of King Fernando of Ar agon . 

Queen Katharine of England 

King Charles VIII. of France 

King Henry VII. of England . 

Altar-piece, ivith portraits of Fernando 

Isabel ..... 
Christopher Columbus 
Emperor Maximilian 
Pope A lexander VI. Rodrigo Borgia 
Statue of Queen Isabel of Castile 
Tomb of Margaret of Austria . 
Pope fulius II. .... 
Emperor Charles V. ... 
Empress Isabel, Wife of Charles V. 
King Henry VIII. of England 
Maps of Spain 



To face page 



































1451. Birth of Isabel of Castile. 

1452. Birth of Fernando of Aragon. 

1454. Juan II. of Castile succeeded by Enrique IV. 

1455. Enrique divorces Blanche of Navarre and marries Juana 

of Portugal. 
1461. Louis XI. succeeds Charles VII. as King of France. 
1463. Juana (known as la Beltraneja) born. 
1467. Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy. 

1469. Marriage of Fernando of Aragon and Isabel of Castile. 

1470. Their daughter, the Infanta Isabel born. 

1474. Isabel succeeds Enrique IV. on throne of Castile. 

1476. Battle of Toro gained by Fernando. 

1477. Defeat and death of Charles the Bold at Nancy. 
Marriage of Maximilian and Mary of Burgundy. 

1478. Prince Juan born, son of Isabel and Fernando. 
Philip, son of Maximilian, born. 

Council of Seville. 

1479. Juana, daughter of Fernando and Isabel, born, 
Fernando inherits Aragon. 

1480. Margaret, daughter of Maximilian, born. 

148 1. The Inquisition established in Castile. 

The King of Granada takes Zahara. Beginning of Moorish 

1482. Maria, daughter of Fernando and Isabel, born. 
Torquemada Grand Inquisitor of Spain. 


1482. Alhama taken from the Moors. 

Death of Mary of Burgundy, wife of Maximilian. 

1483. Charles VIII. succeeds Louis XI. — Anne de Beaujeu regent. 
Edward IV. of England succeeded by Richard III. 
Mendoza, Archbishop of Toledo. 

Rout of the Christians in the Axarquia. Defeat and capture 
of Boabdil. 

1484. Pope Innocent VIII. 
Peace of Bagnolo. 

1485. Capture of Ronda from the Moors, 

Birth of Katharine, daughter of Fernando and Isabel. 
Battle of Eosworth. Henry VII. succeeds to the throne. 
Marries Elizabeth of York. 
i486. Birth of Arthur, son of Henry VII. 
1487. Siege and conquest of Malaga by the Christians. 

Treaty of marriage between Arthur, Prince of Wales, and 

1489. Siege and capture of Baza by the Christians. 

1490. Marriage of Infanta Isabel to Prince Affonso of Portugal. 

1491. Charles VIII. marries Anne of Brittany. 
Birth of Henry VIII. of England. 

1492. Spanish expedition under Christopher Columbus discovers 

Fall of Granada and end of the Moorish kingdom. 
Pope Alexander VI. (Rodrigo Borgia). 

1493. Death of Emperor Frederick III. and Maximilian succeeds. 
Marriage of Maximilian and Bianca Sforza. 

Margaret of Austria sent back to the Netherlands from 

1494. Charles VIII. invades Italy. 

1495. Charles VIII. takes Naples. Battle of Fornova. 
The Great Captain in Italy. 

Juan II. of Portugal succeeded by his cousin Emanuel the 

1496. The French turned out of Naples. 



1496. Marriage of Juana, daughter of Isabel, with the Archduke 


1497. Prince Juan of Spain marries Margaret, daughter of 

Third voyage of Cristopher Columbus. 
Synod of Alcala. 

1498. Louis XII. succeeds Charles VIII. 

Death of Isabel of, Portugal daughter of Fernando and 

Death of Torquemada. 

1499. Louis XII. marries Anne of Brittany, widow of Charles 


1500. Birth of Charles V. (Emperor) son of Philip and Juana. 
Second Treaty between Spain and France for the partition 

of Naples. 
Death of Isabel of Portugal. Her sister Maria marries 
Emanuel, King of Portugal. 

1 50 1. Granada declared Christian. Rebellion in the Alpujarras. 
Katharine of Aragon marries Arthur Prince of Wales. 

1502. War between Aragon and France. 
Death of Arthur Prince of Wales. 

1503. The Great Captain defeats the French at Cerignola. Takes 

Naples for the King of Aragon. 
Death of Alexander VI., Pius III., Julius II. 

1504. Death of Queen Isabel of Castile. Philip and Juana 

proclaimed — Fernando regent. 

1505. Treaty of Salamanca. 

1506. Death of Archduke Philip. Fernando goes to Naples. 
Death of Chri.stopher Columbus. 

1507. Jimenez Grand Inquisitor. Cordova rebels against 

against Inquisition. 
Fernando assumes government of Castile. 
Margaret of Austria regent in the Netherlands. 

1508. League of Cambray — Julius II., Louis XII., Fernando of 

Spain, and Maximilian — against Venice, 


1509. Venice defeated by Louis XII. and the Chevalier Bayard 
at Agnadello. 
Oran captured by Cardinal Jimenez. 
Accession of Henry VIII. He marries Katharine of Aragon. 

1511. The Holy League — Pope Julius, Fernando, Henry VIII. 

Maximilian, Venice and Switzerland — against France. 

1512. Battle of Ravenna. 
Fernando invades Navarre. 

1513. Death of Pope Julius II. Leo X. succeeds. 

1515. Death of Louis XII. ; is succeeded by Francis I. Italian 

Fernando annexes Navarre to his kingdom. 

1516. Death of Fernando of Aragon. 

1555. Death of Juana— " la Loca " — Queen of Castile. 







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The very name is an " Open Sesame " to the world of 
romance, of legend and of story ; and as we gaze upon 
it, our minds are flooded with dim enthralling memories 
of a long-vanished past. 

The magic spell is upon us. Once more we are in 
the unforgotten land of Spanish chivalry and Moorish 
enchantment, where every tale of prince and paladin, 
of feast and foray ; every vision of stately rock-girt 
castle, of fairy palace, of dome and minaret — set in a 
fair garden land of exquisite beauty passing a poet's 
dream — all combine to form the emblazoned tapestry 
on which stands forth the gracious figure of our peer- 
less lady : Isabel the Queen. 

Never was woman raised upon such a pedestal of 
worship. It was her rare good fortune to rise up at 
the very crisis of a nation's history, and, with the 
splendid skill and heroism of a strong mind and a brave 
heart, to turn the tide of fortune and wrest salvation 
for her people. Friend and foe alike proclaim her 
fame ; it was sung in every language and rang out to 
the ends of the earth. Her people adored her, and to 
this day the mere mention of that familiar name, Isabel 

I A 


La Catolica, strikes a responsive chord in the land of 
her birth. 

One who knew her best spoke of her as : " This 
incomparable woman who far transcends all human 
excellence, the mirror of every virtue, the shield 
of the innocent and an avenging sword to the 
wicked." * 

Lord Bacon said of her : " In all her revelations of 
Queen or Woman she was an honour to her sex, and 
a Corner-stone of the Greatness of Spain." 

King Henry VII. declared that he would gladly have 
given the half of his kingdom if Katharine of Aragon 
had been like her mother. 

The ambassador from Venice, Novagiero, delights to 
praise the singular genius, masculine strength of mind 
and other noble qualities of "this most rare and 
virtuous lady." 

" Isabelle la Catholique, cette noble reine qui crut 
le genie sur parole et dota I'univers d'un nouveau 
monde." t 

She rose supreme in every relation of life, as a 
tender daughter, a perfect wife and a devoted mother. 
In many a critical moment of her reign, the Queen's 
untiring energy and dauntless courage conquered 
every danger, while her political wisdom was so striking 
that her rare insight almost seemed like intuition. 
Absolutely forgetful of herself, she only thought of 
others : was magnanimous in forgiveness of all personal 
injuries, and full of passionate earnestness in her 
religion. In dealing, later on, with the dark shadow of 
the Inquisition which rests upon the fair record of her 
life, we shall have occasion to point out that the 
''- Peter Martyr. f Theophile Gautier. 



virtues of Isabel were her own, while her faults were 
those of her time. 

We may be proud to remember that the blood of the 
Plantagenets flowed in her veins, for she was descended 
through both father and mother from John of Gaunt, 
Duke of Lancaster. The full titles of this illustrious 
lady are thus given, in her last will and testament : 

" Dona ysabel por la graciade dios Reina de Castilla 
de Leon de Aragon de Secilia de granada de Toledo 
de Valencia de galisia de Mallorcas de Sevilla de Cer- 
dena de Cordova de Corcega de Murcia de Jahen de los 
Algarves de Algecira de gibraltar e de las yslas de Cana; 
Condesade barcelona e Senora de Viscaya e deMolina, 
duquesa de Athenas e de Neopatria, Condesa de 
Rosellon e de Cerdagna, Marquesa de Oristan e di 

(The Lady Isabel, Queen of Castile, Leon, Aragon, 
Sicily, Granada, Toledo, Valencia, Galicia, the Mal- 
lorcas, Seville, Sardinia, Cordova, Corsica, Murcia, 
Jaen, the Algarves, Alguyias, Gibraltar, the Canary 
Islands — Countess of Barcelona ; Sovereign Lady 
of Biscay and Molina ; Duchess of Athens and 
Neopatria ; Countess of Roussillon and Cerdagne ; 
Marchioness of Ovistan and Goziana.") Even this 
long list is incomplete, as it takes no account of Queen 
Isabel's possessions in the New World. 

It would be a fascinating task fully to tell once more 
how all this was won, step by step, at the point of the 
sword, by treaty and alliance — and lost again and again 
— from the wild rugged mountains of Asturias to the 
entrancing shores of Southern Andalusia ; from the 



confines of Portugal to the islands of the Mediterra- 
nean ; the whole splendid rule of land and sea. As the 
old ballad of the eleventh century reminds us : 

" Harto era Castilla, 
Pequeno rincon ; 
Amaya era su cabaza 
Y Fitero el moyon." 

(Castile was only a little corner ; Amaya was her head 
and Fitero her limit.) 

On the history of the past we may not tarry too long, 
yet it is absolutely necessary to realise how truly Isabel 
of Castile was a daughter of the land which she so 
passionately loved, and which was indissolubly bound 
up with every fibre of her being. She cannot stand 
alone as an isolated solitary figure ; for she was the 
flower of a long line of ancestors who all had a share 
in her, and she herself was part and parcel of the im- 
memorial past. We may not take the jewel away from 
its setting ; and if we are to understand Isabel aright, 
we must call up the vision of those who ruled the land 
before her, who fought and prayed and married and 
died, and who were the makers of her realm. 

In dim fleeting procession they shall pass before us, 
through the mist of bygone ages, ** come like shadows, 
so depart " ; those dead kings with their silent foot- 
steps — little more to us than a chronicle of names — 
and yet with their individual significance, each one 
leaving behind a mark for good or evil on his day. 

As the solemn company of kings passed before the 
doom-stricken eyes of Macbeth, so would I seek to 
call up before you in stately succession the marvellous 
panorama of Moorish conquest, the heroic stand of 



Gothic patriots in the mountains of Asturias, the 
gradual growth of Christian independence, with clash 
of arms and the ever-changing fortune of war, in the 
rise of the Kingdoms of Leon and Castile, of Navarre, 
of Aragon, and of Catalonia ; until by the gradual 
union of the divided states, we reach by slow degrees 
the final accomplishment of the Making of Spain. 

This will bring us to the story of Isabel the Queen, 
and we hope so far to recreate the atmosphere of her 
day as to study the real living, breathing woman ; to 
see her in her habit as she lived, to seek out the springs 
of her conduct, to read her thoughts and watch her 
actions, so as to build up the intensely interesting 
character of one of the great makers of European 



Spain has ever been the land of romance and legend, 
yet the simple facts of her story are more enthralling 
than the wildest dreams of fiction. On the decline of 
the Roman Empire, this province, which they named 
Iberia, had been overrun by the barbarians, and in the 
fifth century the Visigoths had made the fair land their 
home, from the sunny provinces of Andalusia to the 
rocky heights of the Asturias and the Pyrenees. But 
after two hundred years of peaceful possession this 
warlike race became enervated by prosperity, and was 
ill-prepared to defend the land from the conquering 
hordes of the Saracens, who had already extended 
their empire from the mountains of India to the Pillars 
of Hercules. 

For many generations these mysterious tribes of the 
wilderness had dwelt undisturbed in their pastoral 
simplicity, while great empires rose and fell around 
them. Alexander the Great had been about to invade 
their barren wastes when the hand of death checked 
his victorious career, and the sons of the desert re- 
mained unvanquished in their wild solitude. But of 
late a mighty change had come over them. Mohammed 



the dreamer had arisen in their midst ; he had preached 
a new rehgion and awakened the warHke instincts of 
his race, which became invincible with a mihtant 
creed, whose fanatic warriors held the key of Paradise, 
and hungered alike for conquest and for death in battle. 

Thus it was that the hosts of Islam swept like a 
deluge over the Northern shores of Africa, until only 
the fortress of Ceuta held out against them. As they 
looked across the blue sea, from one Pillar of Hercules 
to the other, they were told that beyond that narrow 
strait they would find a land flowing with milk and 
honey, with a climate more delicious than that of 
Syria, with pastures more fertile than those of Yemen, 
with treasures beyond the wealth of India or Kathay, 
and blossoms rich and rare, surpassing those of Eden 
in colour and scent. 

Eager for possession, their opportunity was at 
hand. The governor of this African citadel, the 
rocky Ceuta, was Count Julian, whose oft-told 
wrongs may be legendary but whose treachery is 
beyond question. He betrayed his trust and made 
common cause against his nation and his king, with 
the Moslem general. One summer day of the year 
711 A.D. Tarik and his Moorish army landed on the 
Lion's Rock, called after him Gebal-Tarik (Gibraltar), 
and, advancing westward, took possession of the ancient 
Carthaginian town of Carteya. On the plains of Xeres 
south of the Guadelete, they were met by King Roderick 
and his army, and we arc told that when the followers 
of Tarik, chiefly composed of Berbers a mountain 
tribe, saw outspread before them the mighty ranks of 
the armoured Goths, far exceeding them in number, 
for one moment they were dismayed. 



" Then their leader cried aloud : * Before you, O men 
is the enemy, and the sea behind. By Allah, there is 
no escape for you save in valour ! ' 

" As one man they shouted in reply : * We will follow 
thee, O Tarik ! ' and rushed forward to the fray." 

Thus runs the legend, which tells us that for seven 
days the battle raged from morn till night on that fatal 
plain where Roderick, the last of the Goths, was de- 
prived of his kingdom and his life. There followed 
upon that defeat, eight hundred years of Moorish 

" The hosts of Don Rodrigo were scattered in dismay, 
When lost was the eighth battle, nor heart nor hope 

had they; 
He, when he saw that field was lost, and all his hope 

was flown, 
He turned him from his flying host, and took his way 


" He saw his royal banners, where they lay drenched and 

He heard the cry of victory, the Arab's shout of scorn. 
He looked for the brave captains that had led the hosts 

of Spain ; 
But all were fled except the dead, and who could count 

the slain !".... 

Never was there so complete and triumphant a 
success, and the victorious Tarik lost no time in 
carrying out the conquest of Spain. He pushed on 
into the very heart of the country with his Berber 
warriors, and city after city fell before his arms until 
even Toledo, the royal city, the capital of the Gothic 
kingdom, was delivered into his hands. Cordova, 
Malaga and Elvira had been taken possession of by 



his officers with scarcely a struggle, for everywhere 
the persecuted Jews were on their side, and the down- 
trodden slaves made no resistance to the invaders. 

Meantime Musa, the African governor, who had 
vainly tried to check his general's too victorious 
career, hastened to share the glory and the spoils ; 
and having captured Merida, Seville and Carmona, 
reached the mountains of the north. Thus in so brief 
a space had Spain become a province of the great 
Saracen empire spreading from the Oxus to the Atlantic, 
and ruled by the Khalif of Damascus. As Musa wrote 
to his lord : " O Commander of the faithful, these are 
no common conquests ; they are like the meeting of 
the nations on the Day of Judgment." 

Gibbon tells us in his flowing periods how, from the 
heights of the Pyrenees, Musa had indulged in a mag- 
nificent dream of conquest from the West to the East 
of Europe, bringing all the ancient world of his day 
under the banner of Islam. But it was not to be ; for, 
with tortuous Oriental policy, the Khalif recalled the 
victorious Musa, laden with captives and spoil, to 
disgrace and ruin, while the brave Tarik fared but 
little better. Still, under other leaders, the Moslems 
continued to advance, and for awhile it seemed as 
though they would sweep like an overwhelming flood 
over the whole of Western Europe. An Arab governor 
had seized the southern part of Gaul, occupied Car- 
cassonne, Narbonne, Avignon and Bordeaux ; and in 
732 boldly marched on towards Tours, but here his 
triumphant course was destined to meet with a decisive 
and final check. 

Charles Martel, son of Pepin the great Mayor of the 
Palace, advanced to meet the Saracens, who were 


flushed with victory and looked for an easy success. 
Once more the struggle lasted many days, but the 
issue was not doubtful. The lightly-armed Moors 
could not resist in close onset the strength and stature 
of their foes ; " their stout hearts and iron hands." 
The invaders, crushed by the irresistible blows of the 
Franks and their teader, were utterly routed and put 
to flight ; and the disaster was so crushing that hence- 
forth in the centuries to come, the Saracens never 
more invaded France. The scattered remnant of the 
Numidian forces, which had been sent from Africa 
were recalled thither by a rising amongst the tributary 
peoples, while the Moorish fugitives retreated to the 
fertile provinces of Spain. It was in the southern 
portion, the ancient Andalusia, which extended from 
the Mediterranean to the Sierra de Guadarrama, 
watered by the great rivers — the Tagus, the Guadiana, 
and the Guadalquivir — that they formed their most 
prosperous settlements, and delighted to enrich and 
beautify those famous cities where, under Moorish 
sway, the arts and sciences flourished in the midst 
of a splendid civilisation unknown to the rest of 

This attained to its highest perfection during the 
rule of the Omeyyad Sultans in Spain, and the story of 
their coming is too striking and picturesque to omit. 
The religion of Islam needed a career of world-wide 
conquest for its highest success, as whenever this was 
followed by peaceful possession, endless party feuds 
were certain to arise. 

Thus, in 750, the dynasty of the Omeyyad Khalifs 
at Damascus was supplanted by the founder of the 
Abassides, Es-Seffah (the Butcher), so-called from his 


ruthless massacre of the deposed family. Only one 
escaped, the young prince Abd-er-Rahman (Servant 
of the Merciful God), of whom great things had been 
predicted, and the belief in his " star " doubtless added 
to his spirit and dauntless courage. He first turned to 
the coast of Barbary but, after five years of wandering 
and disappointment, he sailed to Spain, and was there 
received by loyal followers of his race with acclama- 
tion and joy. The last scion of his royal house, his 
coming was welcomed like that of Charles Stuart in 
Scotland, and before the end of the next year he had 
entered Cordova in triumph. But long and bitter was 
the struggle for entire mastery of the kingdom, and 
he did not come unscathed from the ordeal, for the 
victor's triumph was stained by treachery and cruelty, 
and long ere he had subdued all his enemies, the 
gallant young Pretender had become the hated tyrant, 
alone and friendless in his cold elevation. 

It is during this period — the reign of the first Abd- 
er-Rahman — that we meet with the oft-told tale of 
that famous invasion of Charlemagne, which has filled 
all Europe with legend and romance. In the year 777 
the conqueror was at Paderborn, triumphant in his 
victory over the Saxons, when there came to him an 
embassy from Spain, praying for his help against the 
conquering usurper who had made himself master of 
all the Moorish provinces and taken the sacred title of 
Khalif. Some monkish chroniclers assert that the 
appeal came from the Christians, who would not 
submit to the rule of the infidel, and had found a 
refuge in the mountains of Asturias, where they 
formed the germ of the Spanish nation. But there 
is every reason to believe that the French king was 



invited by the Sheikh Suleiman-el-Arabi, a firm ad- 
herent of the Khahf of Bagdad, where the seat of 
government had been removed from Damascus. 

This was Charlemagne's opportunity, for he had 
never forgotten the great victory of his grandfather, 
Charles Martel, and was eager to extend his kingdom 
beyond the Pyrenees. With a great army he invaded 
Spain in 778, seized Pampeluna, a Christian city, and 
had been successful in the siege of Zaragoza, when 
he was recalled northward by news of a fresh revolt 
by Wittekind and his Saxons. It was during his 
hurried retreat across the mountain pass of Ronces- 
valles that the rear-guard of the Franks, under the 
command of his nephew Roland, met with the terrible 
disaster of which the memory is fresh to this 

Encumbered by a long train of baggage mules, 
laden with rich spoils, the men-at-arms were slowly 
climbing the steep rocky defiles, when they were sud- 
denly attacked from an ambuscade by their enemies, 
who smote them hip and thigh till scarce a man sur- 
vived to tell the doleful tale. We are all familiar with 
the legend of Roland's mighty prowess in that cruel 
hour, and of his good sword Durenda, which at the 
last, when all hope was at an end, he broke upon a 
rock severed at its touch, and which is pointed out to 
this day as "La Breche de Roland" — a mighty chasm, 
cut straight and sharp in the mountain ridge as you 
look upon it from the near slopes of the " Pic de 
Bourgogne." We have heard in fancy the 

"blast of that dread horn, 
On Fontarabian echoes borne, 
That to King Charles did come .... 


When Roland brave and Olivier, 
And every paladin and peer, 
On Roncesvalles died." 

The heroic theme has ever had a strange glamour 
and fascination for all the Latin race, and it was a 
Spanish minstrel who wrote the dolorous ballad :* 

" The day of Roncesvalles was a dismal day for you, 
Ye men of France, for there the lance of King Charles 

was broke in two : 
Ye well may curse that rueful field, for many a noble 

In fray or fight the dust did bite beneath Bernardo's 

There captured was Guarinos, King Charles's Admiral ; 
Seven Moorish kings surrounded him, and seized him 

for their thrall." 

This legendary allusion to a Christian leader 
Bernardo, fighting with Moorish kings, is extremely 
interesting as showing the birth of a national feeling, 
stronger than all difference of faith, which thus vehe- 
mently resented the invasion of a foreigner. We 
have no reason to believe that Abd-el-Rahman himself 
took any part in the conflict, but after this fruitless 
expedition of the Franks, he was left at peace to lay 
the foundation of that marvellous Khalifate of Cor- 
dova, whose splendid story, during his reign and 
those of his successors for three hundred years, is like 
a chapter from the Arabian Nights. 

So far removed is that shining city of dreams from 
our everyday life, that only the language of Oriental 
imagery seems appropriate to it. An Arab historian 
tells us that : " Cordova is the bride of Andalusia. 

=•'■ Heard by Don Quixote and Sancho Panza at Toboso. 


To her belongs all the beauty and the ornaments that 
delight the eye or dazzle the sight. Her long line of 
Sultans forms her crown of glory ; her necklace is 
strung with the pearls which her poets have gathered 
from the ocean of language ; her dress is of the 
banners of learning, well knit together by her men 
of science ; and the masters of every art and industry 
are the hem of her garments."* 

With regard to that long line of Sultans who brought 
their priceless spoils to adorn the beloved city, we can 
but touch upon a few of the most notable. On the 
death of Abd-er-Rahman the first Omeyyad, his pious 
son Hisham succeeded, whose brief reign of eight 
years, of which the limit was said to have been foretold 
by an astrologer, was a pattern of righteousness and 
watchful devotion to his people, such as we are familiar 
with in the legends of " Good King Wenceslaus." But 
this very piety in a ruler became a strange new source 
of danger, for the theological students of Cordova, the 
most devout or fanatical sons of Islam, obtained so 
much authority that, when the new Sultan Hakam I. 
proved to be no stern ascetic but a man of gay dis- 
position, eager to enjoy life, he was publicly preached 
at and prayed for by the bigots, who at length aroused 
the people to conspire against him. But the rebels had 
mistaken their man and were put down again and 
again with an iron hand, so that when Hakam died in 
822, he left a peaceful heritage to his son Abd-er- 
Rahman II. 

This prince was chiefly distinguished by his luxury 

and prodigality, which rivalled that of the famous 

Harun-er-Rashid of Bagdad, who had but recently 

■= Quoted by Lane Poole. 



departed from his earthly paradise. Abd-er-Rahman II. 
built magnificent palaces, and mosques, and bridges, 
he laid out more wonderful gardens and, himself a poet 
and musician, he gave encouragement to all the arts and 
sciences. He was ruled by the theologian Yahya and 
the Persian poet Ziryab, whose strange fascination 
made him the arbiter of taste and fashion. Under this 
prince, whose rule was one of tolerance and protection 
of all creeds, began those fierce outbursts of fanatical 
zeal in which the Christian subjects of Cordova seem to 
have eagerly sought martyrdom at the hands of the 

During the weak and disastrous reigns of Mohammed, 
Mundhir, and Abdallah, troubles of every sort increased 
and the Moorish power sank to its lowest ebb, amidst 
general anarchy and bloodshed. The Christian States 
gained ground on all sides, and but for their own 
internal feuds they might easily have reconquered the 
whole land. Then in that dark hour when all seemed 
lost, a new Omeyyad Sultan arose and the kingdom of 
Cordova was saved. Abd-er-Rahman II I. the grandson 
of Abdallah, deserves more than a passing mention. 
This lad of twenty-one, who found that his dominion 
scarcely extended beyond the walls of Cordova, with 
dauntless courage at once proclaimed his purpose of 
reconquering the whole of the lost provinces, and 
summoned all the rebel chieftains to surrender their 

Such boldness met with its due reward, for he 
inspired his soldiers with his own enthusiasm, and led 
them forth on a career of conquest. The desolate land 
was weary of anarchy and the tyranny of lawless 
brigands, and in the end his arms were everywhere 



successful ; in many cases the gates of great cities were 
opened to the gallant young prince with scarcely a 
show of resistance. So indomitable was his purpose 
that when the city of Toledo alone remained uncon- 
quered, Abd-er-Rahman built a town on the opposite 
hill and calmly sat down to await the surrender. 

With the Christians protected by their mountain 
fastnesses, he had many a hard struggle, but step by 
step he won his way against foes divided amongst 
themselves, and at the end of eighteen years he found 
himself in the proud position of having recovered 
all that his predecessors had lost. Henceforth he 
governed Moslem and Christian alike with justice 
tempered by mercy, and the land had peace and pros- 
perity. He kept the supreme authority in his own 
hands, employed men under him chosen by himself 
alone, and was supported by a great army of mer- 
cenaries, " Slavs," in his sole pay (a plan to be 
followed in later years by the Emperor Charles V. 
and his son Philip). Then in 929 he assumed the 
proud title of Kkalif of the West, En-Nasir li-dim-llah, 
" the Defender of the Faith of God." He spread his 
empire to the African coasts of the Mediterranean, 
conquered the fleets of Egypt and Tunis, and opened 
his ports for a world-wide commerce, while his chosen 
home at Cordova became the splendid centre of Euro- 
pean culture and civilisation. 

After a glorious reign of nearly fifty years the great 
Khalif died full of years and honours, leaving behind 
him a pathetic record that in all the days of his long 
life he had counted but fourteen without sorrow. 
" O man, put not thy trust in the present world." 

It was during this period that Cordova rose to the 

17 B 


highest summit of beauty and magnificence. The 
world-famed city, once beloved of Pompey, destroyed 
by Caesar, the birthplace of Seneca, conquered by the 
Gothic arms, and at length the proud capital of Moorish 
Spain. We may look to-day unmoved upon the narrow 
streets of white houses, the ruined palaces, the great 
bridge which still spans the rushing Guadalquivir ; 
but as we stand within the magnificent mosque of 
Abd-er-Rahman, with its forest of porphyry and jasper 
columns, its exquisite tracery and peerless mosaics, the 
image of a splendid past rises before us. It was the 
first Omeyyad sovereign who began this amazing, 
unrivalled shrine of worship, built upon the site of a 
temple of Janus, devoting to it the immense spoils of 
the Goths, while each of his successors in turn added 
some fresh beauty : clustered pillars inlaid with gold 
and lapis-lazuli, countless doors of polished brass, a 
silver pavement to the sanctuary, gold and precious 
stones for the ivory pulpit, and myriad lanterns of 
priceless filigree work. 

The Arab chroniclers are never weary of dwelling 
upon the bygone glories of Cordova. We read of 
many other stately mosques with minarets of bur- 
nished gold, of bridges and aqueducts, and marble 
palaces, whose vaulted chambers were inlaid with ex- 
quisite mosaic, covered with arabesque and corniced 
with beaten gold, while their furnishing was of sandal- 
wood inlaid with malachite and silver, with ivory and 
mother-of-pearl. In the spacious courtyards, shaded 
with palms and rare exotics, fountains and cascades 
of water tempered the heat of summer, while in 
winter, rich tapestries, Persian carpets, embroidered 
pillows and couches, and a warm and perfumed 



air made the inner courts a dream of luxury and 

As to the extent of this marvellous city, we are 
gravely assured that after sunset a man might walk 
ten miles in a straight line, by the light of its lamps. 
But the crowning joy and glory of Cordova was not in 
the " shrines of fretted gold " but in the " high-walled 
gardens, green and old." The first Omeyyad had 
sent a date-palm from Syria to plant in the garden 
which he had laid out in the land of his splendid exile, 
to remind him of his old home in Damascus. The 
Arabs ever loved to surround themselves with gardens 
and trees and fountains — the primitive ideal-dream 
of happiness in the tents of the desert whence they 

Each marvellous palace of the Sultan stood in the 
midst of gardens filled with " the most delicious fruits 
and sweet-smelling flowers, beautiful prospects, and 
limpid-running waters." All the world was searched 
for rare exotics — seeds, plants, and trees were brought 
from afar to enrich this favoured land. In describing, 
later on, the gardens and orchards of Andalusia, we 
shall yet find traces of that splendid heritage from the 
Moorish Sultans of Cordova, surviving still to make 
this earth beautiful, when their kingdom has passed 
away like a shadow. 

The magic of the East is upon us as we touch upon 
the story of that marvellous " City of the Fairest," 
Medinat-Ez-Zahra, built by the great Khalif to gratify 
the whim of his Sultana. If we are to believe the 
chroniclers, it far surpassed the wildest dreams of the 
poet, " fed on honey-dew," who sang of the " stately 
pleasure-dome of Kubla Khan." The glittering minarets 



the marble and ivory palaces, shining with gold and 
precious stones — the spoils of empires — the doors of 
ivory and polished brass, the fairy fountains, the 
menageries of strange animals and aviaries of strange 
birds, amid bowers of roses and groves of almonds 
and pomegranate. . . . Like a dream all has vanished, 
for of this earthly paradise not a trace remains. 

Much was possible to a prince w^ho could employ 
ten thousand skilled workmen for more than a quarter 
of a century ; whose treasury at one time, in 951, 
contained twenty million golden pieces, and whose 
yearly income is supposed to have been equal to that 
of all the other sovereigns of Europe together. In his 
time, the Khalifate of Cordova was supreme in the 
arts and sciences, in commerce and manufactures. 
The land was fertilised by irrigation, and thus the 
sugar-cane, the mulberry, saffron, flax, and all the 
choice fruits and flowers of the earth were successfully 

We are told of thirteen thousand silk-looms in 
Cordova alone, mining, enamelling, glass-blowing, 
the making of linen and cotton fabrics, the embossing 
of fine leather, all forms of rare metal work — these 
industries flourished on every side. The produce of 
so much skill and labour was carried from the ports 
of Southern Andalusia to the Levant and Constanti- 
nople, whence it was spread by the caravans over the 
whole known world. 

But not alone did Moorish Spain excel in material 
prosperity,for theOmeyyads,likethe Medici of Florence 
in a later age, were distinguished by their magnificent 
patronage of literature and science. Cordova was the 
European centre of knowledge, and students came 



from all countries to learn from the famous doctors 
and wise philosophers, mathematicians, and astro- 
nomers. The Moorish surgeons were famous above 
all others ; indeed, they are supposed to have fore- 
stalled some modern practice, and it was the custom 
for Christian princes and men of wealth to seek their 

While Rome and Constantinople still asserted that 
the earth was flat, geography was taught from globes 
in the schools of the Spanish Moors. They were the 
first to determine the length of the year, the obliquity 
of the ecliptic ; to discover the spots on the sun, and 
to build the first observatory, the Giralda of Seville, 
which in later years was turned into a belfry by their 
Christian successors, who did not know how to use it. 
They invented the mariner's compass, and were the 
first to apply the pendulum to a clock ; indeed it would 
be hard to enumerate all their valuable additions to 
the world's knowledge. 

Of their many learned writers, their philosophers, 
and the poets whose graceful ballads forestalled the 
minstrels and troubadours of later days, we shall speak 
hereafter in a chapter on Spanish literature. 

The splendid library of Abd-er-Rahman was largely 
added to by his son Hakam II., a scholar prince who 
is said to have possessed 400,000 manuscript volumes, 
and not only to have read them, but to have written 
learned notes on their margin. He found a refuge in 
his library from the cares of State, and as a natural 
consequence, there were others ready to seize the reins 
of government. When he died in 976, leaving a young 
son of twelve, Hisham II., as his successor, the Prime 
Minister Almanzor, with the help of the widowed 



Sultana Aurora, before long assumed supreme power 
in the state. He had risen from the lowly position of 
a letter-writer at the palace gate, but his genius and 
unscrupulous ambition overcame all obstacles, and 
not satisfied with absolute political rule, he aspired to 
military fame. With splendid assurance he led his 
army against the Christians on the northern marches, 
and so won the proud title of " the Victorious," for 
none could withstand him. The great Vesir spread 
the Moorish dominion to its farthest bounds, both 
along the broad seacoast of Africa and in Spain, 
where he raided all the Christian provinces with fire 
and sword, taking possession of all their chief cities — 
Leon, Barcelona, Pamplona, and even the sacred church 
of Santiago de Compostella in Galicia (built, according 
to tradition, where the body of St. James, the fighting 
saint, was discovered). While Hisham II. remained 
Khalif only in name, his formidable Prime Minister 
was the real despotic lord of the realm ; he gave his 
enemies no respite, and when at length death put an 
end to his career after a final victory over Castile, his 
end is thus chronicled by a monkish historian : " In 
1002 died Almanzor and was buried in hell." 

However that may be, it was a hell upon earth which 
followed when the master spirit was gone ; the flood- 
gates were broken down, and hapless Andalusia was 
overwhelmed by relentless civil war, pillage, massacre 
and anarchy. One puppet after another was set up as 
ruler by the Slav mercenaries, the Berbers or the 
people of Cordova, only to be cruelly driven forth or 
treacherously murdered. The Moors' extremity was 
the Christians' opportunity. Alfonso VI., who had 
come to the throne of Leon in 1065, and of Castile in 



1072, set himself to the conquest of the whole land, 
and succeeded so well, as much through the divisions 
of his foes as his own energy, that before long most of 
the Moslem states had become his tributaries. The 
famous Cid Rodrigo Diaz de Bivar is a most striking 
figure of this period, but his marvellous adventures 
while fighting on either side must be told in the 
history of the Christian provinces. 

Roused at length to a sense of the danger before 
them, the Moors called in the help of their race in 
Africa, and the conquering sect of the Almoravides 
responded to their appeal. Led by Yusuf, the great 
Puritan warrior, they defeated Alfonso of Castile with 
terrible loss at Zallaka near Badajos, in 1086. After 
the victory they returned to Africa, leaving only a small 
force behind and retaining the harbour of Algeciras ; 
but a few years later, Yusuf the Almoravide was again 
implored to help the King of Seville against the Chris- 
tians, and this time he came to stay. Shocked at the 
laxness in doctrine and practice of the Spanish Moors, 
and their open neglect of the Koran, the Puritan leader 
set forth on a holy war and turned his arms alike 
against them and their foes, never resting until the 
whole of Andalusia owned the sway of the Almoravides. 
Under these half barbarian fanatics, there followed a 
time of religious intolerance and cruel persecution, not 
only of Christian and Jew but of all art, literature and 
philosophy which was not included in the Koran. 

But the wealth and luxury of the beautiful land 
which they had conquered, soon began to have a 
demoralising effect upon these rude Berber warriors ; 
their simple habits and stern fanaticism gave way before 
this easy life, and within fifty years the Castilians, under 



Alfonso the Battler, were ravaging Andalusia almost 
as far as the coast of the Mediterranean. But a more 
terrible enemy awaited them, nothing less than an 
overwhelming invasion from Africa of other Atlas 
tribes more fanatical still than themselves. These 
were the Almohades or Unitarians, whose resistless 
hordes carried all before them : the cities of Algeciras, 
Malaga, Cordova, Seville, Valencia and Almeria sur- 
rendered to their might, and before the middle of the 
twelfth century all Moorish Spain was in their hands, 
and became a province of the African empire of the 

For a while they triumphed also over the Christians 
who, after a great defeat at Alarcos, were roused to 
fresh efforts, and induced the Pope to proclaim a 
crusade against the infidels. Alfonso of Castile and 
Pedro of Aragon were joined by a gallant company of 
knights from all Europe, and on the fateful field of 
Las Navas de Tolosa, a splendid victory was gained 
under the banner of the Cross, and the might of Islam 
was crushed. This was in 121 2, and in the next gene- 
ration the Christians advanced with steady persistence, 
conquering city after city, until at length nothing 
remained to the Moors but the kingdom of Granada, 
including the seacoast from Gibraltar to Almeria, and 
the country bounded by the Sierra Nevada. Even this 
was tributary to the crown of Castile, and so it con- 
tinued with but little change for more than two centuries 

Granada now succeeded Cordova as a centre of 
culture, the arts and sciences flourished in days of 
comparative peace, for the Christian monarchs were 
too much engaged with internal struggles to interfere 



with neighbours who were no longer formidable. They 
were left to the enjoyment of the exquisite garden of 
Spain, they built the wonderful Alhambra, the red 
palace one of the wonders of the world, and the Moors 
driven from the other conquered cities fled to Granada 
in their thousands, adding to the wealth and prosperity 
of this last remaining province. 

But as the fifteenth century drew near its close, and 
the Christian states were combined under the one strong 
government of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabel of 
Castile, the day of doom was at hand for the last 
stronghold of Moslem rule in Spain. The story of the 
final conquest of Granada will take its place in the 
history of Queen Isabel. 



The Kingdom of Asturias and Leon — The Kingdom 
OF Castile — The Kingdom of Navarre — The Story 
OF THE CiD — The Kingdom of Aragon — The Realm 
OF Catalonia and the City of Barcelona. 

The Kingdom of Asturias and Leon. 

When the Moors conquered Spain and spread over the 
land like a resistless flood, the Christian survivors of 
that fatal field by the river Guadalete on the plains of 
Xeres, fled before the conquering hordes in two dis- 
tinct companies. On one of these vje need not dwell, 
as it was led by Theodomir, an astute time-server who 
escaped once more from the slaughter of his com- 
panions, and paid tribute to the infidels for Murcia and 
part of Valencia and Granada — for he left no lasting 
trace, and was in no sense a maker of Spain. But the 
noblest and most patriotic amongst the scattered rem- 
nant of the Goths, sought a refuge far away to the 
north in the rugged mountains of Asturias. To this 
time-honoured asylum of invincible patriotism, the little 
band of faithful men had brought from Toledo the 
most sacred relics of their faith ; and here in the 
midst of hardy mountaineers, descendants of an earlier 



race, was raised the true foundation of the Spanish 

A certain Pelayo of the royal Gothic lineage was 
chosen as their leader, and Canga de Onis, a little 
mountain village, was the seat of his dominion, which 
reached to the sea on the north and to the mountains 
on the south, with an uncertain boundary east and 
west. Tidings of this little colony having spread to the 
Moslem leader, he sent against it an army which was 
led by a renegade towards the mountain nest, but 
Pelayo and his gallant comrades attacked the infidels in 
a narrow pass by the primitive method of hurling down 
masses of rock and stones upon them, and then fol- 
lowing up this disconcerting reception by a sudden and 
bold attack. The Moslems were unprepared and fell 
an easy prey ; many were slain by the sword, others 
were thrown into the mountain torrent below, and the 
remainder fled ignominiously. The monkish chronicles 
of later days aver that in this famous battle of Cova- 
donga 124,000 were killed in hand-to-hand fight, 63,000 
were drowned, and 375,000 made their escape over the 
frontier ! But this stupendous exaggeration is note- 
worthy as showing the great importance attached by 
the Christians to their first victory in the long struggle 
for independence. 

In any case the Moors had learnt a lesson, and inter- 
fered no more with the hardy mountaineers of Asturias. 
Pelayo was the founder of a dynasty ; his son Favila, 
killed by a bear,* was succeeded in 739 by Alfonso the 
Catholic, a man of great courage and energy, who 
extended his rule on all sides, conquering to the east 
Biscay and part of Navarre, to the west almost the 
* See " Don Quixote," 2nd part, ch. xxxiv. 


whole of Galicia as far as the Douro, and reaching even 
to Castile on the south by the surrender of Segovia and 
Avila, while Salamanca, Astorga, Leon, and other im- 
portant places fell before his arms. At the time of his 
death in 757, he had reconquered for the Christians 
nearly one quarter of the whole land. But much of 
this remained debatable ground for several centuries, 
won first by one side and then by the other, ever laid 
waste and desolate by the horrors of never-ceasing 

The story of Alfonso's successors for several gene- 
rations is little more than a dim chronicle of names, 
and more or less legendary battles of varying loss and 
gain. The invasion of Charlemagne and the defeat of 
Roncesvalles has been already alluded to in the history 
of the Moorish kingdom, but it is merely a passing 
episode, rich in romantic lore, yet of little historical 

Time passed on and the city of Oviedo, where 
Alfonso II. established his Court, grew in importance 
and became the capital of this king, who had at least the 
merit of reigning for fifty years. At this period, we 
hear of frequent intermarriages between Moors and 
Christians, who appear to have been on friendly terms 
during the intervals of fighting. When Alfonso III. 
the son of Ordono I. came to the throne in 866, he 
found himself firmly established in the north of 
Portugal, and in one quarter as far as the river 
Guadiana, besides a stronger position in Biscay and 
Navarre, and carried his victorious arms into Castile, 
then a wild desolate land with scattered fortresses. He 
was a wise and tolerant ruler, distinguished in peace as 
in war, but the fruit of his conquests was lost in a great 



measure by the fatal policy of dividing his territory 
amongst his sons. He gave the kingdom of Leon to 
his eldest son Garcia, who removed the seat of his 
government from Oviedo to the city of Leon, situated 
in the midst of the broad plain between the river Douro 
and the sea. Ordono, the second son, received Galicia 
and northern Portugal, and Fruela, the youngest, had 
Asturias as his portion. But within a few years the 
various provinces were again shuffled up, while an 
intermittent warfare was for ever going on against the 

A succession of rulers followed, who played their 
part in feud and feast and foray, and yet for us are little 
more than shadowy names, until in 930 we come to the 
reign of Ramiro II. who defeated the great Khalif Abd- 
er-Rahman III. at the battle of Simancas. 

Rise of the Kingdom of Castile. 

It was in the time of Ramiro II. that the province of 
Castile first rose to an independent position, having 
hitherto been under the rule of Leon. The first Count of 
Castile who threw off the yoke was Fernan Gonzalez, 
whose daughter Uraca was married in succession to two 
kings of Leon ; divorced from the first, dethroned and 
driven into exile with the second. Those were 
troublous times when the Christian states were rent 
asunder by civil war, and ever and again resorted to 
the fatal expedient of calling in the help of the infidel. 

Still greater calamity was in store for them when the 
invincible Moorish general Almanzor proclaimed a 
jihad, or holy war, and invaded their territory with fire 
and sword. Everything gave way before him : Leon 
and its splendid cathedral built in honour of Santiago 



was utterly destroyed, although we are told that the 
shrine itself was miraculously preserved. He raided 
Catalonia and Castile, and took city after city, Simancas, 
Zamora, Barcelona, Astorga, and advanced even to 
Corutia, everywhere carrying away immense spoils 
and captives in their thousands. The Christians must 
have been brought very low, for not only were they 
compelled to pay tribute, but we read with surprise 
that Bermudo II. of Leon gave his daughter in 
marriage to this Moslem conqueror, who later on 
married a princess of Castile. So complete was the 
ascendancy of the great Almanzor that but for his 
opportune death in 1002 the Christian states would 
have been blotted out from the map of the peninsula. 
In the story of the Moorish kingdom we have 
already traced the sudden downfall of its power, 
when the commanding genius of the mighty Vesir no 
longer rules its counsels and its armies. Still, even at 
this period, when the glory of Cordova had departed 
for ever, we find Alfonso V. of Leon giving his sister 
in marriage to Mahommed, king of Seville, and after- 
wards dying in battle against the Moors of Portugal. 

Rise of the Kingdom of Navarre. 

It is extremely difficult to follow out any separate 
history of the various Christian states, as they were 
constantly being united by conquest or marriage 
alliance, and then, after a few years, all the gain of 
such union would be scattered to the winds by sub- 
division of the land, on a sovereign's death, amongst 
his sons and daughters. 

A new kingdom had sprung up in the mountains of 
Navarre, which, from its position as a saddle across 



the Pyrenees, between Spain and France, was con- 
stantly shifting its allegiance from one to the other. 
The earliest inhabitants appear to have been of 
Prankish origin, and about the year 873 a certain 
Sancho Inigo became the ruling noble, and his 
successors maintained a certain independence. A 
somewhat doubtful tradition gives them a code of 
laws, the " fueros de Sobrarbe," afterwards the proud 
boast of Aragon and the foundation of its freedom. 
One right which the nobles seem to have possessed 
was that of making war upon each other, of which 
they freely availed themselves. 

The little kingdom of Navarre first rises to historical 
prominence under the rule of Sancho the great, who 
was lord of Sobrarbe and of that part of Aragon not 
included in the Moorish province of Zaragoza, He 
had married Elvira, the daughter of Count Garcia of 
Castile, and through her right he succeeded to Cas- 
tile in 1026. This deserves notice as apparently the 
first occasion when female succession was admitted. 
Fernando, the eldest son of Sancho, had married the 
heiress of Leon, and the whole of the Christian 
dominion would have been united under him but for 
the fatal policy of his father, who divided his territory 
amongst his sons, giving Navarre to Garcias and Aragon 
to Ramiro. 

After much successful fighting against the Moors 
and his own brothers, before the death, in 1065, of 
Fernando I., he made the same unwise partition of 
his provinces amongst all his children. To his eldest 
son Sancho he left Castile ; to Alfonso, his favourite, 
Leon and Asturias ; and to Garcias, Galicia and 
Portugal as far as the Douro ; while his daughter Uraca 


received Zamora as her portion, and Elvira had Toro. 
The usual result followed, bitter rivalry and civil war, 
in which the palm of treachery must be given to 
Sancho, who, after having been defeated in battle by 
the men of Leon, set upon them unawares and mas- 
sacred the most part, Alfonso escaping by flight from 
his prison. Sancho then drove his younger brother 
Garcia from his kingdom of Galicia, and turned out 
his sister Elvira from Toro. But he had more trouble 
with Uraca, who fought with desperate courage for 
her fortress of Zamora, and the siege was so prolonged 
that it gave rise to the proverb, " No se tomo 
Zamora en una hora." (Zamora was not taken in 
an hour.) 

In the attack on this city, Sancho v^^as stabbed by 
the hand of an assassin, and Rodrigo Diaz de Bivar, 
the Cid, is reputed to have beheld the deed from afar, 
unable to avenge his master. Alfonso of Leon now 
returned in haste from his exile, and claimed the 
throne as his brother's heir. According to the ballads, 
the Cid came forward and made him swear that he 
had no part in his brother's murder. 

"'Alfonso, and ye Leonese, 

I charge ye here to swear, 
That in Don Sancho's death ye had 

By word or deed no share. ..." 
Three times the Cid has given the oath, 

Three times the King hath sworn ; 
With every oath his anger burned, 

And thus he cried in scorn : 
' Thou swearest me where doubt is none 

Rodrigo to thy sorrow ; 
The hand that takes the oath to-day 

Thou hast to kiss to-morrow ! ' 


'Agreed, senor!' replied the Cid, 

' If thou will give me pay, 
As other kings in other lands 

Do give their knights this day . . . ' " 

The Story of the Cid. 

No account of the making of Spain would be com- 
plete without a few words about this hero of mediaeval 
legend, the idol of the people to the present day. 
The Cid of romance is a perfect warrior, a type of all 
that is heroic and chivalrous, above all, a splendid 
fighter — " myo Cid el Campeador " — ready to challenge 
any foe and fight at any odds. But the Cid of history 
IS not quite the Cid of the ballads— the great Christian 
champion — for he was as ready to fight on the side of 
the Moors as the Christians, and would sack a mosque 
or a church, whichever came in his way. 

A great freebooter, or "condottiere," Rodrigo Diez 
de Bivar was a free lance, fighting, with his own tried 
army of desperadoes, for whoever would give him the 
highest pay. We first hear of his defending the cause 
of Sancho of Castile, then somewhat unwillingly serv- 
ing his brother, King Alfonso VI. He next marries 
Ximena, the daughter of the Count of Oviedo whom 
he has slain, a lady almost as famous in the ballads 
as himself. 

The Cid is sent by Alfonso to collect tribute from 
the Emir of Seville, who happens to be at war with 
the King of Granada, and naturally the Campeador 
cannot see fighting go on without taking part in it, so 
he gives his valuable assistance to the Emir, and is 
victorious as usual. On hearing of this. King Alfonso, 
who has never forgiven the affront mentioned in the 

33 c 


ballad, banishes him from the kingdom. Thereupon 
Rodrigo leaves his wife and daughter in a convent 
and goes forth to seek adventure. He takes service 
v^ith the Emir of Zaragoza, and carries devastation 
before him even as far as Valencia, scattering before 
him the enemies of his Moorish lord. 

" Their shields before their breasts, forth at once they go, 
Their lances in the rest, levelled fair and low, 
Their banners and their crests waving in a row, 
Their heads all stooping down toward the saddle bow ; 
The Cid was in their midst ; his shout was heard afar, 
' I am Ruy Diez, the champion of Bivar ..,'"* 

Seven years he fought for the Emir, gaining large 
dominions and much wealth, which placed him in a 
position to make his own terms with the King of 
Castile. But he was an unruly vassal, for when the 
Almoravides swept down with overwhelming force, he 
arrived too late to save the day for Alfonso, who 
turned upon him in wrath, seized his patrimony, and 
secretly sent help to his enemy, Raymond Berenger, 
the Count of Barcelona. 

It was during this feud that a characteristic story is 
told of the Cid's chivalry. He was victorious in his 
encounter with Berenger, who was brought captive 
to his tent, and was prepared for the worst. But 
Rodrigo caused a feast to be set forth, and offered 
freedom to his prisoner if he would sit at table with 
him. The poem tells us that for a while Raymond 
refused, but was at length persuaded to eat and drink, 
with the two knights who were to be set free with 
him. Then rising without delay, he exclaimed : " If 

* Translated by Hookham Frere. 


you will allow it, my Cid, we are ready to depart at 
once. Bid them bring our horses. Never have I 
dined with so much appetite." 

So the Count of Barcelona has liberty bestowed 
upon him without ransom, and is provided with all 
that he needs for the journey, while the immense 
booty and rich spoils of war remain in the hands of 
the victor. 

After much and varied fighting against the King of 
Castile and others, the doughty warrior achieved his 
greatest conquest — nothing less than the rich and luxu- 
rious Arab city of Valencia which, after a long and 
desperate struggle, surrendered to him in June 1094. 
In vain the conquering Almoravides hurled themselves 
against the walls ; they were driven away with terrible 
loss. But at the very summit of his power, an inde- 
pendent sovereign at last, the Cid was stricken with 
illness and began to prepare for his latter end. He 
turned the splendid mosque of Valencia into a Christian 
church and richly endowed it as the seat of a bishopric. 
Of a sudden, news came that his army, the pride of his 
heart, had been cut to pieces almost within sight of his 
walls, and it was the deathblow of the gallant Cam- 

Tradition tells us that for two years the brave 
Ximena, his widow, held Valencia against her foes, and 
then being compelled to yield, the Cid's old followers 
placed the body of their lord on his war-horse, Bavieco, 
with his good sword Tixona in his hand, and led him 
out of the city gate, while the Moors fled in panic at 
the mere sight of their great enemy. He was carried 
to Burgos and there rested in honour within the 
Monastery of Cardenas. The legend says that he who 



defied alike Christian and Moor, Pope and King, re- 
mained for long years proudly seated on his ivory 
throne at the right hand of the altar of St. Peter. 

His other marvellous adventures in life and death, 
are they not written in the " Chronicle of the Cid" ? 

The Rise of the Kingdom of Aragon. 

This province, at first only consisting of one or two 
valleys at the foot of the Pyrenees, was a fief of the 
Kings of Asturias. It did not rise to any position of 
independence until Sancho the Great of Navarre left it 
in 1035 to his son Ramiro, the first king. He enlarged 
his domain along the south of the Pyrenees, exacting 
tribute from the Moors of Tudela, Lerida and Zaragoza. 
With regard to this last city, strife arose between Cas- 
tile and Aragon, in which King Ramiro was slain in 
battle. The same fate befell his son, Sancho I., at 
the siege of Huesca, but he was avenged by his heir 
Pedro, who in 1096 won a great victory over the com- 
bined armies of the Castilians and the Moors. On this 
occasion the warriors of Aragon claimed to have had 
supernatural help from St. George, who henceforth be- 
came their patron saint, and his cross, on a silver field, 
their banner. Santiago on his white horse was already 
a familiar champion of the Christian armies. 

The King of Castile and Leon against whom Pedro 
fought was Alfonso VI., the nominal suzerain of the 
Cid. This king's life appears to have been spent in 
constant fighting. He extended his possessions from 
the valley of the Tagus to the Bay of Biscay ; he fought 
with the Moors of one city and against others, passing 
from victory to victory until he met with that crushing 
reverse at the hands of Yusuf, the conquering leader of 



the Almoravides at Zalaca, when the Cid did not arrive 
in time. The most important event of Alfonso's life 
was the establishment of Toledo as the Christian 
capital. The Moors of this city had been promised 
that their religion should be protected and that they 
should keep their splendid mosque. But the Bishop 
of Toledo — the French confessor of Constance of Bur- 
gundy, Alfonso's wife — did not scruple to take posses- 
sion of it as a Christian church during the King's 
absence, greatly to his indignation. Yet against his 
better judgment he was persuaded to condone this 
breach of faith, and also to make submission to the 
papacy by adopting the Roman ritual, a concession 
which had most important results during the centuries 
which followed. 

Alfonso VI. was a diplomatic prince who sought to 
strengthen himself by various alliances. He was mar- 
ried six times ; his second wife, Constance of Burgundy, 
being the daughter of Philip I. of France. One of his 
wives, the daughter of the Moorish King of Seville, was 
the mother of his only son Sancho, who was killed in 
a last fatal battle with the Almoravides at Ucles in 
1108, and Alfonso is said to have died of a broken 
heart the following year. His eldest daughter Urraca, 
widow of Raymond of Burgundy, inherited the com- 
bined kingdoms of Castile and Leon. His daughter 
Teresa had already married the Count of Besan9on, 
with all the land won from the Moors in Portugal as her 
dowry, while Andrea, another daughter, had received 
Galicia on her marriage with the Count of Burgundy. 

Queen Uraca married Alfonso of Aragon, called EI 
Batallador, the great-grandson of Sancho the Great. 
He was brave and ambitious, but does not seem to have 



been an amiable husband, and her conduct left much 
to be desired, so that after violent discord he and his 
wife parted company at the end of a year, and as he 
still intended to keep possession of her broad lands, 
war ensued, for Castile and Leon rose in defence of 
their Queen. The King of Aragon won the first battle, 
and then the great towns, strong in their charters which 
had been granted them long before, insisted on having 
a voice in the matter. They did not approve of 
Uraca's notoriously flighty conduct, and proclaimed 
her little son by her first husband as their king. To 
this the nobles refused to agree, while the clergy ob- 
tained a divorce from the Pope, in order that Alfonso 
of Aragon might no longer have any pretext for inter- 
fering with the territory of Uraca. The civil war 
lasted until the death of the Queen in 1126, when her 
son, who was now twenty-one, became the undoubted 
King of Castile, under the title of Alfonso VII. the 
Emperor, as he called himself later. 

Meantime his step-father, Alfonso el Batallador, had 
carried his victorious arms against the Moors, extend- 
ing his conquests on all sides and richly deserving his 
warlike name. He spread his dominion as far as Anda- 
lusia, gaining several great battles over the formidable 
Almoravides, and annexing Zaragoza, Tudela, and other 
frontier towns, Tarragona and other places on the 
coast, until his kingdom of Aragon and Navarre almost 
rivalled the might of Castile and Leon. Alfonso I. was 
killed in battle at Fraga, 1134, and having no son to 
succeed him, he had bequeathed Aragon to the 
Knights Templars and Navarre to the Knights of St. 
John, probably by the advice of his confessor, for the 
good of his own soul. 



But it was not likely that the people would submit to 
this arrangement, and a king was chosen by Navarre, 
while Aragon induced the monk Ramiro, a brother of 
El Batallador, to leave his monastery and accept a 
wife and a throne. But within three years he abdi- 
cated in favour of his infant daughter Petronilla, and 
went back to his cloister. The little princess was 
betrothed to Ramon, Count of Barcelona, who was 
appointed Regent of Aragon, with which Catalonia was 
thus united. 

The Realm of Catalonia and the City of 

This north-eastern division of Spain, with its long 
line of coast and splendid natural seaports, had been 
inhabited from days of old by a restless warlike people, 
fiercely proud of their practical independence and in 
constant rebellion against their Prankish neighbours, 
the Dukes of Aquitaine, who were their feudal lords, 
while more than once they had been conquered by the 
Moors. In 858 we find records of a certain Wifredo 
who was Count of Barcelona and paid tribute to the 
King of France. For several generations the city grew 
in importance and strength, and began to be noted for 
its commerce, but in 984, the all-conquering Almanzor 
swept down with his Moors, defeated Count Borello, 
and laid waste Barcelona with fire and sword. Yet 
when Almanzor had passed on to other conquests, the 
people of Catalonia rallied again, drove out the Moorish 
garrisons, and returned to their peaceful occupa- 

The successors of Count Borello extended their 
dominion and married heiresses of lands across the 



French frontier. Catalonia became somewhat of a 
maritime power, and in the reign of Ramon IV. the 
Moslem pirates of the Balearic Islands were attacked in 
their headquarters, and Majorca was taken by a com- 
bined attack in which Genoa and Pisa joined. It was 
the next Count, Ramon V., who was made Regent of 
Aragon and ultimately married Petronilla, the heiress 
of the monkish king, a most fortunate event, as all the 
scattered lordships of eastern Spain were now united 
in one strong kingdom, from whence first rose the 
naval power of Spain. Barcelona was increasing in 
wealth and importance, and became a rival in com- 
merce with the Italian Republics. Her ships traded 
with Alexandria for spices, drugs, perfumes and other 
Eastern products ; and she claims to have compiled 
the first code of maritime law which held good during 
the Middle Ages. 



Aragon and Catalonia — Castile and Leon. 

The Story of United Aragon and Catalonia. 

The grandson of Petronilla, Pedro II., was the King 
of Aragon who, with his kinsman Alfonso of Castile, 
helped to check the advance of the Moors in the 
famous victory of Las Navas de Tolosa, in 12 12. After 
this he took the side of the Albigenses in Gascony 
against Simon de Montfort, and was slain at the siege 
of Toulouse, leaving his little son Jayme in the hands 
of his mortal enemy, " Thus died my father, for such 
has ever been the fate of my race, to conquer or die in 
battle," writes Jayme, in his chronicle. 

By the help of the Pope, de Montfort was induced 
to give up the little prince to his subjects, and he 
received from them the oath of allegiance, seated on 
the knees of the Archbishop of Tarragona. But the 
nobles and priests soon quarrelled over him, and the 
precocious boy made his escape from them all to his 
royal city of Zaragoza. His life was one long battle 
and he well deserved the proud title of Jayme the 
Conqueror. With the help of his Catalonian subjects, 



he recovered from the Moslems the whole of the Balearic 
Islands, and put an end to the piratical attacks upon 
his commerce. Then he turned towards the conquest 
of the Moorish kingdom of Valencia, the city of the 
Cid, and with wonderful patience and skill gradually 
drew a cordon round it, blocking up all approach by 
sea, until the inhabitants were driven by famine to 

He extended his dominion as far as Ativa and even 
to Alicante, and would have taken Murcia, but that 
he was induced to help the King of Castile, who had 
married his daughter Yolande, and who was in great 
danger from the Moors. 

Not satisfied with all this fighting, Jayme had 
ambitious designs upon the south of France, but was 
forestalled by Saint Louis, and was glad to make a 
valuable alliance by marrying his daughter Isabel to 
the Dauphin Philip. The latter part of his reign was 
spent in contests with his nobles, and in laying down 
a code of laws which extended the rights and liberties 
of the people and the trading class. He died in 1276, 
after a futile attempt to join in a crusade to atone for 
his sins, the wind and waves being so contrary that 
after tossing about for two months, it was decided 
" not to be the pleasure of Heaven that he should 
reach the Holy Land." His eldest son Pedro, who 
succeeded him in Aragon and Catalonia, had married 
Constance, daughter of Manfred, King of Sicily ; 
while to his younger son Jayme he left his territory in 
France and the Balearic Islands. 

Pedro III. had no easy task in quelling his rebellious 
nobles, and a revolt of the Moors in Valencia ; then 
he openly defied the Pope, and set himself to assert 



his claim to Sicily, in the name of his wife. At this 
time, in 1282, occurred the massacre of the French, 
known as the " Sicilian Vespers," and this prepared 
the way for Pedro, who soon made himself master of 
the island. The Pope, Martin IV., now proclaimed a 
crusade against the King of Aragon, and gave his 
throne to the Dauphin of France, who lost no time in 
invading Spain, where he obtained some success. 
Meantime the feudal nobles of Aragon made very 
hard terms with their King before they would come to 
his help, extorting from him the famous " Privilege of 
Union," which limited the royal power and gave un- 
heard-of rights to subjects. 

The great towns stood by their king, and the invaders 
were driven back, the French fleet being also destroyed 
by the Admiral Roger de Lauria. Pedro died soon 
after, in 1285, leaving Aragon and Catalonia to his 
eldest son Alfonso III. and the kingdom of Sicily to 
the second son Jayme, who in the course of a few 
years inherited the whole dominion on the death of 
his brother. It is worthy of note that during the 
contest with regard to Sicily and Aragon, Edward I. 
of England had been chosen to arbitrate. But now 
Pope Boniface VIII. took the matter in hand and 
induced Jayme to give up his claim to Sicily, by the 
promise of making him King of Sardinia and Corsica, 
which he raided from Genoa and Pisa, but was in 
effect ruler only in name. The Pope did not carry out 
his plan, for the youngest son of King Pedro, Fadrique, 
clung to Sicily, which had become his fief, and fought 
so well that he kept it on condition of marrying the 
daughter of Charles of Anjou, the rival claimant 

It is interesting to remember in connection with 



this prince, that a company of adventurers from Cata- 
lonia set forth on a warlike expedition to the East in 
1302, and when they had overcome Macedonia, they 
offered the Dukedom of Athens to Don Fadrique. 
This accounts for the title being proudly flaunted for 
generations by the kings of Spain. 

King Jayme II. of Aragon was succeeded in 1327 by 
his son Alfonso IV., whose time was absorbed for nearly 
forty years in naval contests with Genoa. The reign 
of his son Pedro IV. the Ceremonious, was one long 
dispute with his nobles, in which he was on the whole 
successful, and the liberties of the people were estab- 
lished. He also distinguished himself by conquering 
the French dominions of his cousin Jayme of Majorca, 
and by much fighting with his namesake Pedro the 
Cruel of Castile. His successor, Juan I., married a 
French princess, Violante, who gave much scandal to 
the grave Spaniards with her Courts of Love held by 
Provenfal troubadours, and the King was compelled 
to yield, and dismiss them. He died out hunting, and 
was succeeded by his brother Martin the Humane, who 
found his chief occupation in fighting for Sicily and 
Sardinia. This contest was complicated by the enmity 
of Pope Boniface IX., for Spain had acknowledged the 
Cardinal of Aragon, Pedro de Luna, in his claim to the 
chair of St. Peter, at Avignon. 

Martin died of fever in 1410, after the death of his 
only son, Martin of Sicily, and thus ended the male 
line of Aragon. After two years of conflict and 
anarchy, Fernando, the son of the late king's sister 
Leonora, was chosen King of Aragon.* He had already 

"^ This was a second instance of succession through the 
female line. 



greatly distinguished himself for six years as the 
" Good" Regent of Castile, and during his all too short 
reign of four years, he justified the devotion of his 
people by his wisdom and justice. He died at Igualada 
in 1416, leaving to his son, Alfonso V., the kingdom of 
Aragon, Barcelona and Valencia, and the lordship of 
Majorca, Sardinia and Sicily. He was a man of rest- 
less ambition who carried on the Catalonian tradition 
of empire in the Mediterranean and spent most of his 
time in Italy, while his Castilian wife remained as 
Regent in Aragon. 

The affairs of Spain now become complicated with 
the intrigues of Giovanna II., Queen of Naples, after 
whose death Alfonso defeated the other claimant, R^ne 
of Anjou, and became King of Naples and Sicily, in 
14.35. ^^^ softer climate appears to have had a special 
charm for him, as he spent the rest of his life at Naples, 
which he left in 1458 to his illegitimate son Fernando, 
who became the founder of a new dynasty. His 
brother Juan, who inherited the forsaken kingdom of 
Aragon, was already in possession of Navarre through 
his wife Blanche, who died in 1441, and whose right- 
ful heir was her son the young Prince of Viana. 

We have now at length reached the period of our 
"Queen Isabel of Castile," for this Juan II. married a 
second wife, Juana Henriquez, daughter of the Admiral 
of Castile, and their son Fernando was destined by his 
alliance with Isabel finally to unite the crowns of 
Castile and Aragon into one great realm — the King- 
dom of Spain. 



The United Kingdom of Castile and Leon. 

Alfonso II. of Castile and VII. of Leon, who came 
to his twofold inheritance in 1 126, gave help both to 
Navarre and Aragon against their Moslem foes, and, 
claiming their homage, aspired to the title of " Imperator 
totius Hispaniae." But this assumption of dignity was 
in no way justified, and it was as much as he could do 
to keep the warlike Almoravades from his gates. He 
unwisely divided his possessions between his sons, and 
during his time the Kingdom of Portugal, with the 
help of the Pope, became another distinct realm. In 
1 158 the grandson of the "Emperor" came to the 
throne of Castile under the name of Alfonso III. ; he 
was most fortunate in his marriage with Eleanor 
Plantagenet, daughter of Henry II. of England, and 
his reign was distinguished by wisdom and energy. 
In the story of Aragon we have already mentioned the 
great victory won by the Christians over the Moors at 
Navas de Tolosa, which broke the might of Islam. 
Alfonso died two years after the battle, leaving his 
little son Enrique I. King of Castile, but he was killed by 
a falling tile, and his sister Berenguela, who was married 
to the King of Leon, was at once chosen to succeed him. 

Berenguela appears to have been a woman of much 
character -and ability, worthy of her Plantagenet 
ancestors. She abdicated in favour of her son 
Fernando, guarded his interests in every wa)', and 
thirteen years later, on the death of his father, Alfonso 
IX. of Leon, she convoked the Cortes, and by her 
promptness and wise diplomacy secured for her son 
the undisputed sovereignty of the two realms of Leon 
and Castile, which were never more divided. 1230. 



Fernando III. the Saint, was now able to devote 
himself entirely to his Moorish conquests, and he led 
his army southward through the plains, reconquering 
the frontier cities of Ubeda and Baesa. In 1235, ^^e 
splendid capital of the Omeyyad Khalifs, the sacred 
city of Cordova, fell before the banner of the Cross, to 
the dismay of the Mohammedan world. Then King 
Fernando carried his triumphant arms still farther 
south, and with the help of the tributary king of 
Granada, Seville the great; centre of Moorish com- 
merce was taken, and when Fernando III. died here 
four years later, only the kingdom of Granada remained 
of the once magnificent dominion of the Moors in 

His son, Alfonsoi X. El Sabio, succeeded him, but 
he was learned rather than wise, for he devoted his 
life to wild and fruitless schemes of conquest. He 
tried to take possession of Gascony, under the plea 
that it had been promised as a dowry to his great- 
grandmother, Eleanor Plantagenet. He besieged 
Bayonne, but was persuaded to make a treaty by 
which he gave his sister Eleanor as wife to Prince 
Edward of England, with the disputed province for 
her dowry. There was a splendid wedding at Burgos, 
and we know how beloved in after years was that dear 
Queen of Edward I., to whose memory so many stately 
crosses were raised on her funeral journey. 

Alfonso's next ambition was to be elected Emperor, 
claiming through his mother, who was grand-daughter 
of the Emperor Frederick. He wasted much time and 
money on this futile scheme, which was always opposed 
by Rome, and the matter was finally settled by the 
election of Rudolph of Hapsburg. His was a troublous 



reign, as he contrived to offend everybody connected 
with him. His subjects rebelled, led by his son Sancho, 
and the weak sovereign applied at the same time for help 
from the Emperor of Morocco, and for the excom- 
munication of the rebel by the Pope. To complete 
the story, he is said to have died of anxiety and grief, 
because his son Sancho, this new Absalom, had a 
serious illness. He left behind him the reputation of 
being a man of letters and a minor poet. 

In 1284, Sancho IV. succeeded to the throne, ignor- 
ing the legacies of the late King to his other sons and 
to his two grandchildren, the La Cerdas, and found 
that he had to face a long civil war The King of 
Aragon took part against him, and the Moors from 
Africa were also brought into the conflict, which lasted 
until the death of Sancho El Bravo, after eleven years 
of fighting. His little son, Fernando IV., was the luck- 
less ruler of a divided realm with rebels on every side. 
In this dark hour, the situation was saved by the 
wisdom and courage of his mother, Maria de Molina, 
who had been appointed Regent. The young King 
grew up unworthy and ungrateful ; but he had a 
short and tempestuous life. Having unjustly con- 
demned to death two knights of his Court, Ben Al 
Harib,* writing fifty years later, says that they sum- 
moned him to meet them before the Throne of the 
Great Judge, within thirty days ; which he appears to 
have done, and is known as " The Summoned." 

His successor, the infant King Alfonso XL, came 
into nominal possession of his troubled heritage in 
13 1 2, and a fierce contest ensued for the Regency. A 
time of anarchy was the natural consequence, of which 

='■■ Quoted by Martin Hume. 


the Moors took advantage to invade and ravage Castile. 
For a while, after much contest, the capable Maria de 
Molina was the sole Regent, and she continued her 
wise policy of encouraging the confederations of 
towns to balance the power of the nobles. But she 
died soon after, and her grandson assumed the royal 
prerogative at the age of fourteen. He carried on her 
policy, and while confirming the rights of the citizens 
endeavoured to secure the right of appointing their 
Alcaldes. During the whole of his reign he was greatly 
interested in social legislation, and many useful edicts 
were added to the statutes. But the chief fame of 
Alfonso XI. rests upon his successful wars against 
the Moors of Spain. The important stronghold of 
Gibraltar had been taken by the King of Granada, 
and Algeciras in the bay opposite being also in his 
possession, the Emperor of Morocco had no difficulty 
in landing a large army on Spanish ground. This was 
a defiance to all Christendom, and Alfonso summoned 
his Cortes at Seville, and " with his crown on one side 
and his sword on the other," told them of the peril. 
His brave words carried the day ; with the help of the 
Pope, peace was made with Portugal and Aragon, a 
number of Genoese galleys were hired and a kind of 
crusade was set on foot. It is interesting to us to 
know that " el Conde de Arbi et el Conde de Solusber " 
(the Earls of Derby and Salisbury) "joined for the 
salvation of their souls and to see and know King 
Alfonso.'' On a previous occasion Lord James 
Douglas, on his journey to the Holy Land with the 
heart of Robert Bruce, had paused on the way to 
help Alfonso in fighting the Moors. Also Chaucer's 
" verray perfight gentil knight." 

" In Gornade atte siege hadde he be of Algesir." 
49 D 


After some losses, Castilian galleys being destroyed, 
and the Genoese hired vSailors giving much trouble, a 
great victory was gained by the Christians at Salado 
near Tarifa, 1 340. News of this success — with Moorish 
captives, banners, and the King's own war-horse — were 
sent to the Spanish Pope Benedict XIII. at Avignon. It 
had now become a matter of vital importance to obtain 
command of Algeciras, the key of the Straits, by which 
the Moors of Africa could always come to the help of 
those in Spain. But it was not until 1344 that the 
coveted fortress at length fell into the hands of Alfonso 
after a gallant defence of more than a year and a half. 
Still Gibraltar remained unconquered, audit was at the 
siege of this place that the brave Alfonso XL fell a 
victim to the plague in 1350. 

He was the last of the fighting Kings of Castile, and 
his successor, Pedro I., had his time fully occupied in 
constant struggles with his own kin and with his nobles. 
He showed himself so fierce and violent that he received 
the unenviable title of El Cruel. The cities which 
rebelled against him were treated with unrelenting 
ferocity ; his half-brothers, the sons of Maria de 
Gusman, fell victims to his vengeance, and she herself 
is believed to have died by violence. Pedro was induced 
to marry a French princess, Blanche de Bourbon, but 
the hapless lady was forsaken and imprisoned, while 
her place was taken by one Maria da Padilla, whose 
daughter Costanza married John of Gaunt in later 

As time passed on, Pedro had made himself so hated 
that when his eldest half-brother Enrique of Trasta- 
mara invaded the kingdom, his followers deserted him, 
and he escaped for his life to Aquitaine, where he 



sought the aid of Edward the Black Prince. A long 
struggle ensued, in which Bertrand du Guesclin, with 
his " White Companies " of Bretons, took the side of 
Enrique ; victories were won on either side, until the 
brothers met in the castle of Montiel, and this time 
Pedro the Cruel fell by the dagger of Enrique, who was 
made King by the nobles of Castile. 

This placed the new sovereign in a difficult position, 
as it was absolutely necessary for him to gain the good- 
will of the towns. He set himself to make new laws 
on their behalf, and one strange concession for those 
days was, that representatives chosen by the burgesses 
should sit in his council with the nobles and prelates. 
He next turned his attention to Portugal, which opposed 
his claim, and advanced as far as Lisbon before a treaty 
was made. 

A new competitor for the throne now arose, being 
none other than John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, 
who had married Costanza, daughter of Pedro the 
Cruel. This was not pressed seriously until later, when, 
after much fighting with Portugal, Navarre and Aragon, 
Enrique II. died and was succeeded by his son Juan I. 
in 1379. This prince married the heiress of Portugal, 
but when he endeavoured to enter into possession of 
that province he met with a terrible defeat on the 
field of Aljubarrota. 

This was John of Gaunt's opportunity ; he landed at 
Corufia with his English army, and at Santiago he and 
his wife were crowned King and Queen of Castile with 
great pomp. He was carrying on the war when, as so 
often happened, the plague broke out, and he was com- 
pelled to retreat into Portugal. Ever astute in the 
making of alliances, he married his eldest daughter to 



the King of Portugal, and made peace with Castile by 
arranging that his daughter Catherine should marry 
Enrique, the young son of King Juan I. of Castile, thus 
ensuring the succession for his race. Upon this he 
resigned all pretensions for himself and his wife, 
receiving a large sum of money in gold for the expenses 
of the war. 

In the internal rule of his kingdom, Juan gave more 
and more power to the towns, while the nobles lost 
influence until the death of the King — leaving his suc- 
cessor Enrique, a child of eleven — gave them a chance 
of obtaining the Regency. When he ruled in his own 
name, the policy was changed at once, but while the 
citizens were protected, slowly and surely the chief 
power was placed in the hands of the King himself. 
Enrique III. had a prosperous reign : the Canary Isles 
became a fief of Castile, the first possession beyond the 
sea, and he took so much interest in distant politics as 
to send an ambassador to congratulate the conquering 
Tamerlane at Samarcand. 

He died young, in 1407, leaving once more the 
anxieties of a long minority, for his heir Juan II. was 
but two years old. Fortunately his mother, Catherine 
of Lancaster, and his uncle Fernando, the Regents, were 
wise and prudent, and for six years the land had peace, 
until Fernando accepted the throne of Aragon, when 
troubles began, and reached their climax on the death 
of Catherine of Lancaster. Juan was declared of age 
by the Cortes at the age of fourteen, but he was unfit 
to rule with capacity ; the nobles of his Court fought 
for supremacy until one, Alvaro de Luna, became prime 
favourite and carried all before him. 

The young King had married his cousin Maria of 



Aragon, by whom he had one son, Enrique, but at the 
age of forty, being a widower, he was persuaded by 
Alvaro to marry the Infanta Isabel of Portugal. 

We have now brought down the story of Castile and 
Leon to the time of our heroine Isabel of Castile, for 
she was the eldest child of this marriage, and every- 
thing connected with her life will be more fully dwelt 
upon than is possible in this brief survey of the making 
of her Castile. 

We have seen Spain rise out of the dim legendary 
past; we have watched the great wave of Moorish 
invasion sweep over the land with new and powerful 
influence upon its making. We have traced, one by 
one, the rise of the Christian kingdoms of Asturias and 
Leon, of Castile and Aragon, through storm and 
stress — ever strengthening and moulding the race, by 
battle and alliance, by peace and war, by the slow 
growth of laws and institutions. Every upward step 
has been reached with sacrifice, and pain, and labour 
of earnest men, fighting for their rights to the death — 
as must ever be in the making of a great nation. 



Her Birth and Early Life. 

In the ancient castle of Madrigal, on one long past 
spring day — April 22, 145 1 — there came into the 
world a little girl-child, who was destined to play a 
great part therein. Infanta of Castile as she was, of 
royal lineage, no great expectations hung upon her 
birth ; she was hailed with no great welcome of an 
expectant people as her kingdom's hope, for there was 
already an heir to the throne : her half-brother Enrique, 
many years older than herself. 

The little walled town of Madrigal, famous asthebirth- 
place of the great Queen, stands on the high and bleak 
table-land of the province of Avila, in Castile. The names 
of the four ancient gates in the city wall point out its 
exact position ; that on the eastern rampart points 
the way to Arevalo, on the south to Penaranda, on the 
west to Cantalapiedra, and on the north to Medina del 
Campo. The magnificent tower of the fortress stands 
up defiantly, and from the chambers within there is a 
splendid view over the vast tawny plain flecked with 
cloud shadows, bare and treeless, lonely and wind- 
blown. Here and there a river winds like an azure 
riband across the land, while, far apart, little umber- 



coloured villages spread out in dim perspective until 
they are lost in the silver-grey mist of the far horizon. 

In the old church of San Nicholas — with its exquisite 
arches and arabesques, and octagonal cupola dazzling 
with gold and jewels of light — there is still pointed out 
the ancient font in which the Infanta Isabel was 
baptized. The little town of Madrigal may be dull 
and poor to-day but, with such proud memories, it is 
royal still. 

At the time of her birth, the father of Isabel — King 
Juan II. — was drawing near the end of his long and 
troubled reign, which had begun in his infancy. As 
we have already seen, the realm was fortunate in 
having two wise and capable Regents during most of 
his minority — his English grandmother, Catherine 
Plantagenet, and Don Fernando, afterwards the 
" Good " King of Aragon. After their death the struggle 
for the Regency was ended by declaring the young 
Prince Juan to be of age at fourteen years old, and 
then began the long contest with his nobles, which 
lasted all his life. He was of a weak and yielding 
disposition, and had early found his master in a certain 
Alvaro de Luna, a lad of his own age, a nephew of the 
Spanish anti-Pope Benedict XIII., who had once been 
Archbishop of Toledo. As a page of Queen Catherine, 
Alvaro had been the chosen friend and companion of 
her grandson, and as time passed on, by his mar- 
vellous personal influence, his skill and ability, he 
became the true ruler of Castile. In vain were the 
prelates and great nobles bitterly opposed to him ; 
again and again did they compass his exile, only to 
see him return more insolent and triumphant than 
ever, with still greater wealth and dignity awaiting him. 



We are told that he was lord of more than seventy 
towns and fortresses, that he was richer than the King 
himself and that, besides other titles, he was Constable 
of Castile and Grand Master of Santiago, the first of 
the military orders. 

Juan II. had married in his boyhood the Princess 
Maria, daughter of Fernando of Aragon, and had one 
son Enrique, who as he grew up joined the side of 
the disaffected courtiers against his father and Alvaro 
de Luna. Even Queen Maria took part against the 
favourite, who on her death actually had the arrogance 
to choose her successor. He selected as the King's 
second wife the Dona Isabel of Portugal, grand- 
daughter of Philippa Plantagenet. But the despotic 
Minister had cause to rue his choice, for this very lady, 
who owed her position to him, was no sooner Queen 
of Castile than she joined the ranks of his foes. 
Possibly through her influence, the King began to 
look with jealous eyes upon the great Constable who 
was sovereign in all but name, and within a few years 
Alvaro was taken prisoner by treachery, tried by a 
court hastily called together, and sentenced to death. 

We have a most striking and pathetic picture of the 
last fatal scene in this tragedy, when the fallen states- 
man was led on a mule through the streets of Valladolid 
with the King's herald riding before him to proclaim 
his crime and its punishment. On the scaffold, robed 
in his long mantle of blue camlet lined with fox fur, 
he protested that he had ever been loyal to his King, 
and met his fate like a brave man, amid the lamenta- 
tions of the common people, to whom he had ever 
been a good friend. 

This tragic end to a great career happened in 1453, 



and King Juan, overcome with sorrow and remorse, 
died within the year, when his daughter had scarcely 
reached the age of three. Had he Hved in happier 
days, Juan II. might have left only a pleasing memory 
of one distinguished in arts and letters, for he was a 
great patron of learning, and himself no mean poet 
and musician. He had a love for all the pastimes 
of chivalry, " he was free and gracious, he loved paint- 
ing, he played, sang, and made verses, and he danced 
well," we are told. But as a sovereign he was a failure, 
and there is truth in the somewhat unkind remark that 
" King Juan did one thing and one thing only for 
posterity, and that was to leave behind him a daughter 
who in no way resembled her father." 

Just a year before his death a second son had been 
born to him in 1453, and received the name of Alfonso. 
To this infant Juan II. left by will, with other property, 
the Grand Mastership of the Order of Santiago, and 
recommended the care of his wife and family to 
Enrique IV., his rebellious eldest son, now his suc- 
cessor to the throne of Castile. To his daughter 
Isabel, Juan left the town of Cuellar with its territory 
to the east of Medina del Campo, and a certain sum in 
gold pieces. This city must have been a place of 
some importance, as we hear of a Cortes being held 
there by the new King shortly afterwards. The widowed 
Queen appears to have kept on good terms with her 
stepson, and her dowry was punctually paid. It was 
chiefly derived from the towns of Madrigal, Arevalo, 
and Soria on the borders of Aragon, which had been 
surrendered to Castile in 11 36. Pedro the Cruel had 
promised it to Lord Talbot in 1360 in reward for his ser- 
vices, but the English knight never received his reward. 



On the death of her husband, Isabel of Portugal 
removed with her two young children to the palace of 
Ar6valo, where she dwelt in peaceful seclusion with 
them for the next eight years ; happy for her, in so far 
as she has left no record in history. The palace appears 
to have been a favourite dwelling-place for the Queens 
of Castile ; Maria of Aragon, the mother of King 
Enrique, had spent her last days here, and the same 
fate awaited his stepmother in the future. The posi- 
tion of the little town was less isolated than that of 
Madrigal, being on the great highway to Madrid from 
Medina del Campo, the city of the plain, a great centre 
of the corn-growing district, where three crowded fairs 
were held every year. 

Arevalo also had the advantage of being situated on 
a river, the Adaja, a broad rushing stream with its 
border of rich green foliage, which gave an added 
charm to the wide stretch of open corn land, and 
fields of purple saffron. In this quiet country home, 
the widowed mother devoted herself to the educa- 
tion of the little boy and girl and, in so far as their 
character was concerned, the result gives us a very 
high idea of her own personal merit. 

But the passionate desire for learning which at that 
time was so remarkable a feature of the Renaissance 
in Italy, had as yet little influence on the teaching 
of the young in Spain. More than thirty years before, 
Cecilia Gonzaga was taught by the great Vittorino da 
Feltre to recite Latin verse and read Chrysostom at 
eight years old, and at twelve to write Greek " with 
singular purity," and we are all familiar with the 
wonderful erudition of the princesses of the House 
of Este. Isabel of Castile may have had quite as 



much intelligence, but she had not the same advan- 
tages ; a loss which she strove to atone for in later 
years by diligent study. She appears to have had 
a strongly religious education, and learnt to write 
and speak well in her own tongue, but she knew no 
Latin, and it is doubtful whether she even understood 
enough French to enjoy the Proven9al romances 
which were so popular at that day. A prayer-book 
of hers still exists, on the margin of which she painted 
Scripture subjects, and there is no doubt that she 
was taught all the mysteries of fine needlework and 
of delicate embroidery on gold and silver — a soothing 
employment which beguiled her cares all through life, 
as the wonderful altar-cloths and emblazoned banners 
presented to many a church and city bear witness. 
This was assuredly a taste acquired in childhood, for 
it is rarely commenced with zeal in later life. 

We can picture to ourselves the little fair-haired 
girl bending over her embroidery frame while she 
listened to the enchanting legendary tales of her own 
land ; the heroic deeds of Bernardo del Carpio, or of 
the splendid and well-beloved Cid ; or maybe even an 
early version of the story of Amadis of Gaul, with all 
the gallant knights and fair ladies of distant Britain, 
which had been recently translated into Castilian, and 
was handed on in manuscript from one reader to 
another. From such tales the listener may have 
unconsciously been inspired with the idea of "per- 
'sonal exaltatiun through sacrifice" ; the true note of 
this early romantic literature — of which the rank 
overgrowth in later years was so remorselessly ridi- 
culed by Cervantes. 

In one point at least Isabel would rival the princesses 



of Italy, for outdoor sports were quite as much culti- 
vated in Spanish Courts, She and her brother, we may 
be sure, were accustomed to ride boldly from their 
earliest childhood, for this was a necessity of life 
in the days when every journey had to be performed 
on horseback. They would also learn to go hunting 
and hawking with a train of attendants, in the princely 
style demanded by Castilian etiquette, and would 
enjoy many a long day's excursion in that wild open 
country, facing the bleak wind of the uplands and 
laying up a store of energy and courage for the years 
to come. 

Their royal father had been an ardent collector 
of learned works, and probably the palace of Arevalo 
was well stored with manuscripts. Isabel may thus 
have had access to the chronicles of her nation's 
history, and we may wonder whether she laid to 
heart the lesson taught by the disastrous life of her 
ancestress. Queen of Castile and Leon — Uraca, name 
of evil omen to her land. But at this time she was 
too far removed from all prospect of succession to the 
throne for such warnings to trouble her much, as her 
two brothers intervened. Still we may imagine that 
ambitious hopes passed through the mind of the 
Queen Mother, for her boy Alfonso was next heir to 
his brother King Enrique, who had no children, 
although he had been twice married. 

It will be needful to give some account of Enrique 
IV. of Castile and Leon, to prepare the way for the 
great change which took place in the life of the Infanta 
Isabel in 1462. While he was still Prince of Asturias 
in 1440 he married the Lady Blanche, eldest daughter 
of Juan of Portugal and the Queen of Navarre. We 



have a very picturesque account of the meeting be- 
tween Enrique and his bride, who came with her 
mother to the town of Briviesca, above Burgos, to 
be the guests of Don Pedro Fernandez de Velasco, the 
" Good " Count de Haro. There a great reception 
awaited them, with feasting and tournament after 
the fashion of the time ; dances of knights and 
gentlemen in the palace, and mummers and bull- 
fights, and cane tourneys (in which canes were used 
instead of lances). 

King Enrique himself is described to us as being 
" large of stature and stout of limb, with an aspect 
ferocious and like unto a lion, whose gaze struck terror 
into those on whom he looked." He had a fair skin 
and big blue eyes set far apart ; a mass of red hair and 
a long untrimmed beard. But this shaggy giant was 
by no means so formidable as he appeared, for though 
he was always in rebellion during his father's Hfe, he 
did not distinguish himself in any successful war of 
his own. He made a great show of invading the 
territory of the Moors, but during three successive 
campaigns he did little more than ravage and lay 
waste the fertile Vega of the kingdom of Granada, 
beating a retreat whenever the Moors advanced in 
force against him. In his domestic affairs he exposed 
himself to the contempt of his people. After twelve 
years of marriage he obtained a divorce from his wife 
Blanche on the ground that there were no children. 
We shall return later to the story of that hapless lady, 
whose foes were always those of her own household. 

In 1455, a year after his accession, he married a 
second time, choosing this time the Princess Juana, 
sister of Alfonso V., King of Portugal. She was a 



ladv of gay and light manners, caring only for amuse- 
ment, and her Court became a scene of such wild 
extravagance and frivolity that it was a by-word to 
the whole of Castile. Even in the previous reign the 
taste for reckless expenditure in dress had reached 
such a pitch that Juan himself wrote in his Chronicle 
that " silks, gold tissue and brocades are now common 
wear, and bullion trimmings, marten fur and ermine 
lining are worn even by those of low estate. Working 
women now wear garments that are only fit for fine 
ladies, and persons of all ranks sell everything they 
possess in order to adorn their person." 

But worse than mere extravagance was soon laid to 
the charge of the young Queen, and her shameless 
intimacy with the king's chief favourite, Beltran de la 
Cueva, was the scandal of the Court. Troubles arose on 
all sides, the royal authority was treated with contempt, 
and the disorders were at their worst when in 1462 a 
daughter was born to Queen J nana, and the Cortes 
were summoned to acknowledge the infant Juana as 
heir to the throne. At the same time the King sent to 
Arevalo to secure the persons of his half-brother 
Alfonso, now a boy of nine, and his sister the Infanta 
Isabel, that by having them under his care at the Court 
of Madrid, he might prevent any rival claims being set 
up on their behalf. 

Their unhappy mother was powerless to resist, but 
we may imagine her grief and anxiety at having her 
tenderly loved and guarded children henceforth 
exposed to the temptations of the most corrupt Court 
in Europe. 

We have no reason to believe that she was as 
^'et touched with that sad mental trouble which was, 



to overshadow so deeply the later years of her life, 
cherished and protected to the end by the passionate 
devotion of her daughter. Yet, with any tendency to 
gloom and melancholy, the years which followed of 
brooding solitude in her lonely palace of Arevalo, can 
only have had an evil influence on the poor Queen . 
The parting may have seemed a less serious matter to 
the children, for they could not realise the dangers 
before them, and the change to an unknown world has 
always the elements of hope and adventure to the 
young. It was indeed a gay, brilliant life to which they 
were welcomed in the splendid Moorish Alcazar of 
Madrid, which had recently been greatly enlarged and 
rebuilt by King Enrique, and in the palace of Segovia, 
which was also a favourite abode of the Court. We 
are told of splendid tournaments, in which the knights 
glittered with sparkling jewels, of great feasts enlivened 
with jugglers and mimes, of musical entertainments, 
strange dances and " comic actions." 

Yet we are assured that in the midst of all these 
dazzling shows the Infanta Isabel, now eleven years 
old in 1462, retained the simplicity of her country life, 
and that her " mien and behaviour were sedate and 
cheerful." She had already been betrothed to the 
young Prince Carlos of Viana, heir of Navarre, whose 
tragic death in 146 1 left her open to fresh offers of 
marriage from all sides, but the story of her various 
suitors is so interesting that it will be dwelt upon fully 
in another chapter. 

Meantime the infant daughter of Queen J nana was 
the unconscious cause of a terrible convulsion in the 
kingdom, and it was freely asserted that she was 
illegitimate and had no right to the succession. Open 



f rebellion soon broke out, and the nobles met at Burgos 
I to protest against swearing allegiance to the hapless 
little Juana, who henceforth is usually spoken of as 
" La Beltraneja " ; they demanded that the King should 
name his brother Alfonso as his heir, and that he should 
redress the grievances of his people. Beltran de la 
Cueva was also to return at once to Prince Alfonso the 
Grand Mastership of Santiago, which had been taken 
from him. 

At this crisis of his history King Enrique refused to 
listen to the advice of his old tutor, the warlike Bishop 
of Cuenca, who counselled a determined resistance to 
the rebels. " You priests vi^ho are not called upon to 
fight are very ready to shed the blood of others ! " was 
his taunting reply. He preferred diplomacy to war, 
and sent various deputies to meet the nobles and 
discuss the terms of peace. The two sides met at the 
town of Cigales in December 1464, and the King was 
compelled to yield in every particular. The boy 
Alfonso was given into the hands of Enrique's 
opponents to be declared heir of Castile, with the futile 
condition that he should promise to marry his infant 
niece Juana. Beltran de la Cueva was to be deprived 
of all his dignities, and his supporters were to be 
banished. One clause even ran that " the King should 
employ a proper confessor and confess and receive 
absolution at least once a year." Also that he should 
"make no new tax on the people without the consent 
of the three estates." 

The King weakly consented to everything, with the 
result that the people's contempt took the curious form 
of dethroning him in effigy, with trumpet blast and 
challenging heralds, while the crown, the sword, and 



the sceptre, were torn from him with cries and curses 
of the assembled populace, and the image was dragged 
to the ground and trodden under foot. The young 
Alfonso was then placed on the vacant throne, pro- 
claimed King in his brother's place, and civil war raged 
through the land. This was in July, 1465. The 
great cities of the south, Toledo, Seville, and Cordova, 
with much of Andalusia, took the side of the rebels, 
but in the northern provinces, the Count of Haro, the 
Marquis of Santillana and other powerful lords 
remained faithful to Enrique. It was a terrible time, 
for the whole land was torn asunder by rival claims ; 
even the churches were fortified and used as strong- 
holds by the unfortunate citizens who happened to be 
in a minority, for not only city fought against city, but 
street against street. 

We cannot unravel the tangled politics of the King, 
the nobles and the prelates, but Pacheco, Marquis of 
Villena, a former favourite of Enrique, who had joined 
the rebels, turned again to the other side after the 
undecisive battle of Olmedo, where the turbulent 
Archbishop of Toledo was wounded by a lance. We 
have a most picturesque description of this warlike 
prelate as he rode to battle at the head of his forces, 
clad in polished mail, under a gorgeous scarlet mantle 
embroidered with a white cross. By his side rode the 
boy prince Alfonso, a gallant figure in his splendid suit 
of armour ; the two were ever in the thick of the fight 
and were the last to remain on the field of battle. 

A curious incident is mentioned, which gives us an 
insight into the chivalrous ideal of that day. Before 
the fight began, the Archbishop of Toledo sent a squire 
to Beltran de la Cueva to warn hirri that forty brave 

65 ¥. 


knights had sworn to take his life before sunset. The 
courtly noble sent back in proud defiance a full 
description of the armour and crest he was about to 
wear, which would point him out to his foes. 

The King, who was in a condition of wretched 
despair, was only too glad to accept any offer of 
mediation from Pacheco, but matters had gone beyond 
the control of the rulers. The state of Castile is 
described as deplorable beyond all words. No man 
dared move abroad beyond the walls of his city 
without an armed escort ; for the nobles came down 
from their castles like beasts of prey, and the defence- 
less traveller was forced to redeem his liberty by a 
shameful ransom. At length the people attempted to 
take the matter into their own hands, and revived 
the ancient confederacy of the " Hermandad de 
Castilla," which had been originally formed as long 
back as 1295 in a similar time of trouble, to protect the 
land from pillage and oppression. Some measure of 
relief was obtained by this, but the contest between 
nobles and citizens became only more bitter. 

During this time of anarchy and distress, the Infanta 
Isabel remained at Court with King Enrique and his 
wife, and appears to have behaved with tact and dis- 
cretion in the difficult situation in which she found 
herself, " showing great respect and gentleness " to 
Queen Juana, while all the time her heart was with 
her young brother, whose career she watched with 
anxious hopes and misgivings. But after the battle of 
Olmeda in 1467, when there appears to have been a 
temporary truce for negotiations, she took advantage 
of it to seek a refuge with Alfonso and his adherents, 
when they came into possession of Segovia. This 



ancient city — with its magnificent Roman aqueduct, 
and the fortress palace of the Alcazar, on which 
Enrique lavished so much expense — is full of memories 
of Isabel, and we shall have occasion to return here 
again and again. The young girl was probably driven 
to escape from her brother's Court, in order to protect 
herself from an attempt to force upon her a hateful 
marriage with one of his favourites. 

An event now happened which changed the aspect 
of affairs and brought dismay to the rebels. The 
young Prince Alfonso, nominal King of Castile, who 
for the last three years had been a puppet in their 
hands, was suddenly stricken with mortal sickness, 
and died on July 5, 1468, in the little village of 
Cardeiiosa, near Avila. 

We are told that his sister received news of his 
illness, and, riding to Cardeiiosa in desperate haste, 
she was with him at the end, and he breathed his last 
in her arms. There were strong suspicions of poison, 
the common and often true explanation, when the 
death of a prince occurred at so opportune a moment 
for his enemies. This young lad, who was only 
fifteen, had won golden opinions from all who knew 
him, and gave promise of a noble character, with a 
keen sense of right and justice. 

On his death, Isabel, in her grief and loneliness, 
sought shelter in the Cistercian convent of Saint Ana, 
within the strongly fortified hill-city of Avila. But 
this congenial life with the white-robed nuns in the 
peaceful seclusion of the cloister, was soon disturbed 
by an invasion from the outside world. It took the 
form of a stately embassy headed by the Archbishop 
of Toledo, who came complacently to offer her the 



splendid title of Queen of Castile, as successor to her 
brother Alfonso. As the burly prelate paid his homage 
to the fair young princess, in her simple mourning 
robe of white serge, he can have expected nothing but 
a modest acceptance of so great an honour. 

But with a clear insight and wise policy far beyond 
her years, Isabel calmly declined the tempting offer of 
a crown, to which she asserted that no one else had 
a right during the life of King Enrique. So great 
was her desire for the good of her country, and for 
peace between her over-zealous partisans and her 
brother, that she earnestly proffered her services as 
mediator. We can imagine the surprise and dismay 
of the wily churchman at finding himself thus baffled 
by a frail girl. In vain he exerted all his influence, 
and the priestly eloquence which few women could 
resist, to overcome her objections ; the princess 
remained unmoved, and with rage in his heart the 
proud archbishop was at length forced to retire from 
her presence, beaten and humiliated. Even at this 
distance of time, when we can calmly survey the 
situation, we marvel at the exceeding strength of will 
and purpose in a girl of sixteen, who could thus refuse 
a dazzling position, and carve out her own line of 
action entirely opposed to the wishes of all those 
around her, the ardent supporters of her dead brother 
and his claims. 

The Infanta Isabel had her way. Enrique IV. was 
willing to make any concessions if his throne were 
secured to him for his life, and a great meeting was 
held at a monastery some miles south of Avila, at a 
village called Toros de Guisando. The ancient granite 
bulls in the courtyard saw a goodly company that 



day, September 9, 1468, when the great nobles and 
prelates of Castile assembled in their splendid gala 
dresses of brocade, glittering 'with gold and embossed 
with jewels. They first took the oath of allegiance to 
the King, who embraced his young sister and pre- 
sented her, as the heiress of Castile and Leon, to all 
the great vassals, who kissed her hand in token of 
homage. This was afterwards confirmed within forty 
days, by the Cortes in solemn conclave at Ocana, and 
thus Isabel was proclaimed to the world as the lawful 

The terms of this peace were so humiliating to King 
Enrique, that we can quite believe the report that he 
never meant to abide by them. He was to divorce 
his wife Juana and send her back to Portugal, her 
unfortunate daughter, the " Beltraneja," was branded 
as illegitimate, and Isabel was made Princess of 
Asturias ; she was not to be married against her will, 
and might choose her own husband with the King's 
consent. As to the poor little Princess Juana, who was 
thus set aside, and who was for many years the 
unhappy victim of political intrigues, there has always 
been considerable doubt as to her rightful claim ; but 
in any case, we cannot blame Isabel for accepting the 
general assurance that she was the rightful heir to the 
crown. As such, her marriage now became a matter 
of great importance, and it will be interesting to 
follow in succession the history of the various wooers 
who competed for the honour of her hand. 




We must now leave for a time the troubles of the 
realm of Castile under her weak and incapable 
monarch and return to the story of Isabel. In those 
days, a sister or daughter was always a most useful 
counter in the game of politics, and Enrique IV. 
was not likely to forget her importance. An alliance 
with the great maritime power of Aragon was one 
much to be desired, and at the age of nine years the 
young Infanta was betrothed to Carlos, Prince of 
Viana, eldest son of King Juan II. of Aragon and 
rightful King of Navarre, which he inherited from 
his mother, Queen Blanche on her death in 1441. 
His elder sister Blanche, who had married King 
Enrique and, as we have seen, had been ^divorced by 
him, and his younger sister Eleanor, who was the wife 
of Gaston de Foix, would be the successive heirs of 
Navarre in the event of his death without children. 

Juan of Aragon had taken as his second wife 
Juana Henriquez, daughter of the Admiral of Castile, 
and a son, Fernando, was born to her in 1452, whose 
splendid destiny in the future as joint sovereign of 



Aragon and Castile was little dreamt of. As a jealous 
stepmother, anxious for the advancement of her own 
child, she appears to have encouraged the ill-feeling 
which already existed between her husband and his 
eldest son. This hapless Prince Carlos has always 
been an interesting figure in history, both from his 
own virtues and talents and from his unmerited mis- 
fortunes. We are told of him that : " Such were his 
temperance and moderation, such the excellence of 
his breeding, the purity of his life, his liberality and 
munificence, and such the sweetness of his demeanour, 
that no one thing seemed to be wanting in him which 
belongs to a true and perfect prince."* He was dis- 
tinguished in music, painting and poetry, and wrote a 
Chronicle of Navarre, partly to beguile the sad hours 
of imprisonment, for the cruel persecution of his 
father knew no bounds. At length, when fortune 
seemed to smile on him, and he was received at Barce- 
lona with the acclamations of an enthusiastic populace, 
he died suddenly, with suspicion of poison, in the 
autumn of 1461, at the age of forty. 

Thus was the first betrothal of Isabel severed by 
death, shortly before she was removed from Arevalo to 
the royal Court. Her brother next tried to arrange a 
marriage for her with Alfonso V., King of Portugal 
and elder brother of his own wife Juana. This prince 
paid her a state visit in 1464, but the girl of thirteen 
strongly objected to a bridegroom so very much older 
than herself, and positively refused to yield, notwith- 
standing all the pressure put upon her. She pleaded 
that " an Infanta of Castile could not be given in 
marriage without the formal consent of the Cortes." 

• '• Lucio Marin eo " (quoted by Prescott). 


Two years later another scheme occurred to King 
Enrique, at a time when he was in the lowest depths 
of despair after the ignominy of his dethronement in 
effigy, and the proclaiming of his young brother 
Alfonso as King. It was suggested to him that he 
might win over some of the rebellious nobles, the 
Archbishop of Toledo and the Pacheco family, by 
giving his sister in marriage to Don Pedro Giron, 
Grand Master of the Order of Calatrava, who was one 
of his most serious opponents. This time, driven to 
distraction by his personal fears, Enrique was resolved 
to carry out his plan, and with the narrow obstinacy 
of a weak man, he would suffer no prayers or remon- 
strances to turn him aside. An envoy was sent to the 
Pope to obtain a dispensation for the Grand Master 
from his vow of celibacy, and great preparations were 
made in Madrid for the approaching ceremony. 

Isabel was in despair, for never had danger come 
so near, and she saw no way of escape from this 
bridegroom of inferior birth, a man of fierce temper 
and evil reputation. Her faithful friend and maid of 
honour, Beatriz de Bobadilla, in an outburst of 
passionate loyalty, vowed that the rash suitor should 
die by her hand rather than wed her royal lady. This 
Dona Beatriz is spoken of by a contemporary writer 
as " wise, virtuous, and valiant " ; and Prescott adds, 
in a note characteristic of his day : "The last epithet 
is singular for a female character." 

But the lady's dagger was not needed. Don Pedro 
Giron, while riding triumphantly in splendid state to 
his wedding at Madrid, was stricken by sudden illness 
at a village on the road, and died in a few days, cursing 
his untoward fate. The Infanta Isabel was saved, for 



the hollow truce between the contending factions now 
came to an abrupt end, and, as we have already seen, 
after the battle of Olmedo the young princess was 
able to escape from the Court, and seek the protection 
of her brother Alfonso and his adherents. The sub- 
sequent death of Alfonso, and the public acknowledg- 
ment of the Infanta Isabel as heiress to the crown of 
Castile and Leon, made a great change in her position 
and awoke a keen interest in foreign Courts. 

A brother of Edward IV. of England, Richard, 
Duke of Gloucester, afterwards Richard III., was 
tempted to make an application for her hand, and 
even went so far as to promise that he would leave 
his native land and take up his abode in Castile, if the 
alliance should be carried out. From what we know 
of his character, in the light of subsequent events, 
the Spanish princess had a fortunate escape. 

Another suitor who appears to have been seriously 
considered was a brother of King Louis XI. of France, 
the Duke of Guienne, who was at this time heir pre- 
sumptive to the French throne, for the future Charles 
VIII. was not yet born. France and Castile were on 
friendly terms, and their closer connection might have 
been useful to both countries, but there was this diffi- 
culty : If the Duke failed to inherit the crown he 
would not be a good match, while if he did become 
King of France, there was every reason to fear that 
Castile would be absorbed in the greater kingdom 
and be treated as a mere appanage. 

Last, but not least; there was one more prince who 
longed to put his fortune to the touch, and win the 
favour of the much-desired fair lady. This was the 
younger brother of Isabel's betrothed, the unfortunate 



Don Carlos, by whose death Fernando had become 
heir to the kingdom of Aragon, at the age of ten 
years. (He had no claim upon Navarre, of which the 
rights passed first to his half-sister Blanche, the 
divorced wife of Enrique IV., and after her cruel death 
to her sister Eleanor Countess of Foix, and her son. 
But in the end, nearly half a century later, it came to 
this Fernando, fortune's favourite.) All the ambitious 
designs of crafty old King Juan of Aragon, were 
centred upon this young son who resembled him so 
much in character. 

There was every reason why an alliance between 
Castile and Aragon should be desired by both pro- 
vinces. The great maritime power of Aragon would 
be indispensable to Castile in any designs on the con- 
quest of the kingdom of Granada, so as to cut off all 
assistance from the Moorish hordes of Morocco. On 
the other hand, Aragon was engaged in exhausting 
conflicts with the navies of Genoa and Venice, and 
constantly opposed by France, so that the wealth of 
Castile held out enticing hopes of extension to the east 
beyond Sicily. These two great provinces of Spain 
once united might prove invincible. No one under- 
stood this more clearly than Juan II. of Aragon, and he 
spared no effort to carry out his ambitious designs for 
his son, while at the same time it is highly probable 
that Isabel fully understood the value of such an 
alliance to her country. No doubt other motives 
helped to this decision, for the young girl would have 
been attracted by all that she heard of the Prince of 
Aragon, who was in the flower of his youth, and about 
her own age. 

We are told by Prescott that she had the careful 



foresight to send her own chaplain on a private mission 
to the Courts of France and Aragon, that he might bring 
her back a true and particular description of her two 
suitors. It was a delicate inquiry, but the good priest 
seems to have given his advice in favour of Fernando, 
whom he praised as " a very proper man, with a comely 
visage and figure, and a brave spirit," while the Duke 
of Guienne was " a poor feeble creature, almost 
deformed, with rheumy eyes, unfit for knightly pur- 
suits." In any case the heiress of Castile deliberately 
chose the Prince of Aragon, who had now received 
from his father the title of King of Sicily, and the 
marriage contract was finally signed by Fernando on 
January 7, 1469, at Cervera, near Barcelona, after 
some private negotiation about the conditions im- 

He undertook to respect the laws and customs of 
Castile, to take up his abode in his wife's kingdom and 
not leave it without her consent ; to make no appoint- 
ments to civil or military posts without her approbation, 
and to leave her patron of all benefices. From these 
and other clauses, we see clearly that the rights of 
Isabel were carefully guarded ; she was to be sovereign 
Queen of Castile, which represented the "Corona," 
while the smaller kingdom of Aragon was only the 
"Coronilla," or smaller crown. It reads rather like a 
treaty of alliance between two reigning princes than a 
marriage contract. A magnificent dower was promised 
to the young princess, greater than had been settled on 
any Queen of Aragon. One article of the contract 
shows very strongly Isabel's devotion to her mother, 
and the wise forethought which would leave nothing 
to chance : " Fernando is earnestly enjoined to cherish 



and treat her mother with all reverence, and to provide 
suitably for her royal maintenance." 

In the light of subsequent events, may we not read 
in this a pathetic misgiving with regard to the mental 
trouble which clouded the later years of the royal 
lady ? 

These negotiations for the marriage appear to have 
been carried on secretly, while King Enrique and his 
ruling minister the Marquis of Villena were suppressing 
the rebels of the south. Isabel had taken advantage of 
their absence to join her mother in the palace of 
Madrigal, but here she found a dangerous foe in the 
Bishop of Burgos, a nephew of Pacheco. The match 
with Aragon was violently opposed by the Court party, 
and the Infanta Isabel was now in real danger, for 
orders were sent to the Archbishop of Seville to proceed 
in force to Madrigal and take her prisoner. She could 
obtain no help from the inhabitants, who were tho- 
roughly overawed, and even her own servants and 
some of the ladies of her household fled in alarm. In 
this moment of peril, she turned to another of those 
warlike prelates who did their full share of lighting in 
those days, the Archbishop of Toledo who, with the 
Admiral of Castile, Fernando's grandfather, hastily 
collected a company of horsemen, rode to Madrigal at 
full speed, and gallantly carried off the princess to the 
loyal city of Valladolid, where she was received with 
triumphant rejoicing. 

The next step of the baffled confederates was to keep 
watch and ward on the frontier of Aragon, to prevent 
the coming of the bridegroom ; but a hero of romance 
will always find a way, and it was in this guise that the 
young Prince of Aragon set forth on his adventurous 



journey. Disguised as a muleteer, he started at night 
from the frontier town of Tarazona with his retinue, 
which to outward appearance was a company of 
merchants, and followed the valley of the Duero as far 
as Soria, then found their way by mountain paths to 
the little friendly town of Burgo de Osma, which they 
reached late on the second night. Wearied out with 
incessant travelling, the wayfarers thought all danger 
was at an end, and knocked abruptly at the great gate 
of the fortress, only to be received with a shower of 
stones from the battlements, which narrowly escaped 
putting an end to the whole adventure. Fortunately 
the new-comers were able to make themselves known, 
and were warmly welcomed by the commander who, 
with a strong escort of men-at-arms, conducted Fer- 
nando on his way the next morning, and guarded him 
as far as the little town of Duenas of Leon to the north 
of Valladolid, where he arrived on October 9. Here 
he was safe in the midst of the adherents of Isabel, 
who on hearing of his coming at once sent a messenger 
to her brother King Enrique, announcing the arrival 
of the prince and her approaching marriage, and 
assuring him of their dutiful submission. 

The next scene in this drama, which had such mighty 
results for the future of all Europe, was the arrival of 
Fernando at Valladolid and the first meeting between 
the young betrothed. " Ese es, ese es ! " (" This is he ! ") 
exclaimed one of the courtiers, who ever after had the 
right to emblazon the device SS on his escutcheon. It 
will be interesting to picture to ourselves the young 
man and maiden, as when they looked upon each other 
that day. 

The chroniclers of Spain usually describe the beloved 



Queen Isabel with such passionate admiration, that it is 
needful for us to make some allowance for their loyal 
enthusiasm. " The handsomest lady whom I ever be- 
held," as one of her household writes, may be a slight 
exaggeration, but the remark " and the most gracious 
in her manners " is very probably true. The portraits 
which exist of her are not very good paintings, and do 
not greatly resemble each other ; but we gather that 
she was very pleasing in appearance, above middle 
height, with a good figure and dignified carriage. She 
was one of a fair race, and probably owed her rich 
auburn hair and blue eyes — " entre verdes y azules " — 
to her Plantagenet descent ; she had regular features 
and a delicate white and pink complexion, and with 
her bright intelligence and cheerful temper, we can well 
believe that the young princess was most attractive. 
She was now eighteen and a half, about eleven months 
older than her bridegroom. 

As for Fernando, he is described to us as of middle 
stature — not quite so tall as Isabel — well-proportioned, 
hardy and active from out-of-door pursuits, with an 
erect manly carriage. He had a good forehead, which 
gained in height from his being somewhat bald ; his 
hair and massive eyebrows were of a bright chestnut hue 
and his eyes were piercing and animated. His mouth 
was well formed, showing small white irregular teeth, 
and he had a somewhat ruddy sunburnt complexion. 
We are also told that he had simple tastes in dress and 
food, that his temper was well under control, and that 
he was devout in his religious observances. It is an 
open question how much a man's character is formed 
before he is eighteen, but a great observer of men 
said of this prince that " he had more of bigotry than 



of religion, that he was intensely ambitious and made 
war less like a paladin than a prince, less for glory than 
for mere dominion ; and that his policy was ever cold, 
selfish and artful." As we follow his career we shall 
have reason to see how far this judgment was justified. 
In the days to come, he was to be called the " wise and 
prudent" in Spain; in Italy, "the pious"; in England 
and France, "the ambitious and perfidious" ; "one of 
the most thorough egoists who ever sat on a throne."* 
But much of this was hidden in the mists of time, 
and the two young people, who had that eventful inter- 
view one long-past autumn day in the palace of 
Valladolid , were a goodly pair ; a gallant handsome 
prince and a fair princess, with a splendid future 
awaiting them. 

■■' Voltaire. 





In the ancient city of Vallodolid, by its green water- 
side in the midst of a treeless wind-blown plain, took 
place the great event of Isabel's life, her marriage with 
Fernando of Aragon, on October 19, 1469. The 
modest ceremony was performed in the grand old 
palace of Don Juan de Vivero, now known as " La 
Audiencia," by the Archbishop of Toledo, and there 
was no display of show or magnificence, as the royal 
personages were so poor that they had to borrow money 
for the needful expenses. Yet in its very simplicity it 
was a stately function where such mighty interests were 
concerned, and the palace chambers were thronged 
with enthusiastic supporters of the young heiress of 
Castile. One incident of the wedding was so charac- 
teristic of those concerned, that we cannot omit it. 

The bride and bridegroom were within the forbidden 
degrees of relationship for they were second cousins, 
and a papal bull of dispensation was necessary. To 
meet this difficulty, the godless old King of Aragon, 
his son Fernando and the time-serving Archbishop of 


/. Lacoste, phot. 

Miiseo lie Marina, Madrid 


Toledo agreed to forge the necessary document in 
order to satisfy the reHgious scruples of the pious 
Isabel. It may be added that when this came to her 
knowledge some years later she was much distressed, 
and lost no time in obtaining a genuine dispensation 
from Pope Sixtus IV. But this gives us an insight into 
the atmosphere of subterfuge and duplicity, which 
would pervade through life the secret counsels of 
Fernando the diplomatic. 

Yet we have every reason to believe that there was 
a deep and strong affection between this husband and 
wife, who were so young when they began life together. 
The fierce light which beats upon a throne does not 
reveal any breach in the abiding love and tenderness 
which Isabel, to the close of her, life bestowed upon 
Fernando, and to which she alludes with touching 
simplicity in her last testament when she left him her 
jewels that " he may be reminded of the singular love 
I always bore him while living, and that I am now 
waiting for him in a better world." 

The husband of this noble woman always treated 
her with the greatest consideration and respect, although 
his character was on a far lower plane than hers, and 
he was not free from the infidelities so common among 
the princes of his day. But all this was hidden in the 
dim shadows of the coming years, and the joyful 
acclamations of the loyal citizens of Valladolid on that 
auspicious wedding morning, are still ringing in our 

News of the wedding filled the Court of King 
Enrique with dismay, and his only reply to the con- 
ciliatory message from his sister was the curt remark 
that " he would take counsel with his Ministers." This 

8i F 


was really equivalent to an open declaration of war, 
for his next step was to announce that Isabel having 
broken her pledge not to marry without his permission, 
she had forfeited her claim to the throne, and the 
Beltraneja was proclaimed heir to the realm of Castile. 
He summoned the Cortes to take an oath of allegiance 
to Juana, but the towns sent no deputies, and only the 
nobles of his own Court were present. However, the 
result of this was that the poor child was betrothed to 
the Duke of Guienne, brother of Louis XL, Isabel's 
rejected suitor, who in the same year 1470 lost his 
position as heir to the throne of France, by the birth 
of the Dauphin afterwards Charles VIII. of France. 

Meanwhile the Infanta Isabel had a time of dark 
anxiety and suspense to endure, and for many months 
the issue was doubtful. Her young husband, at the 
head of a company of Castilian horse, had joined his 
father the King of Aragon in his war with France for 
the possession of Roussillon and Cerdagne, while 
anarchy reigned through all the land which owned the 
sway of King Enrique. The nobles fought against 
each other from their walled fortresses, and one town 
was at feud with another, while the land lay desolate. 
For a while the adherents of the child Juana appear to 
have gained ground, and Isabel held her simple Court 
in the quiet town of Dueiias, where her eldest daughter, 
who received her name of Isabel, was born on October i, 
1470. At this period, she and her husband were so 
poor that they scarcely knew where to turn for the 
needful expenses of their household, while the disorder 
of the state had gone far to produce a famine in the 

But the young princess kept a brave heart through 



all her difficulties, and the dignity and wisdom of her 
personal character won golden opinions even in those 
early days. The great province of Andalusia, led by 
the Duke of Medina Sidonia, and the provinces of 
Biscay and Guipuscoa still remained loyal to her, and 
the influence of the papacy, now represented by 
Sixtus IV., supported her claims. The French Duke 
to whom the Beltraneja was betrothed died of poison 
in 1472, probably a victim to the treacherous jealousy 
of his brother. " Le roi Louis XI. ne fit peut-etre pas 
mourir son frere, mais personne ne pensa qu'il en fut 
incapable." * 

Some time after this, there was a brief truce between 
Enrique IV. and his sister, who had a friendly inter- 
view at Segovia, where Fernando also arrived to join 
in the festivities held on the occasion. We are told 
that Isabel rode through the crowded streets of the 
city while the King walked by her side holding the 
bridle of her palfrey. This meeting appears to have 
been arranged by Andres de Cabrera, afterwards 
Marquis of Moya, Alcayde of the citadel, who had 
married Dona Beatriz de Bobadilla, the Infanta's faith- 
ful friend, and if the incident had no other result, the 
loyal support of the Alcayde was most valuable on a 
future occasion. 

On the night of December 11, 1474, Enrique IV. 
died from a lingering disease, unhonoured and un- 
lamented, after a disastrous reign of twenty-three years. 
His end was hastened by the loss of his Minister, the 
Marquis of Villena, Grand Master of Santiago, who for 
so long had guided all his actions. Isabel was at the 
time in the city of Segovia, and a few days later she 
'■' M. de Barante, 


was there proclaimed Queen of Castile and Leon 
amidst the enthusiasm of the people. Fortunately for 
her, the royal treasure was under the control of 
her friend the Alcayde, or her position would have 
been almost hopeless. A splendid company of nobles 
and prelates and gallant knights and civic authorities 
in their robes of state met her at the gateway of the 
great keep of the Alcazar, which rears its massive walls 
with commanding majesty above the rock-built city. 
Beneath a canopy of rich brocade, the Queen, clad in 
royal garments of white brocade and ermine, rode 
her Spanish jennet, whose bridle was held on each 
side by two of the chief officers of the province, through 
the narrow winding streets, while a gorgeous herald 
on a war-charger in front of her, uplifted a naked 
sword in token of her sovereign state. In the broad 
Plaza of Segovia a throne was placed on a raised dais, 
and here Isabel took her seat and received the homage 
of her subjects, swearing to maintain the liberties of 
Castile and to keep inviolate the rights of her people. 
Then the royal banners were unfurled and floated in 
the air, amid the blasts of trumpets and ringing of bells, 
and a salute of cannons from the castle battlements. 
After this, the solemn procession moved slowly on to 
the ancient cathedral (long since destroyed and rebuilt), 
where the Te Deum was sung, and the new Queen 
knelt before the high altar to return thanks for the 
past and implore help for the future, that she might 
rule her people according to the will of God, and " dis- 
charge her high duties with equity and wisdom." 

Her husband, the Prince of Aragon, was not pre- 
sent on this occasion, as he had again been summoned 
to help his father in the war with France. On his 


arrival, he somewhat ungraciously set up his own 
claim to the throne of Castile, as heir of Fernando 
the Good ; but Isabel maintained her rights with 
unyielding decision, and the question was referred to 
the Archbishops of Seville and Toledo. They found 
that, according to the law of Castile, Isabel was sole 
heir to the crown, and that she was " Reina proprie- 
taria," of which there had been one instance before, 
in the case of Queen Uraca of unhappy memory. 
It was finally agreed that all royal grants, charters, 
and coins were to bear the names of both Fernando 
and Isabel, but the Queen was to be supreme in 
Church matters and to keep the finances in her own 
hands, while the governors of all the castles and 
strongholds of her kingdom were to be responsible 
only to her. The Cortes were summoned, and pro- 
claimed their solemn recognition of Isabel as Queen 
of Castile. 

But her troubles were not yet over, for the adhe- 
rents of the Beltraneja now urged her claims more 
strongly than ever, and her cause was strengthened 
by the support of the Archbishop of Toledo, who was 
jealous of the rising influence of the Cardinal Mendoza 
with Queen Isabel. As he could no longer be 
supreme with his young mistress, he haughtily turned 
away to join her rival, boasting that " he had raised 
Isabel from the distaff and would send her back to it 

Alfonso V. of Portugal saw an opening for his 

ambition at this critical moment, invaded the realm 

of Castile with a strong' army, was betrothed to his 

niece Juana, and claimed thei crown on her behalf. 

[ His ally, the King of France, invaded Biscay at the 



same time, and the situation became most threaten- 
ing. But Isabel never lost heart, and danger seemed 
only to stimulate her to fresh exertion. She sum- 
moned another Cortes at Medina del Campo, and 
roused her subjects to enthusiasm, until men and 
money poured in from all sides. She herself was 
indefatigable ; after dictating despatches to her secre- 
tary all night, she would be on horseback all day, 
riding from one stronghold to another, encouraging 
the garrison everywhere by her presence, and making 
herself idolised for her spirit and dauntless courage. 
Fernando seconded her well, and by their united 
efforts they gathered together an army sufficient to 
encounter the King of Portugal, who had already taken 
possession of the strongholds of Toro and Zamora. 

The great battle which decided the fate of the 
campaign was fought about five miles from the strong 
fortress of Toro, on a wide open plain, closed in by 
the Douro on one side and a ridge of precipitous 
hills on the other, on February i8, 1476. King 
Alfonso himself was at the head of his army, with 
his son, Prince Juan, on the left wing composed 
of the arquebusiers and the main body of cavalry, 
while the men-at-arms on the right were under the 
command of the warrior Archbishop of Toledo. The 
Prince of Aragon, supported by Admiral Henriquez 
and the Duke of Alva, advanced upon the enemy with 
his Castilians in order of battle, raising the stirring 
war-cry, "Santiago y San Lazaro !" and the engage- 
ment became general. Fiercely the battle raged as 
the day declined, and when their lances were shivered 
at the first encounter, the men fought hand to hand 
with swords, possessed by the wild fury of hereditary 



foes. After some hours of deadly conflict, the Portu- 
guese gave way on all sides, and as dusk closed in, 
their retreat became a rout. In the darkness of a 
stormy night some were drowned in the river Douro 
and, washed down by the tide, thus bore the tidings 
of their fatal defeat to the citizens of Zamora. Here 
Prince Fernando arrived in the early dawn, followed 
by his grandfather the warlike old admiral, and 
Cardinal Mendoza at the head of the victorious army. 
Amongst the banners taken was the royal standard of 
Portugal, after a heroic defence by the gallant knight 
who bore it, for, after losing first one arm and then 
the other, he held it to the last with his teeth. 

This decisive and final victory set Queen Isabel 
firmly on the throne of Castile and crushed for ever 
all the hopes of the Beltraneja. The rebel nobles 
now openly proclaimed their allegiance to the sove- 
reigns, and France sought an alliance with them. To 
celebrate this great victory, Fernando and Isabel made 
a vow to build a splendid collegiate church, San Juan 
de los Reyes, at Toledo, in which city they made a 
solemn thanksgiving procession, of which we have a 
minute and interesting account.* 

Outside the Puerta de Visagra, or northern Moorish 
gate, on the open Vega, the citizens crowded to wel- 
come their conquering rulers, with a gala company of 
musicdans, dancers, and singers, who welcomed 
Fernando with the ballad : 

" Flores de Aragon 
Dentro en Castilla son, 
Pendon de Aragon ! 
Pendon de Aragon ! " 

Divina Retribucion, el Bachiller Palma. 


After this warm reception outside the gate, near the 
hermitage of Sant Eugenio, the royal company 
entered the city, the Prince of Aragon in full armour 
on his warhorse, and Isabel by his side, riding a 
beautiful mule, splendidly caparisoned, the bridle 
being held by two noble pages. Followed by their 
gorgeous retinue, they rode slowly towards the 
cathedral by the famous three-cornered Moorish Zoco- 
dover and the Calle Real, while the highest dignitaries of 
the Church, the archbishop — himself a mitred king — 
the canons and the clergy in their pontifical garments, 
preceded by the Cross, came forth from the Puerta 
del Perdon to receive them. On each side of the 
arch above the doorway were two angels, and in the 
centre a young maiden richly clothed, with a golden 
crown on her head, to represent the image of " la 
bendita madre de Dios, nuestra Seiiora." When 
Fernando and Isabella and all the company had 
gathered round, the angels began to sing : 

" Tua est potentia, tuum est regnum Domine; tu es 
super omnes gentes : da pacem Domine in diebus 

On the following day, while the rejoicings continued, 
there was another great procession at nine o'clock to 
present the trophies of war to the cathedral. Queen 
Isabel wore a rich skirt of white brocade flowered with 
castles and lions of gold, while round her neck was a 
collar of rubies, " balais," of rare beauty, the largest in 
the centre being said to have belonged to King Solomon. 
A golden crown set with precious stones rested upon 
her brow, and from her shoulders fell a magnificent 
ermine mantle of which the train was held by two 



pages, bearing on their breasts a scutcheon of the 
arms of Castile. With great pomp and the blare of 
trumpets, royal banners floating around them, they 
passed beneath the splendid arched and carved portal 
of St. Ferdinand, and taking their places before the 
high altar, they heard mass within that shadowy temple, 
whose vast interior is like a mysterious grove of marble 
and granite. 

As they passed on to the beautiful Capella de los 
Reyes Nuevos, Isabel and her husband paused before 
the tomb of their ancestor Juan I. of Castile, who nearly 
a hundred years before had been so terribly defeated on 
the fatal field of Aljubarrota. With a touch of romantic 
loyalty, they offered him the spoils of their late victory, 
and hung the torn standard of Portugal above his 
lonely resting-place. Surely here was a blotting out 
of defeat, and a pathetic atonement for past mis- 
fortunes with which to pay homage before the silent 

"Ferdinandus et Elisabet C.C. principes Hispa- 
niorum," as the inscription runs, next laid the founda- 
tion-stone of the votive church of San Juan de los 
Reyes, dedicated to St. John the Evangelist, under 
whose special protection the Queen had placed herself. 
The chosen architect was the famous Juan Guaz, 
"maestro major," and the church took years to build, 
for it was during a long absence of Fernando that his 
wife hurried on the completion of this exquisitely 
beautiful building, as a surprise to him. The church is 
one great nave divided into four harmonious vaults, 
carved with the most delicate stone lace-work. No two 
arches are alike ; everywhere we find the arms of Cas- 
tile and Aragon with the wedded cyphers of the King 



and Queen, interlaced amid garlands of flower, fruit, 
and leaves, and marvellous grotesque images of every 
bird and beast which the eye of man has seen. It was 
the delight of Isabel's heart, and she could never enrich 
it enough with chalices and crosses and jewels. 

But in 1476 sterner work was before her, for the land 
was full of unrest and disturbance, with rumours of war 
on every side. Fernando at the head of a large force 
hastened to protect the frontier of Aragon on the side 
of Navarre, to show himself a match for the crafty 
Louis XL, while Isabel took an active part in besieging 
the fortresses of the rebellious nobles and strengthening 
her authority. She had left her little Isabel at Segovia 
under the protection of the Alcayde, Andres de Cabrera 
and his wife Beatriz, who had been her favourite maid 
of honour. A feud broke out between the bishop of 
the city and the Alcayde, and during the absence of the 
latter the citadel was blockaded and the citizens rose 
in revolt, while the governor's deputy, with the young 
princess and her ladies, took refuge in the inner defences 
of the stronghold. 

Isabel was at Tordesillas when the news arrived, and 
with her usual energy she set forth at once on horse- 
back, accompanied by Cardinal Mendoza, the Count 
Benavente, Dona Beatriz, who happened to be with her 
at the time, and a few followers hastily summoned. 
They rode the long journey across the dreary wastes 
of sand, past Olmedo and the pine groves of Ville- 
guillo, resting a few hours at the palace fortress of Coca 
before taking the last stage of more than twenty miles 
to Segovia. At length the cavalcade arrived within 
sight of the stern, wall-girt city on its rocky height, 
with its superb towers shining like polished blades in 



the sunshine, and as they slackened their pace to ascend 
the steep road, they were met by an embassy from the 
citizens refusing admittance to the wife of their Alcayde 
and his friend the Count of Benavente. 

The Queen's spirit was roused at once by this insolent 
message, and she replied haughtily : " I am Queen of 
Castile, and this city is also mine by inheritance ; I 
accept no orders from my rebellious subjects." 

She rode on boldly at the head of her retinue, and 
the people, taken by surprise, suffered her to pass within 
the gate of the citadel, which her followers hastened to 
close behind her. At this act of defiance, the angry 
mob surged against the massive doorway of the great 
keep, while furious cries rent the air : " Down with the 
Alcayde ! Attack the Alcazar ! " 

At this critical moment a fiash of genius inspired 
Isabel. With prompt decision she commanded that 
the heavy gate should be thrown open, and, dismissing 
her attendants, alone — a royal and stately figure on her 
tired war-horse — she awaited the excited crowd which 
poured noisily into the courtyard. *' Tell me your 
grievances, my good people," she cried in a clear ringing 
voice, " and I will do my best to redress them. What 
is for your good is also for mine and for the welfare of 
your city." 

The cool courage and presence of mind of a born 
ruler has often a magnetic power in the hour of danger, 
and it was so on this occasion. A sudden hush suc- 
ceeded the fierce tumult, and the rebel leaders contented 
themselves with meekly asking that Cabrera should be 
removed from his position as governor. " He is deposed 
already," was the immediate reply, "and I will give the 
citadel in charge to one of my own people." Where- 



upon the fickle populace, now quite won back to their 
loyalty, shouted " Viva la Reyna," and returned to their 
homes at the Queen's request, on her promise to make 
strict inquiries and so render justice to all. The ulti- 
mate result was that the Alcayde was found to be in the 
right and the bishop of Segovia and his other enemies 
in the wrong, and Cabrera was restored to his office. 

This is only one instance of the courage and energy 
with which Queen Isabel set about her task of making 
peace throughout her realm, and putting down abuses 
wherever she met with them. She paid no regard to 
her own ease or comfort ; she was ever ready to set 
forth on a long journey on horse-back through a wild 
country and in all weathers, taking no account of her 
health. So it happened that for nearly eight years 
after the birth of her daughter Isabel she had no living 
child, until her only son Juan was born at Seville on 
June 30, 1478. There were great rejoicings throughout 
the realm at the coming of an heir to Castile, for by 
right of his sex, the little Prince of Asturias at once took 
the place which his sister had held, of acknowledged 
successor to the crown. Of all her children this long- 
hoped-for son held the tenderest place in his mother's 
heart ; his education was the subject of her most 
earnest care, and during his short life, the gallant and 
richly gifted young prince showed himself worthy of 
her passionate devotion. 

We cannot wonder that Isabel often took up her 
abode at Seville, that beloved city of the Moor — whose 
streets had echoed with their tramp for so many 
years — far different in its sunny radiance and beauty 
from the stern cold northern cities in which her child- 
hood had been passed. Here in a delicious climate, 



on the lovely banks of the Guadalquivir fringed with 
Eastern vegetation, were gardens like unto those of 
the fabled Hesperides, closed in by the shelter of blue 
mountains to the north and south. Here the royal 
lady might take her pleasure amid orange groves with 
golden fruit shining midst the deep emerald leaves and 
delicate waxen flowers, beneath the shade of huge 
mulberry trees and date-palms, with the glow of 
scarlet cactus and blue-green aloes and flowers 
unnumbered, in whose perfumed bowers the nightin- 
gales sang. 

The magnificent Alcazar, the royal palace, still retains 
much of its Moorish charm, and when it was partly 
rebuilt by Pedro the Cruel, he had recourse to the 
Moorish artificers who had just finished the Alhambra. 
On the grand portal by the delicate arabesques we can 
still read the Gothic inscription : " El muy alto, y muy 
noble, y muy poderoso, y conquistador Don Pedro, por 
la gracia de Dios, Key de Castilla y de Leon, mando 
facer estos alcazares y estas fapadas que fue hecho en la 
era mil quatro cientos y dos." (1364.) 

A beautiful little chapel in the palace was built later 
by Isabel, and the interesting Aztilejo* ornaments are 
some of the finest of their kind in Andalusia. Every- 
where we see the arms of Isabel bound by a yoke to 
those of Fernan4o, with the motto " Tanto monta " 
(One is as good as the other), a record either of their 
mutual love or of the husband's jealousy. In all the 
palaces where the two sovereigns dwelt we find the 
symbols repeated in the decorations, the furniture, the 
books, &c. Fernando has a yoke, " jugo," in which he 
takes his wife's initials ; Isabel has a sheaf of arrows 
* Varnished tiles, often of sapphire and bhie. 


"flechas," in which she takes his. We must also 
allude to the magnificent Sala de Justicia, which is part 
of the original Alcazar, in which the alcaydes adminis- 
istered justice, for here we are told that Queen Isabel 
held her tribunal, when she revived the ancient custom 
of Castilian princes, to administer justice in person. 
She sat in her throne of state every Friday at a certain 
hour, on a raised dais covered with cloth of gold, her 
council around her, and dispensed justice to all who 
came to ask for it. 

This return to simple methods had one rather curious 
result, for so many evil-doers escaped from the city 
that the chief men made an appeal to the Queen, and 
she granted an amnesty for all past offences except 
heresy, if restitution were made. Perhaps her most 
important piece of diplomacy was the way in which she 
made peace between the two great nobles, the Duke of 
Medina Sidonia and the Marquis of Cadiz, by exacting 
restitution from them both, and then dismissing them 
from Seville to their own castles in the province. This 
course Fernando and Isabel carried out on a much 
larger scale in other parts of the country, and caused 
not only the powerful feudal lords, but also the smaller 
robber knights, to give up their ill-gotten gains and 
retire to their country estates. Fifty fortresses, centres 
of oppression, were razed to the ground in Galicia 
alone. A more complete account of these reforms will 
be given in a later chapter, where the growth of the 
Spanish Constitution is more fully dwelt upon. 

A most important event, which had been long 
expected, occurred on January 20, 1479, the death of the 
crafty and tyrannical old King Juan II. of Aragon, who 
ended his long and eventful reign in the city of 



Barcelona, at the advanced age of eighty-three, full of 
vigour and pugnacity to the last. He was a master of 
that diplomacy of his time, in which no paths were too 
tortuous, no devices too treacherous to meet with his 
ready acceptance. His life was one long battle in 
which he received many hard blows, but he knew what 
he wanted and usually managed to obtain it. Let us 
take for instance the story of his dealings with Navarre. 
This kingdom came under his sway on his marriage 
with Blanche, widow of Martin King of Sicily, and 
daughter of Charles of Navarre. On her death the 
inheritance of the mountain kingdom passed by 
inheritance to her eldest son Prince Carlos, to whose 
unfortunate fate we have already alluded, for his cruel 
persecution by his father and suspicious death was the 
scandal of Europe. The next heir to Navarre was then 
his sister Blanche, the divorced wife of Enrique IV. of 
Castile, but she too was pursued by her father's mer- 
ciless jealousy, for the unhappy lady was delivered into 
the hands of her younger sister Eleanor, wife of the 
Count de Foix, confined for two wretched years in the 
Castle of Ortez, and is then said to have died of poison, 
1462. The guilty Eleanor only enjoyed an independent 
position as Queen of Navarre for three weeks after the 
death of her father, which was so quickly followed by 
her own, and after all her scheming, the sovereignty was 
ultimately taken from her children by that very half- 
brother of whom she had been so jealous. 

It was a splendid inheritance which came to Fernando 
on the death of his father ; a great territory extending 
from the Pyrenees to beyond Valencia, with a sturdy 
independent people inured to constant warfare ; while 
all along that eastern coast of the Mediterranean were 



safe and roomy harbours, which could hold at one 
time twenty-five large galleys secure and under shelter. 
On this coast of Catalonia were great merchant cities 
carrying on commerce with all the known world, of 
which the most famous was the splendid Barcelona, 
the pride of all Spanish writers. Cervantes calls it 
"the archive of courtesy, the shelter of strangers, the 
hospital of the poor, the chastiser of offenders, the 
native place of the brave." It was a city of commerce 
even beyond the dream of the merchant princes of 
Venice, of conquest, and courtiers, of taste, of learning, 
and of luxury, and to become " Countess of Barcelona " 
was another jewel in the crown of the great Isabel. 

Such were the home possessions of Aragon, while 
those abroad were of no mean value, when we name 
the Balearic Islands, Sardinia, and Sicily, that lovely 
island of romantic charm whose strange eventful history 
would need a volume to itself. 






Voltaire remarks that " Fernando and Isabel lived 
together, not like man and wife whose estates are 
common under the orders of the husband, but like two 
monarchs closely allied." 

There is much truth in this statement, for we have 
seen at the time of the Queen's coronation how jealous 
the Castilian nobles were of any interference on the 
part of her husband. There had even been a question 
of his paying homage to the ruler of the more important 
state, but this she at once rejected, and after her first 
calm assertion of her rights, Isabel was always most 
courteous and conciliatory, and ever showed herself 
willing to take the advice of Fernando. Strongly 
attached to her husband and studious of his fame, yet 
she always maintained her distinct rights as an allied 
prince. She exceeded him in personal dignity, acute- 
ness of genius, and in grandeur of soul."* " She sur- 
passed Fernando in firmness and courage, and, inspired 

* Washington Irving. 

97 G 


with a truer idea of glory, she brought a more lofty and 
generous temper into his subtle calculating policy." 

Even in the very year when Aragon was theirs, the 
sugcession of Isabel to the throne of Castile was still 
disputed by the adherents of Juana, and by the old King 
of Portugal to whom she was betrothed. But recent 
events had changed the situation, and a final settlement 
was near at hand. 

In 1478, a definite treaty of peace had been made 
between Castile and France, and signed at St. Jean de 
Luz, in which Louis XL promised that he would break 
off his alliance with Portugal, and give no further 
assistance to the adherents of the Beltraneja. But the 
war with Alfonso of Portugal still continued in a 
spasmodic and destructive matter, until at length Dona 
Beatriz of Portugal, the sister of Isabel's mother, offered 
to meet the Queen of Castile as a mediator, at the frontier 
town of Alcantara, which crowns a wooded height 
above the Tagus. After a week's discussion they drew 
up a treat)^ but it was not until six months afterwards 
that it was reluctantly agreed to at the Court of Lisbon, 
in September 1479. The terms of the contract were that 
the King of Portugal was to give up his claim to the 
hand of Juana, and all pretensions on her part or his, 
to the throne of Castile ; and that she should agree to 
marry the year old son of Fernando and Isabel or 
retire into a convent. Also that Alfonso, the young 
heir of Portugal, should marry the princess Isabel of 
Castile who was now nine years old, and a general 
amnesty was to be granted to all the Castilians who had 
supported the Beltraneja. 

This unfortunate girl, who was now seventeen years 
of age, had been tossed about as a political counter 



ever since her birth ; nine matches having been 
proposed for her already. She might well have been 
weary of a world which had brought her nothing but 
disappointment and trouble, not to mention the 
shameful suspicion which hung over her birth. Sick 
of her tempestuous life, she was quite willing to seek 
the quiet shelter of the cloister, and before many 
months had passed, she took the veil in the splendid 
convent of the Order of Christ at Coimbra. She was 
ever afterwards known as Juana the Nun, but notwith- 
standing this, she retained the hollow satisfaction of 
signing herself " I the Queen " ; and several times she 
left the convent and held a kind of royal state under the 
protection of the kings of Portugal, thus keeping alive 
a constant threat to the rulers of Castile. She outlived 
most of her suitors and rivals, dying in the palace of 
Lisbon in 1530, at the age of sixty-nine. 

Shortly after Juana became a nun, the King of 
Portugal, disappointed at losing his young bride, 
the " Senora muy excelente," resolved to follow her 
example, and put off his royal robes to become a Fran'- 
ciscan friar. He had made his plans for entering the 
monastery of Varatojo, on a rugged wind-blown height 
overlooking the Atlantic, when the hand of death pro- 
vided for him a still more peaceful refuge, and his son 
Juan reigned in his stead. 

As we look upon the map of Spain, we realise with 
amazement the long journeys on horseback which 
constantly fell to the lot of Queen Isabel. We find her 
engaged on a treaty at Alcantara, on the frontier of 
Portugal, and next hear of her established with her 
court at Toledo, nearly 200 miles away. Here in the 
Alcazar of this city on the seven hills, was born on 



November 7, 1479, her second daughter Juana, who 
grew up to become a great queen, and perhaps one 
of the most unhappy women who ever trod this earth. 
Isabel appears to have remained for some time in 
this grand historic town, in the ancient palace high 
above the rocky banks of the Tagus, whose peaceful 
waters now turn the picturesque old water-mills, where 
in bygone days : 

" Whilom upon his banks did legions throng 
Of Moor and knight in mailed armour drest, 
The paynim turban and the Christian crest 
Mixed on the bleeding stream by floating hosts 
oppressed." * 

The image of the great Queen still rises before us in 
this walled city, with its many gateways and steep 
narrow streets crowded with churches and convents 
and hospitals ; and above all in the magnificent cathe- 
dral inlaid with gold and porphyry and jasper, whose 
carved exterior has that " belle teinte orange qui dis- 
tingue les anciens monuments dans les climats ou il ne 
pleut presque jamais."t She is ever in our mind as we 
pace the cloistered avenues and courts around, where 
the orange trees are mingled with cypress and laurel. 

In the following year, 1480, there was held in Toledo, 
by Isabel's command, that celebrated meeting of the 
Cortes which did so much to reform the whole judicial 
system, revising the laws of Castile, and compiling a 
new code. This had become absolutely necessary, as 
in the course of time the ancient jurisprudence, made 
up of the Visigothic code, the fncros or charters wrung 
from the necessities of the sovereign, and the Siete 

* Southey. f Theophile Gautier. 



Partidas, or Seven Sections of Alfonso X., drawn greatly 
from the Roman code, had grown so overladen with 
statutes and ordinances as to be often contradictory. 
The committee for carrying out this great work, at the 
head of which was the learned Alfonso Diaz de Mon- 
talva, laboured for over four years, and the new code, 
which bore the name of "Ordenangas Reales," was one 
of the first works printed in Spain : " excrito de letra 
de molde," at Huete in 1485. 

Meantime councils were established to deal with 
foreign affairs, with the administration of justice and 
all questions of finance. The ancient custon was re- 
vived for the sovereign to sit in court and judge supreme 
appeals every Friday, as we have seen thctt Isabel did 
in Seville three years earlier. Assisted by Cardinal 
Mendoza, who began to be called " Tertius Rex," the 
Queen — who took the chief share in the task of internal 
reform — set about her work with splendid energy and 
courage, and the law acquired such authority that it 
was remarked with surprise : ** A decree signed by two 
or three judges was more to be respected in those 
days than an army before ! " One of Isabel's most 
diplomatic acts was the re-establishment of the "Santa 
Hermandad " or Holy Brotherhood, originally a league 
of the chief cities, which had been hitherto a powerful 
instrument in the hands of the enemies of the Crown. 
By a stroke of genius, this vigilance committee of 
citizens, paid for and managed by them, which had 
hitherto interfered with the course of justice, was now 
made a powerful weapon for the use of the Crown. 
The Santa Hermandad became a strong military police 
with summary judicial courts, whose business it was to 
clear the roads of robbers high and low ; there was no 



appeal from their tribunal, and without mercy they 
swept the land clear of malefactors.* 

The nobles were dismayed at this curtailment of 
their powers and indignantly protested, but in vain, 
for one by one all their special privileges were taken 
from them ; thus they were forbidden to coin money, 
which some had done with impunity, to quarter the 
royal arms on their escutcheons, to fight duels or to 
build new castles. At the same time, they were ruth- 
lessly stripped by the Cortes of the " lavish grants of 
Crown lands and rent-charges " f which had been 
obtained from weaker sovereigns, and they were com- 
pelled to submit lest worse should befall them. 

New laws were made for securing personal liberty, 
for the punishment of unjust judges and for the en- 
suring of prompt decisions at small cost, an immense 
boon to the poor; "the knight and the squire no 
longer oppressed the labourer for fear of certain justice ; 
the roads were swept of banditti, and no man dared to 
lift his hand against another." Thus the highway be- 
came safe for travellers, and peace and prosperity 
reigned to such an extent that it seemed as if the 
Golden Age had come again. 

One instance of the dauntless spirit with which 
Isabel insisted on the supreme majesty of the law is 
worth recording. Two young nobles had quarrelled 
in the ante-chamber of the palace at Valladolid, and 
the Queen hearing of it, gave a safe-conduct to the 
least powerful until the dispute could be arranged. But 
his enemy, Federigo Henriquez, the son of the Admiral 
of Castile, King Fernando's uncle, took no heed to the 
Queen's wish, and caused the young Lord of Toral to be 
* Martin Hume. f Ibid. 



waylaid by night and cruelly beaten in the streets of 
Valladolid. When Isabel heard of this outrage she 
rose up in her wrath, and set out at once on horseback 
in a storm of rain, for the castle of Simancas, seven 
miles away, and arrived there before her attendants 
could overtake her. Here she summoned the Admiral 
to yield up his son to justice, and on his reply, " Don 
Federigo is not here, and I know not where he is," she 
demanded the keys of the castle and caused search to 
be made. The youth was not found, and Isabel, re- 
fusing all offers of hospitality from her relative, returned 
at once to Valladolid, where she fell ill from fatigue 
and exposure after her unsuccessful journey. 

This anecdote gives us the very heart of the woman. 
We see the heroic impetuous figure hurrying forth 
through the drifting tempest at a pace which outstripped 
her attendants, in a very passion of avenging justice. 
Should a deed so dastardly be suffered to go un- 
punished and her authority set at naught, all her 
labours in the cause of peace and order would be in 
vain, andj this the patriot Queen could not endure. 
Her will was keen and enduring as tempered steel ; 
but the outward form which held this unconquerable 
spirit was but that of a frail woman. There is a note of 
pathos which rings through the centuries in the cry from 
her sick-bed : " My body is lame with the blows given 
by Don Federigo in contempt of my safe-conduct." 

In the cause of justice, she made it ever clear to friend 
and foe that she was ruled by no consideration of 
policy, no claims of her nearest kin ; but that she 
would carry her guiding principle that "right is right" 
to the bitter end, if it should cost her life and her 
crown. The Admiral with his knowledge of her 



character understood this, and Federigo was surren- 
dered to the Queen, with a humble appeal for mercy 
on account of his age ; he was barely twenty. But 
the young culprit had cause to repent his insolence, 
for although he was nearly related to the King and a 
member of a powerful house, he was publicly led in 
disgrace through the city, imprisoned in the fortress of 
Arevalo, and then banished to Sicily until he should 
receive the royal pardon.* 

It was soon after the Cortes of Toledo that the policy 
of the sovereigns of Castile towards ihe great military 
Orders was first decided upon, although it was not 
completely carried out until much later. The most 
important was the Order of Santiago, originally founded 
in the twelfth century to protect the pilgrims going to 
the sacred shrine of Compostella in Galicia. The knights 
of the brotherhood wore a white mantle embroidered 
with a red cross and escallop shell. They vowed to re- 
lieve the poor, to defend the traveller, and perpetual war 
on the Moslem. In this Order marriage was permited. 

The foundation of the monkish military Order of 
Calatrava had a curious origin. The border fortress 
of Calatrava commanded the passes between Castile 
and the Moorish province of Andalusia, and the 
Knights Templars, after holding it for ten years, gave 
it up as untenable in 1157. King Sancho III. then 
offered the castle and surrounding territory to any one 
who could win and keep it. Two Cistercian monks 
came forward in those crusading days, and with a band 
of devoted followers they overcame the Moors and 
held the stronghold. This fraternity received the 
Papal Bull in 1164, and adopted the rule of St. Benedict, 

* W. H. Prescott. 

/. Lacosie, phot. 



In the Prado, Madrid 


with a most austere discipline. The knights were 
sworn to perpetual celibacy, and their food was of the 
simplest. They were to keep silence at the table, in 
the chapel and in the dormitory ; and it was their cus- 
tom to sleep and worship with the sword girt on their 
side as a token that they were ready for action. Their 
help was so often needed to win castles and cities from 
the infidels that their wealth and possessions became 
very great, and the Grand Master possessed almost 
sovereign power. It was this in fact which constituted 
the danger to the kingdom, as we shall see. 

The third important Order was that of the Knights of 
Alcantara, which followed much the same principle as 
that of Calatrava, but the brethren wore a white mantle 
embroidered with a green cross. A romantic incident 
is recorded in the earlier history of this Order, which 
explains better than any dissertation the spirit of the 
time. About the year 1390, the Master of Alcantara, 
"out of his love for jesus Christ," sent two of his 
squires to the Moorish King of Granada to tell him 
that the Christian faith was good and holy, and the 
doctrine of Mahommed but a false lie. To prove this 
he, the Master, with two hundred Christian knights, 
would fight with three hundred of the Moslem chivalry. 

The King of Granada was discourteous enough not to 
accept this simple way of settling the religious question, 
but he cast the messengers into prison and ill-treated 
them. On hearing these tidings, the fiery Master could 
not be restrained by the King of Castile, who was under 
a treaty with the Moors, but declared that he must go 
forward for the honour of the Cross. In vain did the 
King's officers try to check him at the bridge of Cor- 
dova, for the people rose to the help of these holy 



men " going on the service of God and for the Faith of 
Jesus." So the Master of Alcantara, dreamer and fanatic, 
passed on with his whole company of three hundred 
knights and a few hundred footmen, who had barely 
crossed the frontier when they met their doom of self- 
chosen martyrdom. Hemmed in by an overwhelming 
army of Moslems, they were all slain or madciprisoners ; 
while it was the King of Granada who complained of 
the breach of treaty, and the King of Castile who 
apologised, explaining that his orders' had been dis- 
obeyed ; and " so the matter ended." 

But time had brought many changes, and the vast 
estates of these Military Orders were spread over all the 
land, which was covered with their castles, their monas- 
teries, and their towns, over which they had acquired 
boundless rights, and could defy the sovereign himself. 
The Master of Santiago could summon to the field 
" four hundred belted knights and one thousand lances," 
which, with the usual complement of a lance at that 
time, means quite a large force. His rents came to 
sixty thousand ducats, and those of Calatrava and Al- 
cantara were nearly as much. The position of Grand 
Master to one of these Orders of religious chivalry 
became one which men of the highest rank contested 
with intrigue and violence. This became a cause of so 
much internal discord that Isabel appears, early in her 
reign, to have decided on a course of future policy. In 
1476 the Grand Master of Santiago died, and a Chapter 
of the Order was held in the magnificent convent 
which stands on a hill above the little town of Ucles 
between Madrid and Cuen^a. We are told that Isabel 
took this long journey on horseback from her palace 
at Valladolid, and presenting herself before the as- 



tonished knights, she persuaded them, in the interests 
of pubhc order, to elect her husband the King to the 
vacant post. On this occasion, indeed, Fernando gave 
up the position of Grand Master to Alfonso de Cardenas, 
who was one of the candidates, and a man of proved 
honour and loyalty ; but at his death, in 1499, a Papal 
Bull assured the succession to the King, who had 
already acquired that of Calatrava in 1487, and of 
Alcantara in 1494. He thus became the supreme head 
of all the chivalry of Spain. We may so far forestall 
the future as to mention that this scheme proved a 
complete success, for the former scandals of the ad- 
ministration were put an end to, the knights were paid 
by fixed pensions, and the immense number of bene- 
fices in the gift of the Orders, were filled up with men 
of good repute and pious character. This did more to 
improve the character of the Spanish priests than any 
other measure. 

The sovereigns of Castile had to hold their own in 
another and still more difficult matter. They had to 
protect themselves against the encroaching power of 
Rome. Spain had always kept its independence longer 
than any other Christian kingdom. In olden days the 
Goths had been mostly Arians, and when they became 
Catholic they used for centuries their own ritual, the 
Mozarabic, with its simple and beautiful prayers, and 
which has no mention of auricular confession. It was 
not until after the middle of the eleventh century that 
Alfonso VI. of Castile was persuaded by his French 
wife, Constance of Burgundy, to compel the use of the 
Roman missal in all the churches. The Castilian clergy 
were greatly opposed to this innovation, and tradition 
says that three separate attempts were made to obtain 


" the judgment of God " in the matter. The first was 
trial by battle, and the duel was fought with the utmost 
formality before the King and his Court, and the 
champion of the Mozarabic ritual defeated his Roman 
opponent amid the triumphant shouts of the people. 
The King insisted upon another test ; a bull-fight was 
arranged, in which one"toro" was called " Toledo " 
and the other " Rome," and the victory remained again 
with the popular side, for the bull Toledo killed the 
representative of Rome. Once more, the "judgment 
of God" being against him, the King refused to submit, 
and demanded the ordeal by fire, into which the two 
missals were to be cast. For the third time the de- 
cision was against the Roman missal, which was 
scorched by the flames while the other was untouched ; 
but King Alfonso angrily threw it back into the fire, and 
vowed that he would have his way.* 

Thus, the legend tells us, he set himself up against 
the "judgment of God," and ever since, the Roman 
ritual has prevailed in Spain, except in the Capilla 
Mozarabe in the Cathedral of Toledo, where to this day 
the ancient custom is carried on. 

The code of the Siete Partidas had enlarged the 
Roman sway by giving superior power to the eccle- 
siastical tribunals over the lay courts, and in the course 
of time, the Pope had gradually passed on from the right 
of confirming elections to that of appointment in the 
highest episcopal dignities. Against this the Cortes had 
made constant complaint, especially in the matter of 
placing foreigners in the highest offices of the Church ; 
for as the bishop was also a temporal prince, and often 
a great fighter, it was most important that, above all, 
* H. E. Watts. 


the border towns should always have a staunch native 
Castilian for the bishopric. The great contest between 
Isabel and the Pope came about in this way. 

There was a vacancy in the See of Cuen9a, that 
beautiful city which lies like a hill-encircled shell, with 
forests and woods and rocks around, such as Salvator 
Rosa loved and painted. Sixtus IV. hastened to 
bestow the bishopric upon his nephew, Cardinal 
San Giorgio, a native of Genoa, for this Pope 
made nepotism an essential feature of Papal policy. 
As Machiavelli remarked of him : " He was the first 
Pope who began to show the extent of the Papal 
power, and how things that before were called errors 
could be hidden behind the Papal authority." But Sixtus 
(della Rovere) certainly made a grave error on this 
occasion, for he did not know with whom he had to deal. 

Isabel had already decided to give the bishopric to 
her chaplain, Alfonso de Burgos, in exchange for the 
See of Cordova, and she at once sent an embassy to 
Rome to remonstrate against the appointment of San 
Giorgio. But Sixtus haughtily replied : " I would 
have you know that I am Supreme Head of the Church, 
and as such have unlimited power in the appointment 
to benefices, and I am not bound to consult the 
desires of any potentate on earth, beyond that which 
will conduce to the interests of religion." On receiving 
this reply, the sovereigns of Spain took the decided 
step of ordering all their subjects, alike priests and 
laymen, to leave the dominions of the Pope forthwith ; 
and this command was at once obeyed by the Spaniards, 
who feared that their estates might be confiscated if 
they remained abroad. Fernando and Isabel also 
announced their intention of calling a General Council 



of Christian princes to reform the abuses of the 

This was a splendid stroke of diplomacy, for nothing 
could have been less pleasing to the Pope than the 
threat of a General Council to inquire into the corrup- 
tion of ecclesiastical affairs. This must be put a stop 
to at any price, and a Legate was immediately sent to 
Spain with full powers to negotiate an arrangement. 
But the Castilian sovereigns ordered the unlucky 
ambassador to leave the realm without delivering his 
message, which " might be derogatory to the dignity 
of their Crown." In fact, had not Cardinal Mendoza 
interposed at this point, the Legate would have been 
ignominiously dismissed, but the poor man behaved 
with such deep humility that Isabel was conciliated, 
and consented to listen to his meek suggestions. In 
the end Pope Sixtus gave way entirely, and published 
a Bull, in which he promised " that natives of Castile 
nominated by the sovereign to the higher dignities of 
the Church should be confirmed in their offices by 
His Holiness the Pope," and without more ado, 
Alfonso de Burgos became Bishop of Cuenca. 

By the Act of Settlement when she came to the 
throne, all preferment rested with the Queen Isabel, a 
woman of rare piety and discretion, and she made it 
her most earnest care to choose good religious men, 
wise and learned, to fill the various Sees as they became 
vacant. Merit was the only recommendation to her 
favour, and from this fixed decision, no personal 
advantage or even the wishes of her husband could 
move her. 

In the home government of the Catholic kings — 
" Reyes Catolicos " as they were called — there is one 



more point which must be considered. When once 
the kingdom was brought into a condition of law and 
order, everything was done to promote trade and 
domestic industry. P'or this end, the first need was 
to fix the value of money and put an end to the 
adulteration of the coin. Under the previous king, 
Enrique IV., there had been one hundred and fifty 
mints licensed by the Crown, and many others set up 
by great lords and unauthorised people. Things had 
come to such a pass that the debased coin was refused 
in payment, and the small amount of trade carried on 
in Castile was really managed by means of barter. 
Fernando and Isabel, with infinite trouble, set them- 
selves to the task of fixing the standard and legal value 
of money ; they set up five royal mints and made a 
new coinage ; a reform which did wonders for the 
commerce of the country. New roads and bridges 
were made, to throw open the more isolated places, 
the industry of cloth-weaving was encouraged, the 
working of silver and the making of arms ; while ship- 
building was promoted to a great extent in the coast 
towns of Andalusia. One regulation which sounds 
quite in advance of the time was to free the importa- 
tion of foreign books from all duties, as the statute 
says : " Because they both bring honour and profit 
to the kingdom, by the facilities which they afford for 
making men learned." We are told that so successful 
were these efforts, and so prosperous did the country 
become, that between the years 1477 and 1482 the 
revenue was increased nearly six-fold. *' The hills and 
valleys again rejoiced in the labour of the husbandman ; 
and the cities were embellished with stately edifices, 
which attracted the gaze and admiration of foreigners." 



In the midst of this period of outward prosperity 
and success, the first note of discord and intolerance 
was struck in the Cortes of Toledo in 1480, where 
certain harassing and unfair laws were inserted against 
the Jewish subjects, probably following the precedent 
of Aragon, where the Inquisition had long held some 
sway. The great aim and object of Isabel's life w-as 
the creation of a strong and united Spain, but in her 
passionate desire for the extension of the Catholic 
Faith at any cost lay a hidden danger, which in the 
far-off days to come would bring ruin and destruction 
in its train. But of the dread Inquisition, and the 
Queen's part therein, we shall speak more fully in due 




The story of the kingdom of Granada, that last bul- 
wark of the Moors in Spain, has already been brought 
down in an introductory chapter, through the turbulent 
ages of constant siege and battle, of the undying feuds 
of paladin and paynim, to the fifteenth century, the 
era of Isabel. For now two hundred years, the de- 
generate descendants of a great fighting race had been 
thankful to enjoy an ignoble peace and remain for- 
gotten or undisturbed in their earthly paradise. For 
such, indeed, was that exquisite Garden Land with 
groves of orange and mulberry and pomegranate, with 
olive-clad slopes, and orchards, and vineyards, made 
fertile and luxuriant by silvery streams, and protected 
from the outer world by the snowy mountains of the 
moon, the mighty Sierra Nevada. 

Beautiful in her surroundings beyond a poet's 
dream, the fair city of the Moorish kings was, indeed, 
a "pearl of price," crowned by her palace of the 
Alhambra, that stately pleasure-house whose very 
name is enough to make us see visions, and whose 
unapproachable charm is beyond the power of words 

113 H 


to tell. But the massive embattled towers and solid 
walls of her strong castles hint at another tale than 
one of soft dalliance in bowers of bliss, and strike a 
note of stern defiance to the foe. The Moslems had 
been suffered to remain undisturbed in their last 
refuge, this sunny corner of Andalusia, on condition 
of acknowledging the sovereignty of Castile and 
paying a yearly tribute, stated to have been two 
thousand pistoles of gold beside a certain number of 
Christian captives. But in the reign of the weak king, 
Enrique IV. of Castile, there came to the throne of 
Granada a certain Muley-Abu-1-Hasan, a fierce and 
warlike man of the ancient warrior breed of Islam, 
who looked with pride on his strong position and 
counted up his fourteen cities, his ninety-seven forti- 
fied towns, and his castles and watch-towers which 
studded the broad Vega. He knew that his Granada 
was richer than any town in Spain, and that he could 
equip and call out an army of fifty thousand men 
trained in war, with archers and light horsemen 
unmatched elsewhere. In the foolish conceit of his 
heart he thought himself a match for the young 
sovereigns of Castile, and when their ambassador 
came, in 1476, to demand the customary tribute, the 
Moorish king returned a haughty and defiant refusal. 

" Tell your monarch that the Kings of Granada 
who paid tribute are dead ; our mint now coins only 
blades of scimetars and heads of lances." 

For a while this defiant attitude was suffered to pass 
unheeded ; Fernando had not yet succeeded to the 
throne of Aragon and the Catholic sovereigns were 
engaged in reforming abuses and putting their own 
kingdom in order. But in a few years time, ^'with a 



disciplined infantry, a guileful diplomacy, and a puri- 
fied Churcfi, Spain was fully equipped for the con- 
quest of territory or the control of opinion."* This 
inopportune moment was chosen by the King of 
Granada to make his unprovoked declaration of war 
by a sudden raid across the frontier. 

There had been no forays for so long that the 
Christian gaiTisons of the outlying fortresses had 
grown careless, and no longer kept the strict watch and 
sleepless vigil which had been needful in more warlike 
days. So it was with the little mountain town of 
Zahara, perched on a rugged, precipitous height 
which Nature had fortified with steep rocks for walls 
of defence, and the rushing Guadalite as a moat 
around its base. Taking advantage of a dark stormy 
night, in the dead of winter, Muley-Abu-1-Hasan, 
with a strong force, arrived unobserved beneath the 
battlements, scaled the walls and took the garrison by 
surprise. All who resisted were put to the sword, and 
the defenceless inhabitants, men, women, and children, 
were driven as slaves to Granada. We are told that 
his subjects did not join in the exultation of their 
king, they were full of pity for the wretched captives 
and of alarm at the consequences of this outrage for 
themselves. Evil omens were reported on every side, 
and the words of foreboding spoken by a Moslem 
anchorite were echoed through the city. 

" Woe ! woe ! woe ! to Granada ! The hour of its 
desolation is at hand. The ruins of Zaraha will fall 
upon our heads 1 " 

Fernando and Isabel received the news of the fall 
of Zahara with indignation, for it would have suited 
■ Martin Hume. 


their policy better to strike the first blow themselves. 
They gave orders to strengthen the whole line of 
frontier castles, and began to make serious prepara- 
tion for the invasion of the Moorish province. But it 
is interesting to notice here that the first reprisal was 
a matter of private enterprise. One of the great Cas- 
tilian nobles, Don Rodrigo Ponce de Leon, Marquess 
of Cadiz, who had large possessions in Andalusia, was 
informed by a spy in his pay, a noted captain of 
" escaladors," or scalers of walls, that the fortress of 
Alhama was carelessly guarded, and that he believed 
it would be possible to carry it by assault. 

Now the city of Alhama was only eight leagues from 
Granada, in the heart of the Moorish territory, and 
was so strongly situated on the crest of a mountain 
ridge that it was believed to be impregnable. It could 
only be approached by crossing the foaming river 
Marchan or climbing a ravine. It was famous for its 
sulphur baths and had a royal palace, and was also 
the centre of a prosperous silk industry. Don Rodrigo 
was strongly impressed by the bold suggestion of thus 
bearding the lion in his den, and with the help of several 
friends he collected a sufficient force and set forth 
across the mountain passes, travelling only by night. 
On February 28, 1482, they reached the sleeping city 
two hours before dawn, and were fortunate in having 
the dark stormy weather which had favoured the 
captors of Zahara. On this occasion, also, the scaling 
ladders were placed against the walls and silently 
mounted by the " escaladors," who killed the sentinels 
and took the citadel before the garrison were roused. 
The city gates were thrown open, and the Marquess of 
Cadiz entered at the head of his army with trumpets 



and banners, and the fortress was taken. But while 
the triumphant hidalgoes exulted in their victory, the 
citizens in the town had risen to arms and mustered in 
force to fight for their homes. They thronged up the 
narrow street to the gateway of the castle, which 
they commanded with arquebuses and crossbows, 
keeping up a constant fire so that none could sally 

When some of the most valiant of their number had 
been slain in a vain attempt to force a way out, the 
Christian leaders held a council of war, in which it was 
actually suggested that the stronghold should be dis- 
mantled and abandoned, that they should carry off all 
the booty they could seize and make good their escape. 
But the fiery Marquess of Cadiz would not hear of 
such an ignominious retreat ; and by his advice it was 
resolved to break down part of the fortifications and 
make a desperate sally through the breach into the 
town. With the stirring war cry of " Santiago ! " he 
led the way, followed by his men-at-arms, and cast 
himself into the midst of the furious populace. Driven 
back at first by the violence of the attack, the Moors 
soon rallied and received the enemy with volleys of 
shot and arrows, building up hasty barricades of 
timber across the streets and contesting every inch 
of the ground with the frantic courage of despair. 

Meantime, the women and children crowded to the 
roofs and balconies of their houses, and threw down 
boiling water, oil, and every kind of missile on the 
heads of the assailants. The awful struggle lasted for 
many hours, but towards the evening the remnant 
of the inhabitants took refuge in the great mosque 
by the city wall, whence they could still continue to 



shoot their arrows with deadly effect. At last the 
Castilians succeeded in approaching under cover of 
their shields, held so as to form a protecting canopy, 
and set fire to the doors of the beautiful mosque. 
This was the end of the struggle, for the hapless 
Moslems who did not perish of suffocation were 
massacred or taken prisoners as they sought to escape 
from the flames. 

The rich city of Alhama was now given up to 
plunder, and the booty was immense, consisting of 
costly works of art, of gold and silver plate, of 
precious jewels and rich silks and brocades. Some 
Christian captives are said to have been found in 
the dungeons and set at liberty with great rejoicing, 
for the victory was now complete, Alhama had fallen ! 
How the news came to Granada the ancient ballad 
describes : 

" Letters to the monarch tell 
How Alhama' s city fell ; 
In the fire the scroll he threw, 

And the messenger he slew." (Byron's translation.) 
Ay de mi Alhama ! 

It was indeed a cruel and terrible blow to the people 
of Granada, for in the fate of this fair mountain city, 
always deemed impregnable, the key of their proud 
capital, in the very heart of their kingdom — they read 
with dire foreboding the doom which awaited them. 
But old Muley-Abu-1-Hasan was not one to content 
himself with useless lamentation, or sit down calmly 
under so great a disaster. When he had aroused 
himself from his first passionate grief and rage, he 
at once sent a thousand cavalry in advance, while he 
made ready to follow with all the levies he could 



collect. He lost no time, and on March 5 arrived 
with a great army before the rocky walls of Alhama, 
which he found repaired and well defended by the 
Christian garrison. In his haste, the king had neglected 
to bring any of the primitive artillery which was then 
coming into use, and finding that he could not take 
the fortress by assault, he made up his mind to reduce 
it by a blockade. This appeared the more promising 
as the town had but one well, and was supplied from 
the river below with water, which could now only be 
obtained under the enemy's fire. 

The tidings of the fall of Alhama reached Fernando 
and Isabel when they were attending mass in the chapel 
of their palace at Medina del Campo, that " City of the 
Plain " far away to the north of Castile, between Valla- 
dolid and Avila. The despatch of the Marquess of 
Cadiz brought welcome news, but at the same time it 
must have been rather disturbing to the cautious 
Fernando to find that his eager nobles had so much 
more zeal than discretion. " During all the time he 
sat at dinner," says a precise chronicler of the period, 
" the prudent king was revolving in his mind the course 
best to be adopted."* 

We can understand Fernando's perplexity, for the 
war against the Moors was being forced upon him in 
a measure. In his aims and desires he was King of 
Aragon rather than of Castile, and was far more drawn 
towards the recovering of his counties of Roussillon 
and Cerdagne from the French than the conquest of 
the Moorish kingdom. Fernando urged that it was the 
first duty to recover one's own rather than to conquer 
that which belonged to others." " If," he said, ** the 

- W. Prescott. 


Queen's war against the Moors was a holy one, his 
against the French would be a just one."* Indeed at 
this time it is doubtful whether conquest was Isabel's 
real object, as she was probably less moved by motives 
of policy than of piety, and wishing for national unity 
by means of the Faith, desired rather to save souls than 
to extend her dominion. But this brilliant success of 
Don Rodrigo had changed the position of aiifairs ; and 
if he had been rash in his enterprise, at least there was 
no turning back possible at this moment. 

Both the sovereigns realised that Alhama was only 
held by a small force, that it was close to Granada, and 
that the warlike old king would lose no time in attack- 
ing the Castilians with all the concentrated strength of 
his powerful army. Only one course was possible to 
Fernando : he must instantly collect all the cavalry 
and men-at-arms which he or his nobles could obtain, 
and set forth at once for the seat of war. The Queen 
was in delicate health at the time, and it was arranged 
that she should follow more slowly with all the supplies 
and additional troops she could bring. 

But King Fernando was not destined to be the hero 
of this adventure, for once more he was forestalled by 
one of the great Castilian nobles. The Marquess of 
Cadiz had sent despatches to the nearest cities of 
Andalusia as soon as he was established in Alhama, 
asking for their support in his isolated position. Yet in 
this critical moment of peril, it was not from his friends 
that supreme assistance came, but from his deadly 
hereditary foe the Duke of Medina Sidonia. Once 
before, this great chief had shown his gallant nature 
by hurrying to the relief of Don Rodrigo's wife when 
- Martin Hume. 


she was besieged in her castle of Arcos during her 
husband's absence. But now he was to give an heroic 
instance of nobility and patriotism and prove himself 
indeed the very flower of Castilian chivalry. On hear- 
ing that Don Rodrigo was beleaguered in Alhama by 
a formidable army of Moors, the Duke summoned all 
his feudal retainers, called together his household 
cavalry, his men-at-arms and his archers, and strained 
every nerve to enlist his powerful Andalusian neigh- 
bours in the cause. At the head of a powerful force 
he hastened through the wild country, with forced 
marches, without waiting for King Fernando, who was 
anxious to join him. With all his haste the gallant 
leader arrived none too soon, for the besieged garrison 
was in evil case, being threatened not only by assault 
but famine, as in the first flush of victory there had 
been much waste of provisions. 

Old Muley-Abu-1- Hasan was far too experienced a 
general to await the peril of being hemmed in between 
the citadel and the relieving army, on the news of 
whose approach he broke up his camp and returned 
to Granada, after a fruitless siege of three weeks, to 
prepare for more strenuous efforts at carrying on the 
war. Washington Irving thus describes the relief of 
the city : 

"When the Christians in Alhama beheld their 
enemies retreating on one side, and their friends 
advancing on the other, they uttered shouts of joy 
and hymns of thanksgiving ; for it was a sudden 
relief from present death. Harassed by several weeks 
of incessant vigil and fighting, suffering from scarcity 
of provisions and almost continual thirst, they re- 



sembled skeletons rather than living men. It was a 
noble and gracious sight to behold the meeting of 
those two ancient foes, the Duke of Medina Sidonia 
and the Marquis of Cadiz. When the Marquis beheld 
his magnanimous deliverer approaching, he melted 
into tears : all past animosities only gave the greater 
poignancy to present feelings of gratitude and admira- 
tion ; they clasped each other in their arms and, from 
that time forward, were true and cordial friends."* 

When the first rejoicing was over, difficulties appear 
to have arisen between the two armies with regard to 
the division of the booty, and it required all the tact 
of the leaders, and much generosity on the part of the 
Duke, before the matter was amicably settled. A 
strong garrison of troops from the Hermandad, under 
the command of Don Diego Merlo, was left to defend 
the stronghold ; the two armies were withdrawn, and 
the brave leaders were loaded with honours by the 
King and Queen, who in April took up their abode at 
Cordova. In this splendid city of the Omeyyad Khalifs, 
once the peerless capital of Moorish Spain, a little 
daughter was born at this time, 1482, to Queen Isabel, 
Doiia Maria, afterwards Queen of Portugal, the fourth 
child of the Catholic sovereigns. W^e shall have occa- 
sion at a later time to dwell upon the care bestowed 
on the education of these royal children, but at present 
the eldest daughter Isabel was the only one of an age 
to require it. 

The sovereigns were not suffered to rest long, before 
news arrived that the old warrior King of Granada 
had again led an army against Alhama, the beloved 
''■'■ Washington Irving. 


city which was "as the apple of his eye"; and this 
time, with more forethought and wisdom, he had 
brought a large train of artillery, which in his haste he 
had left behind at the first siege. The Castilians can 
hardly have expected anything else, considering how 
near Alhama was to the capital, but they appear to 
have been greatly troubled, and it was even suggested 
that the place should be given up, for being in the 
centre of the enemy's country " it must be perpetually 
exposed to sudden and dangerous attacks, while from 
the difficulty of reaching it through the mountain 
defiles, it would cost Castile a terrible waste of blood 
and treasures in its defence. For this very cause it 
had been abandoned in olden days when the men 
of Castile had taken it by force of arms from the 

This argument was strongly urged and even Fernando 
hesitated, but Isabel was firm and would listen to no 
hint of surrender. "Glory is not to be won without 
danger," she exclaimed, and insisted that the strong 
and central position of Alhama as the key of the 
enemy's country made it of the last importance to 
them, and that it must be retained at any cost. The 
enterprise was of peculiar difficulty and danger, as 
they had well known when they entered upon it. 
This was the first blow struck in the campaign, 
and honour and policy alike forbade them to draw 
back, and so cast a chill over the enthusiasm of the 

Her ardour and warlike spirit were infectious, and 

won the day. It was decided to hold Alhama against 

the whole force of Islam, and to carry on hostilities 

'■'■'■ Washington Irving. 


with the utmost vigour. This was to be no mere 
foray for plunder, no invasion only for the enlarge- 
ment of their dominion, but a Holy Crusade against 
the infidel, which could never cease until the kingdom 
of the Moors was at an end, and the banner of the 
Cross waved where now the Crescent flaunted in the 

This time King Fernando himself rode at the head 
of his forces, and hastened to the relief of the be- 
leagured city with so strong a force that once more 
Muley-Abu-1-Hasan had to retreat to his capital. A 
solemn entry of the city was made on May 14, when 
the King rode through the streets with a splendid com- 
pany of nobles and prelates, to dedicate this first-fruit 
of conquest from the Moors, to the Christian service. 
The three great mosques of Alhama were purified from 
infidel use by a formal service, and then consecrated 
to the Faith of the Cross by Cardinal de Mendoza. 
Queen Isabel sent gilt crosses, costly chalices, and other 
rich offerings, amongst them a sumptuous embroidered 
altar-cloth for the church of Santa Maria de la Encar- 
nacion, as one of the mosques was now called. In the 
tower where for centuries the mueddin had wailed out 
his summons to prayer, were now hung Christian bells, 
duly baptized and named after saints, 'per cacciare il 
diabolo," to drive away the evil spirit. After all these 
ceremonies had been performed, Fernando strengthened 
the garrison with fresh soldiers and a supply of provi- 
sions, and set forth to enjoy himself in a foray through 
the beautiful Vega, destroying everything before him, 
burning the villages, cutting down the trees, rooting up 
the vines, and trampling down the unripe corn. Leaving 
desolation behind him, without having had a touch of 



real warfare, he returned with complete satisfaction to 

Meantime the Queen had been engaged in making 
ready for a serious campaign. She sent messengers to 
all the towns and cities of Andalusia, to Salamanca, 
Toro and Valladolid, and to the Grand Masters of 
Santiago, Calatrava and Alcantara, to send their " re- 
partimiento," or allotment of provisions, their quota of 
horsemen and men-at-arms, supplied with weapons and 
artillery. As she had heard that the Moors were seeking 
aid from the Barbary princes of Africa, she caused an 
armada of ships and galleys to sweep the Mediterranean 
as far as the Straits of Gibraltar, under the command 
of her admirals. 

It had been decided in a council of war that the city 
of Loja, not far to the north of Alhama, and looked 
upon as another key to the Moorish kingdom, should 
be the next point of attack. Loja stands on the banks 
of the Xenil, in a valley of oliveyards and vines, deeply 
entrenched amid rugged hills and ravines, and defended 
by a massive fortress with a strong garrison ; while the 
river is only fordable in one place, and the solitary 
bridge is commanded from the battlements. Slow pro- 
gress had been made in collecting the necessary army, 
but Fernando was impatient to have an opportunity of 
distinguishing himself, and set out on July i with 
an insufficient force largely composed of raw levies. 
He was not a good general, and on this occasion com- 
mitted the fatal mistake of despising his Moorish foes, 
while trusting with arrogant conceit to the superior 
vigour and courage of his own troops. Neglecting the 
advice given him to throw bridges across the stream 
lower down, and to attack from the other side, he sent 



a number of his most trusted leaders to seize the 
Heights of Albohacen near the city, and place pieces 
of ordnance there. 

Now, the Alcayde of Loja was a certain old Moor, by 
name Ali Atar, who " had grown grey in border war- 
fare, was an implacable enemy of the Christians, and 
his name had long been the terror of the frontier." 
When he beheld the flower of Spanish chivalry 
glittering on the height opposite, " By the aid of 
Allah," said he, " I will give these pranking cavaliers 
a rouse." 

By means of an ambush and a feigned attack, the 
wily old Alcayde took possession of the height and the 
artillery, and defeated the Christians with great loss, 
amongst the slain being the young Grand Master of 
Calatrava. The next day a false alarm created a panic 
in the Castilian camp, and a great number of the un- 
trained soldiers fled in dismay ; whereupon the keen- 
eyed Ali Atar swooped down with such vehemence as to 
drive back the remnant of the King's army, cutting it 
to pieces with his fiery charge, so that Fernando himself 
was in great danger, and narrowly escaped with his 
life. We are told that his personal courage and cool- 
ness did much to save the defeat from becoming a total 
rout. Still, the bitter fact remained that the flower of 
Spanish chivalry was compelled to retreat before the 
sword of the infidel, leaving behind great stores of 
artillery and baggage. With a heavy heart King 
Fernando returned to the palace of Cordova, his pride 
humbled by the cruel humiliation of defeat by a foe 
whom he had been disposed to treat with contempt. It 
was a lesson which he never forgot, and the name of 
Loja was one of evil memory until, after another and 



still more desperate siege, it fell into the hands of the 
Christians in the spring of i486. 

But in this darkest hour for the hopes of Castile, 
when the Moors appeared to gain ground on every side, 
and even the brave soul of Isabel could scarcely over- 
come the rising gloom, events took place in Granada 
itself which changed the whole outlook of the war. 




L' IRREMEDIABLE faiblesse de la race Arabe est dans 
son manque absolu d'esprit politique, et dans son 
incapacite de toute organisation. Anarchique ^par 
nature I'Arabe est invincible dans la conquete, mais 
impuissant le jour ou il s'agit de fonder une societe 
durable." * 

These words of Renan find a vivid illustration in the 
internal condition of Granada, at the critical time when 
all the strength of united Castile and Aragon arrayed 
against her. In the introductory chapter on the Moors 
in Spain, we have already traced the same story again 
and again, in the rise and fall of a great house and a 
splendid dynasty, which attained to supreme command 
by the genius and valour of one man, and then fell to 
pieces in ruin and bloodshed through the jealous feuds 
of his successors. The undying curse which rests upon 
despotic rule, combined with the inherent jealousies 
arising from polygamy, is the fatal source of weakness 
in all Eastern government. For the despot dare not 
suffer a rival near the throne and where " Amurath an 

- " M61anges," p. 283 (ed. 1878), 


Amurath succeeds," the successful general who has 
conquered kingdoms for his lord, the great statesman, 
nay, his own next-of-kin if beloved of the people — 
all become at once his dreaded foes to be trampled in 
the dust. 

The kingdom of Granada was torn asunder by 
domestic discord. Muley-Abu-1-Hasan had taken as 
his wife many years before, a Christian captive, Isabel 
de Solis, daughter of the governor of Martos. Her 
Moorish name,* Zoraya, " morning star," is said to have 
been given her on account of her surpassing beauty. 
She had a son Abu Abdallah, better known by the 
name of Bo^dil, just grown up to splendid manhood, 
who had always been looked upon as his father's heir 
to the throne. But of late the old King appears to 
have taken another beauty of the harem, Ayesha, as 
his favourite v;^ife, and Zoraya, in her jealous fear that 
her son might be ousted from his rightful position, 
stirred up a revolt in the city with the help of her 
powerful faction the Zegries (Thegrim, the people who 
came from the province of Aragon). Her rival is said 
to have been supported by the clan of the Abencerrages 
(the Beni Cerraj, " children of the saddle "), between 
whom and the Zegries there raged a deadly feud. 

Tradition says that the Sultana was closely im- 
prisoned within the walls of the Alhambra with her 
son Boabdil, but that they contrived to make their 
escape from the window of a tower overlooking the 
Darro, and that the insurrection spread amongst the 
fickle populace, who chose Boabdil as their king when 

'•' Some writers — amongst others WashingtoH Irving and Lane 
Poole — call Ayesha the mother of Boabdil, but we follow Martin 
Hume as the latest and best authority. 

129 I 


his father was defeated at Alhama. " Allah Achbar ! " 
"God is great!" exclaimed old Muley-Abu-1-Hasan ; 
" it is vain to contend against what is written in the 
Book of Fate. It was predestined that my son should 
sit upon the throne. Allah forefend the rest of the 
prediction ! " * alluding to the prophecy that under 
his rule the kingdom of Granada should come to 
an end. 

But the sturdy old warrior was not one to give up his 
throne without a desperate struggle. He retreated for 
a time to Malaga, which with other important cities 
was still faithful to him, while for a brief time Granada 
and the larger part of the realm paid their uncertain 
allegiance to his son, and they were both more keenly 
in earnest about fighting each other than in making 
common cause against their Christian foes. On one 
occasion we are told that the fiery Abu-1-Hasan arrived 
late one night at the gate of Granada with a company 
of picked horsemen, who contrived to obtain entrance 
within the city walls, scaled the fortress of the Alhambra 
and without mercy slew all they came across. Then 
he turned his rage against the defenceless inhabitants 
and the streets ran with blood until, maddened with 
despair, the people turned at bay and the old King 
scarcely escaped with a remnant of his followers. 

During the eventful summer of 1482 the Court of 
Isabel remained at Cordova, but there were no more 
serious military expeditions than constant forays on 
the part of Christians and Moors, in which the fair 
land on both sides of the frontier was devastated and 
laid waste, and many thousand head of cattle were 
carried off from their hapless owners. In July the 

* Washington Irving. 


/. Lacosle, phot. 

Calhedral, Malaga 

Carved Wcoden Statue 


sovereigns heard of the death at Alcala de Henares of 
theturbulent Archbishop of Toledo, Alfonso de Carillo ; 
the man who had taken the chief part in raising Isabel 
to the throne, and had then turned against her and 
ended his days in sullen disgrace. The Cardinal of 
Spain, Don Pedro Gonzalez de Mendoza, who suc- 
ceeded him to the splendid archbishopric, was already 
the trusted counsellor of Isabel, who had the greatest 
confidence in his wisdom and justice. Well had it 
been for Spain if his influence had continued to pre- 
dominate rather than that of the zealot Torquemada. 

It was not until late in October that the Spanish 
Court moved from Cordova to Madrid and settled in 
residence for the winter in the royal palace, the out- 
post Alcazar of the Moors, to which King Enrique IV. 
had made large additions. It stands to the west of 
the city on a low sandy wind-blown hill overlooking 
the river Manzanares, while to the north there rise 
the snow^ peaks of the Sierras — a bleak inhospitable 
spot whose chief attraction was probably the excellent 
hunting of boars, wolves and bears within reach. Queen 
Isabel had a great love for riding and hunting, and in 
her days the country around Madrid was covered with 
immense forests which gave cover to many wild 
animals. We are told that once when she was hunt- 
ing in the hills which overlook the Manzanares, she 
killed a bear of great size and ferocity, and the first 
impulse of her pious mind was to give San Isidro, the 
patron saint of Madrid, all the credit for the fortunate 
adventure, and in thanksgiving for it she built him a 
new chapel near the church of San Andres. 

We can hardly appreciate what the fierce wild joy 
of the chase was in those bygone times when the 



rough country often came close up to the walls of the 
towns. As Michelet writes : "Toute la joiedu monde, 
tout le sel de la vie, c'etait la chasse ; au matin lereveil 
du cor, le jour la course au bois et la fatigue ; au soir, 
le retour, le triomphe, quand le vainquer siegeait a la 
longue table avec sa bande joyeuse." 

Save for the opportunities of sport with such big 
game, the palaces elsewhere, such as Valladolid, 
Medina del Campo, and Segovia appear to have been 
more popular as royal residences at this period. 

During the brief respite from the Moorish war, 
Fernando, as King of Sicily, had taken a keen interest 
in the affairs of Italy, and his ambassador at the Papal 
Court took part in the negotiations which Sixtus IV. 
carried on so successfully. The practice of sending 
an envoy in a dignified position to reside at a foreign 
Court is said to have originated with this wily King,and 
the old English " embassador " is derived by some 
writers from the Spanish enibiar, to send. But the 
attentions of the Catholic sovereigns were specially 
directed towards Navarre, which was always a cause of 
contention between France and Spain. 

We have already seen how the unfortunate Blanche 
of Navarre was done to death by her sister Leonore, 
who herself died in 1479, leaving the kingdom to her 
grandson Frangois Phoebus, whose mother Madeleine, 
the sister of Louis XI., was Regent during his minority. 
Gaston de Foix had been killed at a tournament in 
1469, and must not be confused with the more famous 
Gaston Phoebus de Foix, his ancestor, who lived a 
hundred years before, and being called Phcebus, 
either from his personal beauty or his love for the 
chase (concerning which he wrote the great mediaeval 



handbook), he took the sun for his device. Young 
Francois is said to have inherited his personal beauty 
and golden hair, as well as his flamboyant name. 
Louis XI. is credited with having set on foot a dark 
intrigue to marry this young nephew of his to the 
Beltraneja, who had taken the veil some years before ; 
but probably this crooked policy was merely a threat 
to the Castailin rulers. When Fernando heard the 
rumour, he immediately set to work at checkmaking 
his rival, by offering the hand of his little daughter 
Juana, who was scarcely more than three years old, to 
the young King of Navarre. In these matrimonial 
alliances, the age of the children in question was of 
no account whatever. We cannot tell who would 
have won the day, for both the arch-schemers were 
defeated by the sudden death of the beautiful youth, 
and poor Francois Phcebus was succeeded on the 
throne of Navarre by his sister Catherine. Nothing 
daunted, Fernando now suggested that the young 
princess, who was just thirteen, should mari-y his son 
Juan, the heir of Castile, aged four. The Regent Queen 
Madeleine had certainly a good excuse for her refusal, 
when she pleaded how unsuitable they were in point 
of age. 

Meantime Louis XL, who never trusted any one, 
even his sister, was taking steps to secure a hold over 
various strongholds in Navarre, and Fernando and 
Isabel, ever on the alert, at once moved their Court to 
the frontier town of Logroiio, on the river Ebro, 
standing in the midst of a fertile plain enclosed by 
hills, on the confines of Castile and Navarre. Here 
they could keep watch over the contested province and 
endeavour to counteract by force of arms any aggres- 



sion on the part of the untrustworthy and perfidious 
King of France. It was not until his death in August, 
1483, that all fear with regard to the mountain king- 
dom, which served as a shield between Spain and 
France — and held the key of the Pyrenean passes — was 
set at rest. 

In the interval much had happened. The Moorish 
war had been carried on fitfully with forays and skir- 
mishings, until in the spring of 1483 a serious disaster 
befell the chivalry of Andalusia. The Marquess of 
Cadiz, the Grand Master of Santiago, and other great 
warlike lords, wishing to retaliate on old Muley- 
Abu-1-Hasan for a more audacious inroad than usual 
into Christian territory, assembled in the ancient fron- 
tier town of Antequera, once an important Roman 
station. They held a council of war to decide upon 
their point of attack, and on information received 
from certain Moorish scouts, they resolved to invade 
the mountainous region near Malaga, called the Axar- 
quia. Here there were fertile valleys full of fiocks and 
herds, many villages and outlying hamlets totally un- 
protected, and if Malaga itself were unprepared for 
their approach, it was even possible that they might 
take it by assault. They would thus have the supreme 
satisfaction of bearding the fierce old King Muley in 
his den, for the Moors in their folly had now split up 
their province under two sovereigns, Boabdil ruling 
in Granada and the surrounding district, while his 
father and his warrior brother — "El Zagal,"the Valiant 
at Malaga. 

It was a goodly sight to behold the gallant company 
which set forth on that March day from the gates of 
the old Moorish city. " Never was the pomp of war 



carried to a higher pitch than among the proud 
chivalry of Spain. Cased in armour, richly inlaid and 
embossed, decked with rich surcoats and waving 
plumes, and superbly mounted on Andalusian steeds, 
they pranced out of Antequera, with banners flying, 
their devices and armorial bearings ostentatiously dis- 
played." ... So sure were they of victory that the 
army was actually followed by traders, who proposed 
to buy up the rich spoils of the enemy ! 

"They marched all day and night, making their way 
secretly, as they supposed, through the passes of the 
mountains. . . . Their path was often along the 
bottom of a barranco, or deep rocky valley, with a 
scanty stream dashing along it, among the loose rocks 
and stones which it had broken and rolled down in 
the time of its autumnal violence. Sometimes their 
road was a mere rambla, or dry bed of a torrent, cut 
deep into the mountains and filled with their shattered 
fragments. These barrancas and ramblas were over- 
hung by immense cliffs and precipices, forming lurking 
places of ambuscades. . . . 

" As the sun went down, the cavaliers came to a 
lofty part of the mountains, commanding to their right 
a distant glimpse of a part of the fair Vega of Malaga, 
with the blue Mediterranean beyond, and they hailed 
it with exultation as a glimpse of the promised land. 
As the night closed in they reached the chain of little 
valleys and hamlets, locked up among these rocky 
heights, and known among the Moors by the name of 
the Azarquia. Here their vaunting hopes were destined 
to meet with the first disappointment. The inhabitants 
had heard of their approach; they had conveyed away 
their cattle and effects, and, with their wives and 



children, had taken refuge in the towers and fortresses 
of the mountains." 

In their rage the soldiers set fire to the deserted 
villages, and this was their undoing, as it showed their 
position to the Moorish peasants, who had found 
shelter in the watchtowers above. From the cliffs 
which overhung the ravine, darts and stones were 
hurled down upon them, amid the shouts of their 
invisible foes, and in their ignorance of the wild 
country, the unfortunate Christians plunged deeper 
and deeper into still more dangerous glens and 

"The surrounding precipices were lit up by a 
thousand alarm fires. . . . the mountaineers assem- 
bled from every direction : they swarmed at every 
pass. . . . garrisoning the cliffs like so many towers 
and battlements. . . . Suddenly a new cry was 
heard resounding along the valley, * El Zazal ! ' * El 
Zazal !' echoed from cliff to cliff." It was indeed the 
fierce old Moorish general, whose name alone was a 
host in itself. The Master of Santiago made a desperate 
effort to collect his scattered followers, and at least 
die fighting. " Horse and foot followed his example, 
eager, if they could not escape, to have a dying blow 
at the enemy. As they struggled up the height, a 
tremendous storm of darts and stones was showered 
upon them by the Moors. Sometimes a fragment of 
rock came bounding and thundering down, ploughing 
its way through the centre of their host. . . . the horses 
losing their footing among the loose stones, or re- 
ceiving some sudden wound, tumbled down the steep 
declivity, steed and rider rolling from crag to crag, 
until they were dashed to pieces in the valley. In this 



desperate struggle, the alferez or standard-bearer of 
the Master, with his standard, was lost, as were many 
of his relations and dearest friends, having neither 
banner nor trumpet by which to rally his troops."* 
. . . The Grand Master was at last induced to see 
that hope was at an end, and with bitter reluctance 
was persuaded to save his life by flight. 

" The moment the Master put his horse to speed, his 
troops scattered in all directions, some endeavoured to 
follow in his traces but were confounded by the intri- 
cacies of the mountains. They fied hither and thither, 
many perishing amidst the precipices, others being 
slain by the Moors, and others made prisoners." The 
gallant Marquess of Cadiz and Don Alonzo de Aguilar, 
with the other divisions of the ill-fated army, met with 
no better success. They too were overwhelmed by 
their foes from the vantage-ground of the steep cliffs, 
and only a forlorn and scattered remnant ever reached 
the gates of Antequera. Of the remainder " some were 
thrown into the dungeons of frontier towns ; others led 
captive to Granada, but by far the greater number were 
conducted to Malaga, the city they had threatened to 
attack. Two hundred and fifty principal cavaliers, 
alcaydes, commanders and hidalgoes,of generous blood, 
were confined in the Alcazaba or citadel of Malaga, 
to await their ransom ; and . . . the common soldiery 
were crowded in the courtyard to be sold as slaves."* 

" Great spoils were collected of splendid armour and 
weapons taken from the slain or thrown away by the 
cavaliers in their flight ; and many horses richly capa- 
risoned, together with numerous standards ; all which 
were paraded in triumph into the Moorish towns. The 
' Washington Irving. 


merchants also who had come with the army, intend- 
ing to traffic in the spoils of the Moors, were themselves 
made objects of traffic," and had to purchase their 
freedom at a grievous cost. 

This terrible disaster is still recorded in Spanish 
calendars as "The Defeat of the Mountains of Malaga," 
and the place where the greatest slaughter took place is 
pointed out as " La cuesta de lamatanza." 

This was the tidings which reached the Catholic 
sovereigns far away in the north, and filled all Andalusia 
with horror and consternation, and a burning desire for 
vengeance. Meantime Abu Abdallah, " Boabdil," at 
Granada, heard with secret envy of the triumphant 
success of his father and El Zagal, whose praises filled 
the city, while his subjects looked with discontented 
eyes at his peaceful pomp and luxury. He saw that 
immediate stirring action was absolutely necessary if 
he wished to remain King of Granada ; even a brief 
delay might find Muley-Abu-1-Hassan recalled, and 
prison or a dagger for himself. He was not wanting in 
courage, and his ambition now was to do some great 
deed of arms which would win glory and renown far 
beyond that of El Zagal. 

All the chivalry of Granada was eager to follow him, 
and welcomed his summons with enthusiasm, while 
Boabdil was wise enough to strengthen his army with 
the veteran soldiers who served old Ali Atar, the brave 
defender of Loja, who was specially bound to him as 
being the father of his young wife. This fiery warrior, 
to whom fighting was the very salt of life, was keenly 
eager to invade the Christian frontier, and he pointed 
out that the town of Lucena had no strong garrison 
and was in the midst of fertile pasturage, rich in cattle, 



with fair vineyards and olive gardens, and within easy 
reach of the capital. 

" Boabdil el Chico listened to. . . . this veteran of 
the borders. He assembled a force of nine thousand 
foot and seven hundred horse. . . . the most illustrious 
and valiant of the Moorish nobility gathered round his 
standard, magnificently arrayed in sumptuous armour 
and rich embroidery. ... As the royal cavalcade 
issued from the palace and descended through the 
streets of Granada, the populace greeted him with 
shouts. . . . but in passing through the gate of Elvira, 
the King accidentally broke his lance against the arch. 
At this certain of his nobles turned pale and entreated 
of him not to proceed, as they regarded it as an evil 
omen. Boabdil scoffed at their fears. . . . but another 
evil omen was sent. ... At the rambla of Beyro, 
scarcely a bowshot from the city, a fox ran through the 
whole army. . . . and escaped to the mountains. . . . 
The King, however, was not to be dismayed, and con- 
tinued to march forward."* 

Cautious as was the advance of the Moorish army, 
news had reached the governor of Lucena, Don Diego 
Fernandez de Cordova, " alcayde de los donzeles," 
captain of the royal pages. In all haste he caused 
alarm fires to be lighted, and sent word to his uncle, 
the Conde de Cabra, alcayde of the castle-crowned 
city of Baena, which was not far distant, although a 
rude mountain region lies between. Don Diego also 
lost no time in waiting for help, but set to work at his 
fortifications which needed repair, laid up provisions 
and made ready for defence, first gathering within his 
walls the women and children from the near hamlets. 
'■'■^Washington Irving. 


At dawn the next morning Don Diego saw from afar 
the approach of the Moorish army, devastating the 
country, but it was evidently bent on a marauding foray 
in the rich lands towards Cordova, before the alarm 
should be given to the peasants and the flocks and herds 
driven into safety. 

The Conde de Cabra on receiving his nephew's 
urgent message had lost no time, but set forth with 
all the retainers and men-at-arms he could muster, 
having sent couriers to the neighbouring towns and 
caused signal fires to be lighted in all directions. By 
the time he arrived within sight of Lucena, the Moors, 
laden with spoil, were preparing to lay siege to the 
city, and taken by surprise, supposed the relieving army 
to be come in great force, as it was partly hidden by the 
hilly ground and the misty atmosphere. At the same 
time Don Diego made a sortie from the city, and the 
rank and file of the soldiers from Granada, only intent 
on saving their precious booty, hastily began a cowardly 
retreat, leaving the brunt of the battle to the horsemen. 
All this had taken time, for the Conde de Cabra, ex- 
pecting reinforcements, had played a waiting game and 
drawn back to the higher ground as if in retreat, only 
to rush forward with tremendous impetus shouting the 
battle-cry of " Santiago ! " 

At this moment an Italian trumpet sounded on the 
opposite side from a copse of oak trees, and old Ali 
Atar exclaimed : " The whole world seems in arms 
against us ! " It was in fact only the alcayde of Luque 
with a small force, but it seemed to the enemy that they 
were closed in between two armies. Gallantly as the 
Moorish knights had fought, this was too mnch for 
them, and they began to give way with the feeling of 



such immense odds against them, and retreated fighting 
with desperate courage. Many times they turned upon 
their pursuers, but the Christian leader kept his battahon 
in splendid order with a body of picked lances always 
in front ; skirmishing was in vain against the solid 
phalanx of steel which faced them, and again the 
Moors fled. 

The way was strewn with the flower of the King's 
guard, until at length they were driven back as far as 
the little river Mingozalez, swollen by rain and now a 
rushing torrent. Here Boabdil made a bold stand with a 
few of his most devoted cavaliers, fighting hand to 
hand with the Castilian knights, scorning to yield or 
ask for quarter, and soon the ground was covered with 
wounded and dead. The King's faithful guard closed 
in around him to cover his retreat, and, having dis- 
mounted from his horse, he tried to hide amongst the 
willows and tamarisk on the bank. But here he was 
discovered by a soldier who attacked him with a pike ; 
and, as he sought to defend himself, others joined in, 
when to save his life, Boabdil offered a large ransom and 
expressed himself willing to surrender to their general. 
Don Diego behaved with knightly courtesy and sent 
him under a guard of soldiers to the castle of Lucena, 
but the accounts differ as to whether the alcayde 
merely took him at the time for a man of high rank. 

All that day the Castilian army continued the fierce 
pursuit, which was a constant danger, for if the enemy 
had turned to bay they might easily have overmastered 
their pursuers. The retreat was along the valley of the 
Xenil, opening through the mountains towards Loja, 
and the alarm fires had so roused the country that 
armed men kept pouring in from the towns and villages, 



and this kept up the panic. Don Alonzo de Aguilar, 
with a band of companions who had been in the rout 
of the Axarquia, were amongst those who joined 
in the pm'suit and their war-cry was " Remember the 
mountains of Malaga ! " as they made a desperate 
charge on the retreating Moors. Old Ali Atar heard 
the cry and spurred his horse to meet the new foe ; he 
rushed at him hurling his lance, but missed his aim, 
and in the fierce struggle which followed, the veteran 
warrior was killed and his body washed away by the 
waters of the Xenil. 

Well for him that he escaped the knowledge of his 
country's shame that day. 

The fall of Ali Atarwas the last and most crushing blow 
to the Moors, who lost all heart and struggled no more 
against the decree of fate. Nearly the whole of that 
gallant army, which had sallied from thewalls of Granada 
full of hope and valour, had perished by the waters of 
the Xenil or fallen captives in the hands of the enemy. 
The Christians were full of triumph and exultation, 
for within one brief month the humiliation of their 
rout in the mountains of Malaga had been blotted out. 
Once more the chivalry of Andalusia could face the 
world with pride and honour. But this battle of Lucena 
had other and more far-reaching consequences. When 
the Conde de Cabra found that his prisoner was no 
other than the King of Granada, he realised the im- 
portance of his prize, and at once sent urgent messages 
to his sovereigns, who were still in the north at Vitoria, 
a mediaeval city on the frontier of Navarre. 

Fernando at once hastened southward to secure the 
greatest fruit from the important capture of Boabdil, a 
matter of diplomacy such as his soul loved. A council 



of war was held at Cordova, and there was much 
difference of opinion ; some counsellors suggesting 
that the Moorish prince should be kept in captivity. 
as his loss would be so great to his party that the final 
conquest of the kingdom would be rendered easy. 
On the other hand, both Cardinal Mendoza and the 
Marquess of Cadiz strongly advised that he should 
not only be released and become a vassal of Castile, 
but that he should be supplied with men and money to 
promote the civil war in Granada, as this would do 
more for the interest of the Christians than all their 
conquests. "A kingdom divided against itself cannot 

The astute King had probably made up his own mind 
on the subject, but he sent an envoy to state all the 
arguments to Queen Isabel, and ask her opinion on 
the weighty question. Her answer was prompt and 
decisive ; she advised that the King of Granada be set 
at liberty without delay. Naturally of a generous dis- 
position, she always inclined to the magnanimous view 
of a subject, while at the same time her judgment was 
shrewd and far-reaching. Thus the matter was de- 
cided, but there were many preliminaries to be 
arranged. Boabdil was ready to promise anything 
to regain his freedom, and the following humiliating 
terms were at length agreed upon : The Moorish 
King was to pay all arrears of the tribute, which was 
fixed at twelve thousand doblas of gold annually, and 
he was to surrender four hundred Christian captives 
without ransom. He was to become a faithful vassal 
of the Christian sovereigns, to suffer their troops to 
pass through his land and furnish them with pro- 
visions ; he was to attend the Cortes when summoned, 



and to give his only son as hostage with several other 
noble youths. 

There was to be a truce for two years, during which 
time the Christian sovereigns would help Boabdil to 
recover the rest of his kingdom, now in the possession 
of his father Muley-Abu-1-Hasan. 

Having thus sold his country and his honour as the 
price of his liberty, the wretched Abu Abdallah el 
Chico was received with great ceremony at Cordova 
by King Fernando, loaded with costly presents and 
conducted in state to the frontier by a guard of 
Andalusian cavalry. 






On the watch-towers of Granada anxious vigil was 
kept on the night of that 21st day of April, in the year 
1483. The city was full of restless eagerness and a 
hungry longing for news of battle, as there was 
scarcely a household from which one or more mem- 
bers had not gone forth to the attack on Lucena. 
"The people looked to behold the King returning in 
triumph, at the head of his shining host, laden with 
the spoil of the unbeliever." * But on the morrow, 
when the messenger entered the gate of Granada, 
their hearts were filled with foreboding. " Cavalier," 
said they, " how fares it with the King and the 
army ? " He cast his hand mournfully towards the 
land of the Christians. "There they lie !" exclaimed 
he, "the heavens have fallen upon them ! All are 
lost ! All are lost ! " 

The voice of horror and lamentation went through 
the city. From the highest to the lowest all mourned 
some dearly-loved one. In the towers of the Alhambra 

-^ Washington Irving. 

145 K 


the Sultana Zoraya learnt that her hopes were crushed 
and her son had fallen in battle, while Boabdil's young 
wife Morayma bewailed in that dark hour the loss of 
her gallant father Ali Atar and her husband. 

" All Granada," say the Arabian chroniclers, " gave 
itself up to lamentations ; there was nothing but the 
voice of wailing from the palace to the cottage. All 
joined to deplore their youthful monarch, cut down 
in the freshness and promise of his youth. Many 
feared that the prediction of the astrologer was about 
to be fulfilled, and that the downfall of the kingdom 
would follow the death of Boabdil, while all declared 
that, had he survived, he was the very sovereign calcu- 
lated to restore the realm to its ancient prosperity and 

As the fugitives made their way home, a downcast, 
scattered remnant, the truth became known. The 
young King, whose untimely loss was thus mourned 
had not fallen in battle but had surrendered to the 
Christian foe, and the feelings of his subjects entirely 
changed. "They decried his talents as a commander, 
his courage as a soldier. They railed at his expedi- 
tion, as rash and ill-conducted, and they reviled him 
for not having dared to die on the field of battle." 

In a moment old Muley-Abu-1-Hasan became the 
hero ; he alone should be their King, and the fickle 
populace threw open their gates to receive him. He 
took triumphant possession of the Alhambra, for the 
Sultana Zoraya and the partisans of her son had 
retreated to the other citadel, the Alcazaba, in the 
Albaycin quarter of the city. As the captivity of 
Boabdil still lasted, so the power of his father grew, 
for one town after another returned to his allegiance. 



WTien the unfortunate King was set at liberty by the 
Christian sovereigns, his troubles were only beginning, 
for he had to creep back to his capital in secret and 
enter its walls by stealth. With two kings in the dis- 
tracted city a time of horror and anarchy followed, 
until the people could endure it no longer, and 
Boabdil was compelled to retreat to Almeria, on the 
sea coast, the " Portus Magnus " of the Romans, but 
under the Moorish rule a pirate port of evil repute. 
Yet, as the Arab poet sung, " It was a city where, if 
thou walkest, the stones are pearls, the dust gold, and 
the gardens a paradise,'' as they still continue in their 
luxuriant growth of the fig-tree, the orange, the lemon 
and even fields of maize and sugar-canes. 

The fiery old king, Muley-Abu-1-Hasan, was thus left 
in sole possession of Granada, but long experience 
had taught him not to put much trust in his present 
popularity. He knew well that a successful foray into 
the land of the unbeliever would do more to strengthen 
his cause than anything else, and that, in his position, 
constant fighting was an absolute necessity. With the 
keen eye of a warrior veteran he looked around for a 
promising foray and a leader. 

His choice fell upon a certain Bexir, the alcayde of 
Malaga, who had grown grey in border warfare. This 
grim old Moor welcomed with enthusiasm the call to 
arms, and sent a summons round to the commanders 
of the neighbouring frontier towns to meet him with 
their picked troops at the city of Ronda, on the very 
edge of the frontier. This mountain stronghold was 
a very nest of organised brigands, the most fierce and 
daring of the hill people, to whom a plundering 
inroad into Christian territory had ever been the aim 



and joy of life from their childhood. The alcayde of 
this impregnable rock-girt city was worthy of his post 
Hamet el Zegri, a great fighter who kept in his own 
service a legion of African Moors of the tribe of the 
Gomeres, who formed a band of mountain cavalry 
perhaps unmatched in the world for strength and 
speed. " Rapid on the march, fierce in the attack, it 
would sweep down upon the Andalusian plains like a 
sudden blast from the mountains and pass away as 
suddenly, before there was time for pursuit." 

The gallant Bexir looked with pride on the splendid 
war material so quickly and secretly gathered together 
from all the neighbourhood, and " the infidel host 
sallied forth full of spirits, anticipating an easy ravage 
and abundant booty." Some of the Moorish knights 
even wore, in mockery and defiance, the splendid 
armour of the Christian cavaliers slain not long since 
on those fatal mountains of Malaga. 

But history has a way of repeating itself when men 
commit the same mistakes and are vain-glorious and 
over-confident. They trusted to secrecy, but the most 
wary leader is never safe from discovery ; some vaga- 
bond scouts got wind of the expedition and the 
Christian governors of the neighbourhood were all 
warned. Meantime the Moorish chief crossed the 
rugged mountains, the Serrania de Ronda, guided by 
Hamet el Zegri, who was familiar with every pass and 
defile, and when they reached the rocky height from 
whence the smiling plains of Andalusia were out- 
spread before them, Bexir made his usual crafty 
manoeuvre. He divided his host into three parts, 
leaving the foot soldiers to guard the pass, placing a 
strong ambush on the wooded banks of the river 


Lopera, while the main body of hardy cavalry dashed 
forward to ravage the great plain, full of flocks and 

They little knew that the alarm had already spread 
through all the country round, and that the border 
captains of the Santa Hermandad, knights of Alcantara, 
Puerto Carrero of Ecija, and above all the formidable 
Marquess of Cadiz, were already out on the warpath. 

" Remember the mountains of Malaga " should 
have been their watchword on that fatal day ! Again 
it was the old story of invaders scattered over the plain, 
of well-laid ambush, of fierce and sudden attack, and 
headlong flight through the steep narrow mountain 
defiles, where a few soldiers well placed were a match 
for an army in disorder. This time the fortune of war 
was on the side of the Christians, for they had know- 
ledge of the enemy's position and were masters of the 
situation. The unfortunate Moors, though taken by 
surprise in every way, fought with desperate fury and 
sold their lives dearly ; while a scattered remnant 
reached the pass guarded by their own men, who 
" seeing them come galloping wildly up the defile with 
Christian banners in pursuit, thought all Andalusia 
was upon them and fled without awaiting an attack." 
The pursuit was terrible, for a fresh storm of war 
seemed to break upon them every side, and lasted until 
night fell. 

The Moorish army had sallied forth from Ronda 
full of hope and exultation, but it was a sad and 
heart-broken band which crept back, bringing tidings 
of death and disaster. The flower of Moorish chivalry 
had fallen that day, the garrisons of all the neighbour- 
ing towns were half-destroyed, and the pride of Islam 



was laid low in the dust. This battle of Lopera was 
fought on September 17, 1483. The news reached the 
Christian sovereigns in the north at Vitoria, whence 
they were on the point of removing their Court, as 
they had just heard of the death of their old enemy 
Louis XI. on August 30, 1483, and it was no longer 
necessary for them to keep watch and ward over the 
frontier of Navarre. 

We next hear of Fernando and Isabel in the Alcazar, 
the Moorish palace of Cordova, where they had the 
pleasing task of heaping honours and rewards on the 
gallant cavaliers who had fought so well against the 
Moors. The Marquess of Cadiz received from the 
King the royal robes which he had worn on the day 
of rejoicing over the battle of Lopera, with the privilege 
for him and his heirs of wearing them on our Lady's 
day in September, to commemorate the victory. Queen 
Isabel did the same with regard to the wife of Puerto 
Carrero, sending her the brocaded robe which she had 
worn that day. 

But the highest honours were reserved for the Conde 
de Cabra, and his nephew Don Diego, the Alcayde de 
los Donzeles, who had taken captive the King of 
Granada. The count was met at the gate of the city 
by a company of prelates and grandees of the realm, 
and he rode through the streets at the right hand of 
the Cardinal Mendoza, in stately procession with 
martial music and the blast of trumpets, and the 
acclamations of the people. He was received by the 
sovereigns in the Hall of Audience, and they came 
forward to meet him with cordial greetings, and bid 
him be seated in their presence. " The conqueror 
of kings should sit with kings." After this there 



was festive music and a stately dance, and the Conde 
de Cabra was dismissed with many expressions of 

A few days later, the young Alcayde de los Donzeles 
was also received with great honours but somewhat 
less in degree. A great feast was held at the Court 
when there was a stately and ceremonious dance. On 
this occasion, we are told, " the King led forth the 
Queen in grave and graceful measure : the Conde de 
Cabra was honoured with the hand of the Infanta 
Isabel, and the Alcayde de los Donzeles danced with a 
lady of high rank.- The dance being concluded, the 
royal party repaired to the supper table . . . here in 
full view of the Court, the Conde de Cabra and his 
nephew supped at the same table with the King, the 
Queen, and the Infanta . . ." 

When we consider the stately etiquette of the Spanish 
Court, we see in these gracious marks of royal favour 
the winning condescension of Queen Isabel, who with 
her marvellous instinct seemed to know exactly how 
best to win the hearts of her subjects. She next 
bestowed on these fortunate nobles as armorial 
bearings, a Moor's head crowned with a gold chain 
round the neck, in a sanguine field, and twenty-two 
banners round the margin of the escutcheon. They 
also received the more substantial reward of a large 
revenue for life. 

During the next few years no very decisive event 
occurred in the Moorish war, although in effect the 
Christians were gradually narrowing the circle which 
they had drawn round the doomed province. One 
fortress after another was taken, but the war was chiefly 
carried on by a series of destructive forays, in which 



the unfortunate land was ravaged and laid desolate. 
We read of the invading host " sweeping away the 
flocks and herds from the pasture, the labourer from 
the field, and the convoy from the road . . . leaving 
the rich land of the infidel in smoking desolation 
behind them. . . . destroying all the cornfields, vine- 
yards and orchards, and plantations of olives . . . 
laying waste the growth of almonds, and the fields of 
grain, and destroying every green thing. It pursued 
its slow and destructive course, like the stream of lava 
from a volcano . . . leaving all these fertile regions a 
smoking and frightful desert." 

The farmhouses, the granaries, and all the Httle mills 
by the riverside were ruthlessly demolished, and when 
we remember that beside this merciless devastation, the 
fleet on the Mediterranean cut off all supplies from 
the coast of Barbary, we can only wonder how any 
remnant of the wretched peasantry survived. 

The strength of the Moors lay chiefly in the number 
of their fortified places which stood on the crest of 
some precipice or mountain height, for it had ever 
been their custom to build on high places. These 
strongholds were in many cases absolutely impregnable 
to any form of assault which could be brought to bear 
upon them before the fifteenth century, and thus a 
small determined garrison could defy an army, until 
reduced by the slow process of famine. In this early 
stage of the war, Fernando and Isabel clearly saw that 
the war would be chiefly one of sieges, and that for this 
purpose it was needful for them to obtain a supply of 
the best artillery which the world could produce. It 
will be interesting to consider what this amounted to in 
the fifteenth century. 



Cannon balls propelled by gunpowder had been 
known in the East from very early times, and the Moors, 
always in advance of Europe, had certainly made use 
of artillery during their early wars in Spain. But they 
appear to have made no great progress since the twelfth 
century. We are told that Edward I. at the siege of 
Stirling used an "engine-a-virge " which threw stones 
of three hundred pounds weight, and Edward III. seems 
to have surprised the French by using cannon at the 
Battle of Cregy. In Italy, Petrarch, writing in 1358, 
describes cannon as " no longer rare or viewed with 
astonishment and admiration." 

Gibbon gives a minute description of the great cannon 
used at the siege of Constantinople in 1453 — a year after 
the birth of Fernando of Aragon, which event in the 
eyes of monkish chroniclers, almost redeemed that 
great disaster to the Christian world. 

Mohammed II. asked his foreign artisan : "Am I able 
to cast a cannon capable of throwing a ball of sufficient 
size to batter the walls of Constantinople ? " "I am 
ignorant of their strength ; but were they more solid 
than those of Babylon I could oppose an engine of 
superior power." On this assurance a foundry was 
established at Adrianople ; the metal was prepared, and 
at the end of three months Urban produced a piece of 
brass ordnance of stupendous and almost incredible 
magnitude ; a measure of twelve palms is assigned to 
the bore, and the stone bullet weighed above six hundred 
pounds. . . . For the conveyance of this destructive 
engine, a carriage of thirty waggons was linked together, 
and drawn along by a team of thirty oxen ; two hundred 
men on both sides were stationed to poise and support 
the rolling weight ; two hundred and fifty workmen 



walked before to smooth the way and repair the 
bridges, and near two months were employed in a labo- 
rious journey of one hundred and fifty miles." "The 
great cannon could be loaded and fired no more than 
seven times in one day. The heated metal unfortunately 
burst. . . ." as was so often the case with these engines 
of destruction, making them quite as much a terror to 
the attackers as the attacked. 

We have a formidable list of " bum.bardos, canones, 
culverynes, fowelers, serpentynes et alios canones quos- 
cumque. . . ." The "bombards" were made of iron 
bars fitted together lengthways and hooped with iron 
bars, and usually cast stone balls ; they were firmly 
fixed on their carriage, and had neither horizontal nor 
vertical movement. We cannot wonder that Machia- 
velli some years later doubts their use in battle, and 
advises that the enemy's fire should be avoided by 
"intervals in the ranks being left open opposite to his 

Queen Isabel appears to have taken the lead in the 
important matter of providing the best artillery with 
the help of a great expert, Francisco Ramirez. She sent 
agents to collect skilled artisans from Flanders, Italy 
and France ; she obtained all the requisite material 
and set up forges to carry out everything that the 
highest military science of her day could suggest. But 
when these clumsy cannons were ready for use, there 
remained the extraordinary difficulty of transport, often 
through rugged passes hard to climb on foot. " An 
immense body of pioneers was constantly employed in 
constructing roads for the artillery across the sierras, 
by levelling the mountains, filling up the intervening 
valleys with rocks or with cork-trees and other timber 



. . . and throwing bridges across the torrents and pre- 
cipitous ' barrancos.' " 

The same minute and diHgent care which was be- 
stowed upon the artillery was turned to the other 
branches of military science. It was an immense work, 
for the army assembled at Cordova we find stated at 
the lowest estimate to be often ten thousand horse and 
twenty thousand foot. Then we have to consider the 
needful supplies for this host, the beasts of burden for 
carrying provisions through a country laid waste and 
desolate, and for providing food to the conquered cities 
and fortresses. We are told that the Queen took a 
great share of this burden upon herself, that she moved 
from one frontier town to another, receiving constant 
intelligence from the seat of war, and sending well 
protected convoys wherever they were needed. To her 
womanly compassion for the sick and wounded we owe 
the first recognised camp hospital, for she had a certain 
number of tents set apart for their use and supplied with 
all necessary attendance and materials. 

The whole heart of Isabel was in this war for the 
Faith, and she succeeded in infusing somewhat of her 
own spirit into her people, but the hopes and aims of 
Fernando were for a long time only those of Aragon ; 
and even in 1484, when the sovereigns were so deeply 
committed to the war with the Moors, the King's 
strongest desire was to take advantage of the death of 
Louis XI. and turn his forces to the conquest of Rous- 
sillon. It was only the unswerving determination and 
energy of Isabel which at last overcame his wavering 
desires, and induced him to postpone his ambitious 
designs in France and Italy. 

We cannot dwell upon all the changing fortunes of 



that long guerilla warfare, but a few more striking 
events stand out in prominence. Before the end of 
1483, the gallant Marquess of Cadiz, who had already 
so greatly distinguished himself in the war, was for- 
tunate enough to take by surprise the famous mountain 
stronghold of Zahara ; the first town which the Moors 
had defiantly taken at the very opening of the cam- 
paign. The Marquess had no means of carrying on a 
long siege, and was glad to offer the brave defenders 
most favourable terms. They were allowed to march 
out of the city with all the goods they could carry, and 
were permitted to cross over in safety to Barbary. The 
Catholic sovereigns heard of this conquest with great 
satisfaction, and bestowed upon the brave cavalier the 
title of the Duke of Cadiz and Marquess of Zahara ; 
but he preferred to be known as Marquess Duke of 

King Fernando himself took the field in June 1483, 
and with his new lombards and heavy artillery gained 
by assault the fortresses of Aloraand Setenil, which had 
been considered impregnable ; he also spread ravage 
and destruction through the southern chain of valleys, 
even burning villages and destroying the riverside mills 
close to the very city of Granada. After visiting the 
various garrisons of the cities taken from the Moors, 
and seeing that they were well supplied with provi- 
sions, he returned in triumph to Cordova, with his 
splendid bodyguard of cavaliers whose equipment 
looked rather like that of knights bound for a tourney 
than engaged in serious warfare. 

Meantime, of the two Kings of Granada, old Muley- 
Abu-1-Hasan remained in the capital, his fierce spirit 
broken by the infirmities of age and increasing blind- 



ness, while the real sovereignty was in the hands of his 
brother Abdallah el Zagal, "the Valiant," who had 
shown his mettle in the unforgotten defeat of the 
Christian chivalry in the mountains of Malaga. 
Boabdil, the renegade King who was in the pay of 
Fernando, kept up a poor pretence of state in the 
sea-coast town of Almeria, hoping against hope that 
the fickle citizens of Granada would summon him 
back to reign in 'lovely courts of the Alhambra. But 
one day in February in the year 1485 he was startled 
from his dream of security and empire ; a hurried 
warning reached him that his uncle, the fierce old El 
Zagal, his deadly foe, was at the gates, and he had 
barely time to escape the massacre which fell upon his 
followers and his kinsmen. The wretched fugitive was 
friendless and homeless ; his subjects had been taught 
to look upon him as an apostate and a traitor, and in 
his mad despair he turned towards Cordova and sought 
a refuge with the enemies of his country and his faith. 
It was a fatal step, as it alienated from him the last 
sympathy of his race, and made El Zagal henceforth 
the real King of Granada. 

The most important event of the campaign in this 
year, 1485, was the siege of Ronda, which was led up 
to by the taking of various strong towns and fortresses 
in the valleys of Santa Maria and Cartama. Bene- 
maquex. Coin and Cartama were taken by means of 
the new and powerful artillery of King Fernando, and 
the inhabitants were put to the sword or carried into 
captivity ; where the fortifications could not be de- 
fended by a small garrison, they were demolished, and 
these successes so terrified the Moors that in many 



cases they abandoned the neighbouring towns and 
fled with their goods to the capital. 

Ronda, which had for its alcayde the indomitable 
Hamet el Zegri, had always hitherto been looked upon 
as impregnable. " It was situate in the heart of the 
wild and rugged mountains, and perched upon an 
isolated rock, crested by a strong citadel, with triple 
walls and towers. A deep ravine, or rather a perpen- 
dicular chasm of rocks of frightful depth, surrounded 
three parts of the city ; through this flowed the Rio 
Verde, or Green River. There were two suburbs to 
the city fortified by walls and towers, and almost 
inaccessible from the natural asperity of the rocks. 
Around this rugged city were deep rich valleys, 
sheltered by the mountains, refreshed by constant 
streams, abounding with grain and the most delicious 
fruits and yielding verdant meadows ; in which was 
reared a renowned breed of horses, the best in the 
whole kingdom for a foray."* It was known that the 
Christians had been bent on the attack of Malaga, and 
the Alcayde of Ronda, deeming his city secure, had 
gone forth on a foray. He was returning laden with 
spoil when he saw that the unexpected had happened; 
that the besiegers had brought their batteries in posi- 
tion against the walls, and that the King himself, with 
his royal standard floating in the wind, was encamped 
before the beleaguered city. Mad with rage, Hamet 
el Zegri poured down with his Gomeres upon the 
enemy's camp, only to be driven back with terrible 
slaughter, and he was driven to watch from the cliffs 
above the downfall of his beloved stronghold. "He 
smote his breast and gnashed his teeth in impotent 
* Washington Irving. 


fury .... every thunder of the Christian ordnance 
seemed to batter against his heart. He saw tower 
after tower tumbling by day, and at night the city 
blazed Hke a volcano. 'They fire not merely stones 
from their cannon, but likewise great balls of iron, 
cast in moulds which demolished everything they 
struck.' They threw also balls of tow, steeped in 
pitch and oil and gunpowder, which .... set the 
houses in flames." 

When all hope of help was given up, the inhabitants 
were driven to yield ; but they received very merciful 
terms, for they were allowed to depart with their 
property, and those who wished to remain in Spain 
had lands given them, and were suffered to enjoy the 
free use of their religion. All the captives in the 
dungeons were released and sent to Queen Isabel at 
Cordova, where she received them with great kindness. 
She caused their chains to be hung outside her beauti- 
ful votive church of San Juan de los Reyes at Toledo, 
where they may be seen to this day. 

The news of the fall of Ronda was received with 
dismay at Granada, and there was an outrry through 
the city that nothing could save them from the Chris- 
tians unless the valiant El Zagal were their sole King, 
and old Muley-Abu-1-Hasan and Boabdil were both 
deposed. A message was sent to the old warrior at 
Malaga, and he set out at once for his capital with 
a company of three hundred cavaliers. On his way 
across the rugged hill country he had the supreme 
satisfaction of taking by surprise a company of knights 
of Calatrava, who were carelessly resting after a foray. 
" He entered Granada in a sort of triumph. The 
eleven knights of Calatrava walked in front. Next 



were paraded the ninety captured steeds bearing the 
armour and weapons of their late owners, and mounted 
by as many Moors. Then came seventy Moorish 
horsemen, with as many Christian heads hanging at 
their saddle-bows. Muley Abdallah el Zagel followed, 
surrounded by a number of distinguished cavaliers, 
richly attired ; and the pageant was closed by a long 
cavalcade of the flocks and herds and other booty 
recovered from the Christians." 

Thus did El Zagal make his triumphant entry into 
Granada, and was proclaimed King amid the rejoicings 
of the populace, who saw in his late success an omen 
of coming good fortune. 

1 60 



It was late in the month of August 1485, when Queen 
Isabel, in her desire to be in close touch with the seat 
of war, set forth from Cordova with her daughter the 
Infanta Isabel, who was now fifteen, of an age to be a 
companion to her, her son Juan, a boy of seven, and 
his little sisters Maria and Juana, with a stately retinue 
and her special adviser the Cardinal Mendoza. Their 
road lay through wild scenery ; villages perched on 
high like eagles' nests, and mountains studded with 
watch-towers, while at the end of the day's journey 
they reached the ancient town of Baena on a lofty hill 
girdled by massive walls and ramparts. In this strong- 
hold Isabel would be near at hand to give help and 
counsel, for the next attack was to be on the fortress of 
Moclin, at no very great distance. The coming of the 
Queen always put new life and vigour into the war, 
and her host, the Conde de Cabra, was burning to 
distinguish himself again, and before her very eyes. 
With full instructions from the King, who was at 
Alcala la Real, he set out at midnight with his troops, 
when a scout brought word that El Zagal had 

161 L 


sallied forth from Granada, and had encamped near 

A sudden wild idea took possession of De Cabra ; he 
had already taken one king of Granada prisoner, when 
Boabdil fell into his hands ; why should he not take 
another ? What a prize to offer his royal lady ! The 
King's commands and all else were forgotten ; in eager 
haste he pushed forward to swoop down on his prey, 
and had reached the bottom of a deep glen when the 
war-cry of the Moors rose above him ; his troops were 
soon hemmed in and a scattered remnant barely escaped 
by flight with terrible loss ; indeed only the arrival of 
the Bishop of Jaen and the Master of Calatrava with 
an armed force saved his men from complete 

Instead of a royal gift, the unfortunate Conde de 
Cabra had brought the Queen only dismay and trouble ; 
but with her usual generosity she would not hear a 
word against him, " The Conde may have been rash, 
but had his rashness succeeded as in the case of 
Boabdil, it would have been praised as the highest 

Fernando heard of the disaster when he was within 
a few leagues of Moclin and held a council of war to 
decide on the next move. But the wily old Bishop of 
Jaen had plans of his own for the good of his diocese, 
and he hurried on to Baena to win the Queen's assent. 
He pointed out to her that his domain had long been 
harassed by two Moorish castles Cambil and Albahar 
— built on lofty precipitous rocks on each side of a 
river, the Rio Frio — commanding the road, and the 
scourge and terror of the country round. From 
thence there were constant forays, driving oflF the 



cattle and sheep ; and the good bishop was thus 
continually robbed. Why not postpone Moclin and 
take these brigand castles ? The Queen was quite 
willing to follow his advice, and sent a letter to 
Fernando to suggest the plan, which was at once 
adopted. Isabel certainly had her full share of per- 
sonal courage, for her next move was to establish her- 
self in the castle of Jaen, which stands like a sentinel 
commanding the mountain road, and where the warrior 
bishop was joyfully preparing to fight for his diocese. 
The Alcayde of these giant fortresses, which guarded 
the pass and commanded the surrounding region, 
watched the approach of the royal army and scoffed 
at the threatened attack, for he knew that the dreaded 
artillery of the Christians could never ascend the rugged 
path up the crags and precipices. But he little knew 
with whom he had to deal. Isabel had understood the 
difficulty, and taking counsel with her great engineer, 
Francisco Ramirez, the result was the making of a new 
road constructed on the most daring plan. " Six 
thousand men with pickaxes, crowbars and every other 
necessary implement were set to work day and night, 
to break a way through the very centre of the moun- 
tains. . . . The Bishop of Jaen acted as pioneer to 
mark the route and superintend the workmen . . . 
valleys were filled up, trees hewed down, rocks broken 
and overturned . . . and in little more than ten days 
this gigantic work was accomplished and the ordnance 
dragged to the camp. No sooner was the heavy 
artillery arrived than it was disposed in all haste upon 
the neighbouring heights; Francisco Ramirez super- 
intended the batteries and soon opened a destructive 
fire upon the castles." 



The result was a triumphant success, for the large 
stones discharged by the lombards demolished some 
of the towers and the battlements which guarded the 
portal. Driven to extremity, the brave garrison was 
compelled to yield, but with all the honours of war, 
and the gallant alcayde exclaimed : *' Of what avail is 
all the prowess of knighthood against these cowardly 
engines that murder from afar ?" 

It is satisfactory to learn that after the destruction 
of these ever-threatening castles, the Bishop of Jaen 
was able to enjoy his fat bishopric in quiet and 
security ; " the husbandmen tilled their fields in peace, 
the herds and flocks fattened unmolested in the pas- 
tures and the vineyards yielded their increase . . . and 
in the approbation of his conscience, the increase of 
his revenues, and the abundance of his table, the good 
man found a reward for all his toils and perils."* 

Meanwhile there were changes in the kingdom of 
Granada. After El Zagal had been proclaimed King, 
old Muley Abu-1-Hasan retired with his treasure and 
his last wife to the little town of Almunecar on the 
Mediterranean coast, where he remained blind and 
bedridden, until his brother caused him to be taken to 
the castle of Salabrena, in which he soon died. If El 
Zagal had deserved the suspicion caused by this event, 
he soon had reason to repent of it, for when they heard 
the old King was dead, the people began to think of 
his ancient deeds of prowess and to lament for him. 
They even turned their thoughts to his son Boabdil, 
who was still in ignominious safety at Cordova, under 
the careless protection of the Christian sovereigns. 
But no sooner did Fernando see that he might be of 
•• Washington Irving. 


any political importance, than his interest revived, and 
he supplied men and money to enable his renegade 
vassal to raise once more conflicting interests amongst 
the Moors. With this assistance Boabdil set up the 
semblance of a Court at Velez el Blanco, a fortified 
town on the frontier of Murcia, where he could en- 
courage his faction in the Albaycin quarter of the 
capital, amongst the poorer class ; while all the 
chivalry and wealth of Granada rallied under the 
standard of El Zagal. 

An important event in the history of Europe occurred 
before the close of the year. Fernando and Isabel 
had taken up their winter quarters in the neighbour- 
hood of Madrid, at the ancient town of Alcala de 
Henares, fortified by massive walls, with square towers 
and flanking bastions, standing on a green river bank 
in the midst of a vast plain. It is a cold wind-blown 
place, although lofty sand-hills — "drab in sunlight, 
purple in shadow " — screen it to the north, and the 
broad landscape has its dreamy charm as it glows be- 
neath the sunset light. It was a city beloved by the 
great Archbishops of Toledo, who had a stately palace 
here surrounded by many churches and monasteries. 
Here, in the Moorish castle, girt round by gardens 
and courtyards, was born on December 5, 1485, the 
Infanta Catalina, known in after years as Katharine of 
Aragon, the wife of King Henry VIII. of England. 
She was the fifth and youngest child of Isabel, and was 
destined by her gallant courage and eventful life to 
become a striking and pathetic figure in our history. 

In the busy life of this many-sided Queen of Spain, 
her children may appear to us somewhat of an episode. 
But she took the duties of a mother as seriously as 



her other occupations, and, as we shall see at a later 
period, she neglected nothing which concerned their 
welfare or their education. It is, of course, possible 
that had she been less engaged in the cares of State, 
and had devoted her strong energy and splendid in- 
telligence only to her children, she might have so 
moulded their character as to escape pitfalls in the 
high estate which awaited them. The " little more 
and how much it is " might have changed the fate of 
her daughters and the destiny of nations. But for her 
and for us the future rests ever shrouded in the mists 
of time. 

The campaign against the Moors began with renewed 
vigour in the spring of i486, and partook more of the 
nature of a general crusade, for the Spanish troops 
were joined by volunteers from other parts of Europe, 
amongst whom the Earl of Rivers, "Condede Escalas," 
is specially mentioned. 

The King had never forgotten his defeat before Loja, 
and this important town, called the key of Granada, 
was the first object of attack. It stands on a high hill 
between two mountains on the banks of the river 
Xenil, and was only about twenty-eight miles from 
the Moorish capital, although very difficult of 
approach from Cordova. At the time of this siege 
it was held by Boabdil, who had made a kind of treaty 
with his uncle and sent a messenger to Fernando, 
offering to hold it as his vassal, but this was indignantly 
refused and the siege was commenced in earnest. Lord 
Rivers and his company of three hundred retainers^ 
armed with long-bow and battle-axe, distinguished 
themselves very much on this occasion, and astonished 
the Moors by their vigorous style of warfare. The 



English knight had a narrow escape of his life as he 
fell from a scaling-ladder, struck by a stone ; but he 
recovered, received splendid gifts from the Queen, and 
lived to fight another day, for he was slain two years 
later, fighting in France for the Duke of Brittany. 

The siege of Loja lasted for thirty-four days, and 
again it was the heavy fire of the improved artillery 
which shattered the walls and brought down the towers, 
and at length compelled the surrender, after a gallant 
defence in which Boabdil had greatly distinguished 
himself and been seriously wounded. The garrison 
received favourable terms, and the people were allowed 
to take aw^ay their portable property, and retire to 
Granada, while the unfortunate Boabdil did homage 
once more as a vassal to Fernando. 

The next capture was that of the strong town of 
Illora, whose castle, on a high isolated rock, was called 
the right eye of Granada, which was about four leagues 
distant. The alcayde fought with desperate courage 
to the last extremity, but the fortifications once more 
fell before the powerful engines of destruction, which 
they had not been built to withstand. One interesting 
incident is related of this siege, when the Duke del 
Infantado pleaded for permission to lead the storming 
party. He was one of the young nobles who had been 
remonstrated with by the King for his gorgeous attire 
and the splendour of his retainers, and now in the 
sternest hour of danger this dandy duke was eager to 
prove that velvet and brocade may cover hearts as 
brave as those of men who wore fustian, and that 
swords inlaid with gold and silver may be as deadly as 
those of mere iron. In the forefront of the assault the 
gallant young warrior and his gay company carried the 



day by their splendid valour, and when they came out 
of the conquered city — victorious, though thinned in 
number, wounded and bloodstained — there was never 
after a taunt at their emblazoned finery. 

It is interesting to note that when the fortress of 
Illora was repaired and strengthened, King Fernando 
appointed as alcayde, the younger brother of Don 
Alonzo di Aguilar, Gonzalvo de Cordova, afterwards 
known to fame as the Great Captain. 

The Spanish sovereigns might rebuke the magnifi- 
cence and ostentation of their great nobles, but at the 
same time they perfectly understood the value of royal 
state and magnificence. Queen Isabel was guided by 
a marvellous instinct, almost amounting to genius, 
which taught her when the hour had arrived for her 
to be all glorious in her raiment and lavish in her 
expenditure. As De Maulde remarks : " Une seule 
femme peut-ctre, repandit dans les camps un vrai en- 
thusiasme chevaleresque ; mais c'etait en Espagne, et 
il s'agissait defoi et de patrie. . . . Elle etait rude pour 
elle-meme dans son particulier, et fasteuse en public. . . . 
Jamais un roi n'aurait exerc6 le meme ascendant," 

We have a very minute account of the coming of 
the Queen in state to an interview with the King in the 
camp before Moclin in June i486, when her advice 
and encouragement was thought desirable. She set 
out from Cordova with the Infanta Isabel and the 
ladies of her Court, attended by a numerous retinue of 
cavaliers and guards. As the splendid cavalcade reached 
the banks of the river Yeguas, the Queen was met by 
the Marquess Duke of Cadiz and a train of knights, 
and as she drew near the camp, the Duke del Infan- 
tado with other nobles magnificently accoutred, came 


W. A. Mansell &Co. 

In the National Portrait Gallery, London 



forward to receive her. With them came the standard 
of Seville, to which she made her obeisance. " The 
Queen rode a chestnut mule, seated in a saddle-chair 
embossed with gold and silver. The housings were of 
crimson cloth embroidered with gold, the reins and 
bridle were of satin, curiously wrought with letters of 
gold. The Queen wore a royal skirt of velvet, under 
which were others of brocade, a scarlet mantle orna- 
mented in the Moorish fashion, and a black hat em- 
broidered round the crown and brim. 

" The Infanta was also mounted on a chestnut mule 
richly caparisoned. She wore a skirt of black brocade, 
and a black mantle ornamented like the Queen's. . . . 
All the battalions sallied forth in military array, bearing 
the various standards and banners of the camp, which 
were lowered in salutation. The King now appeared 
in royal state, mounted on a superb; chestnut horse, 
and attended by many grandees of Castile. He wore 
a jubon or close vest of crimson cloth, with " chausses " 
or breeches of yellow satin : a loose cassock of brocade 
over his cuirass, a hat with plumes, and a rich Moorish 
scimetar girt by his side. . . . The King and Queen 
approached each other with three formal reverences ; 
the Queen taking off her hat and remaining in a silk 
net or caul, with her face uncovered. The King then 
approached and embraced her and kissed her respect- 
fully on the cheek. He also embraced his daughter 
the princess, and making the sign of the Cross, he 
blessed her and kissed her on the lips." * The English 
Lord Scales appears to have been present, and the 
chronicler dwells at length on his gorgeous array. 
In a War of the Faith, a holy crusade such as the 

"-■= " Cura de los Palacios " (quoted by Prescott). 


conquest of the Moorish kingdom was considered, we 
can well understand that no means were omitted to 
emphasise the pious nature of the work. Isabel herself 
was deeply religious, and full of the most fervent 
thanksgiving for every success gained over the infidel, 
probably attributing it to the special interposition of 
God on her behalf. But at the same time she was a 
great stateswoman, and cannot have failed to see the 
policy of enlisting the mighty forces of religion on 
her behalf. News of every triumph was at once for- 
warded to the Pope, who sent back his benediction, 
with more substantial help in the way of Bulls of 
Crusade and taxes on ecclesiastical rents. In the early 
days of her reign, when success trembled in the balance, 
we are told that the clergy of the realm actually de- 
livered into the royal treasury half the amount of plate 
belonging to the churches throughout the kingdom, to 
be redeemed in the term of three years, for the sum of 
30 " cuentas," or millions of maravedis. This, we may 
mention, Isabel punctually repaid. 

During the whole of the Moorish War we learn that 
" The Queen at Cordova and elsewhere celebrated the 
tidings of every new success, by solemn procession 
and thanksgiving with her whole household, as well as 
the nobility, foreign ambassadors and municipal func- 
tionaries. In like manner Fernando, on his return 
from his campaigns, was received at the gate of the 
city and escorted in solemn pomp beneath a rich 
canopy of state to the cathedral church, where he 
prostrated himself in grateful adoration to the Lord of 
hosts." Whenever a city was conquered, there was a 
great religious ceremonial to purify the place from the 
infidel, and dedicate it to the Christian Faith. " The 



royal alferez " raised the standard of the Cross, the 
sign of our salvation, on the summit of the principal 
fortresses, and all who beheld it prostrated themselves 
on their knees in silent worship of the Almighty, while 
the priests chanted the glorious anthem, " Te Deum 
laudamus." The ensign of Santiago, the chivalric 
patron of Spain, was then unfolded, and all invoked 
his blessed name. Lastly was displayed the banner of 
the sovereigns enblazoned with the royal arms ; at 
which the whole army shouted forth, as with one 
voice, " Castile ! Castile ! " After these solemnities, a 
bishop led the way to the principal mosque, which, 
after the rites of purification, he consecrated to the 
service of the true Faith. 

The standard of the Cross, of massive silver, was a 
present from Pope Sixtus IV. to Fernando, in whose 
tent it was always carried throughout these campaigns. 
An ample supply of bells, vases, missals, plate and 
sacred furniture, was also borne along with the camp, 
being provided by the Queen for the purified 
mosques." * 

Moclin, the shield of Granada, which stood in defiant 
majesty on the frontier of Jaen, could not hold out long 
against the artillery of the Spaniards, which was con- 
stantly being improved by Francisco Ramirez, and 
was worked chiefly by a band of trained German 
engineers. But the fierce old King El Zagal kept 
constant watch on the invaders and was ever at hand 
when least expected ; cutting off means of communi- 
cation, surprising foraging parties, and constantly 
making desperate inroads across the borders. At the 
siege of Moclin he surprised and defeated the Conde 
••= Prescott. 


de Cabra one night, and nearly made him pay dear for 
his capture of Boabdil. 

Before the end of the year many other strong places 
had fallen into the hands of the Christians, and they 
had advanced the border of their kingdom more than 
20 leagues within the frontier of the Moorish dominion. 
Still their progress was very slow, for the country 
bristled with fortresses, every one of which was 
defended with heroic patriotism until the garrison was 
well-nigh buried beneath the ruins of tower and walls. 
Of the strong places still remaining, the most important 
was the coast city of Malaga, which from its position 
enabled the Moors of Barbary to help their race in 
Spain. To the taking of this strong place, the second 
city of the realm, all the energies of the Christian 
sovereigns were devoted in the campaign of 1487. 

At this time El Zagal had become unpopular with 
the people of Granada, who bitterly resented the 
success of their enemies and the loss of so many strong 
places, and they once more recalled Boabdil to be 
their King. With the help of Spanish troops, he 
fortified himself in the Albaycin, while his uncle 
remained master of the Alhambra, and the hapless 
city was torn asunder by the constant fighting between 
the two factions. Of a sudden, tidings reached the 
capital that the whole forces of Spain were investing 
Velez Malaga, which was looked upon as an outpost 
of Malaga, and El Zagal seized the opportunity of 
redeeming the past by setting forth at once with all 
his army to relieve the beleaguered city, leaving his 
nephew in possession of Granada. 

Velez Malaga is built on the slope of a rocky isolated 
hill, of which the crest above is crowned by a strong 



castle, which commands the beautiful valley below, 
stretching down to the sea, covered with vineyards 
and olive-trees, with groves of oranges and pomegra- 
nates. After a long and toilsome journey through the 
rugged mountains, following in the track of an army 
of pioneers sent in advance to make the road passable 
for artillery, Fernando had at length arrived within 
sight of the city on April 17, 1487. While he was 
encamped on a height overlooking the fortress, a 
sudden attack was made by the enemy, and the King 
rushing out with his usual courage, found himself 
surrounded by the Moors, and was in perilous case, 
for having discarded his lance he could not draw his 
sword from the scabbard. In this Jmoment of peril, 
the Marquis of Cadiz and other cavaliers galloped to 
the spot and succeeded in rescuing him. In memory 
of this narrow escape, Isabel granted to the city for 
its escutcheon the figure of Fernando on horseback, 
piercing a Moor with his javelin. 

El Zagal had lost no time in making his way through 
unfrequented mountain roads until he reached the 
heights above Velez Malaga and formed a well-laid 
plan to combine in a night attack upon the garrison. 
But the message was intercepted, and the midnight 
assault on the camp was met with so fierce and un- 
looked-for reception that the relieving army was driven 
to flight with terrible loss. It is said that a strange 
panic seized them. " They were terrified, they knew 
not why or at what. They threw away swords, lances, 
breast-plates, cross-bows, everything that could burden 
or impede their flight, and speading themselves wildly 
over the mountains fled headlong down the defiles. 
They fled without pursuers, from the glimpse of each 



others arms, from the sound of each others foot- 
steps." ... * In vain did El Zagal try to rally them, 
he had no choice but to consult his own safety by 
flight ; and when at length he reached Granada, the 
story of his disaster had preceded him, and he found 
the gates closed against him. 

It was a cruel blow, but the brave warrior knew of 
old that with his fickle subjects success was the only 
key to empire, and as he saw the banner of Boabdil 
flaunting on the tower of the Alhambra he turned 
away with despair in his heart. 

The people of Velez had watched the mountain 
watch-fires on the heights around them with eager 
hope, for their scouts had brought word of the coming 
rescue, but when the morning dawned the relieving 
army had melted aw^ay like a cloud. Evil tidings con- 
tinued to pour upon the devoted garrison ; they learnt 
that the heavy ordnance of the Christians had at 
length made its laborious w^ay through the defiles, 
that the blockade by sea and land w^as now complete, 
and, worse news of all, that Boabdil now reigned in 
the capital, and there was no help for them. They 
were driven to capitulate, and Fernando, eager to 
commence the siege of Malaga, granted them favour- 
able terms. They were free to depart with their goods, 
and live under secure protection for themselves and 
their religion at any place distant from the sea. The 
surrender of Velez Malaga was followed by that of all 
the neighbouring towns and fortresses in the Axarquia, 
so that Fernando now found all the approaches open 
to Malaga itself, the special object of the campaign. 
* Washington Irving. 




The city of Malaga was one of the most valuable and 
important in the Moorish kingdom. It was splendidly 
fortified with massive walls and strong towers, pro- 
tected on the land side by a natural barrier, an amphi- 
theatre of mountains, while on the other, open to the sea, 
the citadel fortress rose defiant and hitherto impreg- 
nable. On the craggy height above was the great castle 
of Gibralfaro, once an ancient lighthouse, which com- 
manded alike the city and the alcabaza and could 
stand a siege alone if they should surrender. This 
ancient city of immemorial antiquity, which had made 
terms with Carthage and Rome, was an important 
seaport, whose ships traded to every port of the 
Levant and thence to the far Indies. The spacious 
harbour, in a deep-water bay with sheltering pro- 
montories, could be entered with any wind, and was 
the chief centre of Moorish shipping and of com- 
munication with Barbary. 

With its hanging gardens, its groves of orange and 
pomegranate, its palms and aloes, and a peerless 
climate where every exotic flower and shrub grew in 
luxuriance, it had ever been the delight of that southern 



race who called it the " paradise of earth." El Zagal 
had placed here as Alcayde the dauntless Hamet el 
Zegri, who so gallantly fought for his stronghold of 
Ronda, and the citadel was garrisoned by his band of 
African Gomeres. But within the city there were 
many wealthy merchants, who thought so much of 
their own safety and prosperity that to ensure 
them they would gladly submit to the Christian 

Fernando was not slow in hearing of this, and, 
through the Marquess of Cadiz, he tried to enter 
into negotiation with Hamet el Zegri, offering him 
an immense bribe on condition of immediate sur- 
render. But the gallant Alcayde dismissed the envoy 
with scornful courtesy, and the reply, " I was set 
here not to surrender but to defend." His deeds 
were on a par with his words, for never was a 
besieged city defended with more desperate and 
persistent valour. The heights around and the rising 
ground near the sea were first taken by assault, and 
a line of defence with deep trenches and embank- 
ments was made all round the city, while the blockade 
was completed by a fleet of armed vessels, caravels, 
and galleys, which took possession of the harbour. 
The forces under the command of Fernando are 
said to have numbered twelve thousand horse and 
forty thousand foot, while his artillery was infinitely 
superior to anything which the defenders of Malaga 
could oppose to him. His most formidable cannon, 
called the " Seven Sisters of Jimenez," was placed in 
position with immense labour and concentrated its 
fire upon the Gibralfaro, smothering the fortress in 
smoke and flame ; but when a breach was made, and 



the Spaniards sought to scale the walls and take the 
tower by assault, the alcayde and his men poured 
down boiling pitch and hurled huge stones on the 
storming party till they were compelled to retreat 
with terrible loss. 

Never before had such powerful engines of de- 
struction been brought together, and the camp was 
filled with armourers and smiths, carpenters and 
engineers, who constructed new and strange machines 
under the supervision of the famous Francisco 
Ramirez. We hear of moving wooden towers which 
were brought forward to attack the battlements, of 
a " testudo " of shields used as a protection for the 
men as they crept close to undermine the walls ; as in 
this siege, for the first time in Spanish warfare, mines 
were dug under the fortifications, which were blown 
up with gunpowder. 

Yet still the garrison held out, and even inflicted 
severe loss upon the Christians with their daring and 
vigorous sallies under the brave Hamet el Zegri, who 
was the very soul of the defence. Time wore on, and 
the report spread that the attacking army was growing 
weary of the slow work and would not keep the field 
much longer. On this reaching the ear of Fernando, 
he resolved to dispel such an illusion by inviting the 
Queen to join him in the camp. She gladly set forth 
without delay from Cordova with the Infanta Isabel 
and a courtly retinue of ladies and cavaliers, accom- 
panied, as usual, by the Cardinal Mendoza and other 
prelates, amongst whom we may notice Hernando de 
Talavera, Isabel's confessor. She was greeted with 
enthusiasm on her arrival in sight of Malaga ; the 
soldiers of Castile had quite a superstitious belief in 

177 M 


the value of her presence, and all combined to look 
upon her coming as an omen of victory. 

At her request the firing ceased for a time, and the 
King took advantage of this pause to summon once 
more the city to surrender. He offered the most 
generous terms ; but in case of refusal he vowed that, 
" with the blessing of God, he would make them all 
slaves." He also informed the inhabitants of the 
Queen's coming, and of their resolution to encamp 
in front of the city until it should be taken. Unfor- 
tunately the silence of the batteries made the garrison 
believe that there was a scarcity of powder, and the 
fierce Hamet el Zegri, declaring that any one who 
should speak of capitulation would be put to death, 
dismissed the Christian messenger without a reply. 

After this final decision the siege continued with 
more terrible energy than ever. Furious sallies were 
made from the city, at every hour of the day and 
night, and more than once the camp was in serious 
danger ; mine and countermine went on beneath the 
walls and the soldiers fought hand to hand under- 
ground, while all the time the besieging army kept up 
the fearful cannonade which battered down walls and 
towers. There was great loss of life, and the Queen's 
hospital tents were always full of sick and wounded. 
Fresh supplies of powder and ammunition reached 
the camp by sea from Germany and the ports of 
Valencia, Barcelona, Sicily and Portugal. All the 
resources of the kingdom were concentrated against 
the devoted city, which had still more deadly foes 
within—disease and famine. Even in his exile the 
brave El Zagal collected troops, and was about to 
make a last despairing effort to raise the siege, when 



the wretched Boabdil, in his mad insensate jealousy, 
actually sent his soldiers from Granada to intercept 
and disperse the relieving force and set the seal on 
his ignominy by sending presents to the Christian 
sovereigns and assuring them of his fidelity. 

All hope was now at an end, and no words can 
describe the sufferings of the unfortunate people 
within the walls, who, driven to the deepest extremity 
by famine, dared to rebel against their grim defenders 
and insisted on surrender. The last desperate sally 
of Hamet el Zegri had been repulsed with ; terrible 
slaughter, and he was at length forced by his fierce 
soldiers to thrown open the gates of the citadel — and 
meet the reward of his heroism in chains and captivity. 

The long siege was over ; it had lasted from the 
middle of May to August i8, and King Fernando was 
so indignant with the obstinacy of the patriotic 
defenders that he refused to listen to their passionate 
appeals for mercy, and declared that he would keep 
his cruel vow. This was carried out with the full 
consent of his advisers, who decided that an example 
must be made, and that such wholesome severity would 
cause the other Moorish cities and strongholds to 
surrender without a blow. These were the conditions 
granted to the proud city of Malaga, " the beautiful 
and renowned." The African garrison were condemned 
to immediate slavery, and the rest of the inhabitants 
were allowed to ransom themselves, on these deceptive 
terms ; that they should at once deliver up all their 
property to the King as part payment of the vast sum 
demanded, and if the rest were not paid within eight 
months, they should all, men, women and children 
to the number of fifteen thousand, be sold as slaves. 



In the end this was what befell them, after remaining 
captives at Seville for those long weary months of 
anxious waiting, and thus the crafty device of the King 
was successful. 

There were a few exceptions made ; some rich 
merchants had succeeded in obtaining better terms, 
and were suffered to remain as vassals, and a wealthy 
Jew of Castile was able to ransom 450 Moorish Jews 
with 20,000 doblas of gold. A noble Moor by name 
Abraham Zenete, in the latest sortie from Malaga, had 
come upon a number of Spanish children who had 
strayed from the camp. He touched them lightly 
with the handle of his lance, exclaiming, "Get ye 
gone, varlets, to your mothers," and this kindly chivalry 
saved his life and household when the place was taken. 
The capture of Malaga was celebrated as usual by a 
solemn procession through the streets, of the King and 
Queen, the great nobles and prelates of the Church, 
the ladies of the Court and cavaliers, all in magnificent 
array, with crosses and banners, followed by a haggard 
company of released Christian captives with their 
chains. In the great mosque, which had been purified 
for Christian worship and named Santa Maria de la 
Encarnacion, a thanksgiving service was held, and 
Malaga was made into a bishopric. 

We are tempted to wonder how far the pious Isabel, 
as she knelt in prayer before the high altar, realised 
the awful cruelty with which the wretched citizens 
had been treated ? Did she in any measure appreciate 
how the verdict of posterity would condemn such ruin 
of a whole people ? It is possible that we do not 
clearly see and judge that which passes before our 
eyes, and that the deeds which appear to us so mon- 



strous in the clear perspective of history, may have 
been to her less terrible, and in a way inevitable. 

The fall of Malaga may be said to have sounded the 
death-knell of Moorish dominion in Spain, for Granada 
was foredoomed to follow. She was now deprived 
of most of the great ports from whence she could hope 
for supplies and foreign help ; all the western part of 
her realm was in the hands of the Christians, and what 
was left was torn asunder by the rival Kings, for 
Boabdil reigned in Granada, while El Zagal had col- 
lected under his standard all that remained of courage 
and patriotism amongst his people. From his special 
city of Almeria with its port and harbour on the 
Mediterranean, to Jaen in the north, he was master 
still ; the strong cities of Guadix and Baesa remained 
loyal to him, and the mountain race of the Alpuxarras 
owned him as their lord. 

After the tremendous energy expended on the con- 
quest of Malaga, the Spanish sovereigns had need of 
breathing space to recruit their strength and collect 
fresh levies. They had also much important work 
in the way of internal administration. Late in the 
autumn of 1487, Fernando and Isabel, with their chil- 
dren, travelled in state to Zaragoza, the time-honoured 
capital of Aragon, in order that their only son Prince 
Juan, now nine years old, might obtain formal recog- 
nition of his right to the throne in succession, and 
receive the homage of the Cortes. Zaragoza stands 
on the banks of the broad, rapid Ebro, in the midst of 
a fertile plain, and the Kings of Aragon always took 
up their abode in the ancient palace of the Moorish 
Khalifs, a massive irregular citadel outside the Portillo 
or north-west gate of the city. The Archbishop of 


Zaragoza was one of the most important prelates of 
the realm and there are two splendid cathedrals, one 
of which, " Del Pilar," is so called from its proud boast 
of enclosing the identical jasper pillar on which the 
Virgin came down from heaven. 

The Cortes assembled in the beautiful Casa de 
Deputacion, or Parliament House, and loyally carried 
out all the requests of the sovereign. Juan, Prince of 
Asturias, was acknowledged with acclamation, and a 
large sum of money was voted for the continuation of 
the Moorish war. The King also gave his sanction to 
the Santa Hermandad of Aragon, which had been 
recently organised on the plan of that which had long 
been so useful in Castile. This was a democratic 
measure, popular with the city burghers, but a serious 
grievance to the great feudal nobles, whose power was 
much diminished. From the capital, Fernando and 
Isabel travelled across the province of Aragon to 
Valencia on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean, 
the splendid city of the Cid. Here they took measures 
to strengthen the authority of the law, and to make 
some changes in the ruling of the city, and the Court 
then continued its progress to Murcia, and remained 
there until, in the month of June 1488, Fernando set 
forth again on his annual campaign against the Moors. 
But this time he had a much smaller army than usual, 
for nothing could ever restrain him from interfering 
in the affairs of France when an opportunity occurred. 
He had recently sent forces from Biscay which he 
could ill spare, to help the Duke of Brittany in his 
opposition to Charles VIII., or rather his sister Anne 
of Beaujeu, the Regent. In the disastrous defeat of the 
rebels at St. Aubin du Cormier on July 27, 1488, we 



find that over a thousand Spaniards were killed or taken 

In this battle was slain the Earl of Rivers who had 
distinguished himself at the siege of Loja. During 
this year there was no great success to record, although 
some outlying fortresses fell into the hands of the 
Christians ; they met with a decisive check when 
approaching the walls of Baza, being drawn into an 
ambuscade by the crafty old warrior King El Zagal, 
and they only made their escape with much loss from 
the surrounding gardens and water-courses. El Zagal, 
encouraged by his success, laid waste all the country 
recently conquered by the Spaniards, sweeping away 
the cattle and sheep, and harassing the land with his 
forays. There was no triumphant procession that 
autumn when King Fernando returned from his cam- 
paign and joined the Queen at Valladolid. 

It is at this period that we first hear of the alliance, 
afterwards so important for Spain, with the Emperor 
Maximilian, son of Frederick IV. This prince had 
married Mary the heiress of Burgundy, and for her 
broaddominions there had been a constant strugglewith 
Louis XI. On her death in 1482, at the age of twenty- 
five, fresh troubles had arisen, and although by the 
Treaty of Arras in December 1482, it had been arranged 
that Margaret the young daughter of Maximilian should 
marry the Dauphin Charles, now King of France, the 
Emperor, with well-justified mistrust, was anxious to 
make a secret alliance-treaty with Fernando, engaging 
to assist him in recovering the provinces of Roussillon 
and Cerdagne. The Flemish ambassadors were re- 
ceived with great honour, and splendid entertainments 
were given for them, as the politic King gladly welcomed 



any political alliance which might help him against 
France, the hereditary enemy of Aragon, although 
he could not take any important action while all his 
energies were needed by the Moorish war. All that 
winter fresh levies were made, and great care was 
given to the artillery which had proved so valuable 
already in capturing the strongholds and fortified cities 
of the South. It was a most disastrous season, long 
remembered in all Andalusia, where disease and famine 
had spread, after a stormy season with heavy rains and 
inundations which washed away the crops and almost 
destroyed whole fertile valleys. 

In order to be near the seat of war, where her 
presence was now looked upon as indispensable, 
Queen Isabel moved with her children and her Court 
to the mountain city of Jaen, where she once more 
took up her abode in the grim old castle which stands 
like a. sentinel commanding the mountain gorges. It 
was here that her ancestor the young King Fernando 
IV., El Emplazado, had died, summoned to meet those 
he had wronged, before the Judgment-seat of God ; 
and even setting aside this and other stern associations, 
it cannot have had many attractions in the way of 
luxury and entertainment. But the household ol 
Isabel had learnt by this time what a serious view she 
took of life, and were thankful when they did not find 
themselves in actual danger. 

It was in the spring of 1489, late in the month of 
May, that Fernando set forth with a large army and 
all the flower of the chivalry of Castile and Aragon to 
undertake, in serious earnest this time, the siege of 
Baza. On the way, after a short but desperate resist- 
ance, the stronghold of Cuxar had been taken, and 


Alinari, phot. 

In the Uffizi Gallery, Florence 


several outlying fortresses, which left the road open for 
the invaders. The old King, El Zagal, was at Guadix, 
a few leagues away, and had taken every measure for 
the defence of Baza, which he entrusted to the care 
of Cidi Yahye, the Alcayde of Almeria, who brought 
ten thousand of his own picked warriors to add to 
the strong garrison. The town was provided with 
food calculated to last for fifteen months ; it was well 
equipped with cannons and gunpowder, and the forti- 
fications were of enormous strength. "The old 
monarch was battling like a warrior on the last step 
of his throne," and here he was about to make his 
final stand for empire and all that life could offer 

Of this siege of Baza we have very full and circum- 
stantial accounts from two eye-witnesses, for both 
Hernando del Pulgar and Peter Martyr, of whom 
we shall soon have more to say, were present in the 
King's camp. The city stands in a great valley where 
two rivers meet, whose waters are spread about to 
fertilise the whole surface of the Vega, then a great 
tangled wilderness of groves and gardens, making all 
approach difficult. On one side Baza was protected 
by the precipitous mountain heights and a strong 
fortress, and on the other by fortified walls and massive 
towers. A low earth-wall and trench protected the 
suburbs of the City of Gardens, as it was called. It 
was towards the " garden " that the first attempt was 
made as soon as the Christians had encamped before 
the walls, for until this was in their hands it would be 
impossible to enforce a complete blockade. It was 
nearly a league across and studded with small towers, 
which could provide excellent cover to the defenders. 



The assault was made by the King in person and the 
Grand Master of Santiago with a charge of cavalry, 
but the broken surface of the ground and the thick 
growth of the orchards gave such an advantage to the 
Moors, who were on foot and knew the ground, that 
the Spaniards had to dismount and light at a great 
disadvantage. It was not so much a general engage- 
ment as a series of petty fights amid the dense foliage, 
the pavilions, and the towers. Hand to hand they 
fought with desperate courage on both sides all that 
spring day, until when the evening closed in, the 
defenders were driven back within their entrench- 
ments. The Spanish army tried to make good their 
position within the gardens, but they were harassed 
by constant alarms all through the night, and the next 
morning Fernando reluctantly gave orders that the 
camp should be pitched farther up the valley. 

A council of war was held to consider the next 
move, and there was a general feeling of dismay at the 
ditBculties presented by the peculiar position of a place 
which could not readily be either taken by assault nor 
blockaded. On the other hand, it was even suggested 
that, with El Zagal at Guadix, within twenty miles, they 
might themselves be besieged ; and also that if heavy 
rains came on, the whole valley might be flooded and 
their communications cut off. There was so much 
general despondency even among the bravest cavaliers 
that Fernando resolved to consult the Queen, to whom 
he was sending constant messengers. Her reply came 
at once : she had full confidence in the Providence of 
God, who had led them already so far, and if they 
decided to continue the siege, she pledged herself to 
send all needful supplies of men, money, and pro- 



visions. This hopeful message turned the scale, and 
the army welcomed it with enthusiasm. 

The obvious thing was to destroy and level this 
labyrinth of garden, and within a short time we are 
told that four thousand " taladores," or pioneers, were 
set to work at cutting down the trees and clearing the 
ground. But the task was so difficult, and the constant 
sallies from the city were so fierce and bloodthirsty, 
that it was more than forty days before the devastation 
was complete, and the people of Baza made bitter 
lamentation for the loss of their beautiful groves and 
gardens — the joy and protection of their homes. When 
this was once accomplished, the besiegers set them- 
selves with dogged perseverance to invest and isolate 
the devoted city ; digging deep trenches, fortified by 
palisadoes and strong towers all across the valley, 
draining the waters into one channel and closing in 
the line of defence on the slopes of the mountain 
behind the fortress. This immense work was continued 
for two months, and it is said that ten thousand work- 
men were employed, with large bodies of troops to 
defend them from the attacks of the garrison. The 
feud between the rival Kings of Granada and of Guadix 
was the salvation of the Christian camp, for a strong 
combined assault from the rear of the valley might 
have had most serious consequences. But neither 
El Zagal nor Boabdil dared to leave his territory open 
to a rival, and thus the last hope of the Moorish kingdom 
was destined to end in destruction. 

A strange embassy reached King Fernando in the 
camp before Baza ; the Soldan of Babylon sent two 
Franciscan friars from Jerusalem to protest against the 
injury done to the Moors of Spain, who were of his 



faith and race, and to threaten that he would retahate 
on the Christians of Palestine. A diplomatic and 
courteous reply was returned, with costly presents, 
and Isabel presented rich needlework, of her own 
embroidery, for the Church of the Holy Sepulchre ; 
and later, Peter Martyr was sent on a diplomatic 
mission to the Soldan, which was quite successful, and 
of which he wrote a most interesting account, entitled 
" De Legatione Babilonica." 

Meanwhile, the siege continued with fierce energy on 
both sides, and as time passed on, the autumnal storms 
threatened to sweep away the camp of the besiegers 
and destroy the roads by which their supplies arrived. 
But Isabel, with her usual energy, caused new roads 
and bridges to be made at immense cost, for which 
she pawned her jewels and mortgaged her private 
estates, so that her daily supplies were resumed, and 
long convoys of baggage-mules continued to cross the 
Sierra, laden with corn and other provisions for the 
camp. Still the beleaguered city gave no sign of 
distress ; while the investing army was wasted with 
sickness and the wear of constant fighting. They are 
said to have lost twenty thousand men during the six 
months' siege. The time had come when, as usual, the 
presence of the Queen was ardently desired, and on 
November 7 she arrived with great state at the camp, 
accompanied by her usual retinue, with banners float- 
ing in the air and a flare of trumpets, as though it 
were a festal tournament, and she had not just accom- 
plished a very dangerous and wearisome journey across 
the hills from Jaen. " Her presence seemed at once 
to gladden and re-animate our spirits, drooping under 
long vigils, dangers, and fatigue," says Peter Martyr. 



But the coming of Isabel always sounded a knell of 
despair to the enemy, who knew that she would take 
up her abode in the camp until the day of surrender. 

In this crusading war, where Isabel ascribed her 
inspiration and her triumph to the direct guidance 
of the Almighty, the intensity of her earnest faith was 
irresistible, and she inspired the whole army with her 
supreme courage and tenacity of purpose. The gallant 
Cidi Yahye and the alcayde of Baza had the wisdom to 
appreciate this and to bow before the inevitable. The 
fate of Malaga rose before their minds as an awful 
warning, and, with a more difficult heroism than the 
mere lust for fighting, they thought of the helpless 
multitude whose fate hung upon their decision, and at 
length sought parley with the foe. An armistice was 
arranged in order to obtain final instructions from the 
old King El Zagal, who held a grim council of war at 
Guadix, and as he fully realised the dark outlook 
before him, could only take refuge in the fatalism of 
his race : "Allah achbar !" ("God is great. To his 
will I bow.") 

There was no difficulty about the terms of surrender, 
for the Christian sovereigns were only too anxious to 
meet the besieged half way. Most favourable terms 
were readily granted ; the foreign mercenaries were 
to march forth with the honours of war, and the 
inhabitants might remain in the suburbs as vassals of 
Castile, or choose any other place of abode, paying 
the same tribute as of old, and secure in the enjoyment 
of their goods, their faith, their laws, and their 

It was on December 4, 1489, that Fernando and 
Isabel made their solemn entry into Baza at the head 



of a splendid procession, with the customary banners 
and trumpets, and ringing of bells and roar of artillery, 
while the standard of the Cross was planted on the 
topmost height of the conquered citadel. Interesting 
traces of this period may still be seen in the fifteenth 
century cannon which stand, stern relics of the past, 
on the rose-planted Alameda, girdled with its imme- 
morial poplars. Cidi Yahye and the alcayde were 
loaded with honours and gifts, and, as the Moorish 
chronicler remarks, " Isabel's compliments were repaid 
in more substantial coin," for these former comrades 
of El Zagal were won to the Queen's service, and had 
so much influence on their old master that they 
persuaded him of the hopelessness of his position, 
and induced him to make terms with the victorious 

The brave old warrior saw plainly that all chance of 
success was at an end, and that nothing remained for 
him but the long-drawn-out misery of seeing one 
strong place after another fall into the hands of the 
Christians. He yielded to his unlucky fate, and pro- 
mised to surrender all the cities and territory remaining 
to him into the hands of the Spanish sovereigns, who 
were at once to take possession of them. With the 
extraordinary energy which distinguished her, we see 
Isabel on December 7 leaving Baza in charge of the 
rear-guard of the army, the King being in the centre. 
" Their route lay across the most savage districts of 
the long Sierra, which stretches towards Almeria, 
leading through many a narrow pass. . . . over moun- 
tains whose peaks were lost in clouds, and valleys 
whose depths were never warmed by the sun. The 
winds were exceedingly bleak and the weather in- 



clement ; so that men as well as horses, exhausted by 
the fatigues of previous service, were benumbed by 
the intense cold, and many of them frozen to death."* 

As they drew near to Almeria, El Zagal came forward 
to meet them, with an escort of Moorish cavaliers, and 
would have done homage, but Fernando induced the 
fallen prince to ride by his side. Peter Martyr says : 
" His appearance touched my soul with compassion ; 
for although a lawless barbarian, he was a King, and 
had given signal proofs of heroism." The beautiful 
city of Almeria, that " garden of the Hesperides," as it 
seemed to the weary travellers in its sunny luxuriance, 
passed into the power of the Christians, and soon after, 
Guadix and all the other places on the fertile slopes of 
the mountain chain, which extends from Granada to 
the Mediterranean, on the same favourable terms to 
the people as Baza. As for the deposed King, El 
Zagal, he received the district of Andarez, and the 
shadowy title of its king, the valley of Alhaurin, and 
half the salt-pits of Maleha, with a large sum of money. 
But he found life unbearable in the land of his past 
glory, and after a while he sold his possessions and 
went over to Africa, only to be robbed and cruelly 
treated, and to end his days a wretched outcast. 

Well had it been for him had he never listened to 
the tempting offer of his hereditary foes, but had fallen 
on the field of battle — fighting for his crown, his 
country, and his faith. 

"•= Prescott. 




After the submission of the Moorish King El Zagal, 
there was a kill in the war, while strenuous efforts were 
made to collect an overwhelming force for the closing 
campaign against Granada. We will take advantage 
of this brief interval to dwell awhile upon the personal 
life and influence of Queen Isabel. With her keen 
insight and broad grasp of intellect, her rare discretion 
and political wisdom which almost amounted to genius, 
she was so great a stateswoman that her decision was 
final in every council and camp. Her husband had 
the highest appreciation of her judgment and did 
nothing without asking her opinion. 

If her own education had been somewhat incomplete 
in the seclusion of her widowed mother's palace at 
Arevalo, that of Fernando had been almost entirely 
neglected, as before he was ten years old he began to 
take part in the wars of Catalonia, and his boyhood was 
spent in a camp and not in a school. If he did not 
owe much to book-learning, his natural intelligence 
enabled him to attain a very high position in the 
science of diplomacy. Machiavelli says of him : 



*' Nothing causes a prince to be so much esteemed 
as great enterprises and setting a rare example. We 
have in our own day Fernando King of Aragon, at 
present King of Spain. He may almost be termed 
a new Prince, because from a weak King he has 
become for fame and glory the first King in 
Christendom, and if you regard his actions you will 
find them all very great and some of them extra 
ordinary. At the beginning of his reign he assailed 
Granada, and that enterprise was the foundation of 
his State. ..." So much for his reputation in other 
lands, and if he was no scholar and understood no 
other language, at least he wrote and spoke Spanish 

With regard to Isabel, her marriage at the age of 
eighteen, and the high position to which she was raised, 
called forth all the hidden strength of her character, 
and she played her part with supreme distinction in 
the school of real life. Her strong mind was ever 
eager for knowledge, and we are told how, when the 
wars with Portugal for her succession were at an end, 
she resolved to learn Latin, which at that time was a 
most important medium of communication not only 
for learned men, but for foreigners at Court, and above 
all for ambassadors. To this task she devoted herself 
with so much diligence and talent that " in less than 
a year her admirable genius enabled her to attain a 
good knowledge of the Latin language, so that she 
could understand without much difficulty whatever 
was written or spoken in it." There is also a letter 
from Pulgar to the Queen inquiring about her pro- 
gress, wondering that she can find time for study 
amidst all her absorbing occupations, and assuring 

193 N 


her that she will learn Latin as easily as the other 
languages which she had mastered. 

Isabel inherited from her father a love for collecting 
books, or rather manuscripts, and when she founded 
the convent of San Juan de los Reyes at Toledo, she 
endowed it with a library. Some beautifully bound 
volumes of hers which have seen much service are 
amongst the treasures of the Escurial. 

We can understand that the education of her children 
would be to her a matter of the utmost importance, 
and that she neglected no learning which might pre- 
pare them for the part they would have to play in the 
world. We see this especially in the case of her only 
son. Prince Juan, a lad of infinite promise on whom 
the most ardent hopes of his parents and the nation 
were fixed. To counteract somewhat the dangerous 
isolation of an heir to the throne with no brothers, 
Isabel adopted the wise plan of giving him companions 
chosen from the sons of nobles at the Court. Five 
of these boys were about his age and five were some- 
what older, and they all lived together in the palace as 
equals. The most learned professors were engaged in 
their teaching, amongst whom we find especially men- 
tioned several great scholars from Italy, where the 
revival of classical learning had made such splendid 
progress. Two brothers, Antonio and Alessandro 
Geraldino were early chosen as tutors to the royal 
children, and later we find Lucio Marineo Siculo, a 
distinguished Sicilian who came to Spain in i486, and 
was afterwards appointed professor of Poetry and 
Grammar at the University of Salamanca. 

But the most important and interesting amongst the 
learned men on whom Queen Isabel relied, was the 



Pietro Martire, or Peter Martyr as he is often called, 
whom we have already quoted. She alludes to him in 
one of her letters as : " Noster fidelis dilecte : el 
protonotarjo mycer Pedro martir, mio capellan y 
orador . . . ." He was of a noble family of Milan, 
and was born at Arona on the Lago Maggiore, in 
1455, and at the age of twenty-two he went to Rome, 
where he continued his studies for ten years, when in 
1487 he travelled with his friend the Castilian ambassa- 
dor, Conde de Tendilla, to Spain. Here the romantic 
attraction of the Moorish wars attracted the student to 
" exchange the Muses for Mars," as he explains in his 
letters, but after the taking of Granada he returned to 
his proper duties, and was at once engaged by the Queen 
not only to teach her son and his ten companions, 
but also to found a school for the young nobility, as 
her zeal and energy were not limited to the training of 
her own family. If we may judge from a remark of 
his, the professor began with some distrust of his new 
pupils: "They hold the pursuit of letters in light 
estimation like their ancestors, considering them an 
obstacle to success in the profession of arms, which 
alone they esteem of honour." But after awhile, when 
Prince Juan has distinguished himself by his love of 
study and his progress in Latin scholarship, Pietro 
becomes more hopeful and dwells upon "the good 
effects likely to result from the literary ambition shown 
by the heir apparent, on whom the eyes of the nation 
are naturally turned." 

In a letter written in September 1492, at Zaragoza, 
he gives this interesting account of his work: "The 
whole day my house is filled with noble youths 
who, won from unworthy pursuits to that of letters, 



are convinced that this is no hindrance to the pro- 
fession of arms but rather a help. 

I earnestly persuade them that true excellence, 
whether in war or peace, cannot be attained without 
science. It has pleased our royal mistress, the pattern 
of every exalted virtue, that her own near kinsman 
the Duke of Guimareans, as well as the young Duke 
of Villahermosa, the King's nephew, should remain 
under my roof the whole day ; an example which has 
been followed by the chief cavaliers of the Court, who, 
after attending my lectures in company with their 
private tutors, retire in the evening to study them in 
their own quarters." 

In short, we see that at the Queen's word learning 
became the fashion. The Spaniards, a people of 
literary instinct, were quick to receive the wave of 
Renaissance learning which had already swept over 
Italy and France. The Universities of Salamanca and 
others had already famously gained new glory, while 
fresh colleges were endowed, and all the chivalry of 
Spain turned to study. The son of the Duke of Alva 
taught in the University of Salamanca, where the future 
Grand Constable of Castile read lectures on Ovid and 
Pliny, and another great noble was professor of Greek 
at Alcala. No age was safe from the infection of learn- 
ing, for the Marquess of Denia, who was past sixty, 
sat down eagerly to study the Latin grammar. The 
Queen's own special teacher of Latin was a learned lady, 
Dona Beatriz de Galindo, who became a widow while 
still young, was childless and immensely rich, and of 
whom we are told that in later years she " consecrated 
her many gifts to the religious life and to the building 
of convents and hospitals, one of which still bears her 



name in Madrid." There were other distinguished 
women, some of high rank, who pubHcly lectured 
on the Latin classics, rhetoric and other subjects. A 
learned scholar, Antonio de Lebrija, wrote a special 
Castilian grammar for the use of the Court ladies. As 
Giovio said : ** No Spaniard was accounted noble who 
held science in indifference." Peter Martyr gives an 
amusing account of the enthusiasm on one occasion 
at Salamanca, the " New Athens," when he was to give 
an introductory lecture on one of the Satires of Juvenal, 
for the hall was so crowded that he had to be carried 
in on the shoulders of the students. 

Theology naturally flourished under the powerful 
patronage of Cardinal Mendoza, of Talavera and of 
Jimenez, who were all men of wide learning, while 
mathematics resumed their ancient importance, as well 
as astronomy and geography. History had always 
been a favourite study in Castile, but it now rose beyond 
mere chronicles, " charters and diplomas were con- 
sulted, manuscripts collated, coins and inscriptions 
deciphered . . . ." and the public archives were col- 
lected and stored at Burgos. 

The invention of printing, which reached Spain in 
the very first year of Isabel's reign, was of supreme 
help in the dispersion of knowledge. There is a 
royal ordinance of 1477, in which a German named 
Theodoric is mentioned as " being of the chief persons 
in the discovery and practice of the art of printing 
books, which he had brought with him into Spain 
at great risk and expense, with the design of ennobling 
the libraries of the kingdom." When we consider the 
extreme cost of manuscripts and the small number 
which it was possible for any ordinary scholar to 



obtain, we can dimly realise the splendid boon which 
printing was to the world of learning. Valencia claims 
the honour of the first printing press, which is disputed 
by Barcelona and other cities. The first book set up 
in type was a collection of songs in the Valencian 
dialect to the praise of the Virgin, followed the next 
year by the works of Sallust. That popular romance 
of chivalry, " Amadis de Gaula," went through various 
editions, as did also translations of Dante and Boc- 
caccio, and native lyrics and dramatic eclogues of 
Juan de Encina amongst others. 

To all this marvellous progress Isabel gave her 
warmest encouragement by the most liberal help, 
by bestowing special privileges on the printers and 
sellers of books, and she even caused literary works 
to be printed at her own expense. De Maulde de- 
scribes her with a light touch : " Elle resumait ^tonnam- 
ment les divers heroismes ; brave et ferme sans rien 
d'un virago ; apres une nuit passee a dieter des ordres, 
elle se remettait tranquillement a une broderie d'Eglise 
ou bien, comme Anne de France, a I'education pratique 
de ses filles .... c'etait une causeuse de premier ordre, 
elle aimait aborder les hautes questions philosophiques ; 
9a et la elle jetait en travers de la discussion un mot 
original, quelque trait franc et net, en meme temps que 
ses yeux bleu fonce s'animaient et langaient a ses 
interlocuteurs un certain regard chaud et loyal qui 
est reste celebre." 

A stately Court was kept up by the King and Queen, 
and although in her private life she was abstemious 
and simple in her dress, yet on great occasions we are 
told that her magnificence was beyond belief, and that 
a single toilette cost 200,000 scudos, probably of the 



splendid gold brocade of Valencia, which was famous 
throughout Europe. There was a general taste for 
extravagance in dress at the time, and we find the 
Cortes constantly complaining that even the lower 
class dress like people of rank, " whereby they not 
only squander their own estate but bring poverty and 
want to all." With the Queen it was not wasteful 
ostentation, but a calculated expenditure to appeal 
to the imagination of her people and exalt her royal 
position. She possessed magnificent and costly jewel- 
lery, one collar of rubies was worth a king's ransom, 
but she had so little personal avarice with regard to 
her jewels that she was ever ready to pawn them for 
the expenses of the realm, or, with lavish generosity, 
give them away for the dowries of her daughters. 

The marriage negotiations in respect to the four 
princesses of Spain form a most interesting and 
instructive study. Fernando was first and above all 
things a diplomatist before he had time to consider 
that he was a father. All the alliances arranged for 
his children were a matter of deliberate policy. Thus, 
in i486, we find him secretly offering his eldest 
daughter Isabel, who was then sixteen, to Charles 
VII. of France, who was the same age, quite ignoring 
the young King's betrothal to Margaret of Austria. 
But in this the King of Spain did not succeed, 
although he offered a dowry of 400,000 francs, and 
lavished flattery in vain on Madame de Beaujeu, who 
had other and more subtle plans which culminated in 
her brother's marriage with Anne of Brittany in 1491. 
Failing in this, Fernando returned to his original 
scheme of strengthening his alliance with Portugal, 
which had always proved so difficult a neighbour by 



encouraging the claims of the Beltraneja to the crown 
of Castile and by constant rivalry. As far back as 
September 1479, the Infant Isabel had been betrothed 
to the young Affonso,the only legitimate son of Juan II., 
King of Portugal, who, after breaking the power 
of his feudal nobility, became such a benevolent 
despot that his people called him " the Perfect King." 
This marriage, or formal betrothal, was carried out 
with great pomp and magnificence in the spring of 
1490, at Seville, where Don Fernando de Silveira 
acted as proxy for Prince Affonso. A succession of 
gorgeous festivals and tournaments were held outside 
the city, on the banks of the Guadalquivir, in an 
enclosed space shaded from the sun by canopies 
embroidered with armorial bearings, with galleries for 
the ladies hung with silk brocade and cloth of gold. 
All the chivalry of Spain was gathered there in splendid 
array, with emblazoned banners and sumptuous re- 
tinues, glad to enjoy a respite from the stern realities 
of war. The King himself broke several lances, and 
made a goodly show with his fine appearance and 
horsemanship. The Queen and her ladies were pre- 
sent, and the young Princess Isabel was the cynosure 
of all eyes, with her train of seventy fair maids of 
honour and a hundred pages in glittering livery. 
The Portuguese ambassadors were much impressed 
by the stately banquets and great entertainments with 
music and courtly dances. 

It was not until some months afterwards that the 
Infanta travelled to Lisbon, already a city of great 
wealth and commerce, with the Cardinal Mendoza, 
the Master of Santiago, and a magnificent retinue. 
She was received with a splendid welcome, and the 


W. A. Manse!! & Co. 

In the Xaticmnl Portrait GuHery, Lonclmi 



marriage ceremony took place with great state, on 
November 22, 1490. Her dresses and jewels were 
valued at 120,000 gold florins, and her dowry was far 
greater than any princess of Castile had received 
before. She was the Queen's favourite daughter ; she 
had also, for so long, been the only child and loving 
companion, while her sweetness and docility had 
made her very dear to the mother who, tender as she 
was, could not brook rebellion. 

Poor Princess Isabel ! Her bright hopes of happiness 
were never destined to be realised, for within a few 
short months she was overwhelmed with sorrow by the 
loss of her young husband. In those days of political 
alliances, a daughter, even in the cradle, might be a 
useful counter in the game of diplomacy, which King 
Fernando was not one to neglect. It was of the 
utmost importance for him to cultivate the friendship 
of England, with whom he could combine to defend 
Brittany against France, their hereditary foe. The 
youngest Infanta, Catalina, born at the end of 1485, 
was only a few months older than Arthur, Prince of 
Wales, and early in 1487 the King of Spain began to 
enter into negotiation with Henry VII. for the mar- 
riage of these two babies. This suggestion being 
favourably received, at the beginning of 1488, a cer- 
tain Doctor de Puebla was sent to England as a kind 
of permanent agent at the Court of Henry VII. His 
special business was to arrange this marriage and 
obtain the best terms he could, while he kept a watch 
over all that happened and sent constant information 
to Spain. On his arrival at Windsor De Puebla was 
very well received by Henry VII., who flattered him 
by friendly attentions, and even received him at the 



royal table, where he saw thirty-two ladies " of angelic 
beauty" in attendance upon the English Queen. 

Much of the correspondence between the Spanish 
sovereigns and their representative in England is now 
preserved amongst the royal archives at Simancas and 
elsewhere, and it throws a most interesting sidelight 
upon many subjects. We dimly realise the delays 
and dangers of travel in those days, when we hear 
that two copies of any important letter were sent by 
different routes in the care of special messengers. It 
is recorded that, in the case of twelve of these in the 
service of one ambassador, only three had escaped 
death or mutilation. 

The letters are usually dictated by Fernando and 
Isabel to the Secretary of State, who, in the earher 
part of their reign, was Ferdnan Alvarez, " whose 
rough drafts are incoherent and confused, with por- 
tions blotted out and marginal additions written in 
such small characters as to be scarcely discernible.* 
There is a letter of April 30, 1488, from the Spanish 
sovereigns to De Puebla, impressing upon him that he 
must conclude the treaty of marriage between the 
Princess Catalina and Arthur, Prince of Wales, and 
see to the amount of marriage portion. . . . and the 
question of repayment in case of the dissolution of 
the marriage. This is in Latin, for the King and 
Queen of England send a message that they cannot 
understand Spanish and desire Latin letters. The 
next letter, without a date, is on the amount and con- 
ditions of the jointure King Henry is to pay the 
Princess Catalina, and this is in Spanish, probably 
intended only for the eyes of De Puebla. In answer 
* Bergenroth. Calendar of State Papers. 


to this we learn that the Princess is to receive the 
third part of the revenue of Wales, Cornwall, and 
Chester, also 80,000 gold crowns a year, 30,000 vassals, 
hundreds of villages and castles, some towns, and 
many sea-ports. 

In the haggling which followed, the two parsimonious 
kings, Henry and Fernando, are well matched. The 
former asks " Why the King and Queen of Spain 
should not be more liberal, as the money came not 
out of their strong boxes but out of the pockets of 
their subjects?" Then De Puebla adds, on his own 
account, "That England is a very dear place, for the 
smallest coin there is worth eight Spanish maravedis ! " 
Next we are told that the Spanish ambassadors are 
invited to see little Prince Arthur asleep, and they find 
him to be " fat and fair, but small for his age," twenty 
months. King Henry sends a certain Doctor Saloage, 
as one of his ambassadors, to Spain, and he makes a 
long oration in Latin, to which the Bishop of Ciudad 
Rodrigo replies ; but Roger Machado, Richmond 
King-at-Arms, says : " le bon evesque estoit si viel et 
avoyt perd tous ses dens, que a grant payne on peult 
entendre ce qu'il dissoit." 

At length we have the satisfaction of hearing that 
the marriage treaty is signed on March 8, 1489, before 
the two children are five years old, the dowry of the 
Spanish princess to be 200,000 gold crowns, "of 
which half (or a third) is to be accepted in ornament 
and apparel for the Infanta and her household." But 
all this will have to be fought over again, for we are 
told that when " Fernando and Isabel concluded and 
ratified the second marriage treaty it was on less 
favourable terms than had been already agreed upon, 



for no other reason than because they had not the 
eadier correspondence at hand ! " * 

We are not surprised at this when we learn that 
" many documents were placed in ' areas,' wooden 
chests of exquisite work, enriched with carving and 
gilding," and there was an area in each of the many 
palaces where the Court resided for a time. There is 
a very interesting letter from Fernando to the Queen 
of England, Elizabeth of York, written some months 
after the first treaty was signed, in Latin. It is dated 
December 4, 1489, from Baca (Baza), in which the 
King informs her that he has conquered the town of 
Baca, in the kingdom of Granada, and made great pro- 
gress in the war against the Moors. As his victories 
interest all the Christian world, he thinks it his duty to 
inform the Queen of England." f 

Another letter of De Puebla, of January 1490, repeats 
what he has heard, that the King of France tells Henry 
the Spanish alliance is of little value. . . . but the war 
against the Moors is almost finished, and Spain is 
very well situated for war with France by sea and 
land. ..." We shall hear a great deal more about 
De Puebla at a later period, but meantime we will 
leave him to his distinctly uncomfortable life in 
England, where he is a kind of " souffre-douleur " to 
both crafty Kings. He does not appear to have been 
a very estimable or dignified person, and was either 
poor or miserly, for in town he lodged at some doubt- 
ful tavern, and in the country he dined every day at 
Court, where he was not especially welcome. The 
Queen and the King's mother inquired of him " if 
his masters did not provide him with food ? " and 
* Bergenroth. f //>iii. 



Henry VII. asked his courtiers why De Puebla came ? 
laughing with good-natured contempt at their reply : 
" To eat ! " " Here comes the old Doctor a-begging ! " 
he exclaimed, when the Spaniard applied for wine and 
bread for his servants' supper. Fernando and Isabel 
did not thoroughly trust De Puebla, yet they had to 
keep him in their service, for he seems to have under- 
stood the wily Henry VII. 

With regard to other alliances, Fernando had made 
an effort, some years before, to secure Catherine, the 
heiress of Navarre, for his son Don Juan, but this 
move was checkmated by her mother, Queen Made- 
leine, whose interest was all for France, and who 
married her to Jean d'Albret. It is interesting to 
remember that Caesar Borgia married his sister. 
Later on Fernando achieved his great and fatal 
success in the double marriage between his second 
daughter, Juana, and Philip, the son of the Emperor 
Maximilian, whose daughter Margaret married the 
Infante Juan. But this was not until the League of 
Venice against France had given a fresh stimulus to 
the restless ambition of the King of Spain. 




The Holy War against the infidels which had lasted 
through so many centuries, had intensified in Spain 
the passionate flame of devotion to the Faith, and it 
was with somewhat of crusading zeal that the terrible 
Inquisition first gained ground under Fernando and 

It is difficult to give an exact account of its origin, 
but v/e would hardly go so far back as the learned 
Parama, who declares "that God was the first Inquisitor, 
and that His condemnation of Adam and Eve was the 
model of the judicial forms observed in the trials of 
the Holy Office. The sentence of Adam was the type 
of the Inquisitorial "reconciliation; his subsequent 
raiment of skins was the model of the ' san benito ' ; 
and his expulsion from Paradise the precedent for 
the confiscation of the goods of heretics." We 
find intolerance in the early days when Christianity 
became the religion of the Roman Empire, and the 
Popes looked upon heresy as treason against them- 
selves, but it appears first to have become an organised 
system in the hands of the Dominican friars, and we 
see the Inquisition definitely established at Toulouse 



by St. Louis in 1233. Soon afterwards adopted by 
Italy and Germany, it was introduced into Aragon, 
where fresh rules were added by the Council of 
Tarragona in 1242, and it became the most formidable 
tribunal which the world had ever seen. 

This engine of persecution fell heavily during the 
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries on the unfortunate 
Albigenses, a sect which first started in Provence and 
passed on thence to Aragon, with which it was closely 
connected. But the Inquisition does not appear to have 
been fully organised in Castile before the days of Isabel, 
although her own father, Juan II., "had hunted the 
heretics of Biscay as if they had been wild beasts 
among the mountains," and in an earlier day St. 
Ferdinand "had heaped the faggots on the blazing 
pile with his own hands." 

Probably the strong desire for national unity by 
means of the strict religious bond of faith, gave the 
first impulse towards the Inquisition in the days of 
Fernando and Isabel,[after whose accession a Bull was 
obtained from the Pope to organise it afresh in Aragon 
and to establish it on a permanent basis in Castile. In 
the mixed population of Spain there was no uniformity 
of doctrine ; there had been much intermarriage with 
Jews, and Judaism was the special heresy of the land. 
In the Cortes of Toledo in 1480, strong intolerance 
was shown and oppressive laws were passed against 
them ; and it was only after this, in the next year, that 
the Pope's Bull was taken advantage of to establish 
the Inquisition at Seville in 1481, in the Dominican 
monastery of San Pedro and San Pablo. We are told 
that Isabel was strongly opposed to this measure and 
long resisted the arguments and eloquence of her 



confessor, Father Torquemada, a violent and bigoted 
Dominican ; but she was a deeply religious woman, 
and when she was at length persuaded that this was 
the will of God, and that it was her duty to sacrifice 
her merely human feelings of tenderness and com- 
passion, she gave way after a bitter struggle. 

No thought of self ever swayed the actions of Isabel ; 
she was a warm-hearted friend and a loving daughter, 
who during the long years of her mother's sad mental 
disease, watched over her with unceasing patient devo- 
tion. We have seen with what wise charity she cared 
for the sick and wounded on the battlefield, and so 
full of tender pity was she, that she would not be pre- 
sent at a bull-fight unless the horns of the bull were 
so protected as to prevent dangerous wounds. She 
was a passionate lover of justice, and magnanimous in 
forgiving personal injuries. Yet this was the Queen 
who was induced to sign the dread charter to extirpate 
heresy '' for the Glory of God and the exaltation of the 
Catholic Faith" — the death warrant of thousands of 
her innocent subjects. 

This is so interesting a psychological question that 
I may be pardoned for dwelling upon it at some length, 
as we must first seek to recreate the atmosphere of that 
bygone time. " There can be no greater injustice than 
to condemn one century by the standard to which a 
later has arrived, through long ages of trial and a slow 
process of development."* We must remember that 
in this period the spirit of intolerance was shared by 
most of the greatest thinkers, the men of noblest 
character and purest motives, and with scarcely an 
exception, all the theologians, for the time had not yet 

* Watt's " Story of the Nations." 


come when toleration was thought of, or perhaps even 
possible. Take the instance of Reginald Pecock, the 
good Bishop of Chichester, a man of strong intellect 
and with a keen love of justice, who sought to win 
over heretics to the Faith by reason rather than by 
persecution. His fellow prelates looked askance at 
him, his people did not understand him ; he was him- 
self accused of heresy for his gentleness, forced to 
recant, and deprived of his bishopric in 1457. Thus 
did he pay the penalty of being before his times. 

Bossuet, in much later days, clearly states the axiom 
that "the holy severity of the Church of Rome will 
not tolerate error." All the ancient chroniclers of 
Spain look upon the persecution of heretics as the 
most glorious work of kings and heroes, and the 
following quotation from Senor Menendez Pelayo 
is a clear and condensed statement of their views : 
** Never since the time of Judas Maccabaeus has there 
existed a people which might with so much reason 
consider itself as chosen to be the sword and the arm 
of God. In Spain, even amid the wildest dreams of 
medieval aggrandisement and of universal Monarchy, 
every earthly consideration was constantly subordinated 
to the supreme object of bringing all mankind into one 
fold, and under one Shepherd."* 

That we may not look upon the persecuting spirit 
as characterising only the Church of Rome, it may be 
well to select a few instances of the same intolerance 
in the very stronghold of Protestantism. "John Knox 
regarded the extermination of idolaters as a counsel of 
perfection. . . . He relied on texts about massacring 
Amalekites, and Elijah's slaughter of the prophets of 

* " Heterodoxus Espanoles," torn. ii. p. 679. 

209 o 


Baal. The Mass was idolatry, was Baal worship ; and 
Baal worshippers if recalcitrant must die . . . Knox's 
opinion being accepted, Reformers must either con- 
vert or persecute the Catholics even to extermina- 
tion. . . . Thus in Deuteronomy, cities which serve 
other gods or welcome missionaries of other religions 
are ito be burned, and everything in them is to be 
destroyed. God wills that * all creatures stoop, cover 
their faces, and desist from reasoning when command- 
ment is given to execute His judgment.' Knox was 
wont to cite the massacre of Agag as an example to the 
backward brethren." * This may recall to our minds 
a passage in Dr. Arnold's sermon on the " Wars of the 
Israelites" : 

"It is better that the wicked should be destroyed 
from the world a hundred times over, than that they 
should tempt those who are as yet innocent to join 
their company. Let us but think what might have 
been our fate, and the fate of every other nation under 
heaven at this hour, had the sword of the Israelites 
done its work more sparingly." 

Might not these words have been spoken by Isabel 
the Catholic ? In the curious irony of fate which 
history so often records, in her day it was chiefly 
against the Israelites that the sword was turned ! In 
Carlyle's " Cromwell " we find a sentiment akin to those 
above. Speaking of the storming of Drogheda, where 
Oliver Cromwell ordered an almost promiscuous mas- 
sacre of the Irish inhabitants, he adds : "Terrible 
surgery this ; but is it surgery and judgment, or atro- 
cious murder merely ? That is a question which should 
be asked, and answered. Oliver Cromwell did believe 
* " Life of Knox." Andrew Lang. 



in God's judgments; and did not believe in the rose- 
water plan of surgery ; which, in fact, is this editor's 
case too ! " 

The "^rose-water " methods are far more to our taste 
at the present day, still we can scarcely deny that when 
men are in desperate earnest, toleration seems only 
another name for indifference. 

There is another point to consider. In those stormy 
times of constant feud and bloodshed, human life was 
of no account — as with silver in the days of Solomon 
— only the fine gold of the priceless undying soul was 
to be considered. Who would reck of a few fleeting 
hours on the burning pile for the earthly body, when 
the eternal, unspeakable torments of Hell were sus- 
pended in the balance and might be so redeemed ? The 
gate of salvation stood open to the last fatal moment, 
and fear of the stake might drive thousands to baptism. 
So the true believer would look upon an auto de fe. 
In the days of Queen Isabel, life had not the apparent 
stability with which we are wont to credit it in these 
piping times of peace, when we go forth to our daily 
labour with the comfortable assurance that we shall 
return home at night. Then, perils waylaid alike the 
noble and the peasant on every side. A chance meet- 
ing with a secret foe, an angry word, and a stab in the 
dark ; or a touch of ever-lurking fever in the pestilen- 
tial byway, in the street or palace ; and a man's place 
would know him no more. When our own existence 
hangs ever by a thread, we are not disposed to place a 
very high value upon human life, and this may have 
been a strong element in the readiness of any tribunal 
to sign a death-warrant. 

As the Inquisition was chiefly directed against the 



Jews at this time, it will be interesting to give a brief 
glance at their history in Spain. They are said to have 
flocked hither originally in great numbers after the 
destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, and under the 
Empire and the first Gothic kings they dwelt in peace 
and prosperity. But after the fourth Council of Toledo, 
633, they were cruelly persecuted by the Spanish 
bishops ; their baptism was made compulsory, and 
many fled from torture and death to the shores of 
Morocco or to France. When the Moors conquered 
Spain, the Jews are accused of being on their side, and 
if so they were fully justified, for then followed a palmy 
time of toleration and equal rights under the Moslem 
rule. "While the Arab fought, the Jew trafficked," 
and when the fighting was over, joined in the study of 
the arts and sciences and flourished amazingly. The 
Jews of Cordova especially distinguished themselves 
in reviving the philosophy of the Greeks, and in the 
darker days which followed the fall of the Omeyyad 
kings, they kept alight the lamp of learning. 

Banished and persecuted in many lands, accused of 
poisoning the wells in France, and set upon by the 
people, there was yet a Jewish physician in every Court 
in Europe, and everywhere we find most of the com- 
merce and banking in their hands. For their wealth 
they were protected and made use of by kings and 
nobles, while they were hooted at and ill-treated by the 
ignorant populace. All through Europe this has ever 
been the case, for they excited envy by their ostentation 
in dress, and hatred by their sharpness in bargaining, 
called usury and extortion, their mysterious religious 
observances, and the fact that they remained a caste 
apart. Endless calumnies were believed ; they were 



accused of desecrating all that Christians held most 
dear, and of sacrificing a Christian child at their Pass- 

" Slain with cursed Jewes, as it is notable." * 

When the Holy Office was established at Seville it 
was received with jealousy and suspicion by the higher 
classes, who had to a considerable extent intermarried 
with wealthy Jewesses, but the populace applauded and 
rejoiced, for their hatred had been freshly roused by the 
preaching of fanatical priests. Then the Queen made 
one last effort at a compromise ; and by her command 
a simple catechism of the Catholic Faith was drawn up 
to teach the Jews and win them over to conversion. 
But there cannot have been much result, for in that 
year we are told that more than two thousand people 
were burned for heresy in Andalusia alone. After 
Torquemada was appointed chief Inquisitor in 1483, an 
immense number of unfortunate men and women 
many of whom had been apparently converted and 
were under suspicion of having relapsed, were convicted 
by the Dominican tribunal and suffered a cruel death 
on the flat plain outside the walls of Seville, called the 
Quemadero, or burning-place of the terrible Inqui- 

This was the method of procedure under the rule of 
Torquemada. On the first two Sundays of Lent an 
edict was published in every church, calling upon the 
people who knew or suspected any one to be guilty of 
heresy to lodge information against him before the 
Holy Office, even in the case of his nearest and dearest. 
Should he neglect to do so, he was refused absolution 

"•• Chaucer's " Prioress's Tale." 


by his confessor. Every accusation, even anonymous, 
was received, and the accused was at once taken to the 
secret chambers of the Inquisition, where he saw no one 
but his gaoler and a priest specially appointed, both of 
whom may be looked upon as spies. He was not fully 
told the charges against him, and he was not allowed 
to meet the advocate who with a show of fairness was 
appointed to defend him. 

When his trial came under these embarrassing cir- 
cumstances, if he was suspected of evasion or refused 
to confess his guilt, the unfortunate prisoner was put to 
the torture. Instead of presuming his innocence until 
his guilt was proved, the sin of heresy was taken for 
granted unless he could clear himself. It is true that 
he had the right of challenging any witness whom he 
knew to be his enemy, but as he did not know the 
names of his accusers until he met them on the day 
of judgment, this privilege was of little avail, and the 
whole proceedings were shrouded by absolute secrecy. 
Confiscation of goods was the invariable penalty of 
heresy, and the profits went first to pay the expenses of 
the Holy Office. The final sentence was death by 
burning, but it was not until after the days of Isabel 
that the awful ceremony of the auto de f6 was 
countenanced by the presence of royalty. The dread 
tribunal is thus spoken of by a pious and learned 
writer of the time. 

" The Church, who is the mother of mercy, and the 
fountain of charity, content with the imposition of 
penance, accords life to many who do not deserve it. 
While those who persist obstinately in their errors, 
after being imprisoned on the testimony of trustworthy 
witnesses, she causes to be put to the torture, and con- 



demned to the flames : some miserably perish, bewailing 
their errors, and invoking the name of Christ, while 
others call upon that of Moses. Many again who 
sincerely repent, she, notwithstanding the heinousness 
of their transgressions, merely sentences to perpetual 
imprisonment." * So profound was the belief of the 
oppressors that the Almighty was on their side, that 
they inscribed above their portal at Seville : " Exurge 
Domine ; judica causam tuam ; capite nobis vulpes." 

It must be remembered that the original victims of 
the Inquisition were nominal Christians, probably 
converted Moslems or Jews, who were suspected of 
falling from the Faith. But we cannot leave this short 
sketch of the course of persecution in Spain without 
touching on that culminating disastrous measure, the 
fatal crime of the expulsion of the Jews after the 
conquest of Granada. The popular feeling against 
them had become envenomed, and no scandalous 
rumour was too outrageous for the credulity of the 
masses. Nameless crimes and dark mysterious orgies 
were hinted at, and the Jews were accused of bringing 
strong pressure to bear on any of their race who had 
become converts to Christianity. The Inquisitors 
declared that they had tried all gentle means, but the 
Israelites were an obstinate and stiff-necked people, 
whose hearts were hardened like that of Pharaoh, and 
the only way to extirpate the heresy of Judaism, 
and to ensure not only the orthoxdoy of Spain but the 
union of the nation, was to get rid of these aliens at 
once and for ever. 

The Jews were not long in hearing of their danger, 
and they hastened to make an appeal to the sovereigns, 
* " Marineo" (quoted by Prescott). 



with the munificent offer of 30,000 ducats towards the 
expenses of the war with the Moors. We are told that 
the Jewish envoy had obtained an audience with 
Fernando and Isabel within the palace at Granada 
when the Dominican Torquemada boldly entered 
unannounced into the council chamber, and " drawing 
a crucifix from beneath his mantle, held it up, exclaim- 
ing : ' Judas Iscariot sold his Master for thirty 
pieces of silver. Your Highnesses would sell Him 
anew for 30,000 ; here He is, take Him and barter 
Him away." So saying the frantic priest threw the 
crucifix on the table and departed. 

We see here the kind of influence which was 
brought to bear on the acutely sensitive religious 
feeling of the Queen. It had always been impressed 
upon her that gentleness and compassion were elements 
of treachery to the stern will of the Most High, which 
was made known to her by the voice of her confessor ; 
the habits of a lifetime asserted themselves, and at 
any cost to herself she was ready to do what she 
believed to be her duty. She overcame her scruples 
and at length agreed to sign the irrevocable proscription. 
We can easily believe that the motives of Fernando 
were more mixed, for with the end of the war with the 
Moors all his hereditary ambitions for Aragon resumed 
their full sway over him, and to carry them out, money 
was an absolute necessityfor him. If he was to become 
the dictator of southern Europe, his treasury must be 
filled, and there was no simpler way of doing so than 
to confiscate with a semblance of legality most of the 
immense property of this ancient people, ever per- 
secuted, but ever saving and wealthy. We know what 
a master of diplomacy the King of Spain proved himself 


/. Lacosle, phot. 

Ill tilt- Piado, Madrid 

Castilian School, about 1491 




to be, as Machiavelli says of him ; " There is a certain 
prince of the present time who never preaches aught 
but peace and good faith, and yet of both he is the 
greatest foe." 

It was on March 30, 1492, in the palace of conquered 
Granada,that the fatal edict was signed for the expulsion 
of the Jews. The original is still in existence, and 
begins in stately form : 

"Nos Ferdinandus et Elisabeth dei gratia, Rex et 
Regina Castelle, Leononis . . . . " 

The document then sets forth the danger of allowing 
further intercourse between their Christian subjects 
and the Jews, who obstinately continued to try and 
convert them to Judaism in defiance of commands and 
penalties. When a college or corporation is con- 
victed of any great and terrible crime, it is right that 
it should be disfranchised, the less suffering with the 
greater, the innocent with the guilty. If this be the 
case with temporal concerns, it is much more so in 
those which affect the general welfare of the soul ..." 
At length follows the decree that all unbaptized Jews, 
of whatever age, sex, or condition, should depart from 
the realm by the end of July next ensuing; forbidding 
them to return on any pretext whatever, under penalty 
of death and confiscation of property. No subject was 
to give shelter or help to any Jew after those four 
months had expired. The condemned people were 
allowed to sell their property but not to take away the 
value in gold or silver. 

This last was a very important clause, for under the 
existing condition of commerce it was impossible for 
bills of exchange to be obtained to any great amount ; 



In the limited time, moreover, which was granted, a 
whole people could not sell their goods as the market 
was over-stocked at once, and in this forced sale we 
hear of a house being given in exchange for an ass, 
and a vineyard for a garment. The cruel doom of 
exile fell with crushing, overwhelming force upon the 
hapless race, but in that darkest hour of despair 
they remained true to the faith of their fathers. In 
vain the Spanish priests preached to them in the 
synagogues and the public squares, and used every 
argument and inducement for their conversion ; 
very few were found ready to sacrifice their reli- 
gion even for the sake of their country — the land 
of their inheritance, of their birth : the home of 
their ancestors, where all their loved ones had lived 
and died. 

When the day of doom arrived, to the number of 
nearly a quarter of a million they were driven forth, 
men and women and little children, all mingled 
together as they thronged the chief roads, mostly 
on foot and often destitute. Tenderly nurtured 
women, accustomed to every luxury, men distin- 
guished in art and science, rich and poor, joined 
together in that terrible pilgrimage, encouraged by 
their rabbis, who compared this persecution to that 
which the chosen people had suffered in the days of 
Pharaoh. Many fell by the way, dying at the road- 
side with none to help or pity, while of the survivors 
a large number passed through Portugal, paying a tax 
to King Juan II., and of the remainder some travelled 
to Italy, and even as far as France and England. The 
seaports on the Mediterranean were crowded with the 



unfortunate exiles who crossed over to Barbary, where 
they were robbed and illtreated by lawless tribes, and 
many of them were murdered. 

As we read with horror the story of this cruel 
exodus, we cannot forget that the same religious 
bigotry has expelled the Jews from other countries — 
England, France, Portugal, Russia, and from Vienna 
— in 1669. When the Jews were banished from Eng- 
land in 1290, Holinshed relates how the captain who 
took away the richest of them drowned them all in 
the Thames, and he implies that this act was approved 
by many Englishmen, even in the time of Elizabeth, 
when he wrote his chronicle. The famous historian 
of the Inquisition thus enumerates the motives which 
led to this disastrous step in Spain. " The measure 
may be referred to the fanaticism of Torquemada, to 
the avarice and superstition of Fernando, to the false 
ideas and inconsiderate zeal with which they had 
inspired Isabel, to whom history cannot refuse the 
praise of great sweetness of disposition and an 
enlightened mind."* 

With regard to her fatal acceptance of the Inquisi- 
tion, we have seen that she was not alone in that 
infirmity of noble minds — the passionate desire to 
vindicate the cause of her faith by stern intolerance 
— to grasp the avenging sword of the High and 
Mighty One, as though He needed the puny hand 
of man to assert His Majesty ! 

No words of mine can express the horrors of that 

dread tribunal of the Inquisition, more cruel and 

vindictive in Spain than in any other land ; behind 

* Llorente. 


whose hateful portals all hope was left behind. Like 
a poisonous upas-tree, as it grew in power under the 
successors of Queen Isabel, it became more terrible 
and deadly, until the very name has become almost 
a synonym for hell itself. 




When tidings of the brave El Zagal's defeat reached 
Boabdil in Granada, he is said to have cried aloud in 
his exultation : " Henceforth let no man call me El 
Zogoybi (the Unlucky) ; the stars have ceased their 
persecution !" But his triumph was short-lived. The 
next messengers who reached the city gates were from 
King Fernando to remind him of his promise made 
when a captive — that when Baza, Guadix and Almeria 
should have fallen, he would surrender Granada to the 
Catholic sovereigns — who now called upon him to 
fulfil his treaty. 

It was a bitter reminder, and if the hapless King of 
Granada had wished to comply with the stern sum- 
mons, it was not in his power to do so. The city was 
full of tumult and rage at the Christian conquests, 
crowded with refugees from the conquered cities, who 
all reviled Boabdil as the cause of their misfortunes, 
and he dared not leave the sheltering walls of the 
Alhambra. He sent humble messages of submission, 
imploring for time, but Fernando's haughty reply cast 
him off as of no account, and called upon the com- 



manders of the citadel to surrender at once with all 
their artillery and arms. If the inhabitants complied, 
they would receive the same favourable terms as Baza 
and Almeria ; but if they refused the fate of Malaga 
would be theirs. It was a terrible alternative, and the 
city council was torn asunder by hot disputes, for the 
wealthy merchants and the older citizens dreaded the 
horrors of war and possible slavery, and were ready to 
secure peace on such easy terms. But Granada was 
full of ruined and desperate men, who lived by the 
sword, and were eager only for revenge ; while the 
gallant chivalry of Granada had inherited a fierce hatred 
of the Christians from a long line of fighting ancestors, 
and for them to yield this last stronghold of the Moorish 
faith would be infamy worse than death. 

One of these brave cavaliers, a certain Musa ben 
Abil Gazan, took the lead at this critical moment and 
roused the enthusiasm of the people, so winning them 
over that a defiant reply was sent to King Fernando : 
they would choose death rather than surrender, and 
if he wished for their arms he must come and take 

It was a bold challenge and the people roused them- 
selves to make it good. Through the gates of Granada 
once more there poured forth companies of light 
cavalry which harassed the country round, sweeping off 
flocks and herds, and carrying their depredations to 
the very gates of the fortresses which the Christians 
had conquered. They even took some strong places, 
such as Alhendin, by surprise, and awoke the spirit of 
rebellion in Guadix and elsewhere. When Musa re- 
turned with his cavalry from a victorious foray, the 
people of Granada forgot all their past troubles and 


thought the Golden Age had come again. But Fernando 
bided his time ; he waited till the Vega was restored to 
all its "luxuriance and beauty ; the green pastures on 
the borders of the Xenil were rich with sheep and 
cattle ; the blooming orchards gave promise of abun- 
dant fruit, and the open plain was waving with ripening 
corn. The time was at hand to put in the sickle and 
reap the golden harvest, when suddenly a torrent of 
war came sweeping down from the mountains, and 
Fernando, with an army of five thousand horse and 
twenty thousand foot, appeared before the walls of 
Granada. He left the Queen and Princess at the fort- 
ress of Moclin, and came attended by . . . renowned 
cavaliers. For the first time he led his son Prince Juan 
into the field, and bestowed upon him the honour of 
knighthood . . . high above them rose the resplendent 
red towers of the Alhambra, rising from amidst deli- 
cious groves ; with the standard of Mahomet waving 
defiance to the Christian arms." * 

This was the beginning of a series of devastating forays 
over the fertile land of the Moors; villages were sacked 
and burnt and the whole country was laid desolate. 
The King's theory was that before besieging the city 
he would carry on his desolating plan and his enemies 
would be starved into submission. But the Moors 
under their brave leader, now joined by Boabdil, who 
saw that he had nothing more to hope for, made in- 
cessant coiinter-sallies and obtained several minor suc- 
cesses in their attacks on the Christians, yet all this 
was but a last glimmer of light before the final eclipse. 
The winter of 1490 was entirely occupied by the Spanish 
sovereigns in preparation for one great and overwhelm- 

=i= " Chronicles of Granada." Washington Irving. 


ing campaign against the devoted city. In the month 
of April 1491, Fernando and Isabel set forth at the 
head of an immense army, resolved to lay siege to the 
Moorish capital and never leave until the final sur- 

Robbed of all her strongholds and defences, Granada 
was still formidable from her natural position and her 
host of eager defenders within the walls. The Sierra 
Nevada, with its snow-clad heights, formed a mountain 
barrier to the east, and the side facing the Vega was 
defended by massive walls and embattled towers. The 
Christian army encamped on the banks of the Xenil 
in full view of the city, from which they were only 
divided by an open plain. Hither the young Moorish 
cavaliers would sally forth and challenge the Spaniards 
to meet them in equal encounter, performing feats 
of valour as if it were a tilting-ground, until King 
Fernando had to forbid these duels, as he lost some of 
his bravest knights. His tactics were those he usually 
adopted — he laid waste the Vega again, closely invested 
the city, and resolved to wait until the inhabitants 
were compelled by famine to surrender. 

Queen Isabel and her daughters, with a train of 
Court ladies, had also established themselves in the 
camp, where her encouragement, and the eager interest 
which she took in all the military preparations, filled 
the army with enthusiasm. Some historians speak of 
her as riding on the field in complete armour, and a 
suit of armour is still shown at Madrid in the Armeria 
Real, with the monogram " Isabel" worked on the vizor. 
But when we consider the extreme decorum and over- 
scrupulous etiquette of Spanish ladies, it appears 
extremely improbable that she ever wore that for- 



bidding costume. It has been suggested that it more 
probably belonged to the husband of Isabel, daughter 
of Philip II., Regent of Flanders, who used his wife's 
cypher from gallantry. 

It was not necessary for the Queen to wear a man's 
armour to show her splendid courage and indomitable 
spirit. On one occasion she wished to have a nearer 
view of the Alhambra, and she rode with the King 
across the little rivulet Dilar to the village of Zubia, 
whence she could have a fine prospect of the beautiful 
palace. The Marquess of Cadiz with a company of 
soldiers was stationed beyond for the protection of the 
sovereigns, when an unexpected sortie took place 
from Granada, and for a short time Isabel was in 
much danger. A thicket of bay is shown in which it 
is said that she hid as the enemy went by. After the 
conquest she built a hermitage in honour of the 
Virgin to commemorate her escape, and it still stands 
amid tall cypresses with faded portraits of Fernando 
and Isabel on the walls. In this desperate sally, Musa 
and Boabdil fought with heroic courage at the head 
of their cavalry, but the foot soldiers, partly composed 
of the lower class, were thrown into confusion, and 
beaten back to the gates with great slaughter. 

Late in the summer, the Queen had another narrow 
escape. She had taken up her abode in a magnificent 
tent belonging to the Marquess of Cadiz, when by 
some accident this caught fire, and the flames spread 
through the camp until it was threatened with destruc- 
tion. With much difficulty the Queen and the royal 
children were saved, and there appears to have been 
no loss of life, although much valuable property was 
burnt. To avoid such danger in future, it was resolved 

225 p 


to build a besieging city on the site of the encamp- 
ment, and the work was started at once. The soldiers 
were turned into artisans, and within eighty days the 
whole stupendous task was achieved. The new town 
was crossed by two broad streets, meeting each other 
at right angles in the middle, in the form of a cross, 
with great gates at each of the four entrances, and was 
solidly built of stone and mortar. Isabel gave it the 
name of Santa Fe, and it stands to this day — a 
monument of the Spanish sovereigns' constancy and 

As we may well imagine, the building of this city 
over against them, did more to shake the confidence 
of the unfortunate people of Granada than any victory 
could have done. In such terrible persistence as this, 
they saw themselves confronted by inexorable fate, 
and their hearts failed them. They were threatened 
with famine, for the blockade was so strict that no 
provisions could enter — all communication with the 
outside world was cut off, and there was no relief from 
their old allies in Africa. A council of war v/as 
held, and Boabdil was convinced by his advisers that 
the city could not be defended much longer. The 
first secret negotiation was begun in October, and the 
Moorish vizier met Fernando's secretary and Gonzalvo 
di Cordova, afterwards known as the Great Captain 
from his supreme knowledge of military science gained 
in these wars with the Moors. The discussion took place 
at night in the most private manner, either in Granada 
or in the little village of Churriana, outside the walls, 
and these were the terms at length agreed upon : 

" The inhabitants of Granada were to retain posses- 
sion of their mosques, with the free exercise of their 



religion and all its peculiar rights and ceremonies ; 
they were to be judged by their own laws, under their 
own cadis or magistrates, subject to the control of the 
Castilian governor ; they were to be unmolested in 
their ancient usages, manners, language, and dress ; to 
be protected in the full enjoyment of their property, 
with the right of disposing of it on their own account, 
and of migrating when and where they would ; and to 
be furnished with vessels for the conveyance of such 
as chose, within three years, to pass into Africa. No 
heavier taxes were to be imposed than those customarily 
paid to their Arabian sovereigns, and none whatever 
before the expiration of three years. 

** King Abdallah was to reign over a specified terri- 
tory in the Alpujarras, for which he was to do homage 
to the Castilian crown. The artillery and the fortifica- 
lionsweretobe delivered into the hands of the Christians, 
and the city was to be surrendered in sixty days 
from the date of capitulation. Such were the principal 
terms of the surrender of Granada, as authenticated by 
the most accredited Castilian and Arabian authorities."* 
The original deed is to be seen in the archives of 

This treaty is given at full length, as it is most 
important to understand thoroughly the favourable 
conditions which induced the Moors to surrender the 
last stronghold of their ancient kingdom. The act 
of capitulation was signed by the sovereigns on 
November 25, 1491, and the sixty days of truce would 
not have expired until near the end of January, but in 
the troubled state of the inhabitants it was thought 
well to shorten the time of misery and suspense. 

* W. H. Prescott. 


January 2, 1492, beheld the last sad scene in the 
drama which the whole Christian world was watching 
from afar. Fernando and Isabel, surrounded by their 
retinues in magnificent attire, set forth in stately pro- 
cession from Santa Fe and rode slowly across the 
Vega, while Cardinal Mendoza and his household 
troops had passed on in advance to take possession of 
the Alhambra, where they placed the great silver cross 
on the Torre de la Vela, and reared the banner of 
Santiago and the standard of Castile and Aragon by 
its side. At this triumphant sight, which set the seal 
upon their conquest, the King and Queen fell upon 
their knees in thanksgiving to God, and the whole army 
joined in a solemn Te Deum, for this supreme and 
glorious triumph of the Cross. The march toward 
the city continued : " the King and Queen moving in 
the midst, emblazoned with royal magnificence ; and 
as they were in the prime of life, and had now achieved 
the completion of this glorious conquest, they seemed 
to represent even more than their wonted majesty. 
Equal with each other, they were raised far above the 
rest of the world. They appeared, indeed, more than 
mortal, and as if sent by Heaven for the salvation of 

At the foot of the hill of Los Martires, outside the 
Puerta de los Molinos — where a chapel to San Sebastian 
still marks the spot — Boabdil the ill-fated, with a small 
band of cavaliers, met the royal procession, and 
delivered up the keys of the city to Fernando, making 
humble obeisance to his conqueror. Thence he rode 
on across the plain and joined the sad company of 
his wife and mother, who climbed together the moun- 

* Quoted by Prescott. 


tain height, where Boabdil paused to look once more 
on the fair kingdom which he had lost. ** Allah 
Akbar ! " he cried as he burst into tears. He was 
spared no last touch of bitterness, for his mother's 
words must have stung him to the quick. 

" You do well to weep like a woman for what you 
could not defend like a man ! " Tradition still points 
out the hill as " la Cuesta de las Lagrimas," and the 
rocky point whence the last view of the Alhambra's 
towers meets the eye is called " el ultimo sospiro del 
Moro" (The last sigh of the Moor). The unfortunate 
King soon wearied of his petty domain in the barren 
Alpujarras, and having sold it to the Spanish sove- 
reigns, he crossed over to Africa, and there, unlucky 
to the last, he fell in battle fighting for the cause of 
another, whom death had passed by when he fought 
for his own. Well for him had he followed the example 
of the gallant Musa, of whom the legend tells us that 
he would not consent to the surrender, but that he 
rode forth in his armour from the gate of his beloved 
city, challenged the foe and died a hero's death. 

" There was crying in Granada when the sun was going 

down ; 
Some calling on the Trinity ; some calling on Mahoun. 
Here passed away the Koran — there in the Cross was 

borne — 
And here was heard the Christian bell — and there the 

Moorish horn. 

" ' Te Deum Laudamus ! ' was up the Alcala sung ; 
Down from the Alhambra's minarets were all the 

crescents flung ; 
The arms thereon of Aragon they with Castile display ; 
One king comes in with triumph — one weeping goes 




" Thus cried the weeper, while his hands his old white 

beard did tear, 
Farewell, farewell, Granada ! thou city without peer ! 
Woe, woe, thou pride of heathendom ! seven hundred 

years and more 
Have gone since first the faithful thy royal sceptre bore ! 

" Thou wert the happy mother of a high-renowned race ; 
Within thee dwelt a haughty line that now go from their 

place ; 
Within thee fearless knights did dwell, who fought with 

mickle glee. 
The enemies of proud Castile, the bane of Christentie. 

" Here gallants held it little thing for ladies' sake to die, 
Or for the Prophet's honour, and pride of Soldanry ; 
For here did valour flourish and deed of warlike might 
Ennobled lordly palaces in which was our delight. 

" The gardens of the Vega, its fields and blooming bowers — 
Woe, woe ! I see their beauty gone and scattered all 

their flowers ! 
No reverence can he claim — the king that such a land 

hath lost — 
On charger never can he ride, nor be heard among the 

But in some dark and dismal place, where none his face 

may see. 
There weeping and lamenting alone that king shall be.-^^ 

Granada is still haunted with the memories of the 
Moors, who had ruled in that beautiful land for more 
than seven centuries, since Roderick, the last of the 
Goths, had been vanquished on the banks of the Guada- 
lete. The gateway of the Alhambra is still pointed 

* Lockhart " Spanish Ballads," 


out through which Boabdil left his home for ever, and 
which, the legend tells us, he prayed no man might 
ever pass through again. It is in the centre of an 
immense tower, " la Torre de los Siete Suelos," great 
masses of wall lie scattered about, buried in the 
luxuriant herbage or overshadowed by vines and fig- 
trees. The arch still remains, . . . but the portal has 
been closed by loose stones . . . and remains impass- 
able.* "In the palace of the Generalife hangs the 
portrait of Boabdil ; the face is mild, handsome and 
somewhat melancholy, with a fair complexion and 
yellow hair." * 

Everywhere the enchanted past meets us face to 
face in the peerless Alhambra with its noble halls and 
exquisite courts, and on all sides the motto of the 
founder : " Wa la ghaliba ilia Allah " (" There is no con- 
queror but Allah"). As we look upon the glorious 
palace, even in the day of its decay, we cannot wonder 
at the words of Peter Martyr when he first saw it, in 
the train of Isabel in the hour of victory, " Alhambram 
pro ! dii immortales ! qualem Regiam ! unicam in orbe 
terrarum crede ! " 

The war of Granada has often been compared by 
the writers of Castile, for its length, to the siege of 
Troy, and its gallant story may take a place with that 
of old, in adventures of romance and valour. The 
fall of the Moorish kingdom was a triumph of the 
Cross which rang out through all the Christian world, 
whose present gain was deemed to atone for the loss 
of Constantinople, half a century before. On receiving 
the news, the Pope, Innocent VIII., and Cardinals 

* Irving. 


made a solemn procession of thanksgiving to St. Peter's, 
where high mass was celebrated, and there was much 
rejoicing in Rome. Great satisfaction was also felt 
in England, for Henry VII. was proposing to enter 
into close alliance with the Spanish sovereigns by 
the marriage of Prince Arthur with the Princess 

In his life of Henry VII. Lord Bacon gives an in- 
teresting account of the reception of these'good tidings. 
" Somewhat about this time came letters from Fernando 
and Isabel, King and Queen of Spain, signifying the 
final conquestof Granada from the Moors, which action, 
in itself so worthy. King Fernando, whose manner 
was never to lose any virtue for the showing, had 
expressed and displayed in his letters at large, with all 
the particularities and religious punctos and ceremonies 
that were observed in the reception of that city and 
kingdom, showing amongst other things that the King 
would not by any means in person enter the city, until 
he had at first aloof seen the cross set up upon the 
greater tower of Granada, whereby it became Christian 
ground. That likewise before he would enter, he did 
homage to God above, pronouncing by a herald from 
the height of that tower that he did acknowledge to 
have recovered that kingdom by the help of God 
Almighty, and the glorious Virgin, and the virtuous 
Apostle St. James, and the Holy Father Innocent VIII., 
together with the aids and services of his prelates, 
nobles and commons. 

" That yet he stirred not from his camp till he had 
seen a little army of martyrs, to the number of seven 
hundred and more Christians, that had lived in bonds 
and servitude as slaves to the Moors, pass before his 



eyes, singing a psalm for their redemption, and that 
he had given tribute unto God by alms and relief 
extended to them all for his admission into the city. 
These things were in the letters, with many more cere- 
monies of a kind of holy ostentation. 

"The King, ever willing to put himself into the con- 
sort or choir of all religious actions, and naturally affect- 
ing much the King of Spain, as far as one king can 
affect another, partly for his virtues and partly for a 
counterpoise to France, upon the receipt of these letters 
sent all his nobles and prelates that were about the 
Court, together with the mayor and aldermen of London, 
in great solemnity to the church of Paul, there to hear 
a declaration from the Lord Chancellor, now Cardinal. 
When they were assembled, the Cardinal, standing 
upon the uppermost step, or half-pace between the 
choir, and all the nobles, prelates, and governors of 
the city at the foot of the stairs, made a speech to 
them, letting them know that they were assembled in 
that consecrated place to sing unto God a new 

" For that, said he, these many years the Christians 
have not gained new ground or territory upon the 
infidels, nor enlarged and set farther the bounds of 
the Christian world. But this is now done by the 
prowess and devotion of Fernando and Isabel, sove- 
reigns of Spain, who have to their immortal honour 
recovered the great and rich kingdom of Granada and 
the populous and mighty city of the same name from 
the Moors, having been in possession thereof by the 
space of seven hundred years and more ; for which this 
assembly and all Christians are to render laud and 
thanks unto God, and to celebrate this noble act of the 



King of Spain, who in this is not only victorious but 
apostolical, in the gaining of new provinces to the 
Christian faith. And the rather for that this victory 
and conquest is obtained without much effusion of 
blood : whereby it is to be hoped that there shall be 
gained not only new territory, but infinite souls to the 
Church of Christ, whom the Almighty as it seems would 
have live to be converted. Herewithal he did relate 
some of the most memorable particulars of the war 
and victory. And after his speech ended, the whole 
assembly went solemnly in procession, and Te Deum 
was sung." 

It is curious to notice the keen appreciation of 
Fernando's character which Bacon shows in that dry 
remark : " whose manner was never to lose any virtue 
for the showing." We see how naturally he assumed 
his proud position as Champion of Christendom; indeed 
the conquest of this last corner of the Moorish king- 
dom made a profound impression upon the whole of 
Europe, and Christian Spain rose from a secondary 
state to a first-rate power. One great result of the 
war against Granada had been to make all the different 
provinces of Spain forget their mutual jealousy and to 
knit them together by a bond of union which made 
them indeed, and for the first time in their history, 
one strong and united people. 

From a military point of view the progress of Spain 
during this constant warfare was very great, for here 
masses of soldiers had been collected and kept in the 
held, not only for irregular service, or through definite 
campaigns, but from one year to another. Thus the 
men-at-arms had been trained to that endurance and 
splendid discipline which in the foreign wars of Spain 



were to make them invincible under their famous 
captains. We have already seen the immense improve- 
ments in the artillery and munitions of war, in which 
Spain was now on a level with or indeed superior to 
any other European country. 

King Fernando could now see before him an open 
road for carrying out his old ambitions. 




While all Europe was ringing with the fame of Chris- 
tian triumph in Spain, there passed almost unnoticed 
another incident which was destined to have far greater 
influence not merely on Castile and Aragon, but on the 
history of the world. 

Near the little seaport of Palos in Andalusia stands 
the Franciscan Convent of Santa Maria de Rabida, 
and here one autumn day a traveller paused at the gate 
to beg a little bread and water for his child. It was 
Christopher Columbus, who, wearied out with waiting 
and vain hopes of attention from the Court of Portugal, 
was on his way to France, and had been driven by a 
storm into the harbour of Palos. " Lo dicho Almirante 
Colon venendo a la Rabida, que es un monasterio de 
frailes en esta villa, el qual demando a la porteria que 
le diesen para aquel ninico, que era nino, pan i agua 
que bebiese."* 

So runs the familiar legend, and there is reason to 
believe that the good prior, Juan Perez, who had been 
confessor to the Queen, did much to smooth the way 
for making Columbus and his projects known to her. 

* Garcia Fernandez. 


We can picture to ourselves the eager meetings in that 
quiet monastery when the prior and his friend Garcia 
Fernandez, the village doctor, who seems to have had 
some knowledge of physical science, and Martin 
Alonzo Pinzen, the shipowner from Palos — all listened 
to the Genoese mariner who was so full of enthusiasm 
about his enterprise, and who pointed out on his charts 
the way to reach Asia by sailing due west. This was 
the great scheme which Columbus had proposed to 
Juan II. of Portugal, who thought it was most unlikely 
to meet with success, and refused to agree to the terms 
which this foreign adventurer demanded. 

Still there were possibilities in the air, and the Por- 
tuguese had already done much in the way of dis- 
covery, having sailed round Africa and arrived by sea 
at various ports in Asia. The King listened to the 
crafty suggestion of the Bishop of Ceuta that a caravel 
should be secretly got ready and sent out to see if this 
theory had any good foundation ; but the sailors, 
"alarmed at the mysterious sea of Sargasso" (that 
great track of sea-weed), were soon disheartened and 
turned back. When Columbus heard of this treachery, 
he left Portugal in disgust, although it had been his 
home for many years. He had married Donna Felipa 
Perestrela, the daughter of a captain of Prince Henry 
the Navigator : and he appears to have earned his 
living by making maps and charts for sale. His wife 
was dead, and now the last link was severed with the 
land of his adoption when he set sail with his little boy 
Diego from Lisbon. 

The future discoverer was a man well equipped with 
all the knowledge of his day on the subject of geo- 
graphy, and in his native Genoa he would have learnt 



to look with longing eyes upon the sea, as the great 
field of enterprise and adventure. He appears to have 
taken part in many voyages, to have sailed southward 
as far as the Gulf of Guinea, while in a cruise to the 
North he had visited Iceland, and there may have 
heard vague rumours of discoveries in the Northern 
Atlantic. As he himself says : " I have been seeking 
out the secrets of nature for forty years, and wherever 
ship has sailed, there have I voyaged." 

From the time he decided to make his application 
to the Spanish Court, a long and dreary while of wait- 
ing and hope deferred was in store for him. He was 
looked upon as a dreamer or an adventurer by most 
of the courtiers, while the sovereigns themselves were 
too much occupied with the War of Granada to take 
much notice of this scheme of maritime exploration, 
but they referred it to a committee of learned men. 
The doctors of the University of Salamanca pro- 
nounced that the plan of Columbus to " make a voyage 
to the East by a westward passage across the Atlantic," 
was '' vain, impracticable, and resting on grounds too 
weak to merit the support of government " ; and they 
also called him an atheist and refuted him with texts 
from St. Augustine. Some one gravely asserted that, 
" even if he should depart from Spain, the rotundity 
of the earth would present a kind of mountain up 
which it was impossible for him to sail, even with the 
fairest wind, and so he could never get back." Still 
even then, in the darkest hour, there must have been a 
kind of magnetism in the man's passionate enthusiasm, 
for we find the friars of the Dominican convent, where 
he dwelt with Deza the Inquisitor, were won over to 
his views and upheld him. In gratitude for their 



support, Columbus made use of the first virgin gold 
brought from the New World, to gild the retablo of 
their church, San Esteban of Salamanca, where it still 
shines in gorgeous reminder, seen under the dark 
elliptical arch of the coro. 

Time passed on, and the suppliant grew weary of 
seeking in vain to win the ear of princes whom he 
followed from city to city, scoffed at by the common 
herd of courtiers, while pleading and argument seemed 
of no avail. " Eight years was I torn with disputes, 
and in a word, my proposition was a mockery," is his 
pathetic cry. But in true greatness there is an invin- 
cible fibre which outlives disappointment and failure, 
and which from defeat itself can wrest a final victory. 
As in his dream by the tower of Belem, so an unknown 
voice ever whispered to the Great Adventurer : 

" God will cause thy name to be wonderfully 
resounded through the earth, and will give thee the 
keys of the gates of the ocean which are closed with 
strong chains."* 

With regard to the apparent apathy of the Spanish 
sovereigns, we must remember that the aims and hopes 
of Aragon were turned to the Mediterranean and not 
to the Atlantic. But the mind of Isabel was moved to 
wider issues, and she could not forget the mighty future 
which success in this adventure might open out for 
Castile. She was encouraged in these thoughts by 
some of her most trusted counsellors, among whom 
were Cardinal Mendoza, Juan Cabrero, the King's 
chamberlain, and his treasurer, Luis de Santangel, of 
Jewish descent ; besides her former confessor Juan 

* Columbus quotes it in a letter to the Spanish sovereigns, 
July 9, 1503. 



Perez and others. Wearied out at length, Columbus 
was on the point of carrying his offer to the Court of 
France, when he was summoned to meet the sove- 
reigns once more, and he travelled in all haste to Santa 
Fe. This was at the end of 1491, when the army was 
encamped before Granada, which was on the point of 
capitulation. Again the ardent enthusiast repeated all 
his arguments for this western route, and pictured in 
glowing colours the realm of Cathay with all itsAvealth 
and splendour, which he might reach by the way. So 
far his audience was with him, and he had almost won 
the day, when there arose a fresh stumbling-block in 
the princely terms which he demanded with all the 
proud assurance of genius. 

We can imagine the dismay of King Fernando when 
this Genoese mariner calmly made claim for himself 
and his heirs after him to be Grand Admirals and 
Viceroys of the unknown lands for ever, to have a tenth 
part of all the profits, pearls, jewels, minerals and all 
other things found or bought there, and also an eighth 
share in all the ships which might traffic thither. All 
protest was vain for — possibly with some exalted vision 
of providing funds for a new crusade to redeem the 
Holy Sepulchre — the foreign adventurer would consent 
to nothing less. The thing was impossible, and he was 
dismissed, " this pauper pilot promising rich realms." 

But the last word was not yet spoken. Columbus 
had scarcely departed when Santangel and others 
pleaded so vehemently on his behalf that Queen Isabel 
insisted upon his recall. Her messenger overtook him 
at the bridge of Pinos, four miles from Santa Fe, and 
brought him back to the ro)'al presence. " I will 
assume the undertaking," said Isabel, "for my own 


Alinari phot. 

In the Uffizi Gallery, Florence 


crown of Castile, and am ready to pawn my jewels to 
defray the expenses of it, if the gold in the treasury be 
not sufficient." These words were worthy of " Isabelle 
la Catholique, cette noble reine qui crut le genie sur 
parole et dota I'univers d'un nouveau monde." All the 
terms of Columbus were accepted, and the agreement, 
in the careful style and writing of Miguel Perez 
Almazan, the new secretary, is still in existence. It 
was signed at Santa F^e, in the Vega of Granada, April 
17, 1492, and we have no doubt that Fernando did so 
with a mental reservation, for he was wont to keep 
only that half of a bargain which was to his own 

A very curious kind of passport, in Latin, was also 
given to Columbus, that he might present it to any 
Eastern prince, such as Prester John, whom he should 
come across. " Fernando and Isabel to King. . . . 

"The sovereigns have heard that he and his subjects 
feel great love for them and for Spain. They are also 
informed that he and his subjects very much wish to 
hear news from Spain ; and send therefore their 
Admiral, Ch. Colombo, who will tell them that they are 
in good health and perfect prosperity. Granada, April 
30, 1492." 

The quiet assumption that the unknown potentate 
is dying to hear about Spain and its rulers is a 
delightful touch. 

Santangel advanced the necessary sum of money, 
about ;^3o8. Three vessels were provided, manned 
with ninety sailors and provisioned for a year. The 
Santa Maria was commanded by Columbus, and 
the two others, called caravels, with decks only fore 
and aft, were the Pinia, with Martin Alonzo Pinzen 

241 Q 


captain, and the Nina, under Vicente Yanez Pinzen. It 
was difficult to collect the crews, which, as Peter 
Martyr tells us, " had to be soothed and encouraged," 
before they plunged downhill into a sea without 
a shore. It was on a Friday, August 3, 1492, 
after they had all made confession and received the 
Sacrament, that they set sail from Palos, under 
Columbus, who is henceforth always known as " El 
Almirante." They delayed awhile at the Canary 
Islands to refit the Pinta, and on September 6 they 
left the roadstead of Gomera, and after three days 
there sprang up a breeze which swept the three 
caravels across the Atlantic. As we understand the 
theory of the admiral, he believed the world to 
be a sphere, but he greatly under-estimated its size, 
while he thought that Asia extended far beyond its 
real limits. It is interesting to remember that he 
never corrected this impression, and that to the day of 
his death he always believed that he had only arrived 
at the eastern part of Asia. Not until thirty-two years 
later — when Magalhaes fell a martyr to science — was 
the general outline of the New World made out. Cape 
Horn rounded, the Pacific Ocean crossed, and the 
first journey round the world accomplished in three 
years less fourteen days. 

Yet nothing can dim the fame of that five weeks' 
voyage, in which the great dreamer made his dream 
come true, and flooded the ancient world with know- 
ledge when he " unbarred the gates of ocean." The 
whole story of Columbus is of the most absorbing 
interest, but it is so well known that we need but 
lightly touch upon the most striking points. 

A few entries in the log-book of that first voyage are 



worth quoting. On September 6 they set forth from 
Gomera, one of the Canary Isles. 

14th. The sailors of the Nhia see two tropical birds. 

15th. All saw a meteor fall from heaven, which made 
them very sad. 

i6th. Came upon those immense plains of seaweed, 
the Mar de Sargasso. 

17th. The needle decHnes a whole point to W. ; 
sailors begin to murmur. 

i8th. They see many birds, and a cloud in the dis- 

19th. They see a pelican in morning; another in 
evening ; drizzling rain without wind, a certain sign of 

The days pass, but the land does not come ; the men 
lose hope, and in their grim despair El Almirante 
knows his own deadly peril. 

October nth. A table board and carved stick are 
found ; a branch of haw tree with fruit drifts by. 
Columbus sees a light on shore. 

Friday, 12th. Land seen from the Pinta. 

Columbus went ashore in his ship's boat, wearing 
the costume of Admiral of Castile, and holding aloft 
the Castilian banner : then he knelt down and returned 
thanks to God, and with tears of joy, he kissed the 
earth. He called the small island San Salvador ; it 
was one of the Bahamas, of which he formally took 
possession. He thus mentions it in the first of the 
only two letters of his in the original Spanish which 
are known to exist : 

" Ala primera q yo falle puse nobre sant Salvador a 
coemo racion de su alta magestad el qual marauillosa 
mete todo esto andado los jndios la llama guanaham." 



(To the first island I discovered I gave the name of 

San Salvador, in commemoration of his Divine Majesty, 

who has wonderfully granted all this) ..." Esto es 

harto y eterno dios m~o senor el ql da a todos aqllos 

que andan su camino victoria de cosas que parecenin 

posibles y esta serialada mente fue la vna por que a vn 

•quel destas tierras ayan fallado o escripto todo va 

colectu ra sin allegar devista saluo comprendiendo a 

tanto quelos oyentes los mas escuchauan & juzgauan 

mas por fabla q por poca cosa." (The' eternal and 

almighty God our Lord it is Who gives to all who walk 

in His way victory over things apparently impossible, 

and in this case signally so, because although these 

lands had been imagined and talked of before they were 

seen, most listened incredulously to what was thought 

to be but an idle tale.) .... "Esto segun el fecho asi 

en breue fecha enla ca la uera sobre las ystade canaria 

a. XV. de febrero. Mille. & quatrocientos & nouenta 

y tres anos. 

Fara lo que mandareys. El almirante." 

(Thus I record what has happened in a brief Epistle 
written on board the Caravel, above the Canary Isles, 
on February 15, 1493. 

Yours to command. The Admiral.) 

Space will not allow us to give the whole of this 
most interesting letter, written by Columbus to Luis de 
Sant Angel after the first eventful voyage, a precious 
relic. He tells of the other islands which he discovered 
in the West Indian Archipelago, and greatly admires 
the beauty of the tropical scenery, with frequent 
exclamation of " Es maravilla ! " As we see above, in 



his strong religious feeling he ascribes all honour and 
glory to the Divine help which he had received. 

It is pathetic, in the light of future events, to be told 
that the poor natives with boundless confidence 
exclaimed : "Come ! Come ! and see the men come 
from heaven ! " The admiral continued his voyage on 
October 24, more eager than ever to pierce the great 
mystery of the ocean, and to discover those spicy 
groves and splendid cities of Cipango (Japan), the 
constant object of his golden fancies. He next found 
an island which he named Santa Maria de Concepcion, 
then " Fernandino," "Ysabella," and "Juana." The 
beautiful land of Cuba was surely the elysium he sought, 
and for awhile he believed that it was indeed " his 
Cipango." Full of the teaching of his oracle Marco 
Polo, he thought he must be near the land of Kublai 
Khan, and when he reached Hayti, to which he gave 
the name of Hispaniola, he took it for the ancient 
Ophir, from whence came all the riches of Solomon. 
This he describes in his letter as : '* larger in circum- 
ference than all Spain from Catalonia on the sea-coast 
to Fuenterabia in Biscay." " In Hispaniola, in the 
most convenient place, most accessible for the gold- 
mines and all commerce with the mainland, on this 
side and on the other, that of the great Khan, with 
which there would be great trade and profit, I have 
taken possession of a large town, which I named the 
city of Navidad, and made fortifications there . . . with 
arms and artillery and provisions for more than a 
year . . ." 

He believed Cuba to be part of the mainland of 
India, and it was owing to this mistake that all the 
natives of America have been called Indians. 



On his return, after many troubles and adventures, 
the admiral was welcomed with the greatest enthusiasm 
by the people of Spain, and the sovereigns prepared a 
solemn reception for him at Barcelona, in April 1493. 
He was met at the city gates by the magnates and great 
nobles, and in his procession through the streets there 
were natives of the New World in their barbaric 
costume and ornaments, and strange unknown birds 
and beasts. Fernando and Isabel, with their son Prince 
Juan, rose from their thrones on his approach, gave 
him their hands and bade him be seated before them. 
He told his story of travel and adventure, and the 
sovereigns with all present, prostrated themselves on 
their knees in thanks to God, while the choir sang the 
Te Deum to commemorate this victory over the 
mysterious unknown. 

Application was made to Pope Alexander VI. to 
confer upon Castile all lands discovered in the " Indies," 
as the new discoveries were called, under the belief 
that they were on the eastern coast of Asia. A Papal 
Bull was issued limiting the area of Spanish possession 
by a meridian line to be drawn from pole to pole, 100 
leagues west of the Azores and Cape Verde Islands. 
This was followed by a later decree of September 25, 
1493, declaring the whole globe to be open to Spain by 
the westward passage and to Portugal by the eastward 
route. This assumption of authority by the Pope has 
been ridiculed, but in fact both nations were at first 
willing to accept an umpire for the new game of dis- 
covery. The whole world was roused by the success 
of this first voyage to the Far West, and all the chief 
Powers of Christendom were seized with the craving 
for adventure, and the greed of do minion and gold. 



England as we know had barely missed the prize which 
fell to Spain, for Columbus had sent his brother to 
negotiate with Henry VII. Fernando's Ambassador 
writes to him on July 25, 1498, that : " Merchants of 
Bristol have for the last seven years sent out annually 
some ships in search of the island of Brazil and 
the Seven Cities." 

" O what a great thing had been then, 
If that they that be EngUshmen 
Might have been the first of all 
That there should have taken possession, 
And made first building and habitation 
A memory perpetual ! " * 

The Portuguese were full of eagerness to continue the 
work of enterprise they had so well begun, but it is with 
Spain we have chiefly to deal. Now that Granada had 
fallen and " the task of centuries was complete, a nation 
which for generations had lived to fight could not lie 
down to sleep. The blood of the people boiling with 
excitement, turned to adventure rather than to war, to 
the sea rather than to land . . ." Here were wild 
dreams to be realised "before which those told in the 
books of chivalry faded to nothingness. Here was the 
glittering mirage of boundless wealth, to be had for the 
grasping . . . What wonder that Spaniards lost their 
mental balance, and that rapine, lust, and cruelty, 
marked their way with a broad red track whither- 
soever they went ? "t 

On September 25, 1493, Columbus set forth from 
Cadiz on a second expedition, with seventeen 
ships and 1500 men, and he had so singularly pros- 

* Old Play, "The Four Elements," 151 5. 
f Martin Hume. 



perous a voyage, that on November 3, being Sunday, 
he came in sight of an island which he called 
Dominica. Sailing northward, he came to a small 
island which he called Maria Galante from his own 
flagship, and another larger one received the name of 
Guadeloupe, from a monastery in Estremadura. Here 
there were cannibals, and his exploring party had a 
narrow escape in the jungle. Sorrow and disappoint- 
ment were in store for the admiral, who, after dis- 
covering Porto Rico and other islands, found that his 
little colony in Hispaniola, La Navidad,had been com- 
pletely destroyed, probably through the evil conduct 
of the settlers. It was unfortunate that Columbus 
could not give sufficient time to the careful establish- 
ment of his colonies on a firm basis, for the Spanish 
sovereigns, in their jealousy of the advance of Portugal, 
were constantly urging him to push onward for more 
discoveries. In the course of the voyage which fol- 
lowed, he gained important knowledge and came upon 
Jamaica, and the cluster of small islands called the 
" Garden of the Queen," where the sailing was so 
intricate that he took no sleep for thirty-two nights. 
Then he was attacked by illness, and after many 
troubles, he returned against the trade winds to Cadiz 
on June 11, 1496, with his vessels laden with slaves, 
prisoners of war. 

It was nearly two years later when the admiral 
started out for his third voyage, which had the impor- 
tant result of his actually landing on the American 
continent. We may notice that one of the special 
instructions he received this time from the Catholic 
sovereigns was that "the Indians of the islands are to 
be brought into peace and quietude, being reduced 


into subjection benignantly, and also, as the chief end 
of conquest, they are to be converted to the sacred 
CathoHc faith, and have the Sacraments administered 
to them." He set sail from the port of San Lucar on 
May 30, 1498, with six vessels and two hundred men, 
in addition to the needful sailors. He had to avoid a 
French squadron as France and Spain were at war, 
and then he made for the Cape Verde islands ; when a 
favourable breeze sprung up and he took a westerly 
course. He had resolved to call the first land he 
should discover " Trinidad," and the story goes that 
three lofty hills first met the view from the maintop- 
sail of the admiral's ship, on July 31. He passed on 
in a westerly direction in search of a port, the next 
day the low lands of the Orinoco were visible, and for 
the first time the great explorer looked upon the 
continent of America. 

He sailed into the Gulf of Paria, and when he saw 
the land before him, he came to the conclusion that he 
was now at the base of the Earthly Paradise, and that 
the waters of the Orinoco formed one of the great 
rivers which proceeded from the Tree of Life in the 
midst of Paradise. This celestial approach the admiral 
at once claimed, as he had done with all the islands, 
for the Catholic sovereigns of Spain, and erected a 
great cross upon the shore. " I found some lands the 
most beautiful in the world and very populous," he 
says, and he had previously compared the appearance 
of the island of Trinidad, to Valencia in Spain during 
the month of March. Many valuable pearls were found 
in this neighbourhood. But Columbus was broken in 
health, and was obliged to return to Hispaniola, where 
he appears to have busied himself in sending home a 



number of Indians as slaves. On their arrival in Spain, 
Queen Isabel was very indignant, and commanded 
proclamation to be made at Seville, Granada, and 
other places, that all persons who were in possession 
of Indians, sent to them by the admiral, should under 
pam of death send those Indians back to Hispaniola. 
The colonial policy of the Spanish sovereigns is an 
intricate subject, which had most disastrous results for 
the unfortunate natives, and cannot be fully dealt with 
here, as it would need a volume to itself. 

Meantime the unfortunate admiral was overwhelmed 
by a very sea of troubles ; he had enemies on every 
side, and envy and calumny did their worst against 
him. He was not successful as Viceroy, but the position 
was extremely difficult. He was urgently required to 
send home gold, but the supply was scanty, and slaves 
were the only products readily available ; although in 
fact these islanders proved too feeble to be of much 
value as labourers. When an envoy was sent out to 
make inquiry, Columbus was sent home in chains, a 
disgrace from which his proud spirit never rallied, 
although the action was disclaimed by the sovereigns, 
who received him with outward marks of favour. But 
he was no longer the idol of his country, and although 
his invincible enthusiasm induced him to make a fourth 
voyage in 1502, he did not add much to the sum of 
his discoveries, and at length came home, through 
mutiny and disaster, to end his days with ruined hopes 
and shattered fortune. On May 20, 1506, his tempest- 
tossed bark reached at last the haven of peace. 

Through the overshadowing clouds, we fix our eyes 
only on the heroic figure of the great seaman who — in 
seeking to justify his enthusiastic belief in the existence 



of a new and shorter ocean-path westward across the 
Atlantic to the Indian Empire — came unawares upon 
a New World ; the great continent which barred his 
way to those fabled glories of the East. 

The immortal fame of Christopher Columbus 
scarcely needs the proud motto on his coat-of-arms : 

'" A Castilla y a Leon 
Nuevo Mundo dio Colon." 



When the long Moorish war was at an end, and the 
Spanish sovereigns had accomplished the final con- 
quest of Granada, when Christopher Columbus had 
set forth on his first voyage of discovery, then Fer- 
nando and Isabel were at leisure to attend once 
more to the internal affairs of their kingdom. At the 
end of May 1492 they left Granada and spent two 
months in visiting various cities of Castile before 
travelling to Catalonia, where they proposed to take 
up their abode for the winter. 

Fernando had a strong reason for remaining near 
the frontier of France, as with strange pertinacity his 
aims and desires were ever set upon regaining those 
ancient provinces of Aragon, — Roussillon and Cer- 
dagne — which had been mortgaged by his father to 
the French King. The moment was favourable, for 
Charles VIII. was bent on asserting his claim to the 
crown of Naples, and was willing to bribe Fernando 
not to interfere on behalf of his kinsman King Fer- 
rante. Charles VIII. had recently achieved a great 
diplomatic success by his marriage with Anne, the 



heiress of Brittany, on December i6, 1491, with the 
help of his clever sister Madame de Beaujeu. He 
was twenty-one at the time, and his bride not quite 
fifteen ; but their youth can scarcely excuse a double 
breach of faith, for Anne was already betrothed to 
Maximilian of Austria, whose young daughter Margaret 
had been sent to France and educated in Touraine as 
the future wife of Charles VIII, 

Maximilian, thus doubly insulted by the loss of his 
promised wife and the sending back of his daughter, 
would prove a deadly foe to the French king, who 
now had urgent need for an alliance with Spain. A 
treaty was therefore concluded at Barcelona (also at 
Narbonne) in January 1493, by which the counties of 
Roussillon and Cerdagne, on the northward slope of 
the Pyrenees, were returned to Aragon without pay- 
ment of the 300,000 crowns for which they had been 
mortgaged. Fernando promised that he would not 
oppose the invasion of Naples, and also undertook 
not to make any marriage alliance with Austria or 

Now we know that at this very time his daughter 
Catalina was betrothed to the son of Henry VII., and 
he was considering a marriage for his elder daughter 
Juana with the son of Maximilian. Truly Fernando 
deserves the character of " a master of pretence." " He 
was probably the most dishonest and unscrupulous 
politician of a peculiarly unscrupulous age. . . . 
with an affectation of frankness his ingratiating falsity 
deceived again and again those whom he had cheated 
before." * 

Only a month before that treaty of Barcelona was 
- Martin Hume. 


signed, the King of Spain had a narrow escape of his 
life. According to ancient custom he had presided in 
person at the tribunal of justice held one day a week, 
and as he left the palace at noon was suddenly 
attacked from behind and stabbed in the neck. The 
point of the weapon was fortunately arrested by the 
gold collar he wore, but the injury was serious, and 
for a time his life was in peril. The Queen, who ever 
faced personal danger for herself with undaunted 
courage, was deeply affected and nursed him with 
tender devotion. It was at first feared that the attack 
was part of a conspiracy, but the people of Barcelona 
showed so much concern and indignation that there 
could be no doubt about their loyalty. An interest- 
ing letter of Isabel to her confessor, Talavera, which 
was written at this time, reveals the strong affection 
for the husband, who, at any rate, had the merit of 
appreciating her value. On one occasion he writes to 
her in playful loving style : 

" Mi Senora, 

Now, at least, it is clear which of us two loves 
best. Judging by what you have ordered should be 
written to me, I see that you can be happy while I 
lose my sleep. . . . You are in Toledo and I am in 
many villages. . . . Write to me and let me know 
how you are. . . . The affairs of the Princess must 
not be forgotten. For God's sake remember her as 
well as her father, who kisses your hands and is your 
servant." El Rey. * 

If Fernando, " one of the most thorough egoists 

* Bergenroth Calendar of Spanish State Papers. 



who ever sat upon a throne,"* had a tender place in 
his heart, it was for his wife, as from the cold-blooded 
manner in which he carried out diplomatic marriages 
for his daughters we cannot credit him with any 
real love for them ; indeed, his conduct towards both 
Juana and Catalina in after years, often appears to us 
heartless in the extreme. 

After the treaty of Barcelona and the recovery of 
his longed-for provinces on the slopes of the Eastern 
Pyrenees, Fernando turned his undivided attention to 
the political affairs of Italy. Charles VIII. was first 
roused from his youthful inexperience when, early in 
1494, he claimed the help of the King of Spain 
against Naples, and was met with well-feigned dismay 
and surprise. But Charles had set his heart on world- 
wide dominions ; he had already assumed the title of 
King of Sicily and Jerusalem, and was obstinately 
resolved on the conquest of Naples. He started in 
August with " 3600 lances, 6000 Breton archers, the 
same number of cross-bow men, 800 Gascons, 8000 
Swiss pikemen, and a number of volunteers. His 
artillery was the finest in Europe, 40 siege and field 
pieces, 1000 smaller ones, worked by 12,000 men and 
drawn by 8000 horses." With this formidable array 
he marched in triumph through Italy and took posses- 
sion of Naples. 

Then Fernando of Aragon entered the lists with 
his guileful diplomacy ; he induced the Borgia Pope 
to form a " holy league " with himself, the Emperor, 
the Venetians, and Ludovico, Duke of Milan, arming 
against the Turk, they said, but in reality against the 
French, in February 1495. It was about this time 
=■'• Voltaire. 


that Alexander VI. bestowed upon Fernando and 
Isabel the proud title of " Los Reyes Catolicos," as 
champions of the Church. 

Gonzalvo di Cordova, better known as " the Great 
Captain," a title gained in Calabria, was the general 
chosen by Isabel to command the army of 5000 picked 
men for taking part in the Italian wars, where they 
proved themselves the finest infantry in Europe. 
Charles VIII. left the Duke of Montpensier with less 
than 10,000 men to hold Naples while he began his 
retreat across Italy, meeting with no serious resist- 
ance until he came to the duchy of Parma, where he 
found the army of the Italian league drawn up in 
battle array, near the village of Fornova, July 1495. 
With stubborn valour the French fought their way 
through forces three times their own number, and 
thus " obtained the fruits of victory although the 
enemy claimed the honour of the day," and rejoiced 
in the splendid spoils of the French camp and 

We cannot dwell upon all the details of the dis- 
astrous and futile French expedition, or all the vicissi- 
tudes of the tangled politics and warfare of the 
Italian States. But the French fleet was defeated at 
Rapallo by the Genoese, all the booty brought from 
Naples being lost, and Charles, having been compelled 
to yield Novaro, was willing to sign a treaty with 
the Duke of Milan before he crossed the Alps on 
October 15. 

Meanwhile Gonzalvo had landed at Reggio and was 
fighting his way through Southern Calabria, a rude 
mountainous country something like the Alpujarras, 
studded with fortified places. The wily tactics of the 




■''\-<j . '^ /^ 


Oerlach & Wu-d!,,,^, phot. a ciruwiHK of Albrcdtt Durer 



war of Granada here made up for want of real strength; 
and his night surprises, ambuscades and forays greatly 
disconcerted the French troops, who were quite unused 
to anything of the kind. Placing small reliance on 
Calabrian recruits, the Spanish general garrisoned some 
strong places with his own soldiers, and as an instance 
of the mutual suspicion with which the allies looked 
upon each other, we are told that this excited the 
Pope's jealousy. King Fernando thereupon sent 
instructions that Gonzalvo was only to keep places of 
importance ; as " he was unwilling to give cause of 
complaint to any one unless he were greatly a gainer 
by it." The Great Captain only lost one battle, and 
that was near the beginning of his long and prosperous 
career, when he was over-ruled by the impatience of 
the young King Ferrante into meeting the enemy with- 
out sufficient preparation. The French army was 
strengthened by a formidable company of Swiss 
veterans armed with pikes twenty feet long, far 
outnumbering the Spanish infantry, who trusted to short 
swords and bucklers ; and unfortunately at a critical 
moment of the engagement, the Calabrian levies 
mistook a rapid tactical movement of the light Spanish 
calvalry for retreat, and thinking the battle was lost, 
they fled in wild panic before they were even attacked. 
In his effort to rally the fugitives, Ferrante had a 
narrow escape with his life, but Gonzalvo succeeded in 
bringing most of his cavalry safely across the plain to 
the little town of Seminara near the sea-coast. Nothing 
daunted by his defeat, the King of Naples at once set 
sail from Messma, in the fleet of the Spanish admiral 
Requesens, with a small number of men, and boldly 
attacked Naples itself, where the people sounded the 

257 R 


tocsin, rose to arms and joined him, while the French 
under Montpensier, after retreating to the citadel, were 
at length compelled to capitulate. Thus by a coup-de- 
main the young prince, when his fortunes were at 
the lowest ebb, once more found himself in possession 
of his capital. 

So the shifting fortune of war continued, but 
Gonzalvo steadily continued his course of victory 
through Calabria, taking stronghold after stronghold, 
although always short of men and money. The 
French army was in still worse case. Charles VIII. 
appeared to have forgotten them and sent no supplies, 
the Swiss mercenaries deserted in large numbers for 
want of pay, and Montpensier found himself obliged to 
retreat to the more fertile district of Apulia, where he 
still held some fortresses. He was overtaken by 
Ferrante at the town of Atella, which stands in a 
broad valley surrounded by hills, and finding his 
forces insufhcient for the siege, the King of Naples 
sent a summons to Gonzalvo to join him. The Great 
Captain resolved to strike a decisive blow before 
leaving the scene of his conquests, and set forth across 
the mountains to surprise Laino, where a company of 
Angevin nobles were awaiting the coming of 
d'Aubigny. In this he was as usual completely 
successful, and not only took most valuable spoils but 
had the satisfaction of sending as prisoners to Naples 
twenty Barons who would command a princely 
ransom. He then hastened by forced marches to 
Atella, which he reached early in July, and was 
welcomed with all honour by the King of Naples, the 
Marquis of Mantua and the Papal Legate, C^sar 



On the very day of his arrival, he discovered a flaw 
in the blockade of Atella. A small river supplied the 
town with water and also turned some water-mills 
which ground the flour of the besieged ; these were 
strongly defended, but on the approach of the dreaded 
Gonzalvo and his men, the Gascon archers fled before 
him ; the Swiss pikemen were soon defeated, and the 
mills were quickly destroyed. The French held out 
gallantly until reduced to the last extremity by famine, 
when they were compelled to capitulate on these 
terms : 

"That if no help arrived within thirty days the French 
leader would surrender Atella and every other fortified 
place he had taken in the kingdom of Naples, with its 
artillery, on condition that his foreign mercenaries 
should be allowed to return home, and that his soldiers 
should be provided with vessels to take them back to 
France." . . . This was signed on July 21, 1496, and 
Comines at the Court of France thus describes the 
treaty as " most disgraceful, without parallel, save in 
that made by the Roman consuls at the Caudine 
Forks. . . ." 

Before the conditions were carried out, a fever broke 
out at Pozzuolo amongst the soldiers, and the brave 
Gilbert de Montpensier fell a victim to it. He had re- 
fused to leave his men and find safety for himself, as 
he was urged by his brother-in-law, the Marquess of 
Mantua, whose sister, Chiara Gonzaga, he had married. 
During much of this disastrous campaign she had been 
living with Isabella d' Este at Mantua. It was but a 
very small remnant of King Charles's gallant army 
which ever reached France again, after a terrible 
journey across Italy in destitution and suffering. 



Only a few months after this triumphant end of the 
campaign, the young King Ferrante died suddenly, and 
was succeeded by his uncle Federigo. Within the 
course of a brief three years, this was the fifth king who 
had reigned over Naples. 

With the defeat of the French in Calabria, the work 
of Gonzalvo di Cordova appeared to have come to an 
end. But he did not leave Italy without another bril- 
liant adventure. An application came to him from 
Pope Alexander VI. that he would deliver Ostia, the 
sea-port of Rome, from a nest of brigands, who had 
been left there in possession by the French King, under 
the command of an adventurer from Biscay, Menaldo 
Guerri. Gonzalvo was not likely to refuse so congenial 
an invitation, and he lost no time in arriving before 
Ostia with his force of about sixteen thousand men-at- 
arms and three hundred horsemen. Guerri was sum- 
moned to surrender, and on his refusal, the place was 
attacked by artillery for five days before a breach 
could be made in the walls. The Castilian Ambassador, 
Garcilossa de la Vega, with a few of his own men, 
attacked Ostia on the other side, and thus surrounded, 
Guerri and his companions yielded themselves 
prisoners of war. A few days later they graced the 
procession of the victor into Rome, which had all the 
pomp of an ancient Imperial triumph. W^ith banners 
flying and martial music, the Great Captain rode in 
front greeted by tumultuous cries from the people, 
who hailed him as the " Deliverer of Rome ! " At the 
Vatican the Pope received him under a canopy of state, 
with cardinals and nobles around him ; and when the 
Spanish General knelt to ask his blessing, Alexander VI. 



raised him up, gave him the kiss of peace, and rewarded 
him with the Golden Rose. . 

This reception in Rome was only a foretaste of the 
honours which he received on his return to Spain, 
where the Queen congratulated herself on her wise 
choice of a Castilian general, and the King declared 
that the war in Calabria had brought more glory to 
his throne than even the conquest of Granada. 

There was now peace for a time between Spain 
and France, for a treaty had been concluded with 
Charles VIII. shortly before the death, by an accident, 
of that young King, at the age of twenty-seven, on 
April 7, 1498. He was succeded by Louis XII., the 
grand-nephew of Charles V., who on coming to the 
throne assumed the title of Duke of Milan, as inherit- 
ing from his grandmother, Valentina Visconti, thus 
throwing down the gauntlet to the Italian state and 
showing whither his ambition pointed. But his first 
aim was to secure the rich province of Brittany, and 
he at once made an appeal to the Pope for a divorce 
from his wife, Jeanne, on the plea that he had been 
forced to marry her. This was granted by Alexander VI., 
and his son Caisar Borgia who brought the Bull to 
Louis, was made Duke of Valentinois, with a large 
income, and received Charlotte d'Albret, sister of the 
Lord of Navarre, as his bride. Such was the fine 
paid for the French King's shameful divorce. 

Louis XII. was then at liberty to marry the young 
widowof his predecessor, Anne of Brittany,all obstacles, 
including poor Queen Jeanne, having been removed ; 
and he was now free to carry out his other ambitious 
schemes, in which Spain was closely concerned. As 



we shall see more clearly later, all Fernando's cam- 
paigns in Naples and Calabria had his own personal 
profit in view, and he was intoxicated with gorgeous 
plans of aggrandisement and universal dominion, by 
conquest and alliance. If Aragon could but extend 
its grasp " from Sicily, along North Africa, to Syria, 
and along the Adriatic and^gean toward Constanti- 
nople, until the [ancient claim to the Empire of the 
East became a practical and solid one. The Genoese 
and Venetians, overawed by the dominant Mediter- 
ranean power, would decay, and Fernando's descendants 
might rule unquestioned from the Pillars of Hercules 
to the Golden Horn. The plan was a splendid one, 
and Fernando's crafty brain through his long life 
laboured for its partial fulfilment ; but death and dis- 
aster stepped in, and it brought a curse instead of a 
blessing to the posterity of the plotter." * 

He little dreamed that in the very success which he 
attained lay the seeds of ruin for that small province 
of Aragon so fondly idolised. 

* Martin Hume. 




It will be interesting to take a brief survey of the 
literature for which Spain has so splendid a record, 
and to trace the influence of the past on learning in 
the days of Queen Isabel. 

As a province of the Roman Empire, the Iberian 
kingdom produced writers who were distinguished 
amongst the greatest scholars of their day. The 
oratory of the elder Seneca, the over-florid declama- 
tions of the younger Seneca of Cordova, the Pharsalia 
of Lucan, and the writings of Martial and Quintillian 
added a lustre to classical Rome, and the Spanish 
poets of Cordova received the praise of Cicero. A 
strong taste for theology had always distinguished this 
country, and in the fourth century we find the Christian 
writer Juvencus turning the Gospels into a kind of 
Virgilian hexameters, and Prudentius of Tarragona 
writing Christian poems strongly flavoured with Pagan 
sentiment. Sant Isidore, Bishop of Seville in the 
seventh century, was a most distinguished scholar, a 
Platonic philosopher who brought classical eloquence 
to adorn his Christian homilies. Many other learned 
ecclesiastics followed in his steps, amongst whom was 



St. Martin, Bishop of Braga, who converted a whole 
Pagan nation to the faith, and founded an academy of 
learning in Galicia. 

After the Moslem conquest of Spain in the eighth 
century, all the culture and learning of the East found 
its way to the great cities of the Peninsula, where 
knowledge was cultivated as it had never been before. 
The rule of the Omeyyad dynasty in Cordova has 
been compared to that of the Medici in Florence. 
Abd-er-Rahman's successor Alkamen was himself a 
diligent student ; he is said to have collected a library 
of 600,000 volumes, and to have read most of them 
and even enriched them with his marginal notes. He 
encouraged learned men from all parts, and eighty free 
schools were opened in Cordova alone ; and this at a 
time when " scarcely a priest south of the Thames 
could translate Latin into his mother tongue." 

It is noteworthy that with this Eastern race, women 
devoted themselves to letters, and Valadata, daughter 
of the Khalif Mohammed, was foremost in eloquence 
amongst the professors, while other women studied 
history, philosophy and even jurisprudence. The 
young Moslem knight too was wont to refresh his 
mind after the fatigue of the tournament with " elegant 
poetry and florid discourses of amorous and knightly 
history." Indeed, to deserve a place amid the flower 
of chivalry, ten qualities were essential : " Piety, 
valour, courtesy, prowess, the gifts of poetry and 
eloquence, and dexterity in the management of the 
horse, the sword, lance and bow."* 

It was during the twelfth century that the Jews of 

Cordova studied the philosophy of the Greeks, and 

* Prescott. 

AUnari, phot. 

Vatican, Rome 

Pinturicchio e scolari 


" became the schoolmasters of the * schoolmen/ pour- 
ing a flood of ancient learning into Europe." The 
great Ibn-Raschid (1120--1190) whose name was 
latinised to Averroes, was the most distinguished 
commentator of Aristotle and spread far and wide his 
doctrine of " Monopsychism" with its famous dictum 
that " individuality consists only in bodily sensations, 
which are perishable, so that nothing which is indi- 
vidual can be immortal, and nothing which is immortal 
can be individual." Averroes knew no Greek, and 
his commentaries were made on Arabic versions of 
Aristotle which he brought to the notice of Europe, 
and had hundreds of disciples in Oxford, Paris and 

In the Arab treatises on logic and metaphysics we 
find a wonderful love of detail, subtle perception 
rather than breadth of thought, while in philosophy 
they were often almost servile in following authority. 
Yet in fiction their extravagance was unbridled, and 
the Moorish romances and ballads are flowery and 
allegorical beyond anything the world has ever seen. 

Meantime, the Christian States were steadily grow- 
ing, and with the gradual formation of the language, 
learning and literature flourished under the sovereigns 
of Aragon and Castile. One immense work was accom- 
plished, the compilation of a code of laws, the basis 
of Spanish jurisprudence, derived from the " Lex Visi- 
gothorum," of very early times. This was revised and 
extended by San Fernando into the " Fuero Juzgo " con- 
sisting of six hundred laws, comprised in twelve books. 
Every deed and condition of life, every bond between 
man and man, every right and every duty is provided 
for to the minutest detail. It begins quite at the 



beginning, and dwells upon the heavenly system, and 
the obedience of the angels to God, and so the code 
continues by degrees to describe the whole duty of 
man and the punishment awaiting him if he fails to do 
it. It is curious to notice that there is no such prin- 
ciple as equality, and that every offence is measured by 
the position of the man who commits it, and also that 
of the person offended, as for instance between freeman 
and slave. 

This Fuero Juzgo was supplemented in the reign 
of Alfonso X. by the " Siete Partidas," a whole code 
of morality and religion, which deals with the entire 
condition of society, if possible in a still more com- 
prehensive manner, and is imbued with the spirit of 
the Latin Code. Thus it was that Spain carried down 
the law of Ancient Rome to Modern Europe. 

We have already alluded to that Moorish poetry, 
bold and impassioned, with gorgeous imagery, spark- 
ling with metaphors, Oriental tales of fancy and 
enchantment brought by the Saracens into Spain. 
These were probably the first germ of the lays of the 
"trouveres," and of Italian romances, but above all 
they were the earliest inspiration of Provencal and 
Castilian poetry. Of the Spanish ballads handed down 
from mouth to mouth for generations until some were 
collected when printing was invented more than two 
thousand are extant ; * they would require a volume in 
itself to do them justice, for " They are not merely 
ballads, but historical and national poems ; they record 
events and popular notions ; they speak out for the 
whole nation what lies in every man's heart : they are 
the means of expression to those who want words, not 
* See Lockhart's " Spanish Ballads." 


feelings." * One of the most famous of these is the 
Poem of the Cid, an epic in Castilian verse, in imitation 
of the French " Chansons de Geste." All these ballads 
are, indeed, the basis of history, and, as we shall see 
later, are probably more trustworthy than much other 
so-called historical writing. 

On the subject of poetry, the Castilian priest and 
poet, Berceo, was the creator of a new school at the 
beginning of the thirteenth century ; he wrote of 
miracles and martyrs, and Dante appears to have 
adopted his metre. A nephew of Alfonso the Learned, 
Don Juan Manuel, wrote a series of forty-nine didactic 
apologues, the " Tales of Count Lucanor," which 
were the forerunners of Boccaccio and Chaucer. 
Spain, too, had her Rabelais : the gay reckless priest 
Juan Ruiz of Hita. Culture became the fashion when 
a King was the leader like Alfonso the Learned, and 
by the end of the thirteenth century the University of 
Salamanca vied with that of Paris and Bologna. 
Philosophy in rhyme, didactic verse and moral tales 
had a certain vogue until in the fifteenth century they 
were supplanted by the literature of Italy, translations 
of Dante, Petrarch and others, which made their way 
in Spain. Jorge de Manrique wrote a beautiful poem 
on the death of his father Coplas de Manrique, 1476, 
which is familiar to us in Longfellow's translation. 

Juan II., the father of Isabel, far more successful as 
a scholar than a King, wrote poetry himself and 
encouraged the most artificial and fantastic methods 
of which the " cancioneros " of his reign and the 
dramatic attempts of Enrique de Villena are examples. 
Lopez de Mendoza, also a great noble, appears to us 
* Richard Ford, 


more striking as a poet, but the work on which he 
chiefly prided himself was a long poem called " El 
doctrinal de Privados," in which he makes the ghost of 
Alvaro de Luna relate his mistakes and lament his 
folly as a statesman. 

We have seen how Isabel devoted herself to her own 
education and to that of her children and sent for 
learned men from all parts, until every one dabbled 
in literature, and there were writers of verse and prose 
in abundance, when culture became the fashion. She 
was ably seconded by the Cardinal Jimenez, who was 
an ardent scholar and founded the University of 
Alcala, although this cannot atone for his priestly 
bigotry and vandalism in burning the priceless collec- 
tion of Arab manuscripts at Granada. Another name 
is w^orthy of note, than of Juan de Encina, who led 
the way with his dramatic eclogues to a branch of art 
in which Spain has since so greatly excelled. There 
was much more of drama in his idea than in the 
earlier dialogues without action, like that in which 
Isabel herself as a girl had taken the part of a Muse, 
on a certain birthday of her young brother Alfonso. 
These sacred and profane little dramas of Encina's 
were sometimes performed in the Palace of the Duke 
of Alva before Prince Juan and other distinguished 
spectators. Play-acting did not become popular until 
later. "La Celestina" was published in 1499, with 
twenty-two acts, all in dialogue ; it was probably 
written by Fernando de Rojas, and had a great 

Then came the era of discovery, when a new and 
magnificent field was opened out, and the Spaniards 
availed themselves to the utmost of that glamour cast 



by unknown distant lands, strange new men and 
beasts and birds, and marvellous adventures which 
cast into the shade all moral tales and romances of 
heroes. " Where you know nothing, place terrors " 
was the traveller's motto, and : 

" Geographers on pathless downs 
Put elephants in place of towns." 

It was quite at the end of Isabel's reign that a 
fantastic tale, Amadis de Gaul, of a far-off land with 
impossible fair ladies and love-lorn knights, written by 
a Portuguese, was spread far and wide with the help of 
the printing press, although it had been translated 
much earlier, and handed about in MS. It took the 
nation by storm, and its success produced many 
imitations and " continuations, dealing with exploits of 
the innumerable lineage of Amadis," which became 
more and more unreal and absurd, until the author of 
Don Quixote held these wild romances up to pitiless 
scorn and they withered away. But, indeed, " a 
Cervantes was hardly needed to dispel this dream of 
a debased chivalry." 

We have touched upon other branches of literature, 
but in truth the earliest and strongest tendency of a 
nation is to dwell upon its own chronicle and story. 
In those vivid and striking ballads to which allusion 
has been made, Spain perhaps even more than any 
other country found her best inspiration in her own 
history. Sung alike by Moor and Christian, in village 
and town, these ancient " redondilleras " gave voice to 
the patriotism of the people and roused enthusiasm for 
deeds of chivalry and heroic achievements, until the 
names of Bernardo del Carpio, of King Ramiro, of 



the Seven Infantes of Lara, and many others, above all 
of " El Mio Cid Campeador " himself, became house- 
hold words and called forth almost idolatrous worship. 
Even in later days of the wars with the Moors, when 
was sung the woeful ditty of Alhama and many 
another, until Granada the beautiful had fallen, the 
ballad was still the key to the hearts of men. 
In this form were preserved those legends and 
traditions which give a more true insight into the 
history of a people than any amount of dry and 
doubtful facts. 

History is also almost the earliest form of prose 
writing ; monks in the seclusion of their quiet cells 
wrote out in laborious Latin the chronicle of events 
which came to their ears, bald and scanty indeed, 
retailing the gossip of passing travellers, the messages 
of some imperious prelate, and the miracles of a 
neighbouring shrine. Of these monkish chroniclers, 
we find mention of Isidorus Pacensis in the eighth 
century, and of Sebastian of Salamanca, and the 
monks of Silos and Albelda in the ninth century. 
During the following two hundred years, the chief 
information is obtained from the fuller and more 
embroidered language of Arabic writers. In the 
twelfth century we come to the story of the Cid, told 
in a fragmentary Latin chronicle, and in the annals of 
Toledo ; also in the " Gesta Roderici Campidocti " 
found in the convent of St. Isidore at Leon, and in the 
" Chronica del Cid," which is really only part of the 
"Chronica General" of Alfonso X. "revised and 
corrected by some ignorant monk." * The most im- 
portant attempt at historical work was that written by 

- H. E. Watts. 


the great fighting Archbishop of Toledo in the thir- 
teenth century, who was as bold in writing history as 
in the day of battle, for if events did not appear to him 
to proclaim enough the glory of his faith and nation, 
well, so much the worse for the facts ! 

In the famous engagement of " Las Navasde Tolosa, 
July i6, I2I2," the Christians were almost overcome 
by the vast force of the infidels, and brave King 
Alfonso VIII. cried to Archbishop Rodrigo Jimenez by 
his side, "Let us die here, prelate !" But the valiant 
Churchman was of sterner mettle, for he rallied the 
broken troops and saved the day ; a glorious victory 
which drove the " Commander of the Faithful " and 
his Almohades back to Morocco. This was the man 
who stuck at nothing in his chronicles, and coolly 
invented the "great victory of Clavijo, where 70,000 
of the misbelievers fell and Santiago appeared in person 
on a white horse, bearing aloft a white standard with 
a red cross." ... " This battle was fought in the year 
846, being the second of King Ramiro. The victorious 
army vowed to Santiago that every acre of ploughed 
and vine land in Spain should pay each year a bushel 
of corn or wine to the church of Compostella " (not 
built until 11 20 !). No such battle was ever fought ; * 
but we see the prelate's desire to endow the church by 
a pious falsehood. 

Another apocryphal victory, that of Calataiiazor, was 
long a subject of contest between Spanish historians. 
The great Moorish Governor Almanzor had invaded 
the Christian kingdom, taken Leon and utterly 
destroyed the cathedral of Santiago at Compostella. 
Such sacrilege imperatively demanded the defeat of 
^■- H. E. Watts. 


Almanzor, who was reported to have died of grief after 
losing the battle of Calataiiazor with terrible slaughter 
of his host, in looi. No Moorish chronicler mentions 
it, nor any Christian writer before the thirteenth 
century, and the story is entirely discredited. 

The first great collection of stories and traditions of 
the past was in the " Chronica General " compiled by 
order of Alfonso X. with the help of many learned 
men, both Christian and Moorish. In such an under- 
taking there was a praiseworthy desire for complete- 
ness, and the chronicle begins with the creation of the 
world, and is carried down through the ages to the 
King's own accession in 1252. With princely hos- 
pitality, he takes in everything ; history, legend, 
tradition, all that people said and did, and even 
includes as many ballads as he can collect, so that it 
becomes a most valuable and universal storehouse. 
His example was followed by his successors, and 
almost every king had someone at his Court who wrote 
the annals of his time. In the case of King Jayme of 
Aragon, El Conquistador, he adopted the still wiser plan 
of writing his own memoir. " A brutal, strong, crafty 
man, rough and dissolute, but one of the great leaders 
of the world," he tells his story in the Catalan lan- 
guage, in a bold simple way, touching lightly on his 
own immoral behaviour, for which he probably felt no 
particular compunction ; and telling of his own gallant 
deeds and success in war without vain-glory or boast- 
ing. As a piece of history his writing gives a vivid 
picture of an exciting period. On the death of his 
father he writes : " Thus he died, for it has ever been 
the fate of my race to conquer or die in battle." 

Well had it been for Pedro the Cruel, who lived more 




than a hundred years later, in the middle of the four- 
teenth century, had he written his own annals and been 
his own apologist. With all his faults he was no worse 
than many of his race, but he had the misfortune to be 
chronicled after his death by a faithless servant, a former 
favourite, Pedro Lopez de Ayala, who "has handed 
him down to eternal infamy." As Chancellor to his 
half-brother Enrique, his enemy and successor, it was 
to the interest of Lopez to take the darkest view of 
every action of his former master. He also wrote a 
long poem which brands his age with vice and folly. 

There are many ways of writing history, but we 
should certainly look for more flattery than truth in 
the memoirs of a Court historian. The official chronicler 
of Fernando and Isabel was Hernando del Pulgar, 
down to 1492, and is somewhat heavy and dry. Andres 
Bernaldez, curate of Los Palacios, enlarged his annals 
into a history of his times, and is interesting when he 
gossips about what he saw. Peter Martyr, the Italian 
scholar who lived much at the Court of Isabel after 
the war of Granada, left a number of letters, which a 
modern historian describes as "a. rich but untrust- 
worthy and puzzling mine of information." "These 
books are Latin exercises upon historical subjects." It 
is not until the middle of the sixteenth century that we 
begin to see the change from chronicle to history. 
Mariana the Jesuit, who wrote his famous history at the 
beginning of the seventeenth century, in Latin and after- 
wards in stately Castilian, has been called the Spanish 
Livy. He cared for style more than for truth, and of 
him it is said that " Except that he is not to be trusted 
for any single fact or date, he is one of the best of 
historians." He says naively : " I never undertook to 

273 s 


make a history of Spain in which I should verify 
every particular fact ; for if I had I should never have 

But at least in the days of Queen Isabel, letters and 
archives were preserved which are the material of true 
history. Still they ran many risks. In the fifteenth 
century the Secretary of State often kept the public 
documents in his own house. But when a minister 
died or retired from office, an inventory was made in 
the presence of a commissioner and two notaries, and 
every public document was carefully noted and de- 
livered to the government, to be put in places set apart. 
Yet we find that when King Fernando was travelling, 
he deposited State papers in foreign countries. In a 
letter written on September 14, 1509, he told King 
Louis XII. of France that on his return from Naples he 
had left a box of papers in charge of Juan Fabro, a 
Catalonian merchant at Genoa, and as he wanted these 
documents, he begged Louis to send them. 

Many important archives and public records were 
destroyed soon after the death of Fernando, when the 
peasants rose in rebellion, as they thought that they 
would thus be free from rents and taxes 1 A great 
many papers were lost, while others were saved in 
convents and private houses. Fortunately, the royal 
"areas" (chests) containing the correspondence with 
England were conveyed to the convent at Zaragoza. 
The ancient castle of Simancas, near Valladolid in Old 
Castile, is a great storehouse for historical papers, 
chiefly of Castile. Those of Aragon, such as relate 
chiefly to Spanish discoveries and colonies, are mostly 
at Barcelona and Seville. 

The Catholic sovereigns, especially Isabel, rarely did 




more than sign their names to the letters written by 
their secretaries. The rough drafts of Ferdnan Alvarez 
are incoherent and confused, with portions blotted out 
and marginal additions written in such small characters 
as to be scarcely discernible. When he was succeeded 
by Miguel Perez Almazan, there was a great improve- 
ment in style and writing, but this was the secretary 
who first introduced cypher into the royal correspond- 
ence, and a cypher of 2400 signs in one complete key ! 
By so doing the unfortunate Almazan must have laid a 
very heavy burden upon himself, for henceforth he not 
only had to confer with the King and Queen and take 
orders from them, but he was obliged to compose and 
write with his own hand the great mass of despatches 
to be signed by the sovereigns. The treaties were 
inscribed on immense sheets of parchment. When 
letters and despatches had to be put in cypher, Almazan 
had to do it — if letters came from diplomatic agents 
Almazan had to interpret them ! He kept his docu- 
ments in chronological order and endorsed them, but 
they were not all deposited in one place. 

A short specimen of the "cypher" used may help to 
explain the difficulties which drive students to despair. 
Here is a fragment of a letter sent by Isabel to Doctor de 
Puebla in England, with regard to affairs in Brittany 
and the recall of the Spanish troops. It was written 
in 1491, from the camp before Granada. Spanish and 
Arabic numbers were both used. 

" Considering question whether the town of 102 
(Granada) be 90 {conquered) or 39 {not) 90 {conquered) 
they are constructing a 188 {fortress) there (Santa Fe) 
in which they intend to have good 97 (troops) and all 



that is necessary to 94 {besiege) 102 (Granada) or at 
least to watch her so closely that it shall 39 (not) be 
necessary to 94 (besiege) her now.* 

Sometimes two cyphers are used in the same 
document, and for further security two copies of an 
important despatch were usually sent, by different 

Splendid material for the future historians of this 
period in Spain lies buried in the "Colleccion de 
Documentos Ineditos para la Historia de Espana," of 
which ninety volumes have already been published, 
and the stupendous work is still going on. When we 
consider the combination of qualities and of studies 
needful for the writing of history, far beyond those 
enumerated by Imlac for his poet, we feel disposed to 
paraphrase the words of Rasselas, and exclaim : 
" Enough ! Thou hast convinced me that no human 
being can ever be an ' historian ' "! 

* Bergenroth, Calendar of State Papers. 




The splendid architecture and sculpture, the exquisite 
gems of mosaic and enamel, of azulejos and lustred 
pottery, of damascened metal, and silken fabrics 
embroidered with gold and silver ; in short, all the 
architecture and art of Spain, and its material pros- 
perity in the days of Isabel, were deeply rooted in 
the past. 

Since those far-off days when to Solomon there came 
"the navy of Tarshish (Andalusia ?), bringing gold 
and silver, ivory, and apes and peacocks/' when " silver 
spread into plates is brought from Tarshish," and 
Spain was the Peru of the Phoenicians and the Romans; 
it has been a land of ancient wealth and rich natural 
endowment. The marvellous treasure of the Gothic 
kings found near Toledo shows to what perfection the 
art of working in precious metals was carried as early 
as the seventh century,* and long before this the 
broad double-edged swords of Toledo were famous 
throughout the known world. They were used by 
Rome and Carthage, and the manufacture was con- 
tinued by the Goths, while the Moors introduced their 

* Much of it is preserved in the Musee de Cluny, Paris. 


Damascene ornament and tempering, and the large 
double-handled, doubled-edged sword became the 
model of the mediaeval " montante." Othello's " sword 
of Spain, the ice-brook's temper." Splendid specimens 
of these weapons were given by King Fernando to 
Henry VIII. on his marriage with Katharine of Aragon, 
combining beauty, strength and elasticity. 

As with the making of Toledan swords, so in most 
other arts and manufactures, we can trace the direct 
line of descent to the period of our present history of 
Queen Isabel. In gold, silver, and iron-work, Spain 
never improved upon the skill of the Saracens, of 
which most exquisite specimens remain to this day. 
The damascened armour, the helmets inlaid with gold 
and silver, the beautiful mosque lamp of chased bronze 
made for Mohammed III. of Granada and many others, 
the marvellous keys and locks, the open filigree work, 
the processional crosses and priceless church plate, 
the brass doors of the palace of Cordova, and the 
delicate bronze plates of the " Puerta del Perdon " in 
the cathedrals of Toledo, Cordova and Seville, are 
amongst the most interesting. 

Then what a wonderful record there is in all forms 
of pottery and glass, beginning with those azulejos or 
Moorish tiles of the most exquisite colouring in 
mosaic, highly glazed and enamelled. Their use is of 
Oriental antiquity, and then, as in the days of the 
Moors, the favourite tints were sapphire and other 
shades of blue. " Paved work of a sapphire stone," is 
mentioned in the Book of Exodus, and Isaiah says, 
"lay thy foundations with sapphires." The pottery of 
Spain was noted from the earliest antiquity, and in 
later times Valencia and Malaga produced the most 



marvellous lustred surface, of which there is a fine 
specimen in the South Kensington Museum, painted 
with the arms of Leon, Castile and Aragon. 

As for the woollen materials and cloths of Andalusia, 
they were famous throughout the world before the 
Christian era, and were specially valued when they 
were dyed with the scarlet kermes from the woods on 
the Southern coast. Wool has always been a staple 
product in this country, but it is curious that in the 
fourteenth century, when large quantities were ex- 
ported for the looms of Flanders and France, the 
home manufacture was chiefly a kind of coarse duffel, 
and when the King of Aragon wished to give a present 
to the Soldan, he sent for red and green cloths from 
Chalons and Rheims, while for his Court foreign stuffs 
were in use. However, when Enrique III. married 
Catherine, daughter of John of Gaunt, she brought as 
part of her dowry some herds of English sheep, and 
the mixture of the wools greatly improved the cloth. 
This Plantagenet Queen was the grandmother of 
Queen Isabel. 

The cultivation of the silkworm and the weaving of 
silk was a most important industry, and we are told 
that in the thirteenth century there were six thousand 
silk-looms in Seville alone ; the most beautiful fancy 
brocades were made in Almeria, and priceless tissues 
of gold and silver at Toledo and Cordova. Of the 
embossed leather of Cordova, the carved woodwork 
and ivory, and the church embroidery which surpasses 
in beauty that of any other land, we have no space to 
tell, but Spain set her mark upon all works of decora- 
tive art. 

Yet, above all, it is when we touch upon the subject 



of architecture that the reahn of Isabel stands out 
supreme. The various races who followed each other 
in succession were all builders and all artists, and to 
this favoured land they gave of their best. Of Roman 
remains we find chiefly splendid bridges, like that of 
Alcantara and Merida, aqueducts as of Segovia, 
Tarragona and others, and the walls and towers of 
Coria, Luga, Tarragona and Seville, not to mention 
triumphal arches, hippodromes, and many other 
stately traces of Latin occupation. Then we have 
early Gothic churches with circular arches and 
windows, a single nave of the basilica form, low and 
heavy crypts, and often a pointed roof ; of these there 
are instances in Asturias, Leon and Galicia — chiefly in 
the province of Oviedo. 

The Moors brought with them from Arabia a form 
of the Byzantine style, which we see in its noble 
simplicity at the great mosque of Cordova, with its 
forests of columns, opening out into endless vistas on 
every side, its crossed arches, where jasper and 
porphyry mix with the marbles, and gorgeous mosaics 
sparkle like gems on the walls. 

Gradually becoming more splendid, the style acquires 
greater elegance and lightness, as in the Giralda of 
Seville, the mosque and a great hall of Seville, and a 
mosque in Toledo, now the church of Santa Maria la 
Blanca. At length the Mudehar style finds the 
culminating point of its graceful airy beauty in the 
Alhambra, the Generalife, and the Cuarto Real of 
lovely Granada and the Alcazar of Seville. 

It was in the reign of Alfonso VI., in the latter half 
of the eleventh century, that the Romanesque from 
France came into rivalry with the architecture of the 


/. Lacoste, phot. 

Carved Wooden Statue 

Cathedral, Granada 


Moors. In the train of his French wife, Queen 
Constance, came Bernard, a monk from Cluny, who 
was made Archbishop of Toledo, who brought into 
Spain all the passion for building which filled the 
Churchmen of his day. Of his work little remains, but 
it led the way for that pointed Gothic of which one 
of the most perfect examples is Leon Cathedral, which 
was begun in 1181 and was more than a hundred 
years in building. The influence of Byzantine art adds 
a richer beauty to this Northern style, " the songs and 
shrines being equally tinged with the colouring of 
Northern piety and Oriental fancy." Of this mixed 
architecture, the most magnificent results are to be 
found in the cathedral of Burgos, probably the finest 
in Europe, a "giant Gothic fantasy," with its glorious 
west front and rose window and mighty steeples of the 
most fragile and delicate lace-work in stone. Toledo 
Cathedral, in whose exquisite interior of cloistered 
avenues there are marvellous painted windows, 
jewelled with coloured light, which streams across the 
marble pavement. Here, too, enshrined within the 
massive portals of bronze, is the very cross which 
Cardinal Mendoza upreared before Fernando and 
Isabel on the conquered Alhambra. We must not 
omit the beautiful fane of Lerida, whose cloisters are 
unique in their loveliness, and the stately cathedral of 
Gerona, with its magnificent proportions. Yet we 
have but enumerated a few of the Gothic treasures in 
this land of splendid churches. One exquisite relic of 
the period is the Portico de la Gloria on the west front 
of the cathedral of Santiago.* It is interesting to 
remember that in all this Christian building the 

* A copy in South Kensington Museum. 


subject Moors were the most skilled and valuable 

We have already alluded to the church of San Juan 
de los Reyes, built to commemorate a victory over the 
Portuguese, and which Isabel finished, to surprise 
Fernando during a long absence of his. It is one of 
the finest and richest examples of florid Gothic, and is 
beautiful still in decay, with its cloister garden, where 
the dark green foliage contrasts with the " fretted 
fringes of the niches, capitals and canopies." 

Queen Isabel built another votive and memorial 
church in connection with the Carthusian Convent of 
Miraflores, near Burgos. It has been so delicately 
described by Theophile Gautier, that I cannot do better 
than quote his words : 

"La Cartuja est situ6e sur le haut d'une coUine ; 
I'exterieur en est austere et simple : murailles de pierre 
grise, toit de tuiles ; tout pour la pensee, rien pour 
les yeux. A I'interieur, ce sont de longs cloitres frais 
et silencieux, blanchis a la chaux vive, des portes de 
cellules, des fenetres a maillesde plomb danslesquelles 
sont enchasses quelques sujets pieux en verre de 
couleur. . . . Une petite cour au milieu de laquelle 
s'elcve une fontaine, renferme le jardin du prieur. 
Quelques brindilles de vigne 6gaient un peu la tristesse 
des murailles, quelques bouquets de flleurs, quelques 
gerbes de plantes poussent 9a et la un peu au hasard 
et dans un desordre pittoresque. 

" Le cimetiere est ombrage par deux ou trois grands 
cypres, comme il y en a dans les cimeti^res turcs ; 
cet enclos fun^bre coniient, quatre cent dix-neuf 
Chartreux morts depuis la construction du couvent ; 



une herbe epaisse et touffue couvre ce terrain, ou 
Ton ne voit ni tombe, ni croix, ni inscription ; ils 
gisent la confusement, humbles dans la mort comme 
ils r ont 6te dans la vie. Ce cimetiere anonyme a 
quelque chose de calme et de silencieux qui repose 
I'ame. . . . 

" Mais si la demeure des hommes est pauvre, celle 
de Dieu est riche. Dans le milieu de la nef sont 
places les tombeaux de Don Juan II. et de la reine 
Isabelle sa femme. (Father and mother of Queen 
Isabel.) On s'etonne que la patience humaine soit 
venue a bout d'un pareil ceuvre: seize lions, deux a 
chaque angle, soutenant huit ecussons aux armes 
royales, leur servent de base. Ajoutez un nombre 
proportionne de vertus, de figures allegoriques, 
d'apotres et d'evangelistes ; faites serpenter a travers 
tout 9a des rameaux, des feuillages, des oiseaux, des 
animaux, des lacs d'arabesques, et vous n'aurez qu'une 
bien faible idee de ce prodigieux travail. 

" Les statues couronnees du roi et de la reine sont 
couchees sur le couvercle. Le roi tient son sceptre 
a la main, et porte une robe longue guillochee et 
ramagee avec une delicatesse inconcevable. Le 
tombeau de I'lnfante Alonzo est du cote de I'evangile. 
L' Infante y est represents a genoux devant un prie- 
Dieu. Une vigne decoupee a jours, ou des petits 
enfants se suspendent et cueillent des raisins, festonne 
avec un intarissable caprice Tare gothique qui encadre 
la composition a demi engagee dans le mur. Ces 
merveilleux monuments sont en albatre et de la 
main de Gil de Silve, qui fit aussi les sculptures du 
maitre autel ; a droite et a gauche de cet autel qui est 
d'une rare beaut6, sont ouvertes deux portes par ou Ton 



apergoit deux chartreux immobiles dans le suaire 
blanc de leur froc : ces deux figures qui sont de 
Diego de Lieva, font illusion au premier coup 
d'oeil. Des stalles de Berruguete completent cet 
ensemble, qu'on s'etonne de recontrer dans une 
campagne deserte." 

These splendid monuments were erected by the 
Queen in 1488 to the memory of her father King Juan, 
and her young brother Alfonso, and the dearly-beloved 
mother, Isabel of Portugal, whose later years were 
over-shadowed by mental disease ; but she was always 
tended with the most loving care and devotion by her 
daughter to the day of her death. 

This beautiful tomb in the convent of Miraflores 
brings us to the subject of sculpture in Spain. It has a 
character of its own, as we see in the marvels of wood- 
carving and marble, chiefly in altar-pieces and memorials 
of the departed. Many of these are evidently striking 
portraits, chiselled out in bold relief, and with more 
vivid and intense expression than we find in any other 
land. One of the most beautiful specimens is the 
exquisitely sculptured white marble tomb of Prince 
Juan, the hope of Spain, the only son of Fernando 
and Isabel. It stands before the high altar of 
the Dominican church of Santo Tomas at Avila — a 
pathetic monument of love and undying grief, in 
full view of the two stately carved stalls overlooking 
it, which were reserved ever after for the sorrowing 

In domestic architecture, the Spanish Saracens 
attained a high degree of excellence, combining great 
beauty with a style suitable to the climate, as we see 



in the narrow streets, where the paved footway and 
the white walls have echoed for centuries with the 
tramp of Moorish feet. " Here, in Andalusia, there is 
no need to guard against the weight of snow, no cold 
to be kept out, no smoke to blacken ; so the roof 
becomes a terrace, the arch is reared in fairy lightness, 
the glaze and colour of brilliant tiles replace the heavy 
wainscot and arras. . . . The 'Lonja,' or Silk Exchange, 
at Valencia (1482), is an example of the successful 
wedding of late Gothic design to Saracen detail of 
window 'ajimez ' and decoration." We must not omit 
the splendid palaces at Barcelona and elsewhere, with 
tower and minaret, whose shimmering tiles are seen 
through groves of palm and pomegranate. 

The subject of castle and stronghold in architecture 
would deserve a study by itself. We look upon those 
great watch-towers on the heights, eloquent of Iberian 
and Roman, of Goth and Moor, the rock-built alcazars 
of many a stately city, rising stern and rugged on river 
bank, or steep hill-side, on massive feudal towers which 
break the line of the great tawny plains of Castile, and 
on ruined walls, like those of Tarragona, which have 
stood undismayed the surging tide of war, and yielded 
only to the decay of time. In no other land has a 
fortress been at once the ideal of strength and beauty 
as in the far-famed Alhambra. 

I cannot close this chapter without a few words on 
a subject which has a close connection with archi- 
tecture, those wonderful gardens which are the glory 
of Spain, where the rarest flowers seem to grow wild, 
and the exotic trees and shrubs of distant countries 
flourish in marvellous profusion. In a sun-steeped 
land like Andalusia, the chief necessity for success in 



the garden and the field is water in abundance, and 
the Saracens carried the science of irrigation to a 
degree of perfection which has never been surpassed. 
Their aqueducts and canals and water-wheels 
" norias," brought fertility to the arid plain and made 
of it a paradise. Horticulture as well as agriculture 
was encouraged under the rule of the Moors in a way 
that Europe, had never seen before, but "the pure 
Spaniard continued, as he had always been, an agri- 
culturist only by necessity and a shepherd by choice 
when he was not a soldier."* Learned men devoted 
themselves to the scientific study of gardening, and 
Ibn Zacaria of Seville wrote a famous work on the 
subject, which is full of wise teaching. 

The first Omeyyad Sultan, when he was established 
in his palace at Cordova, sent for a date-palm from 
Damascus to recall to him the story of his childhood, 
and wrote in its honour a pathetic little poem 

" Tu tambien, insigne palma, 
Eres aqui forastera . . . . " 

He sent out messengers all over the Eastern world 
to collect for his garden rare plants and seeds and 
trees, which were tended with such loving care that 
these choice exotics soon became acclimatised and 
spread through the land. It would be most interesting 
to have a complete record of the treasures brought to 
Europe, but in the roll-call of service and beauty may 
be named — of trees and shrubs : the acacia, the myrtle, 
the ilex, the tamarisk, the Guelder rose and dark green 
algarrobas. Of fruits : the mulberry, brought in with the 

* Martin Hume. 


cultivation of the silkworm, the pomegranate, with its 
blood-red flowers, the plum, peach and apricot, the 
fig, the almond, the melon, the orange and lemon, 
while the vine and olive, if not first introduced, were 
cultivated as they had never been before. Amongst 
the flowers we find the wisteria, the scarlet cactus, 
the rose of Sharon with its delicate pink and creamy 
petals, the iris, the hepatica, the red blaze of oleander, 
the blue-green aloes, and the single-flowered Arabian 
jasmine, white and fragrant. Of the fruits of the earth we 
have the artichoke, spinach, cucumber and tarragon ; 
the fields of pale golden sugar-cane, of the coffee plant, 
of flax, of melo-coton, with its divine fire of pink and 
rose, and meadows of saffron (crocus safivus), the 
ancient " Kacom " of the Canticles. 

In the days when Isabel dwelt in Granada, and came 
into the splendid heritage of the Moorish kings, the 
gardens of the Generalife were probably the most 
beautiful in all the world. Reached through the 
ravine of Los Molinos, bordered with " figs and pista- 
chios, laurels and roses. . . . the charm of the garden 
and waters still remains. Here are jets and fountains, 
arcades and leafy screens, while cypresses and orange- 
trees cast their cool shadows upon the waters." 
" Here is everything to delight. . . . fruits, flowers, 
fragrance, green arbours and myrtle hedges, delicate 
air and gushing waters."* Yet no words can call 
up to our northern minds the vision of that scene, 
exquisite as the fabled garden of the Hesperides, 
in the midst of its perfect setting. The white 
walls, the orange groves, the gardens, hemmed in 
with cypresses, the rugged hills, covered with prickly 

* Lane Poole. 


pear, the far distance of the Sierra Nevada, with its 
snowy ranges. 

" The old rain-fretted mountains in their robes 
Of shadow-broken gray ; the rounded hills 
Reddened with blood of Titans, whose huge limbs, 
Entombed within, feed full the hardy flesh 
Of cactus green and blue-sworded aloes ; 
The cypress soaring black above the lines 
Of white court-walls ; the pointed sugar-canes, 
Pale golden, with their feathers motionless 
In the warm quiet ; all thought-teaching form 
Utters itself in firm unshivering lines." 

Spanish Gypsy. 



Juan and Margaret — Philip and Juana 

As we have seen, King Fernando of Aragon appeared 
to value his daughters chiefly as assets in the world of 
politics. The Infanta Isabel had been married to the 
heir of Portugal when it was needful to sever that 
country from the cause of La Beltraneja, but when 
Prince Affonso died from a fall out hunting a few 
months later, the widowed bride returned to Spain 
and lived a secluded life of piety and ascetism, under 
the control of bigoted priests, whose influence was to 
bear a deadly fruit hereafter. 

The next event in the family history was when the 
strong desire of Fernando to secure the Emperor for 
the League of Venice against France caused him to 
arrange the double marriage of Maximilian's heir 
Philip with his second daughter Juana, and that of 
his only son, the Infante Juan, with Philip's sister 
Margaret of Austria. In order to understand the full 
importance of this alliance it will be necessary to trace 
the early history of Philip and Margaret. Their father 
Maximilian had married, at the age of eighteen, in 1477, 
Mary of Burgundy, orphan heiress of the broad Bur- 

289 T 


gundian dominions, the Netherlands, Namur, Brabant, 
Hainault, Holland, Zeeland, Friesland, the Duchy of 
Luxemburg, and the County of Artois with the whole 
of Flanders, some of which were considered fiefs of 
France. Philip was born in June 1478, and Margaret 
in February 1480, while their mother died from the 
results of a neglected fall from her horse only two years 
later. The turbulent burghers of Flanders quarrelled 
over the guardianship of the young heirs, in their 
jealousy of Maximilian, but on the Peace of Arras, in 
March 1483, the States appear to have arranged that 
the baby Margaret should be sent to France as the 
future bride of Charles, the young son of Louis XL 
She was betrothed to him in June of the same year, and 
was called Madame La Dauphine ; while two months 
later Louis XI. died and her betrothed became Charles 
VI IL of France, a boy of thirteen, under the regency 
of his sister, Anne de Beaujeu. 

It would be extremely interesting to know the whole 
story of little Margaret's life during the ten years she 
remained under the guardianship of that great lady of 
the French Renaissance, who was greatly interested in 
education, and had a sort of " fashionable boarding 
school " of young maidens of high birth on whom she 
tried her theories of morals and manners, with a some- 
what " cloistral authority." The vigorous intellect of 
Anne of France was not satisfied with ruling the 
kingdom of France for her brother ; she read a great 
deal : early fathers, philosophers, moralists and poetry, 
and she carefully selected romances which she thought 
appropriate for her bevy of young girls. She had a 
frank and remorselessly sincere disposition, but her 
biographer says the one thing Anne lacked was love ; 



she was " grand and severe as a cathedral." Anne de 
Beaujeu was a passionate huntress, and she hunted as 
she did everything else, " coldly and methodically, 
she with her own eyes examined the trail, gave the 
word to hark forward, set off with her dogs, and 
smartly handled her hunting spear." She probably 
encouraged these outdoor sports for her pupils, as we 
learn in after years that Margaret was a great huntress 
and was very proud of her stuffed wolves' heads. 

Amongst her companions at the palace of Amboise 
we find Louise de Savoie, who was seven years old 
when Margaret was a baby of three, but no one could 
have foretold that one day these girls would be sisters- 
in-law. This Louise (the mother of Francis I.) was 
the child of the Sieur de Bresse and Marguerite de 
Bourbon, and sister of Philibert II. le Beau Duke of 
Savoy (later the husband of Margaret). Susanne, the 
sickly little daughter of Anne de Beaujeu must also 
have been a younger playfellow of Margaret's. Louise 
de Savoie was a niece of Anne's and appears to have 
been treated rather as a poor relation, " only receiving 
eighty francs at the New Year with which to buy her- 
self a crimson satin dress for state occasions,"* until 
at twelve years of age she made her great marriage 
with the Comte d'Angouleme. But Margaret should 
have been in a very different position, for she was to 
bring as her dowry Artois and the County of Burgundy, 
and was to receive from the French Court an annuity 
of 50,000 livres. 

We cannot enter into the tangled game of politics in 
which this young Princess was only a counter, tossed 
lightly from one country to another, at the will of 

- E. Sichel. 


Flemish burghers, of a faithless bridegroom, of father 
and brother ; but Anne de Beaujeu has the credit of 
having broken off her brother Charles's engagement 
with Margaret after she had been educated in France 
to be his wife, and of marrying him to Anne, the heiress 
of Bretagne, in i49i,when the young King was twenty- 
one and Anne de Bretagne was fifteen. For two years 
after this marriage Margaret was kept in Touraine as a 
kind of hostage, until at length in May 1493, after the 
Peace of Senlis with France, when all obligations were 
cancelled, she was sent home, and we hear of her 
joyously crying " Vive Bourgogne " to the people who 
flocked round her at St. Ouentin, while she received 
an enthusiastic welcome at Valenciennes. Having 
escaped the Landsknecht, who wanted to seize her in 
pledge, the little girl of thirteen, who already gave 
promise of a fine character and remarkable talents, 
settled down for a short time at Namur, while negotia- 
tions were begun for her marriage with Prince Juan 
of Spain. 

This time there was to be no question of dowry, as 
one princess was to be exchanged for another. The 
Princess Juana was the second daughter of Fernando 
and Isabel, and was born in the Alcazar of Toledo, on 
Sunday, November 7, 1479. Of her early life we 
know very little, but she appears to have borne a 
strong resemblance to Fernando's mother, and the 
Queen often called her " suegra," mother-in-law. She 
and her sisters must have had an interesting amount 
of travel and variety in their lives, as they constantly 
moved from city to city with the Court, according to 
the political need of the moment. We gather from 
later documents and letters that Juana, educated as she 



was in the most pious and priestly atmosphere, was not 
so readily influenced as her sisters, and in fact that 
" her life was a series of attempts at rebellion." Of 
course it is impossible to say whether the dark shadow 
of mental disease, which certainly saddened some 
period of her future life, may have had anything to do 
with her childish wilfulness and obstinacy, or as 
one historian puts it, that " Juana's better nature re- 
belled from such religious doctrine, and that her 
mother forced her by severe punishment to comply 

The only authority for such a statement appears to 
be a letter written by the Marquis of Denia (Juana's 
gaoler) to Charles V. on January 25, 1522, in which he 
apparently tries to excuse himself for cruel treatment 
of the unfortunate Queen Juana, by making an un- 
corroborated statement of harsh discipline which she 
had received from her own mother so many years ago : 
" ya la Reyna su ahnela asy le servio y trato la Reyna 
Nuestra Seiiora su hija."* 

Juana received an excellent education,'and, we are 
told, was able to make impromptu speeches in Latin 
when required. She was seventeen in 1496, and 
Philip of Austria, lord of the Netherlands in right of 
his mother, was a year older, having been born in the 
palace of Bruges on June 22, 1478. It was in August 
1496 that the Infanta Juana arrived with her mother 
and a splendid suite at the port of Laredo on the Bay 

* This document and others relating to England were kept 
back by the chief officer at Simancas as late as i860, when he 
was " authorised to refuse to show anything which /le thought 
might reflect dishonour on reigning families or other great 
personages 1 " — Bergenroth. 



of Biscay, to set s?.il for her new home. A powerful 
fleet was waiting for hgr of 130 vessels, well manned 
and armed, under the command of the Admiral of 
Castile, Don Fadrique Enriquez. This was a neces- 
sary precaution, as Spain was then at war with France. 

Queen Isabel went on board the royal ship to remain 
with her daughter until the last moment, and after the 
final farewell, returned in her boat to the shore, but the 
waves were so rough that it was impossible to land on 
the dry beach. Seeing this, the gallant Gonzalvo di 
Cordova, the Great Captain, who was with the Court at 
the time, waded into the water, in his magnificent suit 
of brocade and crimson velvet, and carried his royal 
mistress safely ashore in his arms, amid the applause of 
the lookers-on — the feat of another Raleigh. 

From this picturesque sheltered port of Laredo, 
Isabel wrote to King Henry VII. on August 19, 1496, 
to bespeak his friendly interest. '' She informs him 
that the Infanta Doiia Juana is on her way to Flanders 
to join her husband the Archduke Philip, and in a 
stately way, as from one sovereign to another, she asks 
him to treat the princess and her armada well, if she 
should be compelled by stress of weather to enter an 
English port. Isabel also announces that ' her 
daughter the Infanta' (Margaret of Austria) is to be 
brought back by the same armada." Royal personages 
in those days were very fond of writing letters to each 
other, but this particular request was no mere matter 
of courtesy, for both the princesses were driven by 
storms to take refuge in British harbours. 

We are really amazed at the courage with which 
these royal ladies would set forth on a perilous sea 
voyage in the " caravel," a light vessel with four 



masts, narrow at the poop, wide at the bows, and 
carrying a long double tower at the stern, and 
another smaller one at the bows. A ship of war would 
not be much better, as it was high, unwieldy, and 
narrow, with guns close to the water, and would 
roll terribly, besides being liable to " overset " like 
the Mary Rose of which Sir Walter Raleigh speaks ; 
" a goodly ship of the largest size, by a little sway 
of the ship in casting about, her ports being w'ithin 
sixteen inches of the water, was overset and sunk, 
in presence of the King at Spithead." To cross the 
stormy Bay of Biscay in such vessels was indeed a 
bold enterprise. The Infanta Juana had scarcely left 
the Spanish shore when the weather became very 
rough and stormy, and her mother, waiting anxiously 
for tidings, consulted all the best navigators as to 
what was likely to have befallen the armada. As 
Spain was at war with France, no letters could be sent 
by land, and it was only after many weeks of sus- 
pense that news at length arrived of the safe landing 
of the Infanta in Flanders, on a Sunday in September. 
It had indeed been a fearful voyage 1 When the 
fleet was driven for shelter into Portland harbour, it 
was found that two caravels were missing, and 
Juana was obliged to accept the hospitality of the 
Portland w^atch-tower for a few days, while some of 
the vessels were repaired and refitted. She appears to 
have been very silent and self-contained during all the 
dangers she went through, but she would not be per- 
suaded to write any letters to her mother. King 
Henry VII., or anyone else. Several of her atten- 
dants died from the hardships of that disastrous 
voyage, and amongst them the gallant old Bishop of 



Jaen, who had accompanied her to give state and 
dignity to her suite. 

After all the hardships which she had endured, it 
was rather distressing for the young bride to meet with 
no " empressement " from the bridegroom, who was 
away in the Tyrol and did not even send her a message 
of welcome, as she waited day after day for him in the 
old castle of Lille. It is curious to notice how family 
traits assert themselves, for this was exactly the way in 
which his father Maximilian had behaved to his 
promised bride Bianca Sforza (his second wife) when 
he kept her waiting for two months at Innsbruck, in 
the beginning of 1494. However, at length the Arch- 
duke Philip found time to fulfil his engagement, and 
he arrived at Lille on October 18, 1496, the ill-fated 
marriage taking place the next day ; Don Diego de 
Villaescusa being the officiating chaplain. Philip, " the 
handsomest young man in Europe," is said to have had 
something of his mother's docility in council and of 
his father's high spirit in the field, but he was unreliable 
and cold in disposition, and he certainly never 
bestowed upon his unfortunate wife any of the 
passionate devotion which she lavished upon him. 
They took up their abode in Brussels, where we hear of 
great festivities and of solemn Masses in the Cathedral 
of Ste. Gudule. 

Meantime, all arrangements had been made for the 
marriage of the Princess Margaret, who about mid- 
winter set sail for Spain, attended by the ladies of 
Juana's suite, who, poor creatures, were once more 
exposed to the stormy waves. On the return voyage 
the armada met with even worse weather than on first 
crossing, for some of the ships were lost and the state 


Netirdein, phol. In the Church of Brou 



vessel of the Princess was almost wrecked. There is 
a singular charm of light-hearted spirit and gay courage 
about this young girl, for when all hope was given up, 
she wrote a ** pleasant distich " to be rolled in wax and 
fastened to her wrist for identification, as was the way 
of sailors. 

*' Ci-gist Margot, la gente demoiselle, 
Qu'eut deux maris, et si mourut pucelle." 

Amongst the " Dialogues des Morts " of Fontenelle 
(1657-1757) is one on this subject, and he compares 
the fortitude of this young girl, in the hour of deadly 
peril, to the philosophic calm of the dying Hadrian or 
the heroism of Cato of Utica. 

But fortunately for the world, which could ill have 
spared so charming a personality, this epitaph was not 
required. Margaret did, however, have to take refuge 
in the harbour of Southampton, for we find that on 
February 3, 1497, Henry VII. writes her a friendly 
little note, in which he remarks : " We believe that 
the movement and roaring of the sea is disagreeable 
to your highness and the ladies who accompany you." 
He then courteously begs her to stay at Southampton, 
and even offers to pay her a visit there. 

After these various adventures, the Princess at 
length arrived safely at the port of Santander, in the 
Asturias, at the beginning of March 1497. Here she 
was met and welcomed by Prince Juan and the King 
his father, who escorted her to Burgos, where Queen 
Isabel first met her daughter-in-law, to whom she be- 
came much attached. The marriage took place on 
Palm Sunday, April 3, and was a most stately cere- 
mony, performed by the Archbishop of Toledo, in the 



magnificent cathedral. A succession of splendid en- 
tertainments followed, and at these it was remarked 
how gay and lively Margaret and the Flemish members 
of her suite were in comparison with the grave and 
solemn Castilian nobles. 

As for Don Juan, the bridegroom, never has any 
prince been so universally beloved and praised ; he 
seems to have been another Marcellus, amiable and 
accomplished alike in art and literature ; the idol of 
his parents and of his country. The greatest hopes 
were built upon the future reign over all the broad 
dominions alike of Castile and Aragon, of this only 
son of Fernando and Isabel, the heir to so much 
greatness. Nothing seemed wanting to the happiness 
of the young bride and bridegroom as they made a 
kind of triumphal procession through the great cities 
of the land during that summer. 

Meantime another marriage had been arranged 
in the royal family. The new King of Portugal, Dom 
Emanuel, the Fortunate, had for some years made 
proposals for the hand of his cousin's widow, the 
Princess Isabel, but her own wishes were in favour of 
convent life, and it was only in the summer of 1496 that 
she was at length persuaded to listen to him. But she 
demanded a terrible price for her consent — nothing 
less than the compulsory conversion of all the Jews in 
Portugal, or, failing that, their expulsion from the 
kingdom. We cannot help seeing in this the influence 
of the priestly bigots in whose company she had lived 
since her widowhood. The Jews of Portugal belonged 
mostly to the Sephardim, and were in intellect and 
position superior to the Ash-Kenazim — German or 
Polish Jews ; and they had hitherto been always pro- 



tected by Moor and Christian alike. There were also 
a great number in the kingdom who had escaped from 
Spain and paid heavy bribes for a new home. We can 
only suppose that Emanuel was willing to concede 
this demand, because he was beyond all things eager 
for the alliance with Spain, but it has also been sug- 
gested that it would serve his personal interests, as he 
would thus be able to absorb the whole of the rapidly- 
increasing trade with the East, which was largely in 
the hands of the Jews. In any case it was a fatal 
error in judgment thus to lose the most skilful and 
industrious of his subjects. 

The ill-omened marriage was celebrated without the 
usual pomp and ceremony, at the picturesque fortified 
town of Alcantara on the frontier of Portugal, in 
September 1497, and while Fernando and Isabel were 
still there, a messenger arrived with evil tidings of the 
serious illness of Prince Juan. He had been taken 
ill with fever at Salamanca, in the midst of the festivi- 
ties which greeted himself and his young wife. The 
illness made such rapid progress that when Fernando 
reached him, there was no hope that his life would be 
spared. We have a pathetic account of that last meet- 
ing, when the father tried to express hopes of recovery, 
but he could not dim the clear-eyed vision of one who 
had reached the threshold of the Unseen. With calm 
heroism, the dying boy spoke of his readiness to depart 
from a world which to him had been so rich in bless- 
ings, and of his perfect resignation to the Will of 
God. With words of loving farewell came the close of 
this beautiful young life — which had been so full of 
promise for Spain and for the world. This was on 



October 3, 1497, when the Prince was but nineteen 
years of age. 

Fearing the effect of the shock upon his wife, who 
was not in strong health, Fernando sought to break 
the news by frequent letters of increasing anxiety ; 
yet, when the sad truth had to be told, Isabel bore it 
with splendid fortitude, and only made reply in those 
words of immemorial submission : *' The Lord hath 
given, and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be His 
Name." But the iron had entered into her soul, and 
all the mother's brightest hopes and happiness were 
buried in her son's stately tomb at Avila. 

The mourning was universal throughout the land ; 
"never was there a death which occasioned such 
lamentation," for "the hope of all Spain was laid low." 
Black banners floated over every tower and gateway, 
and all public offices were closed for forty days, while 
the Court mourning was of sackcloth instead of the 
usual white garments. We have already described the 
magnificent monument which was erected to the 
memory of Prince Juan in the great Dominican 
monastery of Santo Tomas, " the most perfectly 
glorious tomb in all the world." 

Of Margaret, the young widow of seventeen whose 
dream of happiness had thus suddenly come to an end, 
it will be interesting to trace briefly the story of her 
after life. She was treated with the utmost kindness 
and generosity by the Spanish sovereigns, but her 
child, the expected heir of Castile and Aragon, born a 
few months later, did not live to see the light of day. 
After this she began to hunger for her native land, 
and her Flemish attendants who could never become 
reconciled to the constraint of the Castilian Court, 



persuaded her to return home in 1499. But apparently 
during the interval, this young girl, who had just missed 
first the proud position of Queen of France, and then 
that of Queen of Spain, was expected to turn to account 
her perfect knowledge of the French language by 
teaching her little sister-in-law, Catalina, who was 
betrothed to Prince Arthur of England. We find his 
mother, Elizabeth of York, writing a friendly letter to 
Queen Isabel on December 3, 1497, and again, on 
July 17, 1498, De Puebla is instructed to write to the 
Spanish Queen that : 

"Queen Elizabeth and the mother of King Henry VII. 
wish that the Princess of Wales (as she was already 
called) should always speak French with the Princess 
Margaret who is now in Spain, to learn the language 
and be able to talk it, as they (the English Queens) do 
not understand Latin and much less Spanish. The 
Princess Katharine should accustom herself to drink 
wine as the water in England is not drinkable, and 
even if it were, the climate would not allow the drink- 
ing of it." * It is refreshing to find so much human 
nature beneath the stiff brocades of these York and 
Lancaster Princesses ! 

Margaret arrived at her brother Philip's Court in 
Ghent soon after the birth of her nephew Charles V., 
of whose interests she was so devoted a guardian in 
the long minority to come. In the year 1501 she went 
bravely forth again to face the great unknown, and, 
for the sake of Imperial interests, became the bride of 
Duke Philibert le Beau of Savoy. After three years 
of married happiness, poor Margaret was once more 
left a widow, at the age of twenty-four ; the handsome 
"■ Bergenroth, Calendar of State Papers. 


Duke having been killed one day out hunting. She 
devoted herself to his memory and caused a splendid 
marble church to be built at Brou in the forest of 
Bourg-en-Bresse, with a magnificent tomb on which 
his sculptured figure rests in state. The widowed 
Duchess chose her own resting-place by his side, 
where we may still see the " queenly figure in robe 
and diadem . . . and below, her figure covered from 
head to foot by the glory of her hair " * with atten- 
dant saints around, and the motto which she chose 
herself to commemorate her many sorrows ; " Fortune, 
Infortune ! " 

But her life's work was still before this able, wise 
princess, who was appointed Governor-General of the 
Netherlands in 1507, and filled the difficult post with 
honour and credit until 15 15, when her nephew 
Charles V. took the government into his own 
hands. Henry VII. of England wooed her in vain ; 
Margaret would have no more to do with marrying ! 
She was a patroness of learned men and herself a 
lyric poet of some fame and the writer of several 
works in prose. She died in 1530, honoured and 
lamented by the realm which she had served so well. 

* Edith Sichel. 






After the death of Prince Juan, his eldest sister the 
Princess Isabella, then Queen of Portugal, was heiress 
to the crown of Castile and Aragon, and it was thought 
desirable to obtain a recognition of her rights by the 
Cortes. The King and Queen of Portugal therefore 
came to Spain in the spring of 1498, and made a kind 
of royal progress through the kingdom. The Cas- 
tilian lords and burgesses were assembled at Toledo 
to receive them and took the oaths of allegiance 
willingly, as the right of female succession was 
acknowledged without question in Castile. But in 
the kingdom of Aragon this appears to have been still 
a doubtful question, for when the royal company 
arrived at Zaragoza, and the subject was laid before 
the Cortes, they declared that the succession to the 
crown of Aragon was limited to male heirs, who might, 
however, inherit through the female line. The case 
was argued with much vehemence on both sides, and 
Isabel, who was unused to having her authority dis- 
puted, is said to have exclaimed, " It would be better 



to reduce the country by arms at once than endure 
this insolence of the Cortes." 

To this the gallant Antonio de Fonseca fearlessly 
replied, that, " the men of Aragon had only acted as 
good and loyal subjects, who,ias they kept their oaths, 
considered well before they took them." 

It is linteresting to know that the Queen bore no 
grudge to Antonio for his brave words, as he is 
specially |;mentioned in Isabel's will for true and loyal 

The question was still under discussion, when the 
hand of fate intervened by the unfortunate death of the 
princess for whom the claim was made. On August 23, 
1498, the Queen of Portugal, who had always been of 
a delicate constitution with a tendency to consumption, 
gave birth to a son at Toledo and died soon afterwards. 
Now, indeed, was the great Queen cast down from her 
high estate and overwhelmed with sorrows, she whose 
reign had been so splendid and so prosperous, far 
removed as it -would seem from the shafts of mortal 
fate. Triumphant and successful alike in peace and 
war, happy in her family, with splendid alliances made 
or in prospect for them, beloved and respected wher- 
ever her fame had reached, with the glories of a new 
world added on to her "Corona" of Castile, she 
seemed to have reached the very summit of earthly 

Isabel was smitten in her tenderest feelings ; first 
the beloved and only son, then her favourite daughter, 
who had been her dear companion throughout all 
the journeys of the Moorish war, always loving and 
gentle. The Queen made no outward show of 
lamentation, she look her part in all the duties of 



her high position, but she never rallied from the 
loss of her children, and from this time her health 
began to fail. 

The infant son of the Queen of Portugal was 
called Miguel, was carried in state through the streets 
of the city, and was solemnly acknowledged heir to 
the thrones of Aragon, Castile and Portugal. But 
the poor baby did not live to enjoy all these honours, 
and his death before he was two years old put an 
end to the chance of uniting the three kingdoms, 
and left the succession to the second daughter of 
Queen Isabel, the Princess Juana, wife of the Arch- 
duke Philip, of whom there will be much to tell 

Her next sister Maria was now sought in mar- 
riage by Emanuel King of Portugal, the widower of 
Isabel, who, in his grievous disappointment at the 
death of his heir Miguel, resolved to make another 
effort at alliance with Spain. There does not seem 
to have been any difficulty about his wooing ; a dis- 
pensation was obtained from the Pope, and Maria 
became Queen of Portugal in the year 1500. 

She appears to have enjoyed a happier life than fell 
to the fate of any of her sisters, and for this reason, 
perhaps, she is not a prominent figure in history. We 
hear of her chiefly as being the happy mother of six 
sons and two daughters : Dom Juan, who married his 
cousin Catherine, the youngest sister of Charles V. ; 
Dom Luis Duke of Bejar ; Dom Fernando Duke of 
Guarda ; Dom Eduardo Duke of Guimarens ; and two 
other sons who became cardinals. Of the daughters, 
the beautiful Isabel married her cousin the Emperor 
Charles V. and Beatrice married Charles III. Duke of 

305 V 


Savoy. She was the " divinity to whom the poet Ber- 
nardin Ribeiro addressed his poems." 

Excepting with regard to his fatal error in the 
enforced conversion or expulsion of the Jews, Dom 
Emanuel, " the Fortunate," was an energetic and 
capable ruler. He gave the warmest encourage- 
ment to discovery, and under Vasco da Gama 
completed the " work of sixty years by carrying the 
Portuguese flag round the newly-discovered southern 
Cape " of Good Hope, and thus accomplished the 
long-looked-for junction of the West with the East. It 
was in September 1499 that Vasco da Gama returned 
in triumph to Lisbon, with a rich cargo of spices 
and precious stones, the fabled vc'ealth of the Indies. 
After this success the Portuguese King renewed his 
efforts on a larger scale, and in the following years 
his armed navy took possession of Goa, Malacca, 
Hormuz on the Persian Gulf and other important 
places, till he had well-nigh secured the complete 
control of the Eastern seas. Indeed the Sultan was 
so alarmed that he sent a messenger to the Pope, 
threatening to destroy the holy places of Jerusalem, if 
this conquest of the Indies by Portugal were not 

But these vast aims and enterprises only concern us 
in so far as they add distinction and honour to the 
life of Queen Maria of Portugal, who did not live to 
see the decline in Eastern power, for she died in her 
beautiful palace at Belem in 1517, at the early age of 

After the marriage of the Infanta Maria in 1500, only 
one daughter remained at home with her mother, 
Catalina, the youngest, who was born in December 



1485, in "the castle of the rivers," Alcala de Henares. 
As we have seen, she had been betrothed almost from 
infancy to Arthur Prince of Wales, and the time was 
now drawing near for the fulfilment of the engagement. 
Her father, the most cautious of men, had delayed the 
marriage until he felt quite convinced of the security 
of King Henry VII.'s throne. He was aware that 
there had been various conspiracies and pretenders, 
chiefly encouraged by the strong-minded Margaret 
Duchess of Burgundy, the sister of Edward IV., whose 
persistent hatred gave Henry much trouble. There is 
a letter in existence which Perkin Warbeck, who signs 
himself " Richard Duke of York," wrote to Queen 
Isabel, in which he " hopes that her Majesty, who is 
not only his relative but the most just and pious of 
princes, will have pity upon him. . . ." We are glad 
to know that the Queen was wise enough to send no 
answer to this appeal. Perkin was more fortunate 
with Maximilian of Austria, for we actually find that at 
the funeral of the Emperor Frederic in 1493 he had a 
place assigned him according to his pretended rank. 
But in 1501 Henry VII. was much more strongly 
established in his relation with foreign powers, and 
Fernando was now anxious to hurry on the long- 
talked-of marriage. 

There had already been endless correspondence and 
chicanery on the subject, and the dowry had been 
settled at 200,000 crowns, as we have seen at the time 
when the betrothal took place. The letters, of which 
a number are still in existence, may be divided into 
two classes ; first those which passed between the 
sovereigns and their agent, De Puebla, always written 
in cypher, which are straightforward business letters j 



and secondly those from one royal person to another, 
which are often artificial in their conventional polite- 
ness. We may select a few. Queen Isabel mentions 
in one letter to De Puebla, who was possibly despondent 
about the result of the negotiations : " It appears that 
there is not at present any king in the world who has 
a daughter to whom he (Henry VII.) can marry his son 
except ours." 

Fernando writes to De Puebla on April 26, 1496, 
" We must not deprive the King of Scots of his hope 
of having our daughter . . . although King Henry 
is to be told that there is no daughter for the King of 

On October 5, 1499, Arthur Prince of Wales writes 
a little formal love letter in Latin to Katharine Princess 
of Wales, from Ludlow Castle. " I have read the 
sweet letters your Highness lately sent, from which I 
learn your most complete love for me. Indeed those 
letters written by your own hand have made me so 
joyful . . . that in fancy I beheld your Highness, and 
held converse with and embraced my dear wife. I 
cannot tell you what an earnest desire I have to see 
you, and the delay respecting your coming is very 
grievous to me. I pray that it may be hastened. 
Write oft and speedily." He subscribes himself : 
"Your loving spouse." 

We can imagine this to have been written from the 
dictation of his learned tutor. Then we have a letter 
written by Queen Isabel from Granada on March 23, 
1 501, expressing her desire that the expenses of her 
daughter's reception in England may be moderate. 

"We do not wish our daughter to be the cause of 
any loss to England either in money ... on the 



contrary we desire that she should be the source of all 
kinds of happiness, as we hope she will be, with the 
help of God. We therefore pray the King our brother 
to moderate the expenses . . ." 

It was on May 21, 1501, that, in the palace of 
Granada, the Infanta Catalina (henceforth called 
Katharine of Aragon) took leave of the mother whom 
she was never to see again. It had been urged by 
various ambassadors that she should have been sent 
to England earlier, before she became too much 
attached to Spanish life and institutions, and possibly 
there is something to be said for the frequent custom 
of sending a princess at a very early age to the land of 
her adoption. 

The latest historian of Spain remarks that " most of 
Katharine's mistakes in England were the natural 
result of the uncompromising rigidity of principle 
arising from the conviction of divine appointment 
which formed her mother's system. She had been 
brought up in the midst of a crusading war in which 
the victors drew their inspiration, and ascribed their 
triumph, to the special intervention of the Almighty in 
their favour ; and already Katharine's house had 
assumed as a basis of its family faith that the cause of 
God was indissolubly linked with that of the Sovereigns 
of Castile and Leon. It was impossible that a woman 
brought up in such a school should be an opportunist, 
or would bend to the petty subterfuges and small 
complaisances by which men are successfully managed ; 
and Katharine suffered through life from the inflexi- 
bility born of self-conscious rectitude." * 

We can picture to ourselves the last sigh of regret 
* Martin Hume. 


and longing with which the young girl at the impres- 
sionable age of fifteen, would look back upon the 
lovely towers of the Alhambra, before she set forth on 
her long journey through the sunny meadows of 
Andalusia and the desolate plains of La Mancha and 
arid Castile. She had left her mother the Queen 
weak with fever and overcome with grief at the parting. 

It was two months before Katharine reached the 
seaport of Coruna on the coast of Galicia. " There 
went with her the Conde de Cabra, and the countess 
his wife, the Commander-mayor Cardenas and Donna 
Elvira Manuel, chief lady of honour, and three bishops. 
The Princess Infanta had likewise four young ladies 
as attendants." * From other sources we learn that 
she had been promised permission to take with her a 
suite of one hundred and fifty persons, who were to 
remain in England. Amongst those who actually went 
with her ten ladies of good family are mentioned — 
Henry VII. had specially asked that they might be 
beautiful — there were slaves to attend upon the ladies 
of honour, also a cup-bearer, a cook, a baker, a purser, 
a sweeper . . . and others. 

The royal party set sail from Coruna on August 17, 
but the weather was very stormy, and contrary winds 
drove them back to the little port of Laredo in a 
terrible thunder-storm ("vendabal") on September 12. 
The heat was also very great and the poor Princess 
was suffering from a low fever, but she had to embark 
again on Monday the 29th, when a perfect hurricane 
arose, a south wind (" viento de abajo ") and the vessel 
was nearly wrecked. It was the Vera Cruz, of 300 tons, 
the "best ship they had," and after a fair passage it 
* Bernaldez. 


entered Plymouth harbour on October 2. Directly 
on leaving the ship the Spanish Princess went to hear 
Mass. She met with a very warm reception in the town, 
for the alliance was most popular amongst the people ; 
indeed we may remember that throughout the changing 
fortunes of her life, " all England loved her to the 
end," In the midst of a drenching rain Katharine 
rode across the Hampshire Downs, and at Dogmers- 
field, King Henry insisted upon an interview with her 
that night, somewhat against the etiquette of Castile. 
They could not really understand each other, although 
" there were the most goodly words uttered to each 
other in the language of both parties," but when 
Prince Arthur arrived "through the interpretation of 
the bishops, the speeches of both countries, by the 
means of Latin, were understood." 

It was not until November 12 that the Infanta made 
her formal entry into the City of London, where great 
pageants were prepared to receive her, and we can 
only wonder what she thought of the place and 
climate after the sunny courts of the Alhambra. We 
have a striking account of her appearance on this 
occasion. She rode on a large mule, with the hand- 
some boy Henry Duke of York on her right hand 
and the Legate of Rome on her left. Her pale 
statuesque features were set off by a broad round hat, 
like a cardinal's, tied on with a lace of gold, a coif of 
carnation colour under the hat, and her hair, of a 
ruddy auburn, streamed down her back. Donna 
Elvira rode near her, in nun-like black garments. 
Her ladies and the procession followed. 

The wedding took place in St. Paul's two days 
later ; and the bride wore on her head a " coif of 



white silk, with a scarf bordered with gold and pearl 
and precious stones, five inches broad, which veiled 
great part of her face and person. . . . Her gown was 
very large, both the sleeves and also the body, with 
many plaits ; and beneath the waist certain round 
hoops, bearing out the gown from the body, after 
their country manner." In fact, this was the intro- 
duction of the farthingale ! 

At the time of their marriage Prince Arthur was 
fifteen and one month, while Katharine was ten months 
older. Various festivities, entertainments, dances and 
pageants followed ; Lord Bacon tells us that " the 
lady was resembled to Hesperus and the prince to 
Arcturus . . . while King Arthur the Briton, and the 
descent of the Lady Katharine from the house of 
Lancaster, was in no wise forgotten. But, as it should 
seem, it is not good to fetch fortunes from the stars ; 
for this young prince, that drew upon him at that 
time, not only the hope and affections of his country, 
but the eyes and expectations of foreigners, after a 
few months, in the beginning of April, deceased at 
Ludlow Castle, where he was sent to keep his residence 
and Court as Prince of Wales."* 

Yes, this was indeed the next stroke of misfortune 

which befell the unfortunate children of Isabel the 

Catholic. First, young Prince Affonso of Portugal, 

who married the Infanta Isabel, then this Princess 

herself and her infant son ; then Prince Juan, the heir 

of Spain ; and now the boy bridegroom of Katharine — 

for them all the " boast of heraldry, the pomp of 

power," had led but to the grave. We could scarcely 

wonder if, by an alien race, in the far-off land of their 

* " Life of Henry VII." 

Anderson, phot. 

In the Uffizi G:iUery, Florence 



exile, the ominous words were whispered : " The curse 
of the Jews." 

" Prince Arthur died of the plague a little while after 
his nuptials, being in the principality of Wales, in a 
place they call 'Pudro' (Ludlow). In this house was 
Donna Catalina left a widow when she had been 
married scarcely six months." * 

We can scarcely imagine any position more desolate 
than that of the widowed Katharine, still a mere child, 
thus left forlorn in a strange land, of which she could 
not even speak the language. Queen Elizabeth of York, 
in the midst of her own distress at the loss of her son, 
was kind to the poor girl, and sent a " hearse-like black 
litter, borne between two horses," to fetch her to Croy- 
don Palace. But the Queen of Henry VII. only lived 
until the following February, when she gave birth to a 
child and closed her brief eventful life of thirty-seven 
years. We can hardly believe that the same letter 
which brought news to Spain of Queen Elizabeth's 
death actually insinuated that " King Henry wa,s not 
disinclined to marry the Princess Katharine," which 
De Puebla must, of course, have written by special 

The answer of Queen Isabel, written to Ferdinand 
Duke of Estrada, the Spanish Ambassador in England, 
rings out with no uncertain note, for she was horrified 
at the wickedness of the suggestion. The whole 
despatch is written in two keys of cypher, and is dated 
" Alcala de Henares, April 12th, 1503." 

" The Dr. has written to us concerning the marriage 
of the King of England with the Princess of Wales, 
* Bernaldez. 


our daughter, saying that it is spoken of in England. 
But as this would be an evil thing, one never before 
seen, and the mere mention of which offends the ears, 
we would not for anything in the world that it should 
take place." . . . Signed, " Y la Reyna." 

Isabel would gladly have sent for her daughter to 
return home at once, but there were serious difficulties 
in the way. Of the marriage portion only half had 
been paid to King Henry, but he strongly desired to 
have the remainder, and was most unwilling to pay 
back any of it. He therefore suggested that the Prin- 
cess should marry his second son Henry, born on June 
28, 1491 ; and to this the Spanish sovereigns finally 
agreed, on condition of a dispensation being obtained 
from the Pope; "there being nothing to hinder such 
marriage." Poor Katharine was very unhappy at 
this time, and hungered for her home and her own 
people. She wrote to her father that " she had no 
desire for a second marriage in England," but added 
dutifully that she would act in all things as suited 
him best. 

Fernando was quite determined to carry out the 
alliance with England, as politically it was of great 
importance for the furtherance of his ambitious 
designs in Europe. Moreover, Katharine was of great 
use to him in England as an accredited diplomatic 
agent whom he could thoroughly trust ; and we find 
that her letters to him were not only of private interest 
but were really official documents. When she became 
familiar with the language of her adopted country, she 
soon had a very clear insight into all that was going on, 
and she expresses her views in a somewhat heavy but 



lucid and decided style. The want of money, placed 
as she was between two misers, her father and her 
father-in-law, was a great distress to her at this time. 
She writes a pitiful letter to Fernando : "Your High- 
ness shall know, as I have often written to you, that 
since I came to London I have not had a single 
'maravedi,' except a certain sum which^was given me 
for food . . . which did not suffice without having 
many debts in London, and that which troubles me 
more is to see my servants and maidens so at a loss 
that they have not wherewithal to get clothes. . . ." 

Fernando and Isabel write earnest letters praying 
Katharine not to borrow money ; she is told to accept 
anything she can obtain from Henry VII., and urged 
to take care of her jewels and plate. There is constant 
discussion as to whether these are to form part of her 
dowry, and meantime the Princess is almost destitute, 
and complains bitterly that she has no clothes to wear 
and no money for the maintenance of her household. 
A treaty of marriage between the young Henry, who 
is only twelve years old, and the girl of seventeen 
is signed in June 1503, but there is much delay in 
obtaining the dispensation, as two Popes had died in 
one year, and Julius II. thought it necessary to make 
special inquiry into the case. Henry VII. felt himself 
in a position to make his own terms with the King of 
Spain, since the marriage of his daughter Margaret to 
James IV. of Scotland in 1502, although the success 
of the Spanish army in Italy made him unwilling to 
come to an open dispute with him. Meantime, in the 
midst of her own personal troubles, the Spanish 
Princess was receiving sad news from home of the 
health of her mother, who was very anxious and 



unhappy with regard to her youngest daughter's unsatis- 
factory position in England. Indeed, so greatly was 
she troubled, that a Papal brief legalising the marriage 
of Katharine with Prince Henry was procured ante- 
dated, and brought to her death-bed to give her final 
satisfaction on the subject. 

When the news of the great Queen's death in 
November 1504 reached the Princess Katharine, she 
was ill with ague, in debt and destitution ; and now 
this great sorrow had fallen upon her, the irreparable 
loss of the one dear friend of her young life, which 
left her lonely indeed. 

We are all familiar with the changeful fortunes 
which befell her in the coming years ; her marriage 
with the young King of England, Henry VIII., imme- 
diately after his father's death in June 1509 ; her stately 
life as Queen of England, the troubles and sorrows 
which overwhelmed her later years, the austere 
courage and dignity with which they were borne, and 
the pathetic end of all her greatness — so dearly bought. 
"The Queen of Earthly Queens," as Shakespeare calls 
her in that splendid eulogy which he puts into the 
mouth of King Henry VIII. in the great trial-scene. 

In this history we are only concerned with Katharine 
as the daughter of Isabel of Castile, and must now 
turn once more to the events which touch upon the 
closing years of the Great Queen of Spain. 




We must return to the history of King Fernando's 
ambitious schemes in Italy, at the point where 
we left off, after the death of Charles VIII. of 
France, and the homecoming of the Great Captain 
at the close of the first Calabrian campaign in August 

After the accession of Louis XII. there was a brief 
interval of peace which was spent in diplomacy and 
preparing for war. A treaty was concluded between 
France and Spain in July 1498 ; the Archduke Philip 
was won by concessions in Artois, the Swiss by the 
payment of money, Venice by the bribe of Cremona 
and land east of the Alda, and Pope Alexander VI. 
by rich gifts to Caesar Borgia. Louis XII. had so 
managed his finances as to have money to spare on 
his army, which was immensely improved in every 
branch — cavalry, infantry, and especially the artillery. 
The chief command was given to Trivulzio, and 
the French troops reached Asti on August 10, 1499. 
Annone, Valenza and Tortona were taken, and when 
Alessandria also fell into their hands the war was 



practically at an end. Ludovico escaped from Milan 
with his treasure, and the citadel was sold to the 
French, after which they took possession of the 
whole duchy. 

Trivulzio was left in command of the city, but he 
made himself so unpopular to the people of Milan 
that they took up arms for Ludovico, who brought a 
mixed force of 20,000 men from the Tyrol with the 
help of Maximilian. In February the Duke entered 
Milan in triumph, amid cries of " Moro ! Moro ! " 
but his success was of short duration, for in 
April he was defeated and taken prisoner, sent to 
France and died at Loches in the year 1508. With 
Milan in his possession Louis was resolved to conquer 
Naples, but Fernando of Aragon was a dangerous 
rival, and a secret treaty was signed at Granada, 
November 1500, by which these two conspirators 
arranged for a joint conquest and division of the 
kingdom of Naples. 

Federigo King of Naples had most unwisely asked 
for help from the Turkish Sultan Bajazid when his own 
kindred and neighbours failed him ; but this desperate 
step only gave Fernando an opportunity of posing as 
the Champion of Christendom. The Great Captain, 
Gonzalvo, with all the noblest chivalry of Spain, set 
out on his expedition against the Turks, and after 
some delay in Sicily joined the Venetian fleet and 
attacked the citadel of St. George in Cephalonia, 
which had lately been taken from V^enice. Standing 
high on a rock, and defended by a splendid garrison, 
the place was considered impregnable ; indeed, the 
siege lasted two months, and the fortifications were 
only taken after a fierce contest, when the banners of 



Santiago and St. Marco were planted side by side on 
the towers. 

This was the first check given to the victorious 
Turks, and the King of Aragon gained throughout 
Europe the proud fame of Defender of the Faith. 
Gonzalvo received from grateful Venice splendid 
presents which, with his usual generosity, he dis- 
tributed amongst his soldiers, and his name was also 
enrolled in the Golden Book as a nobleman of 

After this victory and a truce concluded later 
between the Porte and most of the European states, 
the Christian world had rest from the Eastern ques- 
tion for nearly twenty years. " There was incessant 
fear of what the Turk might do next, incessant talk 
of resisting him, incessant negotiations against him ; 
but there was no actual war. . . . The attention of 
the Sultan was drawn eastward, where he had to 
reckon with a new power," * that of Persia. 

Meantime the French army, under the command 
the Sire d'Aubigny, crossed the Alps, and at the same 
time a powerful fleet left Genoa for Naples, under 
Admiral Ravenstein. Federigo knew nothing of the 
secret compact between France and Spain, and 
expected Gonzalvo, who was in Sicily, to come to his 
help ; the first news reached him from Rome, in the 
form of a Bull issued by Pope Alexander VI., deposing 
King Federigo from the throne of Naples for his 
treachery to the Christian cause in seeking help from 
the Turk and dividing the kingdom of Naples between 
the Kings of France and Aragon. This unlooked-for 
blow overwhelmed the unfortunate Federigo, who 
* J. B. Bury, LL.D. 


hastily collected his troops and advanced to St. 
Germano, but he was compelled to retreat before the 
superior force of the French and take refuge in his 
capital. The invaders next marched on Capua, which 
they seized while terms of surrender were being dis- 
cussed, and treated the defenceless inhabitants with 
unexampled cruelty and outrage. This occurred on 
July 7, 1501, and Italy never forgave the French for 
their treachery and barbarity. The King of Naples, in 
despair at being powerless to protect his people, made 
no further resistance, gave up his city and retired 
to Ischia, where he was induced to accept a safe con- 
duct to France. Louis received him with all honour, 
bestowing on him the duchy of Anjou with a rich 
endowment, and this gentle and accomplished prince 
spent his few remaining years in peaceful seclusion. 

In the partition of the spoils, the provinces of Apulia 
and Calabria had been allotted to Spain ; and the 
Great Captain, with his disciplined troops, his know- 
ledge of the country, and the important fortresses 
which Fernando already held, found no great difficulty 
in occupying the whole of the two Calabrias in less 
than a month, with the exception of the important city 
of Taranto. It occupied the site of the ancient citadel 
which withstood Hannibal in days of old, and was a 
position of great natural strength, being only connected 
by the main land by two bridges commanded by for- 
midable towers ; having the sea on one side, and the 
Mare Piccolo, or inland sea, about twelve miles in 
circumference, on the other. With infinite labour 
Gonzalvo succeeded in blockading the port, while he 
threw up embankments on the land side to cut off 
communication with the country. 



During the long, weary siege, an incident occurred 
which shows the chivalric nature of the Great Captain. 
The French fleet had failed in an attack on Mitylene, 
and had been partly destroyed in a tempest ; while 
Ravenstein, whose own ship was wrecked, found his 
way in a destitute condition to the shore of Calabria. 
Gonzalvo, with princely generosity, at once supplied 
abundant provisions, sent his own service of plate, 
apparel, and all that the French admiral and his fol- 
lowers could require. This munificence was not 
approved of by his own soldiers, and provoked a 
mutiny, which only the leader's fearless courage was 
able to check. Seeing the danger of this tedious siege, 
Gonzalvo resolved upon a bold plan, of which he may 
have taken the idea from a strategem of Hannibal's. 
He contrived means of transporting about twenty of 
his smaller vessels across the narrow isthmus from the 
outer bay into the Mare Piccolo, where no defence 
had been thought necessary. The commander, in 
whose care King Federigo had placed his eldest son 
Ferrante, seeing no hope of holding out now, came to 
terms, in which the safety and freedom of the young 
Duke of Calabria was the first condition. This 
Gonzalvo promised on oath, and on March i, 1502, he 
took possession of the city of Taranto. But it will ever 
remain a blot upon the fair fame of the Great Captain, 
that he suffered King Fernando to break this promise : 
and Ferrante, a lad of fourteen, was taken prisoner to 

The treaty between France and Spain being itself a 
breach of faith, we cannot be surprised if they fell out 
over the division of their spoils. It had been settled 
that Spain should have Calabria and Apulia, and France 

^21 X 


the Terra di Lavoro, the Abruzzi, Naples and Gaeta ; 
but no mention had been made of the considerable 
province on the northern coast, Capitanata, between 
the Abruzzi and Apulia; nor of the Basilicata, lying 
between Apulia and Calabria ; nor of the two Princi- 
pati, the Ultra, and the Citra. It was the custom for 
the shepherds to drive their flocks to the mountain 
pastures of the Southern Apennines and the Abruzzi, 
after they had wintered in Apulia and the Capitanata, 
and a toll was exacted from them on the way for the 
King of Sicily. The treaty of Granada had settled 
that this " dogana " should be divided between France 
and Spain, with the result that both countries claimed 
the disputed provinces. After constant quarrels war 
at length broke out, and the Spaniards were driven 
back to Barletta on the northern coast. But the French 
delayed, and missed their opportunity ; while the Great 
Captain received reinforcements, and, after various 
other expeditions to Ruvo and elsewhere, he retook 
Cerignola, an ancient city on rising ground, well forti- 
fied and commanding the surrounding country. He 
placed his army and artillery in a favourable position, 
and here the Due de Nemours decided to attack him, 
the battle beginning not long before sunset. Never 
was there a more complete defeat, for in little more 
than an hour the French army was utterly routed, with 
a loss of more than three thousand of their number, 
amongst whom was Nemours himself. This famous 
engagement, which decided the campaign, was fought 
on April 28, 1503. Gonzalvo entered Naples in triumph 
a few weeks later, and although Gaeta and Venosa held 
out for France, before the end of the year the whole 
kingdom of Naples had become a Spanish province. 



Louis XII. was not one patiently to endure defeat. 
He raised three large armies — one to recover Naples, 
another to attack the Spanish frontier of Navarre, and 
the third to cross into Roussillon and seize the key of 
the mountain passes. The Italian expedition, under 
the Marechal de la Tremouille, set forth with the 
highest hopes and confidence, but on reaching Parma 
was checked by news of the death of Pope Alexander 
VI. on August i8, 1503. It now became extremely 
important to control, if possible, the election of his 
successor, and the French moved on to Nepi, while 
Gonzalvo kept watch at Castiglione. The result of this 
was that a compromise was made, and the conclave 
elected Pius III. (Francesco Piccolomini, Cardinal of 
Siena), of whom the General of the Camoldolese wrote : 
" God be thanked that the government of the Church 
has been entrusted to such a man, who is so manifestly 
a storehouse of all virtues. ..." Queen Isabel appears 
to have been of the same opinion, for she caused " Te 
Deum" to be sung in all the churches of Spain. 

But, alas ! for the peace of Europe ! This good 
prelate only enjoyed his dignities for one brief month, 
and was succeeded by the great fighting Pope, 
Julius II., "who made his tiara a helmet and his 
crosier a sword." In consequence of the illness of 
La Tremouille, the French army and the levies from 
Northern Italy were now commanded by the Marquis 
of Mantua, who found himself opposed and beaten 
back at every pomt by the Great Captain, whose mar- 
vellous genius and magnetic influence over his men 
seemed to make them invincible, in spite of being half- 
fed, without pay, and in the midst of a hostile and 
desolated country. At length the two armies came to 



a stand on either bank of the Garigliano, one of the 
most important rivers of Southern Italy, which falls 
into the Gulf of Gaeta. It was the ancient Liris, of 
which Horace writes : 

" Non rura, quae Liris quieta 
Mordet aqua, taciturnus amnis." ^'■ 

The French had possession of the right bank of 
the river close to the rising ground, and had therefore 
a more favourable position than the marshy swamp 
on the lower side in which the Spanish forces remained 
encamped for fifty days, watched by the whole of Italy, 
which awaited the next move in anxiety and suspense. 
It was a fearful time, in the dead of winter, with 
excessive rains which had begun earlier than usual, 
and the soldiers in both camps were driven to the 
last verge of endurance, while numbers sickened and 
died. In vain was Gonzalvo implored to move back 
to Capua ; he only made reply : " I would sooner 
march forward two steps, though to my death, than 
fall back one to gain a hundred years." Various minor 
incidents occurred ; the Marquis of Mantua was in- 
solently abused by the French and threw up his com- 
mand, whereupon many Italians took the opportunity 
of deserting ; several French leaders retreated from 
the unhealthy bank of the river to neighbouring towns, 
while as a feat of chivalry we are told that the ** preux 
chevalier " Bayard held the bridge thrown across the 
Garigliano, against two hundred Spaniards for more 
than an hour. 

Christmas came at length, and the Great Captain, 
taking advantage of a more careless watch at that time 

* Horace, Od. i., 31. 


of festivity, carried out the bold plan which he had 
been long in maturing. He caused a bridge to be 
thrown across the river at Suzio a village four miles 
higher up, and on the dark and stormy night of 
December 28, the vanguard of the army crossed with 
such secrecy that they came unawares upon the sleep- 
ing garrison, and before the alarm had reached the 
French camp, the whole of the Spanish troops had 
crossed the river with the exception of the rearguard, 
which was left to force a passage later at the lower 
bridge. The chivalry of France, Bayard, Sandricourt 
and others, made a gallant fight at every bridge and 
narrow pass, but they were terribly hampered by the 
disabled carriages of the artillery, which blocked up 
the way, and at length, after a fierce fight of two hours, 
when the Spanish rearguard had collected the scattered 
boats and pushed across the lower bridge, the defeat 
of the French turned into a rout. The fugitives were 
pursued by the victorious army, but some reached 
Gaeta, and for days afterwards others in wretched 
plight sought shelter in neighbouring towns. 

The French left all their baggage, their standards and 
their artillery, on the fatal field where three to four 
thousand of their bravest men lay slain, and the 
garrison of Gaeta soon capitulated, January 3, 1504. 
Thus Gonzalvo held undisputed rule over the kingdom 
of Naples ; and Louis XII. was defeated at every 

As for his second army, sent by way of Fuentarrabia, 
it never reached its destination, for it was led by the 
Sire d'Albret, the father of the King of Navarre, who was 
most unwilling to oppose Spain, and whose daughter 
Margaret was then at the Court of Isabel, as a pledge 



of his friendship. In pursuance of his son's negative 
policy, the Sire d'Albret kept his men so long amongst 
the rugged, desolate mountain passes, that from famine 
or other causes the force gradually melted away. 

The attack on Roussillon was far more serious, as 
this army, consisting of more than 20,000 men, entered 
Spanish territory and encamped before the strong 
Castle of Salsas, near Perpignan, while a strong fleet 
was equipped at Marseilles to make an attack on the 
Spanish coast., Fernando lost no time in raising 
levies from every part of the kingdom, to combine 
with the forces of Aragon, and set forth at once for 
Perpignan, while the Queen, who at the time was at 
Segovia in ill-health, passed her days in prayer and 
fasting, and public petitions were put up for Divine 
help against the foreign invasion. But in the end it 
came to nothing, for on the arrival of King Fernando, 
the French Marshal considered discretion to be the 
better part of valour, and retreated to Narbonne with- 
out awaiting an engagement. 

Thus the fortune of war was against Louis XII. in 
all his three expeditions, and he was glad to make 
peace with Spain on any terms. 

While Fernando tasted the joys of satisfied ambition 
in the conquest of Naples and the fame of his Great 
Captain, dark shadows had been gathering around the 
realm of Castile, and Isabel, ever full of keen sympathy 
with her people, had many troubles awaiting her. For, 
as we have seen, the King and Queen were in the 
position of allied sovereigns ; the New World and the 
fair land conquered from the Moors belonged to 
Castile — while the acquisitions to the North of the 
Pyrenees, the islands of the Mediterranean and all 



domains in Italy, were looked upon as fiefs of 

After the fall of Granada, the conquered city had 
dwelt at peace for almost eight years under the wise 
rule of the Count of Tendilla and the Archbishop of 
the See, Fernando Talavera, who learnt Arabic that 
he might be in touch with the Moors. The terms 
granted to the people had been adhered to, and they 
were ruled by their ancient laws and lived in the 
faith of their ancestors. The Archbishop devoted 
himself to their conversion by mild and patient 
persuasion, with a very fair measure of success. But 
unfortunately this did not appeal to more fanatical 
natures, and Jimenez de Cisneros, who through the 
influence of Cardinal Mendoza had succeeded Tala- 
vera as Confessor to the Queen, was fiercely eager to 
obtain greater results. He was with the Court in 
Granada during the autumn of 1499, and obtained 
permission to remain in the city and help in the work 
of conversion. 

Jimenez was a Franciscan friar of the most rigid 
austerity of life, full of the sternest bigotry and crusad- 
ing zeal and passionately in earnest to compass the 
salvation of the Moors at any price. He began by 
calling together the "alfaquis" or Moslem doctors, 
to whom he preached with so much vehemence, giving 
costly bribes at the same time, that many were per- 
suaded to be baptized. It is said that so many con- 
verts followed this example that : " In one day no less 
than 3000 persons received baptism at the hands of 
the Primate, who sprinkled them with the hyssop of 
collective regeneration." * But these crowds of prose- 
"■ Sir W. Stirling Maxwell. 


lytes did not continue, and Jimenez adopted more 
stringent measures. He resolved not only to clear 
the land of heretics but to exterminate as far as he 
could their language and the books of their religion, 
causing all the manuscripts of the Koran and other 
works to be publicly burnt by thousands, though he 
reserved several hundred works on medical science 
for his University of Alcala. He tried to compel the 
people to conversion by the harshest means, until a 
fierce revolt broke out amongst the Moors, and it was 
only quelled by the personal influence of the beloved 
Talavera, when the fanatic Franciscan had narrowly 
escaped the martyrdom which he gladly awaited. So 
absolutely convinced was he of his own Divine 
mission, that when recalled by the Queen, and taken 
to task, he succeeded in impressing his own convictions 
upon her. The unfortunate Moors were deprived of 
the rights guaranteed to them, and were given the 
choice of baptism or exile. Many yielded through 
fear, but thousands left their native land for Barbary 
and Morocco. From this time the Spanish Arabs bore 
the name of Moriscoes. 

But if the city of Granada was driven to outward 
submission, it was far otherwise with the hardy moun- 
taineers of the Alpujarras. " This range of maritime 
Alps, which stretches to the distance of seventeen 
leagues in a south-easterly direction from the Moorish 
capital, sending out its sierras like so many broad arms 
towards the Mediterranean, was thickly sprinkled with 
Moorish villages, cresting the bald summits of the 
mountains, or chequering the green slopes and valleys 
which lay between them."* 

■•= Prescott. 


The brave hill people revolted, seizing the fortresses 
and mountain passes, and making forays as of old in 
the land of the Christians. Early in the spring of 1500 
a powerful army was sent against them, and one after 
another each hill town was stormed and the garrison 
put to the sword, while peaceful inhabitants were 
offered the bitter choice of exile or baptism. 

When this rebellion had been quelled, another more 
serious rising took place in the rugged sierras about 
the neighbourhood of Ronda, and Alonso de Aguilar, 
elder brother of the Great Captain, was one of the 
commanders sent to subdue it. The centre of the revolt 
was in the Sierra Bermeja, or Red Sierra, thus named 
from its colour, and hither came the Christian cavalry 
in pursuit of the retreating Moors, until they found 
themselves in a valley surrounded by rocks, where the 
mountaineers had brought their families and treasures 
for security. Possibly the enemy had been decoyed 
here ; in any case, while the men were scattered about 
in search of plunder the night closed in, and they found 
themselves attacked on every side by the Moors, to 
whom every inch of the ground was familiar. A sudden 
flash of light revealed the position, and, overcome with 
panic, the soldiers fled. But the brave knight, Alonso 
de Aguilar, refused to retreat, and fought bravely to 
the last, being the fifth of his gallant race who fell 
fighting the infidel. 

This was called the battle of Rio Verde, and the 
terrible loss of that night was long remembered ; 
amongst those who fell was the famous engineer, 
Francisco Ramirez de Madrid. This was in March 
1 501, and the rebels had to pay dearly for their suc- 
cess. King Fernando himself headed the expedition 



against them, and took possession of the key to the 
passes, the fortress of Lanjaron, while the Count of 
Tendilla took Guejar by storm, and a mosque was 
blown up in which a number of helpless women and 
children had taken refuge. Of the vanquished moun- 
taineers, thousands forsook their country rather than 
give up their faith, and made their way to Egypt, 
Morocco and Turkey. Thus ended the great revolt in 
the Alpuj arras, of which the story long lived in the 
ballads of the people. 

Some historians urge that " the harsh treatment of 
the Saracens seemed justified by fear of their numbers 
and of their intrigues with the African corsairs." But 
the policy of expulsion was a blot on civilisation, and 
well nigh brought ruin and disaster on the fertile land 
which the Moors had cultivated with success for so 
many centuries. 




Amidst the sorrows which gathered round the closing 
years of Queen Isabel, perhaps the most bitter was that 
which came to her from her own daughter. We have 
already followed the story of Fernando's ambitious 
schemes of alliance, and their success in the double 
marriage of his son Juan and his daughter Juana with 
the children of the Emperor Maximilian. After the 
death of Prince Juan the only son, Princess Isabel the 
eldest daughter and her infant son, the next heir to 
the Spanish sovereigns was their second daughter 
Juana, married to the Archduke Philip, Duke of 
Burgundy, Count of Flanders, and heir to the empire. 
The marriage had not been a happy one from the 
first .• Juana never appears in a very attractive light, 
for she was wilful and obstinate and could not control 
her passionate jealousy, for which her husband cer- 
tainly gave her good cause. Strange rumours had 
reached the Spanish Court that Juana did not main- 
tain the strict orthodoxy to which she was accustomed 
in her home ; the Bible had been translated and printed 
in Flanders, where a keen interest was taken in theo- 



logical study and speculation. Isabel became uneasy 
about her daughter, and wrote offering to send her a 
confessor, but received no reply, for J nana never 
answered letters. 

Fray Andreas, who had been her tutor, proposed to 
leave his convent and go to her in Flanders, in spite of 
his great age, but this suggestion only alarmed the 
Princess, and a message appears to have been sent 
that she would have no confessor from Spain ! Did 
her parents consider her a heretic ? Philip was con- 
sidered by the Dominicans to be unsound in his views, 
and they looked with dismay at the prospect of his 
succession in Spain. 

The first child born to J nana was a daughter, but on 
February 24, 1500, in the palace of Ghent, she gave 
birth to a son, known to history as the Emperor 
Charles V. On the death of his infant cousin Miguel 
soon after, he became heir to the Spanish kingdom as 
well as the vast domains of his father and his grand- 
father Maximilian. On hearing of the birth of Charles, 
Queen Isabel had remarked, " Sors cecidit super 
Mathiam,"* and she always believed that he would 
inherit Spain. An urgent summons was sent to Philip 
and Juana that they should visit Castile and Aragon 
and receive from the Cortes the usual oaths of 

But the Archduke did not expect much pleasure 
from this expedition, and delayed as long as possible. 
It was not until September 15, 1501, some time 
after the birth of a second daughter, that he and 
Juana started on their journey, of which Antoine 
de Lailand gives a very full account in his chronicle. 
■•' February 24 being the Feast of St, Matthias. 


They passed through the provinces of Brabant 
and Hainault, resting at Mons and Cambrai, and 
passing into France at St. Quentin, where they had 
a great reception. At Compiegne they were welcomed 
in the castle built by Philip's grandfather Charles the 
Bold, and travelled on the next day through thick 
forests. At St. Denis they were received by the Abbot, 
and on November 25 entered Paris in state, and were 
entertained by the civic authorities. But it was not 
before December 7 that they met the King and Queen 
of France, who were holding their Court at Blois, and 
here endless entertainments were prepared for them. 
It so happened that Spain and France were allies at 
this time, having divided between them the kingdom of 
Naples, whose unfortunate King, Federigo, was then the 
guest of Louis XII. We hear of Philip being on the 
most friendly terms with the King, playing the jeu de 
paunie, hunting and hawking with him, and before the 
two diplomatists parted the "Treaty of Trient " had 
been confirmed between them, and the Archduke's 
son Charles had been betrothed to the infant Princess 
Claude of France. 

Louis XII. rode with his favoured guests as far as 
Amboise on their way south, and then they continued 
their journey to Navarre, where they arrived in bitterly 
cold weather, in January, and were received by Jean 
dAlbret, the King. From thence they travelled on 
to Bayonne through heavy snowstorms. Here their 
baggage had to be packed on to Biscayen mules to 
cross the mountain district, where the snow lay deep 
as they reached Vitoria, and passed on into Castile. 
At Burgos, Philip and Juana were entertained by the 
Constable of Castile, and rested eleven days before 



continuing their journey to Valladolid, Medina del 
Campo and Segovia ; it being everywhere Hke a royal 
progress, with the most enthusiastic welcome from 
the people. They reached Madrid on March 25, just 
six months since they had started from Ghent ; for 
a journey in those days was a very serious matter. 
There was still further delay, as Philip had an attack 
of measles, and it was not until May 7 that Juana and 
her husband at length met Queen Isabel at Toledo, 
Fernando having joined their procession outside the 
city gates. 

Their meeting was overshadowed by the sad news 
which reached them next day of the death of Arthur 
Prince of Wales, the boy husband of Juana's youngest 
sister Katharine, and a solemn Mass for the repose of 
his soul was sung in the splendid church of San Juan 
de los Reyes. All the festivities arranged in honour of 
Philip and Juana had to be put off, as the Court went 
into the deepest mourning for nine days. After this, 
the Cortes were convoked at Toledo, and the oaths of 
allegiance were taken to the new Princes of Castile. 
The Archduke and his Flemish suite soon began to 
find life very dull, and their efforts to obtain amuse- 
ment did not create at all a good impression upon the 
Spanish sovereigns. He made no attempt to hide his 
indifference to his wife and gave the heat as an excuse 
for leaving Toledo in the summer. When Philip and 
Juana had to set out for Aragon together at the end of 
August, we find him writing, "'Thank God I have left 
Toledo and am on my way to Zaragoza, where we 
hope to be admitted to the sovereignty of Aragon and 
its lands. That done, we will not cease till we get our 
conge to return from thence to Flanders." 



The Archduke and his wife made a triumphal 
journey across northern Spain, and when they reached 
Zaragoza they found that Fernando had so well 
prepared the way that, for the first time in the history 
of Aragon, the Cortes swore allegiance to a future 
" Queen proprietor," and Philip as her husband, and 
homage was paid to them before the steps of the 
high altar in the cathedral. 

As soon as this was accomplished, Philip announced 
his intention of returning home at once through France, 
and it was in vain that Fernando pointed out to him the 
danger of doing so, as now Spain and France were 
at open war. Juana was in delicate health, but he 
was quite willing to leave her behind, and in December 
he set out on his journey with the whole of his Flemish 
retinue. He had persuaded his father-in-law to let him 
enter into negotiations for peace with Louis XII., but 
his powers were very limited, and he had the strictest 
instructions. His wife was in despair at being left 
behind, " laquele menoit grand dueil du partement de 
monsieur son mary," but he would listen to no 
entreaties. He found the King of France holding his 
splendid Court at Lyons, and was received with the 
utmost cordiality ; he took very little notice of the 
orders which Fernando had given him, and signed a 
treaty on April 5, 1502, which again ratified the 
betrothal of little Charles and Claude, and settled that 
they were to have the title of Duke and Duchess of 
Calabria, that all places unlawfully taken in the king- 
dom of Naples were to be given up, and that with 
regard to the disputed province of the Capitanata, the 
French half should be governed by an agent of Louis, 
and the Spanish half by the Archduke Philip. We may 



add that these terms were at once repudiated by 
Fernando, and the Great Captain continued his con- 
quests in utter disregard of them. 

Meanwhile the unfortunate Juana remained with her 
mother in a condition of the deepest gloom and 
depression varied by petulant outbreaks of temper, 
for already the dark shadow of mental disease was 
upon her. In March 1503, at the old palace of 
Alcala de Henares, her second son Fernando was born, 
and in honour of this event. Cardinal Jimenez obtained 
from the Queen an exemption from taxes for the city, 
afterwards so famous for his great university. From 
this time the Archduchess set her heart passionately 
on returning to the husband, and Peter Martyr tells 
us that " she raged like a lioness at being kept in 
Spain." But she was certainly not in a fit state for the 
long, wearisome journey, for now, open war being 
declared with France, she would have had to face 
the stormy sea passage by the Bay of Biscay and 
through the Channel to any of the ports of Flanders. 
Juana had moved with the Court to Medina delGampo, 
where the Castello de la Mota was a favourite residence 
of Queen Isabel, whose childhood had been spent 
at Madrigal and Arevalo, in the neighbourhood. 

Here a terrible fit of frenzy betrayed the sad 
mental condition of the Princess to the world. 
Taking advantage of her mother's absence at Segovia, 
Juana escaped from her apartments in the castle one 
wild November evening, and hurried only half dressed 
to the city gate. It was closed against her, and the 
Bishop of Burgos was sent for in haste that he 
might induce her to return home. But she abso- 
lutely refused to listen to him, and imperiously 


II ■. A- Mansel! & Co. 



commanded the guard to open the gate, threatening 
and imploring by turns while she clung to the iron 
bars in frenzied despair. An express was forwarded 
to the Queen with the pitiful tidings, and she imme- 
diately sent Admiral Henri e|uez and the Archbishop 
of Toledo to use their utmost endeavours to detain 
the Archduchess "as gently and as graciously as 
possible," while she prepared to follow as quickly as 
her weak health would permit her to ride those forty 

The archbishop and the admiral only succeeded 
so far as to induce poor J nana to take shelter close 
by for the night, and the morning found her once 
more standing by the closed gate. When the Queen 
reached Medina at the end of this second day it 
needed all her persuasion, and the influence which 
had always claimed instinctive obedience, to lead 
her unhappy daughter back to the castle. Isabel 
herself never recovered from the terrible shock, and 
from this time her strength rapidly failed. Mingled 
with her present sorrow were dark forebodings for 
the future, when the welfare of her beloved country 
might depend upon a mind so darkened as this, or 
be left to the uncertain fate of a prolonged regency. 

In the spring of 1504, the Archduchess embarked 
for Flanders, much improved in health and spirits by 
the prospect of rejoining her husband. She appears 
to have had a favourable voyage and was received at 
Ghent by Philip, where at first all promised well until, 
in an ungovernable fit of jealousy, she actually as- 
saulted a lady of the Court to whom he was paying 
attentions, and caused her rival's beautiful hair to be 
cut off. This outrage, which nothing could excuse, 

337 Y 


occurred one evening when the Court was at 
Brussels, and the Archduke, whose temper was none 
of the mildest, used the most violent language to his 
wife, and swore that he would have no more to do 
with her. 

News of this deplorable outbreak reached Castile in 
June, and both Fernando and Isabel were overwhelmed 
with distress and shame, to which the serious illness 
which followed with them both is attributed. The 
King soon rallied, but the Great Queen's heart was 
broken, and from that time there was no hope of her 
recovery. She had long been subject to a nervous 
complaint aggravated by other symptoms ; in fact she 
had worn out her frail body with incessant toil and 
labour such as few strong men could have endured. 
Eager to respond to every claim on her time and 
strength, she had never spared herself ; travelling in- 
cessantly about the kingdom on horseback in all 
weathers, to hold Cortes here and there, to put down 
revolt by her mere presence, to join in the arduous 
campaigns against the Moors, and to support and 
encourage all who served her. 

But beyond the power of all physical causes, the 
tender heart of the brave woman had broken down 
beneath her great sorrows — the long affliction and death 
of her mother, the loss of her only son the joy of her 
life, in the hour of supreme hope and happiness, of 
her dearly loved eldest daughter Isabel and her babe 
born to so rich a heritage, and the misfortunes of her 
two youngest daughters, the distraught Juana and the 
widowed Katharine of England. 

All this bitter grief and disappointment in her most 
cherished aims, was enough to crush the ardent spirit 



of Isabel, " tout coeur pour ses amis, si chaude mere 
qu'elle mourut d' avoir perdu ses enfants." It is 
possible that her very fortitude in the hour of sudden 
adversity did but make the blow more deadly. Ever 
full of loving consideration for others, she gave no 
thought to her own health, and her temperance 
amounted to ascetism. Deeply religious, she had 
welcomed every mortification of the flesh, in fasting 
and long hours of devotion, when she was already 
wearied out with the cares of state entailed by a great 

Even in her last illness she retained her keen interest 
in all that concerned her subjects and " ruled the 
world from her sick-bed," as the distinguished Italian 
Prospero Colonna said when he came to visit her. 
From him she would have heard much of the war in 
Naples, where he had borne a brave part. She en- 
dured pain and sickness with marvellous fortitude, and 
when she felt that her end was drawing near, she set 
herself to the writing of her last wishes. The cele- 
brated will begins by her desire that her body may be 
taken to Granada and there laid to rest in the Franciscan 
monastery of Santa Isabella in the Alhambra, with a 
simple tomb and inscription. " But should the King 
my lord prefer a sepulchre in some other place then 
my will is that my body be there transported, and laid 
where he can be placed by my side ; that the union 
we have enjoyed in this world, and which through the 
mercy of God may be hoped for again when our souls 
are in heaven, may be symbolised by our bodies being 
side by side on earth." 

She next provides for many charities, and amongst 
other matters impresses upon her successors never to 



divest themselves of the important fortress of Gibraltar. 
She leaves the succession of the crown to Juana as 
" reyna proprietaria" and Philip, her husband, adding 
this clause : " I herewith very lovingly order the said 
Princess my daughter, and the said Prince her 
husband, in order to merit and obtain the benediction 
of God, of the King her father and of me — to be 
always obedient servants to the King my lord, to serve 
him, treat and revere him with the greatest respect and 
obedience . . . giving him all honour. ..." She 
withdraws and annuls all grants made by her to the 
nobles and others in compliance with importunity, 
she calls upon her successor to put an end to the 
oppressive tax of the Alcabala (a toll of ten per cent, 
on transactions) . . . and she also prays that the con- 
version of the Indians be carried out mercifully and 
with all kindness. Then she leaves the King, besides 
a large revenue, all her jewels in these words : 

" I beseech the King my lord that he will accept all my 
jewels ... so that seeing them, he may be reminded 
of the singular love I always bore him while living, 
and that I am now waiting for him in a better world ; 
by which remembrance he may be encouraged to 
live the more justly and holily in this." After other 
bequests to her friends, amongst them Beatrix de 
Bobadilla, Marchioness of Moya, the dear friend of 
her youth, the document ends : " dada en la villa de 
Medina del Campo a veynte y tres dias del mes de 
Noviembre del ano del nascimiento de nuestro Salvador 
Jcsu Christo de mil e quinientos e quatro aiios." 




This will, signed three days before her death, had 
been made ready on October 12, when her illness was 
rapidly gaining ground, for on the 15th her old friend 
and servant Peter Martyr writes : " You ask me 
respecting the state of the Queen's health. 

" We sit sorrowful in the palace all day long, trem- 
blingly waiting the hour when religion and virtue shall 
quit the earth with her. Let us pray that we may be 
permitted to follow hereafter where she is soon to go. 
She so far transcends all human excellence that there 
is scarcely anything of mortality about her. She can 
hardly be said to die, but to pass into a nobler exist- 
ence, which should rather excite our envy than our 
sorrow. She leaves the world filled with her renown, 
and she goes to enjoy life eternal with her God in 
heaven. I write this between hope and fear while the 
breath is still fluttering within her." 

Prayer and intercession was made throughout the 
length and breadth of the land for the beloved Queen; 
processions and pilgrimages to sacred places were 
numerous in petition for her recovery, but all was of 
no avail. 

To the friends around her bedside, calm while they 
lamented, she said : " Do not weep for me, nor waste 
prayers for my recovery, but rather pray for the salva- 
tion of my soul." Fortified by the last offices of her 
Church, she passed away on November 26, 1504, at 
the age of fifty-three. In a well-known letter written 
that very day to the Archbishop of Granada, Peter 
Martyr speaks her elegy : " The world has lost its 
noblest ornament ; a loss to be lamented not alone by 
Spain, which she has so long set forward on the high- 
way of glory, but by every nation in Christendom. She 



was the mirror of every virtue, the shield of the inno- 
cent, and an avenging sword to the evil-doer. I know 
none of her sex, in times past or present, who is worthy 
to be named with this peerless woman." 

Isabel was familiar with the thought of death, who 
did not come to her as a stranger. Long years before 
she had written to Talavera : 

" Diciembre 30, 1492. Barcelona. Pues vernos 
que los reyes pueden morir de cualquier desastre, como 
los otros, razon es de aperajar a bien morir." " Since 
we see that kings may die of some disaster, like others, 
it is a reason for preparing to die well." 

The body of the Great Queen was carried in stately 
procession through Arevalo, Toledo and Jaen, in the 
midst of so fearful a tempest that the way was almost 
impassable, with bridges washed away and roads under 
water. Not until December 18 was Granada reached 
at length, and, according to her desire, Isabel was laid 
to rest with simple rites in the Franciscan burial 
ground beneath the shadow of the Alhambra. " Isabelle 
la Catholique a voulu se faire enterrer sur son champ 
de bataille a Grenade, largement drapee dans son 
manteau royal, comme pour precher la vaillance meme 
apres sa mort, et aujourd'hui encore on dirait que sa 
grande ame regente I'Espagne."* 

In theCapilla de los Reyes, the gem of the Cathedral 
of Granada, her memory still lives triumphant in the 
superb royal monument, where her eftigy, carved in 
delicate alabaster, rests by the side of King Fernando. 
Other sovereigns may come and go, and the centuries 
pass away, but here Isabel the Great Queen yet reigns 

* De Maulde. 


In her life and actions we read her character, but a 
fewquotations from writers of her day will showthe light 
in which she was regarded. The Venetian Minister, 
Navagiero says of her : " Queen Isabel by her singular 
genius, masculine strength of mind, and other virtues 
most unusual in our own sex as well as hers, was not 
merely of great assistance in, but the chief cause of the 
conquest of Granada. She was indeed a most rare 
and virtuous lady . . ." Guicciardini writes that she was 
"a great lover of justice, most modest in her person, 
she made herself much loved and feared by her sub- 
jects. She was greedy of glory, generous, and by 
nature very frank." Lord Bacon asserts that in all her 
relations of Queen and woman she was "an honour to 
her sex and the corner-stone of the greatness of Spain." 

Later on. Las Casas, the apostle of the Indians, bears 
this testimony to her, that as long as Isabel lived she 
was their friend and protector, " but her death was the 
signal for their destruction." 

Yet all these echoes of bygone praise but dimly help 
us to realise the finely tempered character of the Great 
Queen. Raised to her high position at the crisis of 
her nation's history, with turbulent citizens, a rebellious 
aristocracy, a divided land and a debased clergy, 
Isabel, with clear-eyed vision and single-hearted devo- 
tion, set herself to the redemption of her country. 
She found it torn asunder by factions, she left it strong 
and united, with a learned and purified Church, with 
the work of centuries completed by the conquest of the 
Moors, and the whole of Spain from the Pyrenees to 
the Mediterranean under one rule. 

Her end was achieved — but at what a terrible cost ! — 
and all her personal virtues, high and noble as they 



were, cannot be weighed in the balance against the 
evils of persecution and the dread Inquisition, which 
the good Queen had been induced to sanction from 
the deepest religious conviction. F'riends and foes 
alike agree that there was nothing of personal ambition 
or self-seeking in her fanatical desire to bring the 
whole world within the fold of the Church, the one 
true faith to her, in which alone was salvation. She 
too, like the Psalmist of old, was consumed by the zeal 
of the Lord. 

Tender-hearted and valiant, self-sacrificing and mag- 
nanimous, a gallant noble spirit, the Great Queen 
inspired so strong an affection amongst her people 
that the tradition of it survives even to this day. 


11', A. Maitieli & Co. Titian In the Pnuio. Madrid 




Policy of Fernando — His Death — Death of Philip 


We cannot close the story of Isabel of Castile without 
touching upon the events which followed immediately 
after her death, when Spain was no longer ruled by her 
guiding hand. During her life Fernando had " screened 
his grasping policy behind her religious enthusiasms, 
and had used her haughty and upright spirit as an 
instrument for attaining his selfish ends. He had never 
sought to be loved, and after her death his character 
stood revealed in its native harshness.* Guicciardini 
says : " No reproach attaches to him save his lack of 
generosity and his faithlessness to his word." 

His wily policy never failed him. He knew that with 
the Great Queen's death his right to the dominion of 
Castile had passed away, but he had already laid his 
plans for retaining command of those vast revenues 
which were so essential to the carrying out of his 
ambition in Italy. He lost no time, but on the very 
evening after Isabel had breathed her last, he took 

* Butler Clarke. 


measures to set at rest all jealous fears of the Castilian 
nobles. In the great square of Toledo, the Duke of 
Alva raised aloft the royal standard in honour of the 
accession of J nana and her husband Philip to the crown 
of Castile,and the tidings were loudly proclaimed by the 
heralds with flare of trumpets. Messengers were de 
spatched to Flanders with a summons to the new King 
and Queen that they should at once proceed to Spain 
to receive the allegiance of their subjects. But this was 
only the first move in the game, for when writs were 
sent out to call an assembly of the Cortes, they were 
only issued in the name of Juana, " reyna proprietaria." 
When the national assembly met in the ancient and 
important city of Toro, the late Queen's will was read 
aloud to them with the codicil : " that Don Fernando 
should govern the realm during the absence of Queen 
Juana, and that if on her arrival she should be unwilling 
or unable to govern, Don Fernando should govern." 
Juana was nominally proclaimed Queen, but the oaths 
of allegiance were taken to Fernando, as Regent ; and 
the governing power remained in his hands. 

At the same time many of the Castilian nobles, and 
amongst them Don Juan Manuel, Fernando's ambas- 
sador to the Emperor Maximilian, entered into secret 
intrigues with Philip, who was determined to assert his 
right to his wife's inheritance and sent an imperious 
message to King Fernando that he should retire to 
Aragon. The crafty old King retaliated by endeavouring 
to obtain privately Juana's consent to his regency, by 
means of Conchillos, a Spanish gentleman in her house- 
hold. However, the plot was discovered by Philip ; 
the unfortunate agent died in prison, and the Arch- 
duchess was closely confined to her rooms. 



It is difficult to believe that Fernando's next attempt 
was actually to marry Juana the Nun, La Beltraneja, 
and revive her claim to the throne of Castile against 
his own daughter — thus casting a deadly insult upon 
the memory of Queen Isabel. But the Beltraneja, who 
was now forty-three years of age, had seen too much of 
the changes and chances of life, and would not hear of 
leaving her cloister to risk a marriage with her ancient 
enemy. In his vindictive rage against his son-in-law 
Fernando next sought an alliance with the King of 
France, whom he had just cheated out of his share of 
Naples, and proposed to marry his young niece 
Germaine de Foix, paying a large sum of money and 
making other concessions. This marriage, which took 
place in March 1506, broke up the alliance between 
Louis XII., Philip and Maximilian, but it created much 
estrangement in Castile, where Isabel had been so 
deeply loved and respected. As soon as Philip heard 
of this proposed arrangement, he at length set off with 
Juana on the long deferred visit to Spain, in January, 
1506, but he was so much delayed on the way by 
storms, which drove him on the English coast and into 
the power of Henry VII., that he did not arrive in 
Spain until a month after the ill-advised wedding. In 
the Cotton MS. there is a very full and picturesque 
account of the reception of Philip and his party at 
Windsor, and of the meeting later between Juana and 
her widowed sister Katharine. Amongst all the 
gorgeous state details, it is amusing to read that when 
" the King of Casteele played with the racquet, he gave 
the Lord Marquis (of Dorset) fifteen." He had to give 
far more than that in his game of politics with the wily 
King of England. 



All these princes appear to have been past masters 
on the art of diplomacy and perfidy, for Ithe private 
treaty which Henry VII. extorted from his guest 
included the marriage of Henry Prince of Wales 
(already promised to Katherine), with Philip's sister 
Margaret, and that of Philip's heir Charles (already 
betrothed to Claude of France) to the Princess Mary 
of England. But the most serious part of the treaty 
was that called the " Malus Intercursus" to the great 
advantage of English trade which it freed from tolls in 
Flanders, leaving the sale of English cloth free. 

The same perfidious making of treaties which neither 
side intended to keep, was continued in Spain between 
Fernando and his son-in-law, when poor J nana was 
coolly sacrificed by both of them. It has always been 
a much disputed question to what extent the Princess 
was really mad at that time, but both her husband and 
her father agreed to treat her as incapable of governing 
and to keep the power in their own hands. Fernando 
indeed surpassed himself on this occasion, for while 
publicly proclaiming his resignation of dominion in 
Castile, and signing a treaty with Philip, he was at the 
same time secretly taking a solemn oath in the presence 
of witnesses that his signature had been obtained by 
force, and that he protested against his daughter being 
set aside. Having thus hedged all round, the old 
schemer, supremely satisfied with himself, set off in 
great state for Naples with his gay young wife. 
Fernando knew that intrigues had been set on foot 
there by Louis XII. and the Archduke Philip, and, ever 
suspicious of others,hewas resolved to find out whether 
Gonz alvodi Cordovaremained faithful to him. Hesailed 
from Barcelona with an imposing retinue on September 



4, 150^), and was met at Genoa by the Great Captain, 
who hastened to set at rest all doubts of his loyalty. 
But the wary King of Aragon never really trusted any 
one ; he knew what splendid offers, beyond the dream 
of ambition, his successful general had received from 
the Pope, the Emperor, the king of France and Philip, 
and when he returned to Spain the next year, he 
took in his train Gonzalvo, who, after being the hero of 
the festal meeting with Louis XII. at Savona, was 
dismissed from active service to enjoy his wealth in 
seclusion and disappointment. 

Meantime great events had happened in Castile, 
where Philip ruled in the name of his wife, as he 
could not induce the Cortes to pronounce her in- 
capable. The oaths of allegiance were taken to Juana 
and her son Charles, as her successor, at Valladolid ; but 
Philip practically assumed absolute power, turning 
out the loyal friends of the late Queen from offices of 
State and wardenship of important fortresses, which 
he gave to his own followers. In order to supply 
funds for the wasteful extravagance of his Court, he 
sold dignities to the highest bidder, and tried to lay 
hands on Fernando's pension from the silk factories, 
but Cardinal Jimenez tore up the order and strongly 
remonstrated with him. 

The Archduke then turned his attention to a more 
useful object, and set himself to check the cruel 
persecution which was going on in the name of the 
Inquisition at Granada and at Cordova. The Grand 
Inquisitor Deza, Archbishop of Seville, whose only 
merit was that he had encouraged Columbus, and the 
cruel Lucero, were deposed from their ofiice, and 
henceforth there was no doubt in Spain as to the 



unorthodoxy of the new Flemish ruler. A conspiracy 
was formed by the malcontents in Castile to liberate 
Queen Juana, who was believed to be sane and a 
prisoner of her husband, when a sudden and terrible 
event happened. The Court was at Burgos, and 
Philip, who was devoted to games, was taken ill after 
becoming overheated at the Jen de Paume and drink- 
ing immediately of cold water. He suffered from 
fever, but his Flemish physican was not alarmed until 
serious symptoms set in, and on September 25, 1506, 
he died at the age of twenty-eight years and three 
months. As usual in the case of sudden illness in 
those days, poison has been suggested ; but when we 
consider that of those who had most interest in his 
death, Fernando was away in Italy, and Cardinal 
Jimenez, though a fanatic in his religious intolerance, 
was yet a man of high character, we cannot believe 
in this crime for which no evidence is offered. 

To poor Juana the shock was overwhelming, for in 
spite of all his infidelity and unkind treatment she 
had the most passionate attachment for her husband. 
Felipe el Hermoso appears to have had a fine figure, 
regular features, a fair ruddy complexion, and long 
flowing curls ; he had attractive manners, and was 
genial and popular with his own people. After his 
death there could be no doubt about his unfortunate 
wife's mental condition. She sat for hours in dead 
silence by his side without shedding a tear ; she 
obstinately refused to sign any papers ; and when she 
set forth in sad and slow procession to Granada for 
the burial, she only travelled by night, and had 
funeral services performed at every church and 
monastery by the way. On one occasion, near 



Torquemada, she found that the coffin had been 
placed in a nunnery, and she immediately ordered it 
to be carried out into the open fields, where she 
encamped with her whole retinue for the night, in 
the middle of winter. With all this she would occa- 
sionally have the most extraordinary lucid intervals, 
as when, before her departure from Burgos, she 
suddenly insisted upon revoking all grants which had 
been made by the Crown since her mother's death, 
and replaced in her Council those members who had 
formerly been appointed by Isabel. Five months 
after Philip's death a little daughter was born to his 
widow, the Princess Catalina, the story of whose 
young life spent in her mother's prison house is most 

It was not until late that summer, in July 1507, that 
Fernando arrived in Castile, and his position had 
entirely changed since the death of Philip, for he was 
universally accepted as Regent for his grandson 
Charles, although the formal recognition by the 
Cortes was not until some time later. He was 
shocked at the wild and wretched appearance of his 
daughter ; but she appears to have yielded readily to 
his authority, and was placed by him in the palace of 
Tordesillas, about twenty miles from Valladolid. 
Within sight of her windows was the monastery of 
Santa Clara, where she placed the coffin of her 
husband, when she was at length induced to part 
from it. 

Once more the poor creature was made the subject 
of her father's intrigues, for Henry VII. actually 
proposed to marry her, probably not believing the 
report of her madness, and only desiring to obtain 



her inheritance. We find from letters of Katharine 
of Aragon that she was an unwilHng agent in the 
negotiation ; but Juana vehemently refused to listen to 
the suggestion, and the death of Henry, in April, 
1509, put an end to the unseemly transaction. As we 
know, Katharine herself was married to young Henry 
VIII. almost immediately afterwards, and rose to her 
long-delayed rank as Queen of England. 

Fernando proclaimed that his daughter Juana had 
resigned the government to him, as Regent for her son 
Charles, born in 1500, and the only rival he now had 
to fear was the Emperor Maximilian, the father of 
Philip, who also claimed the regency on behalf of his 
grandson, whose interests were guarded in the Nether- 
lands by his aunt the Princess Margaret. But Fer- 
nando's influence in Spain was too strong to be 
successfully opposed, and the Flemish party was 
defeated and compelled to yield the last strongholds, 
Burgos and Jaen. Henceforth the King of Aragon 
was undisputed master of the whole realm. His 
infant son by Germaine de Foix was dead, but his 
ambition still centred upon a kingdom of Italy and 
empire in the Tyrol, which he deeply longed to 
bestow upon his younger grandson Fernando, born 
in Spain in 1503. Only Jimenez remained true to 
the Castilian policy of African conquest, to which 
attention was turned by the need of putting down 
the Barbary pirates, who were constantly making 
descents on the Spanish coast. 

A war against the infidel was a sure way of rousing 
the crusading spirit, and Jimenez, lavish with his vast 
revenue, had already sent out expeditions and con- 
quered many strongholds on the north coast of Africa ; 


W. A. Mansell & Co. 

the National Portrait Gillerv. London 



but in May 1509 he himself accompanied an army of 
14,000 men, commanded by Pedro Navarro, who had 
distinguished himself in the war of Naples. Gran 
was captured, and a number of Christian captives 
were set free ; but the great Cardinal cannot have 
been easy to work with, for he soon quarrelled with 
his general and returned in less than a month to 
Castile where intrigues were set on foot against him. 
Navarro at first met with brilliant success, taking 
Bugia, Algiers, Tremecen and Tripoli ; but he became 
over confident, and a great part of his army perished 
in an ambuscade among the sandhills of Gelves in 
August 15 10. Progress in African conquest was thus 
for a while delayed. The greatest work of Cardinal 
Ximenes de Cisneros, and that by which he will be 
longest remembered, is the foundation of the splendid 
University of Alcala de Henares, to which he devoted 
immense wealth and eager devotion. We have not 
space to dwell upon this interesting topic, but may 
mention that one of his wise provisions was that "the 
salary of a professor should be regulated by the 
number of his disciples." His fame also lives in 
the famous Polyglot Bible, a work of magnificent 
scholarship for those days. 

We can do little more than allude to the ever-guile- 
ful diplomacy of Fernando, and the part he played in 
the tangled politics which decided the fate of Italy. He 
joined with the Emperor, Louis XII., and the warrior 
Pope Julius, in the League of Cambray, which was 
really a combination to grasp and divide the various 
provinces which Venice had acquired. 

This was signed in December 1508, and Fernando's 
share in the spoil was to be the five cities of Trani, 

353 2 


Brindisi, Gallipoli, Pulignano and Otranto, all of 
which he subsequently obtained and re-united with 
the kingdom of Naples. When he and Pope Julius 
had gained all that they expected, they turned round 
and formed a coalition with Venice against France, 
known as the "Holy League," October 1511. But 
they were not prepared for the overwhelming force 
which Louis XII. brought into the field under the 
command of young Gaston de Foix, the brother of 
Fernando's second wife. A great battle was fought 
at Ravenna, April 11, 1512, where the splendid charge 
of the Spanish infantry almost saved the day, although 
in the end it was a decisive victory for the French. 
Still they paid a heavy price for it in the death of their 
leader Gaston de Foix, and the King of Aragon's 
diplomacy enlisted both Henry VIII. and Maximilian 
against them, so that by the end of the campaign the 
French had abandoned all their conquests in Italy 
and were driven back across the Alps. 

Of all Fernando's dreams of conquest, that of 
Navarre, which held the keys of Spain on the western 
shores of the Pyrenees, was the most persistent. At 
length his opportuity came when, in one of the many 
alliances against France, Jean d'Albret King of 
Navarre took the side of Louis XII., and they were 
both excommunicated by the Pope. The Duke of 
Alva was sent to invade the kingdom in July 15 12, and 
Pamplona surrendered, followed by other cities on 
their liberty being guaranteed. The Marquis of Dorset 
(to whom Philip had once given fifteen at racquets) 
was at St. Sebastian, but he declined to help Alva in 
conquering Navarre as the English only wanted 
Guienne. However, after some show of resistance 



Navarre was conquered and annexed to the Crown of 

Castile, in 1515, although the district north of the 
Pyrenees, Ultrapuertos, was abandoned later to avoid 
keeping up costly outposts beyond the mountains 


Fernando was now at last King of Navarre in 

addition to all his other titles. He had attained all 
his desires, but in the hour of his success he was a 
miserable man, hated and distrusted by all the world. 
So deeply perfidious was his nature that he had 
rewarded all who served him with suspicion and in- 
gratitude ; his own daughters, the sovereigns with 
whom he was allied. Cardinal Ximenes, the Great 
Captain, he had been ready to desert and betray them 
all. He had sold his soul for the sake of Aragon, 
" plotted, cheated, lied for it," and now his beloved 
ancestral kingdom would be no more than an uncon- 
sidered atom of a great empire, for he knew that all 
must come to his Flemish grandson, a child of an 
alien land and training whom he was not far from 
hating. He fell ill (1513), found it difficult to breathe 
in crowded cities, and restlessly wandered through 
the mountain villages of Castile, following, as far as 
his strength allowed, his favourite amusement of hunt- 
ing. He had reached the little hamlet of Madrigalejo 
near Truxillo when the end came on January 22, 
15 16, after he had received the Sacraments of the 
Church and expressed his last wishes to his followers. 
" In so wretched a tenement did this lord of so many 
lands close his eyes," says Peter Martyr, who remained 
with him to the end. According to his desire his body 
was borne by a few faithful attendants to Granada, 
and there laid in the stately shadows of the Alhambra 



by the side of the Great Queen, for whose sake we 
have followed the record of his life after he had lost 
the guiding influence of her lofty and generous 

It only remains to add a few words with regard to 
Juana, her daughter and successor. From the day 
when this unfortunate Princess was shut up in the 
Palace of Tordesillas, after her father's return from 
Italy, she was dead tothe world, although her wretched 
life was prolonged in captivity within those gloomy 
walls for nearly half a century. The story of Juana 
is the more pathetic as the later study of Spanish 
archives leaves it somewhat doubtful whether she was 
really so much bereft of sense as her nearest relations 
made out. 

There was always a strong party amongst her sub- 
jects in Castile who held that their Queen was not 
mad ; and they were persuaded that she was kept in 
prison by a cruel conspiracy. When the oaths of 
allegiance were taken to Juana as " reynaproprietaria " 
and to her son Charles as heir, by the Cortes at Vallado- 
lid on July 12, 1506, we are assured that she was careful 
to examine the signatures of all the deputies to make 
sure that they were properly authenticated. This 
gives us an impression of full intelligence on her part. 

After her husband's death, the fact that she refused 
to sign any papers at first, and that she is reported to 
have said : ** My father will attend to all this when he 
returns ; he is much more used to business than I 
am," might almost be taken as a proof of sanity. And 
when a little later she startled her followers by revok- 
ing all grants made in the name of the Crown since 
her mother's death ; and when she replaced in her 



Council those who had been the advisers of Queen 
Isabel, we can see no special sign of folly here. 

In the autumn of 1517 Juana had a visit from her 
son Charles, to whom she was little more than a 
name. He had been brought up in the Netherlands 
under the care of his aunt the Princess Margaret, and 
could not even speak Spanish, so that he and his 
mother must have met almost as strangers. There 
could have been no sympathy between them, and the 
lad of seventeen was in no position to judge of the 
sanity of this haggard, uncared-for woman, embittered 
by sorrow, neglect, and possibly even cruelty. At 
Valladolid the following spring, the Castilian Cortes 
would only acknowledge him as "sovereign in con- 
junction with his mother," and refused him the right 
to rule alone. In the Cortes of Aragon, at Zaragoza, 
the same thing occurred. The deputies asked for 
proof of the Queen's incapacity, and when they agreed 
to join his name with hers, it was only on condition 
that if she recovered she should reign alone. He 
found the same difficulty at Barcelona in obtaining 
the oaths of allegiance during Juana's lifetime. All 
this shows how her subjects believed in her sanity, or 
at least trusted that her mental weakness was of a 
passing nature. 

During the absence of Charles in the autumn of 
1520, there was a rebellion of the "Comuneros" 
headed by Juan de Padilla, a nobleman of Toledo, 
who declared Queen Juana sane, and sought to place 
her again on the throne. The "Santa Junta" seized 
the Great Seal and the State papers, and when the 
members invaded the seclusion of the palace of 
Tordesillas, Juana oppears to have received them with 



calm and dignity, but her obstinate refusal to sign 
any documents was fatal to their plans. Yet about 
this time, in a letter written on September 4, 1520, we 
have distinct evidence that her own servants declared 
Juana to be as " prudente " as when she was married. 
She had been wilfully kept in ignorance of all that was 
going on in the world, was not even told of her father's 
death, and was persuaded to write letters to dead 
people ! Indeed there is a letter extant from her 
gaoler, the Marquess of Denia, to Charles, "his 
Majesty," writen on January 25, 1522, which gives 
the darkest hints: "In truth if your Majesty would 
apply the torture (premia) it would in many respects 
be a service and a good thing rendered to God and 
her Highness. Persons who are in her frame of mind 
require it. . . ." 

Putting aside the question of actual cruelty, we can- 
not conceive anything more depressing and miserable 
than the poor Queen's condition ; absolutely uncared 
for and neglected in her personal surroundings, she 
was usually confined in a small, dark, inner room, for 
fear that through the windows of the larger chamber 
adjoining, she might attract attention from the outside 

Can we wonder that under these circumstances, 
Juana, the daughter of a proud race of kings, should 
*' find it painful to receive a visit (at most rare inter- 
vals) from any member of her family, and that she did 
not wish to be disturbed by religious ceremonies" ? * 

Perhaps the most pathetic picture in this sad story 

is that of the little daughter Catalina, born some 

months after her father's death, who shared her 

* Bergenroth. Calendar of Stale Papers. 



mother's prison and spent all the years of her child- 
hood in the awful gloom of that palace of Tordesillas. 
With what longing eyes must Catalina have looked 
out, when the chance ever came, towards the hills 
which bounded the horizon towards Medina del 
Campo — the utmost limit of her world — and have 
longed for the day of release. She used to write letters 
to that great and splendid brother of hers, Charles 
King of Spain and Emperor of Germany, whom she can 
scarcely ever have seen, and yet whom she naively 
protests that she " loved dearly." If she could manage 
to write by stealth without the knowledge of her 
gaolers, the Marquess and Marchioness of Denia, the 
poor little girl would tell him how " they wanted to 
tear her eyes out," and how "their daughters took 
away her dresses from her and wore them " ! * 

Yet even in this grim, undignified captivity, the 
young Princess was a centre of intrigue ; for was she 
not the sister of the great Emperor, whose alliance 
was so coveted an honour? The State documents 
reveal attempts to entangle Catalina in various matri- 
monial engagements, and to induce her to sign papers 
which she could not understand, for " she knew of 
marriage as much as is done in Persia." f Still it is 
with a sense of relief that we hear of Catalina, at the 
age of seventeen, in 1524, becoming the bride of her 
cousin, Dom Joam, King of Portugal . . . although it 
was but to meet with sorrow and bereavement ; the 
sad fate which befell so many princesses of her royal 

There still remains, for more than thirty years, the 
sombre tragedy of the lonely discrowned Queen, 
* Bergenroth. Calendar of State Papers. f Ibid. 



betrayed by all who should have shielded her infirmities 
and held her dear ; a mother of emperors and queens, 
yet childless indeed when forsaken by the sweet young 
presence of her daughter Catalina. In a letter of the 
period, there is a doubt expressed as to whether she 
would survive so great a loss. Was ever so pathetic 
a figure in the world's story, forgotten even by death 
in that desolate abode, while the long dreary years 
crept away and the shadows closed in around ? Her 
release came at length ; on a spring morning in April, 
Good Friday of the year 1555, she was set free from 
her living tomb : "Thanking our Lord that her life 
was at an end, and recommending her soul to Him." 

Queen Juana had so long outlived her own genera- 
tion, that her son, the Emperor Charles V., weary and 
worn out, was only awaiting her death to resign his 
crown, and seek the cloistered solitude for which he 
craved in his hereditary gloom, and to obtain which 
he was willing to barter his world-wide dominion, the 
mighty empire on which the sun never set. 



Abassides, II 

Abd-er- Rahman I., 12, 14, 15 

Abd-er-Rahman II., 15, 16, 17 

Abd-er-Rahman III., 21, 29 

Abencerrages, 129 

Abu Abdallah el Chico {sec Boabdil) 

Adaja, River, 58 

Affonso of Portugal, 200, 20^1, 289 

Alarcos, 24 

Albigenses, 41, 207 

Alcala de Henares, 131, 165, 307, 313, 328,336 

Alcala la Real, 161 

Alcantara, 98, 99, 280, 299 

Alexander VI., Pope, 255, 256, 257, 260, 261, 317, 323 

Alfonso I., the Catholic (Asturias and Leon), 27 

II. (Asturias and Leon), 28 

III. (Asturias and Leon), 28 

(VI. of Leon) I. of Castile, 22, 23, 24, 32, ss, 36, 107 
(VII. of Leon) II. of Castile, Emperor, 46 
(VIII. of Leon) III. of Castile, 46 

X. (El Sabio) of Castile and Leon, 47, 266, 267, 270, 272 

XI. (Castile and Leon), 48, 49, 50 

I. (of Aragon), El Batallador, 24, 3J, 38, 39 

V. of Portugal, 71, 85, 86, 98, 99 

Infante of Castile (brother of Isabel), 60, 62, 65, 66, 67, 72, 
283, 284 

de Burgos, 109, no 

de Carillo, 131 
Algeciras, 24, 49, 50 

Alhama, 116, 118, 119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 130 
Alhambra, 25, 113, 127, 146, 223, 280, 281, 285, 339, 342, 355 
All Atar, 126, 138, 140, 142, 146 



Alicante, 42 
Aljubarrota, 51, 8g 
Almanzor, 21, 29, 30, 271, 272 
Almazan (Miguel Perez), 241, 275 
Almeria, 24, 147, 157, 181, 221, 279 
Almohades, 24, 271 
Almoravides, 23, 37, 46 
Alonzo de Aguilar, 137, 168, 329 
Alpujarras, 181, 227, 256, 328, 330 
Alva, Duke of, 86, 354 
Alvaro de Luna, 52, 53, 55, 56 
Amadis de Gaula, ig8, 269 
Andalusia, 65, 83, 114, 125, 134, 285 
Andres de Cabrera, 83, 90, 91, 92 
Anne de Beaujeu, 182, 199, 253, 290, 291 

de Bretagne, 199, 252, 261, 292 
Antequera, 134, 135, 137 
Apulia, 258, 320, 321, 322 
Aquitaine, 50 
Aragon, 36-39, 40, 42, 43, 45, 53, 70, 75, 207, 239, 252, 253, 303, 

334, 335, 355 
Arevalo, 57, 58, 62, 63, 71, 104 
Aristotle, 265 

Arras (Treaty of), 183, 290 
Arthur, Prince of Wales, 201, 202, 203,301, 307, 308, 311, 312, 313, 

Astorga, 28, 30 

Asturias, 12, 26-29, 36, 53. 280 
Atella, 258, 259 
Ativa, 42 

Aubin de Cormier, St., 182 
Averroes, 265 
Avignon, 44, 50 
Avila, 28, 54, 67, 68, 284 
Axarquia, 134, 142 
Ayesha, 129 
Azores, 246 

Bacon, Lord, 2, 232, 233, 234, 312, 343 
Badajos, 23 
Baena, 139, 161, 162 



Baesa, 47, 181 

Balearic Isles, 40, 42, 46 

Barcelona, 22, 30, 39, 43, 45, 71, 75, 96, 178, 246, 253, 254, 250, 

274, 348, 357 
Bayard, 324, 325 

Baza, 183, 184, 185, 187, 189, 190, 191, 204,221 
Beatriz de Bobadilla, 72, 83, go, 340 

de Galindo, 196 
Beltran de la Cueva, 62, 64, 65, 66 
Benedict XIII., 50, 55 
Berbers, 8, 22, 23 
Berceo, 267 
Berenguela, 46 
Bernardo del Carpio, 59, 269 
Bertrand du Guesclin, 51 
Bexir, 147, 148 
Biscay, 83, 182, 207 
Blanche de Bourbon, 50 
Blanche of Navarre, 45, 60, 70, 75, 132 
Boabdil (Abu Abdallah el Chico), 129, 134, 138-147, 157, 159, 164, 

165, 166, 172, 174, 179, 181, 221, 227, 228, 229, 231 
Boniface IX., 44 
Borello, Count, 39 
Borgia, Cassar, 205, 258, 261 
Briviesca, 61 
Brou, Church of, 302 
Burgo de Osma, 77 
Burgos, 47, 61, 197, 281, 282, 283, 333, 350, 351, 352 

Cadiz, Marquess of {see Rodrigo Ponce de Leon) 

Cadiz, 247 

Calabria, 256, 257, 258, 260, 261, 262, 320, 321, 322 

Calatrava, 104, 105, 192 

Cambray, League of, 353 

Canary Isles, 53, 242, 243 

Canga de Onis, 27 

Cape Horn, 242 

Cape Verde Islands, 246, 249 

Carcassonne, 10 

Cardenosa, 67 

Carlos of Viana, 63, 70, 71, 95 



Castile, 29, 30, 45. 46-53i 303, 304, 346, 347 
Catalina, Infante {see Katharine of Aragon). 

(daughter of Juana), 351, 358, 359, 360 
Catalonia, 30, 39, 42, 96, 252 
Cathay, 240 
Catherine of Lancaster, 51, 55, 279 

of Navarre, 133, 205 
Cerdagne, 82, 119, 184, 252, 253 
Cervantes, 59, 96, 269 
Cervera, 75 
Ceuta, 8 

Charlemagne, 12, 13 

Charles V., Emperor, 293, 302, 332, a^, 335, 348, 352, 356, 357, 
358, 359. 360 
VIII., 82, 182, 183, 199, 252, 253, 255, 256, 290, 292 
Martel, 13 
Charlotte d'Albret, 261 
Chaucer, 49, 213 
Christopher Columbus, 236-251 
Cid, The, 25, 32, 33, 36, 270 
Cidi Yahaye, 185, 189, 190 
Cigales, 64 
Coimbra, 99 
Compostella, 104, 271 

Conde de Cabra, 139, 140, 150, 151, 161, 162, 310 
Constantinople, 20, 153 
Constance of Burgundy, 37, 107, 281 

of Sicily, 42 
Cordova, g, 14, 16, 17, i8, 19, 20, 47, 65, 108, 122, 125, 130, 131, 
143, 144, 150, 155, 156, 157, 159, 161, 164, 166, 168, 170, 177, 
264, 278, 279, 286 
Coruiia, 30, 51, 310 
Costanza (m. John of Gaunt), 50, 51 
Covadonga, 27 
Cuba, 245 
Cuellar, 57 
Cuenca, 106, 108 
Cuxar, 184 

Damascus, 10, 286 
Darro, River, 129 



Deza, Inquisitor, 238, 349 

Diego de Fernandez de Cordova, 139 140, 141, 150, 151 

Dominica, 248 

Douglas, Lord, 49 

Douro, River, 29, 86 

Duefias, 77, 82 

Ebro, River, 133 
Edward IV., 47, 307 

the Black Prince, 47, 51 
Eleanor, Countess of Foix, 70, 74, 95 

Plantagenet, 47 
Elizabeth of York, 204, 301, 313 
Elvira, Manuel, 310, 311 

El Zagal, 134, 136, 138, 157, 159, 160, 161, 164, 165, 171, 172, 173, 
174, 176, 178, 181, 183, 185, 186, 187, 189, 190, 191, 192,221 
Emanuel, King of Portugal, The Fortunate, 298, 299, 303, 305, 306 
Enrique of Trastamara, 50, 51, 273 

n., 51, 52 
III., 52, 279 

IV., 53. 56. 57, 58, 60, 61, 63, 64, 68, 69, 70, 72, 74, 77, 81, 82, 

83, 95, 114- 
of Villena, 267 
Ez-Zahra, 19 

Fadrique, 43, 44 

Favila, 27 

Federigo, King of Naples, 318, 319, 320, 333 

Henriquez, 102, 103, 104 
Ferdnan Alvarez, 202 
Fernan Gonzalez, 29 

Fernando III., the Saint, of Castile, 47, 207 
IV., the Summoned, of Castile, 48, 184 
I. of Aragon (the Good), 44, 52, 55 
Fernando of Aragon, husband of Isabel, 74-81, 86-98, 107, 109, 
III, 114-117, 123-126, 132, 133, 142, 143. i44> 150, 15I1 
i55> 156, 157, 164-169, 171-189, 193, 198, 199, 201-205, 
216, 217, 221-228, 232-235, 240, 241, 246, 247, 252-263, 
273,274, 275, 278,281, 282,289, 298, 299, 300,307, 308, 
314, 315, 317-321, 326, 329, 331, 334, 335. 338, 340. 345-355 


Fernando, son of Queen Jnana, 336, 352 
Ferrante I. of Naples, 45 

II., of Naples, 252, 257, 258, 260 

son of Federigo, of Naples, 321 
Fraga, 38 

Francisco Ramirez, 154, 163, 171, 177, 329 
Francois PhcEbus, 132, 133 
Frederick IV., 183 
"Fuero Juzgo," 265, 266 

Gaeta, 324, 325 

Galicia, 22, 31, 32, 94, 280 

Garcilossa de la Vega, 260 

Gascony, 47 

Gaston de Foix, 70, 354 

Gaul, 10 

Genoa, 237, 349 

Germaine de Foix, 347, 348, 352 

Ghent, 301, 334, 337 

Gibraltar, 8, 49, 50 

Giovanna II. of Naples, 45 

Gomera, 242, 243 

Gomeres, 148, 158 

Gonzaga, Chiara, Duchess of Monpensier, 259 

Gonzalvo de Cordova, the Great Captain, 168, 226, 256-261, 294 

320-326, 336, 348, 349 
Granada, 26, 49, 113-121, 127, 145, 146, 147, 156, 157, 159, 160, 

167, 172, 174,179, 181, 215,217, 221-235, 241, 280, 287, 

308, 309, 318, 327, 328, 339, 342, 355 
Guadalite, River, 26, 115 
Guadaloupe, 248 
Guadalquiver, River, 11, 93, 200 
Guadarrama, 11 
Guadiana, River, 11, 28 
Guadix, 181, 185, 186, 187, 189, 221 
Guienne, Duke of, 73, 75, 82, 354 
Guinea, Gulf of, 238 
Guispuscoa, 83 

Hakam I., 15 
II., 21 



Hamet-el-Zegri, 148, 158, 176, 177, 178, 179,253 
Harun-el-Rashid, 15 

Henry VII. of England, 201, 202, 203, 204, 205, 247, 294, 295, 297, 
301, 302, 307, 308, 310, 311, 313, 314, 315, 347, 348, 351, 352, 

VIII. of England, 165, 278, 311, 314, 315, 316, 348, 352, 354 

the Navigator, of Portugal, 237 
Henriquez, Admiral, 86, 102, 103, 337 
Hisham I., 15 

II., 21, 22 
Hispaniola, 245, 246 

Illora, 167, 168 

Infantado, Duke of, 167, 168 

Inquisition, 206-220 

Innocent VIII., 231, 232 

Isabel, Infanta, 82, 161, 169, 177, 199, 200, 201, 303, 304 

of Portugal, 56, 57, 58, 59 

de Solis {see Zoraya) 
Isidore, Sant, 263 

Jaen, 162, 163, 352 

Jayme of Aragon, El Conquistador, 41, 43, 44, 272 

of Majorca, 44 
Jamaica, 248 

Jean d'Albret, King of Navarre, 205, 333, 354 
Jeanne of France, 261 
Jimenez de Cisneros, Cardinal, 197,268, 271, 272,327,336,337, 

349, 352, 353, 355 
Joam, King of Portugal, 359 
John of Gaunt, 3, 50, 51, 279 
Jorge de Manrique, 267 
Juan I. of Castile, 51, 89 

II. of Castile, 52, 55, 56, 57,207, 267 

II. of Aragon, 45, 70, 74, 81, 94, 95, 98 

II. of Portugal, 218, 237 

Infanta, son of Isabel, 92, 161, 181, 182, 194, 195, 205, 223, 
268, 284, 289, 292, 297, 298, 299, 300,303, 3Zi 

de Encina, 198, 268 

Henriquez, 70 
Juan Manuel, 267, 346 

Perez, 236 



Jnana of Portugal, 6i, 63, 66 

La Beltraneja, 63, 64, 6g, 82, 85, 87, 98, gg, 289, 347 
Infanta daughter of Isabel, 100, 161, 205, 253, 255, 289, 292, 
293, 294, 295, 296, 331-337, 346-352, 356-360 

Julian, Count, 8 

Julius II., Pope, 315, 323, 353 

Juvencus, 263 

Katharine of Aragon (daughter of Isabel), 165, 201, 202, 203, 253, 

301, 306-316, 334, 352 
Knox, John, 209, 210 

Laredo, 293, 294, 310 

Lerida, 36, 281 

Leon, 22, 28, 29, 46-53, 280 

Levant, 20 

Lisbon, 237, 306 

Logrono, 133 

Loja, 125, 126, 138, 166, 167 

London, 311. 

Lopera, 150 

Lopez de Mendoza, 267 

de Ayala, 273 
Louis XL, 73, 82, 83, 90, 133, 150, 155, 183, 290 

XII., 261,274, 317, 31^.320,333.325, 326, 333. 335, 347> 348, 
349.353. 354 
Louise de Savoie, 291 
Lucan, 263 
Lucena, 139, 140, 142 
Ludovico il Moro, 255, 256, 318 
Luis de Santangel, 239, 240 

Madeleine of Navarre, 132, 133, 205 

Madrid, 63, 106, 165, 224, 334 

Madrigal, 54, 55, 56, 58 

Magalhaes, 242 

Majorca, 40, 45 

Malaga, g, 130, 134, 135, 137, 13S, 142, 172, 174, 175-191, 222, 278 

Manfred, King of Sicily, 42 

Mantua, Marquess of, 258, 259, 323, 324 

Manzanares, River, 131 

Marco Polo, 245 



Margaret of Austria, 183, 199, 205, 253, 2S9, 290, 292, 294, 296, 297, 

298, 300, 301, 302, 352, 357 
Maria of Aragon, 52, 53, 56, 58 

Infanta (daughter of Isabel), 122, 161, 305, 306 

of Portugal, 56 

de Molina, 48, 49 

de Gusman, 50 

de Padilla, 50 
Mariana, 273 
Martel, Charles, 10 
Martial, 263 
Martin, the Humane, of Aragon, 44 

King of Sicily, 44, 94 

IV., Pope, 42 
Mary of Burgundy, 183, 289, 290 
Maximilian, Emperor, 183, 205, 253, 289, 290,296, 307, 331, 332, 

346. 347. 352, 354 
Medina del Campo, 54, 58, 86, 132, 336, 337, 340, 359 
Mediterranean, 218, 239, 326, 328, 343 
Mendoza, Cardinal, 85, 87, 90, loi, no, 124, 131, 143, 161, 197, 

200, 228, 239, 281,327 
Merida, 10, 280 
Messina, 257 

Miguel, Prince, 304, 305, 332 
Mingozalez, River, 141 
Moclin, 161, 162, 163, 168, 171, 223 
Mohammed, 7 

Montpensier, Gibert de, 256, 258, 259 
Moors, 113, 121, 172, 327, 328, 330 
Muley-Abu-1- Hasan, 114, 115, 118, 121, 124, 129, 130, 144, 146, 

147, 156, 159, 160, 164 
Murcia, 26, 165 
Musa, 222, 229 
Namuk, 292 
Naples, 45, 252, 253, 255, 256, 257, 258, 259, 260, 261, 317-326, 333, 

Narbonne, 10, 253, 326 

Navarre, 27, 30, 31,32, 70, 71, 95, 132, 133, 142, 323, 354, 355 
Navas de Tolosa, 24, 41, 46 
Novaro, 256 

OCANA, 69 

Olmedo, 65, 66, 73, 90 

369 2 A 


Omeyyad, ii, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 264, 286 

Oran, 353 

Ordono I., 28, 29 

Orinoco, 249 

OstJa, 260 

Oviedo, 28, 29 

Pacheco, Marquess of Villena, 65, 66 
Paderborn, 12 
Palos, 236, 237 
Pamplona, 22, 354 
Pedro I. of Aragon, 24 

II. of Aragon, 41 

III. of Aragon, 42, 43 

IV. of Aragon, The Ceremonious, 44 

I. of Castile, El Cruel, 50, 51, 57, 92, 272 

Giron, 72 
Pelayo, 20 

Perkin Warbeck, 307 
Peter Martyr, 2, 185,188, 191, 195, 196, 197, 231, 242, 273, 336, 

Petronilla, 39, 40, 41 

Philibert II., Le Beau, of Savoy, 301, 302 
Philip, Dauphin, son of St. Louis, 42 

I., Archduke of Austria, 205, 289, 290, 293, 294, 295, 301, 

317, 331, 332, 333, 334» 335, 337, 338, 346-351 
Philippa Plantagenet, 51, 56 
Pinzon, Alonzo, 237, 241 
Portland, 295 
Porto Rico, 48 

Portugal, 28, 29, 31, 51, 52, 87, 193, 199, 21S, 237, 246, 289 
Pueblo, Doctor de, 201, 202,^203, 204, 205, 275, 301,307, 308, 313 
Pulgar, 185, 193, 273 

Raymond Berenger, Count of Barcelona, 34, 35 
Ramiro I. of Aragon, 36 

II. of Asturias and Leon, 29 
Reggio, 256 
R6n6 of Anjou, 45 
Rio Frio, 162 

Verde, 158, 329 
Roderick, King of the Goths, 8, 9 



Rodrigo, Biaz de Bivar, see the Cid. 

Ponce de Leon (Marquess of Cadiz ii6, 117, 122, 149, 
150, 156, 168, 173, 176, 225 
Roland, 13, 14 
Roncesvalles, 13, 14 
Ronda, 147, 157, 158, 159, 176, 329 
Roussillon, 82, 119, 183, 323, 326 
Rivers, Earl of, 166, 167, 183 
Rudolph of Hapsburg, 47 

Saint Louis, 207 

Salamanca, 2, 8, 125, 196, 197, 238, 239, 267 

Sancho L. The Great, of Navarre, 31, 36 

IL of Castile, 31, 32 

in. of Castile, 104 

IV. of Castile and Leon, 48 
Santa Fe, 226, 228, 240, 241 
Santangel, Luis de, 239, 240, 241, 244 
Santiago, 29, 51, 57, 134 
Sardinia, 45, 94 
Sargasso, sea of, 237, 243 
Segovia, 28, 66, 83, 84, 90, 132, 326, 336 
Seneca, 263 
Senlis, Peace of, 292 

Seville, 21, 49, 65, 92, 200, 207, 213, 274, 280 
Sicily, 42, 45, 93, 94 
Sierra Nevada, 113, 2S6 
" Siete Partidas," 266 
Simancas, 103, 202, 227, 274 
Sixtus IV., 81, S3, 109, 132, 171 
Soria, 57 
Southampton, 297 

Tagus, 98, 100 

Talavera, Hernandez de, 177, 197, 327, 328, 342 

Talbot, Lord, 57 

Tamerlane, 52 

Taranto, 320, 321 

Tar i fa, 50 

Tarik, 8, 9, 10 

Tarragona, 38, 207, 280, 285 

Teresa, daughter of Alfonso VI., 37 

Theodomir, 26 



Toledo, Q, 26, 37, 65, 87, 99, 100, loS, 112, 207,277, 27S, 279, 281, 

303. 304, 334, 346, 357 ■ 
Tordesillas, 90, 351, 356, 357, 359 
Toro, 32, 86, 125, 346 
Torquemada, 213, 216 - 
Toulouse, 41, 207 
Trinidad, 249 
Trivulzio, 317, 318 
Tudela, 36, 38 

UcLEs, 37 

Urraca, daughter of Fernan Gonzalez, 29 

daughter of Alfonso VI. of Castile, 37, 38, 60, 85 

Valadata, 264 

Valencia, 26, 34, 35, 45, 182, 278, 285 

Valentina Visconti, 261 

Valladolid, 56, 77, 79, So, 102, 103, 106, 125, 132, 183, 274, 351 

356, 357 
Vasco de Gama, 306 
Velez el Blanco, 165 

Malaga, 172, 173, 174 
Venice, 317, 318, 319, 353 

League of, 205, 289 
Villena, Enrique de, 83 
Visigoths, 7 

Xenil, 125, 141, 142, 166, 223, 224 

Xeres, 8, 26 

Ximena, wife of the Cid, 33, 35 

Yeguas, River, 168 

Yolande, daughter of Jayme el Conquistador, 42 

Yusuf, the Almoradive, 23, 36 

Zahara, 115, 116, 156 

Zamora, 32, 86, 87 

Zaragoza, 13, 36, 38, 41, 181, 195, 275, 303, 334, 335, 337 

Zegries, 129 

Zoraya, 129, 146 

Zubia, 225 

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