Isabella of Castile (born April 22, 1451) was Queen of regnant of Castile and Leon. She laid the foundations for the political unification of Spain under her grandson, Charles I with her husband Ferdinand II of Aragon. She was the daughter of Isabella of Portugal and John II of Castile and Leon. Princess Isabella married Ferdinand II, also known as Ferdinand V of Aragon in 1469. She was born in Madrigal de las Altas Torres and three years later her brother Alfonso was born. Her father John II died in 1454. In 1474 Isabella and Ferdinand jointly succeeded to the throne of Castile and Leon after the death of Isabella's half brother Henry IV.
Isabella and Ferdinand had five children and were known as "The Catholic Kings" by Pope Alexander VI. It was their daughter Catherine of Aragon who was the first wife of Henry VIII of England; their daughter Joanna was the mother of Charles V who was known as the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain. In 1478 Isabella and her husband initiated the Inquisition for completion of the reconquest of Spain from the Moors (medieval Muslim inhabitants of al-Andalus) for expulsion of the Spanish and Jews. The Moors have a culture often called Moorish which derives from the ancient tribe of the Mauri and their kingdom Mauretania. They are located in the Iberian Peninsula including Spain, Portugal, Maghreb and western Africa. Europe refers to the Moors as anyone of African descent. Isabella through three of her great-great-grandparents had Iberian or Sephardic Jewish roots but she and Ferdinand expelled the Jews from Spain making the Inquisition into a powerful institution whose victims were Catholics of Jewish or Moorish ancestry.
Isabella and Ferdinand instituted the Inquisition in Spain in 1480 with implementation to change to the role of the church instituted by the monarchs. The Inquisition focused at Jews and Muslims who were thought to be practicing their faiths secretly into Christianity also known respectively as Morranos, Moriscos and Heretics who rejected Roman Catholic orthodoxy, including Alumbras who practiced a kind of mysticism or spiritualism.
It was 1492 Isabella sponsored Christoper Columbus's voyage leading the creation of the oversees Spanish Colonial Empire that brought wealth and power to Spain. Columbus sailed west three times to the Indies before Queen Isabella approved of his voyage. Ten percent of profits were met as the Admiral provided governorship for Columbus and his descendants of lands he discovered. It was then that Spain entered into the Golden Age of exploration and colonization. Isabella and Ferdinand divided the Earth outside Europe with Portugal by the Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494. Isabella defended the American aborigines (earliest known) against the abuse of colonists and in 1503 she established the Secretary of Indian Affairs that became the Supreme Council of the Indies.
Pope Alexander VI did not approve secularism of Isabella religious beliefs and gave her and her husband the title of Reina Catolica. The inquisition became institutionalized when Isabella and Ferdinand commenced a spiritual unification of Spain by bringing the country under the faith of Roman Catholicisms. A rebellion broke out in the year 1499 and three years later the Treaty of Granada was broken; it was this time that Muslims were forced to be baptized or be expelled.
Queen Isabella of Castile died in 1504 in Medina del Campo and was entombed in Granada in the Capilla Real. The only writing she left was her will in a compelling document summarizing her reign's achievement and her wishes for the future. In 1893 a commemorative quarter was made along with a postal stamp celebrating the 400th anniversary of Columbus's first voyage remembering Isabella. She was the first woman to be printed on a United States coin and first woman and only foreign ruler to be featured on a United States postal stamp. She also appears with Columbus in the Spanish court scene replicated on the 15-cent Columbian in full portrait and on the four dollar Columbian stamp which is a mint specimens of this commemorative and has been sold for more than $20,000. She was a patron of scholars and artists and established educational institutions building a large collection of art works. Isabella of Castile was well educated, widely read and she learned Latin as an adult. Isabella was also known as Isabella of Spain, Isabella the Catholic and Isabel la Catolica who ruled her husband, drove the Moors from Granada and expelled unconverted Jews from Spain.