Isabel the Queen: Life and Times

Peggy K. Liss, Author
Peggy K. Liss, Author Oxford University Press, USA $30 (424p) ISBN 978-0-19-507356-0
Paperback - 492 pages - 978-0-8122-1897-8
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Remembered chiefly for her patronage of Columbus's voyages, Isabel I (1451-1504), who was the Queen of Castile from 1474-1504, together with her husband, Fernando of Aragon, greatly increased the power of the monarchy and unified Spain by their conquests and cruelty to the conquered. In a densely written academic biography, Liss draws on primary sources to present Isabel as a religious woman of her time, who instigated the Inquisition, drove the Jews from Spain and slaughtered Granada's Muslims because she was convinced she was fulfilling a pious duty to rid her country of heresy. Her sponsorship of explorations eventually led to the enslavement and slaughter of the indigenous populations of the Caribbean, as well as to the Age of Exploration. Liss, a visiting fellow at Johns Hopkins University, provides a wealth of detail documenting Isabel's love for Fernando, her devotion to her children, her ruthless ambition and her canny statecraft. This work will be of primary interest to historians and other scholars. (Oct.)
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