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|The Story of Queen
Isabella II of Spain . . . . ( the Naughty isabella. )
(born Oct. 10,
1830, Madrid—died April 9, 1904, Paris), queen of Spain
(1833–68) whose troubled reign was marked by political
instability and the rule of military politicians. Isabella’s
failure to respond to growing demands for a more progressive
regime, her questionable
, and her political irresponsibility
contributed to the decline in monarchical strength and prestige
that led to her deposition in the Revolution of 1868
The elder daughter of Ferdinand VII by his
fourth wife, María Cristina, Isabella was proclaimed queen on
her father’s death in 1833. Her right to succeed to the throne
was disputed by supporters of her uncle, Don Carlos, and her
accession precipitated civil war (First Carlist War,
1833–39). During Isabella’s minority (1833–43), her mother
and Gen. Baldomero Espartero, a hero of the civil
war, acted successively as regents. In 1843 Espartero was
deposed by military officers and Isabella was declared of age.
The period of Isabella’s personal rule (1843–68) was
characterized by political unrest and a series of uprisings. Her
government was dominated by military politicians, most notably
Gen. Ramón María Narváez and the somewhat more
liberal Gen. Leopoldo O’Donnell. Liberal
opposition to the regime’s authoritarianism became
increasingly directed at the queen. Scandalous reports on the
private conduct of Isabella, who lived apart from her husband,
Francisco de Asís de Borbón, as well as her arbitrary
political interference, further damaged the monarchical cause.
The abortive uprising of 1866, and the deaths of O’Donnell
(1867) and Narváez (1868), weakened her position further. In
the autumn of 1868 a successful revolution drove her into exile.
Isabella settled in Paris, where in 1870 she abdicated in
favour of her eldest surviving son, the future Alfonso XII
(1874–85). She returned to Spain for a time after Alfonso’s
accession but was unsuccessful in influencing political affairs.
Queen Isabella I & Christopher
Columbus, it all began then, right here
Queen Isabella I, also known
as Isabella the Catholic, is famous as the queen who financed
Christopher Columbus's voyages
to the New World. She was the queen of Castille after 1474
and of Aragon after her marriage to Ferdinand of Aragon in 1479.
The union of their two kingdoms permanently united Spain and
brought about a global empire after the successful voyages to the
New World. Isabella also presided over the notorious Inquisition,
led by her confessor Tomas de Torquemada.
Isabella's half-brother, Henry IV, became king of
Castile when their father, John II, died in 1454.
Isabella was only three years old, and her younger brother
Alfonso was the expected heir.
Isabella was raised by her mother, Isabella of Portugal, until
The opposition's attempt to replace Henry with Alfonso met
with defeat, the final defeat coming in July, 1468 when Alfonso
died of poison. Isabella was offered the crown by the nobles,
but she refused, and Henry was willing to compromise with the
accept Isabella as his heiress in September.
At Henry's death in 1474, a war of succession ensued, with
Alfonso V of Portugal, prospective husband of Isabella's rival
Juana, supporting Juana's claims. The war was settled in 1479,
with Isabella recognized as Queen of Castile.
Also in 1492, Isabella was convinced by
Christopher Columbus to sponsor his voyage of discovery.
The lasting effects of this were many: by the traditions of the
time, when Columbus discovered lands in the New World,
they were given to Castile. Isabella took a special interest
in the Native Americans of the new lands; when some were
brought back to Spain as slaves she insisted they be returned
and freed, and expressed her wish that the
"Indians" be treated with justice and fairness.
Christopher Columbus at
Queen Isabella's Court