Biographies & Memoirs

Isabella: The Warrior Queen

Isabella: The Warrior Queen

An engrossing and revolutionary biography of Isabella of Castile, the controversial Queen of Spain who sponsored Christopher Columbus's journey to the New World, established the Spanish Inquisition, and became one of the most influential female rulers in history

Born at a time when Christianity was dying out and the Ottoman Empire was aggressively expanding, Isabella was inspired in her youth by tales of Joan of Arc, a devout young woman who unified her people and led them to victory against foreign invaders. In 1474, when most women were almost powerless, twenty-three-year-old Isabella defied a hostile brother and a mercurial husband to seize control of Castile and León. Her subsequent feats were legendary. She ended a twenty-four-generation struggle between Muslims and Christians, forcing North African invaders back over the Mediterranean Sea. She laid the foundation for a unified Spain. She sponsored Columbus's trip to the Indies and negotiated Spanish control over much of the New World with the help of Rodrigo Borgia, the infamous Pope Alexander VI. She also annihilated all who stood against her by establishing a bloody religious Inquisition that would darken Spain's reputation for centuries. Whether saintly or satanic, no female leader has done more to shape our modern world, in which millions of people in two hemispheres speak Spanish and practice Catholicism. Yet history has all but forgotten Isabella's influence, due to hundreds of years of misreporting that often attributed her accomplishments to Ferdinand, the bold and philandering husband she adored. Using new scholarship, Downey's luminous biography tells the story of this brilliant, fervent, forgotten woman, the faith that propelled her through life, and the land of ancient conflicts and intrigue she brought under her command.

Maps

PROLOGUE

Chapter 1: A Birth Without Fanfare

Chapter 2: A Childhood in the Shadows

Chapter 3: Frightening Years

Chapter 4: Isabella Faces the Future Alone

Chapter 5: Marriage

Chapter 6: Ferdinand and His Family

Chapter 7: The Newlyweds

Chapter 8: The Borgia Connection

Chapter 9: Preparing to Rule

Chapter 10: Isabella Takes the Throne

Chapter 11: The Tribe of Isabel

Chapter 12: The Whole World Trembled

Chapter 13: The Queen’s War

Chapter 14: Architects of the Inquisition

Chapter 15: Landing in Paradise

Chapter 16: Borgia Gives Her the World

Chapter 17: Lands of Vanity and Illusion

Chapter 18: Faith and Family

Chapter 19: Turks at the Door

Chapter 20: Israel in Exile

Chapter 21: Three Daughters

Chapter 22: A Church Without a Shepherd

Chapter 23: The Death of Queen Isabella

Chapter 24: The World After Isabella

AFTERWORD

NOTES

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Illustrations

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