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Profile of the Day: Isabella I of Castile

On this day in 1451, Isabella I of Castile was born. Her marriage to Ferdinand II of Aragon brought stability to the kingdoms of the region and paved the way for the unification of Spain under their grandson, Charles V.

Profile of the Day: Isabella I of Castile

Isabella I of Castile / Wikimedia Commons

Isabella I was the daughter of John II of Castile and his second wife, Isabella of Portugal. At the time of her birth, her half-brother, Henry IV of Castile, was already 26 years old and after the birth of her younger brother, Alfonso, Isabella became the third in line to the throne. Doubts regarding the paternity of Henry’s daughter led to the outbreak of civil war and the fight to recognize Alfonso as the official heir. However, when Alfonso died at the young age of 14, Isabella was asked to take her brother’s place instead. A weak monarch, Henry eventually agreed to exclude his daughter from the line of succession and recognize Isabella as his official heir. After her brother’s death in 1474, Isabella named herself Queen of Castile.

In 1469, Isabella married Ferdinand of Aragon, politically uniting the two kingdoms. In 1492, Isabella sponsored  Christopher Columbus’s voyage west to the Indies, leading to the expansion of the empire in the New World and establishing Spain as a dominate power in Europe.

Isabella died on November 26, 1504 at the age of 53.

Explore Isabella I of Castile’s family tree on Geni and share how you’re related!

View Isabella I of Castile’s Geni Profile


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