• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How successful were Ferdinand and Isabella in laying the foundations of Spain's Golden Age?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How successful were Ferdinand and Isabella in laying the foundations of Spain's Golden Age? The term 'Golden Age' can not be taken for granted when discussing Spain in the reign of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile. The traditional view depicts the term as a major exploration of success sustained by the monarchs and that their reign was full of wealth, power and glory among other great things. However, this doesn't mean that Spain was a perfect country. Spain didn't even exist as it was spread into kingdoms of Castile and Aragon along with others. 1479 was the year when Isabella came to the throne of Castile and she was already married to Ferdinand, but both maintained independent kingdoms. Although Ferdinand supported her during the War of Succession, with Henry VI's daughter Joanna claiming the throne of Castile, it was no intention to unify the kingdoms as it was important for both members of the Trastamara family to establish their own form of government, language, laws and customs. Nonetheless, both monarchs had to work together from the start of their reigns to create a 'Golden Age' of stability, expand on their Empire and a lack of crisis among others. By the end of this essay, I hope to conclude how successful they were in laying these foundations, that many contemporaries term the Golden Age. The Conquest of Granada of 1482 can be regarded as a successful crusade in laying the foundations of Spain's Golden Age. ...read more.

Middle

They helped with the Reconquista after all, setting their minds away from home and onto war, but even then they still increased their power with more lands and possessions as rewards. On matters of royal finance, Ferdinand and Isabella were heavily reliant on expedients, for example the grants given by the Church and the Pope for the war in Granada. This wasn't setting a good example for their successors who would eventually be faced with long term financial damages. Certainly the monopoly of the silver and gold from the Americas dominated the economy of the two kingdoms and laid down the foundations of the Spanish Empire. But this was not put into good use and the monarchs were too dependent on it and spending it away, regarding it as easy money. Adding to their failures was Castile's production of wool, rather than cloth, which didn't develop any further as the government of the kingdoms weren't paying enough attention to it. As Geoffrey Woodward comments on the 'kingdoms resources being wasted and opportunities for investment were being lost due to muddle-headed thinking by the government'. The mesta, which was a trade union of sheep farmers, was in the control of the nobility. Any attempts to retrieve it would result in a strike back. The only thing keeping their economy from decline were the major trading ports of Valencia and Barcelona. ...read more.

Conclusion

By 1516, Castile was able to lay claims to Hispaniola, Cuba, Jamaica and Puerto Rico, adding more possessions to the Spanish state. But though they managed to gain more control in and out of Spain, the problems began to arise due to the fact that it was hard to govern conquered countries. The ecomienda system that was placed created powerful and wealthy individuals and it would be difficult to fight against them. In the perspective of Ferdinand and Isabella, they were very successful in laying the foundations of Spain's Golden Age. They created royal authority, increased the overseas empire, discovered the New World and conquered Granada. But from a whole perspective with these successes in mind, the build up to the Golden Age can not be regarded the same way. Ferdinand and Isabella didn't create religious unity and as a result many conversos and Jews were mistreated and along with the Muslims they were expelled or forced to convert to the Christian faith. The economic impact was a serious downfall for the monarchs and they took advantage of the Gold and Silver from the New Worlds. The term Golden Age refers to being perfect, but this is an impossible view to take upon as Spain couldn't and would never be a 'perfect' country. As Charles I would soon find out, Ferdinand and Isabella left a lot of damage for their successors to fix. Ferdinand and Isabella were successful in laying their foundations but it can not be termed as a Golden Age and more of nostalgia. WORD COUNT: 1837 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Politics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Politics essays

  1. How successful was Peel's ministry of 1841-1846.

    One of Peel's failures was his government in the second ministry, partly because of the cabinet. Peel selected people from his first ministry for the new cabinet. This consisted of experience and youth. Peel surrounded himself with people who were good at administration like him.

  2. How far did Ferdinand and Isabella create a new monarchy in Spain?

    With the authority to act as judge and jury, the Hermandades had the task of bringing peace to Castile. They could deal with many crimes and to aid them in their task the brotherhoods had armed men to punish the guilty.

  1. The American Civil War

    Rather than battle for unity, Pierce actually lent himself to the dissolution of the Union. He fought vigorously to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act, part of the Compromise of 1850, and saw to it that all escaped slaves were returned to their Southern masters (Kunhardt 54).

  2. How successful was the government of King Philip II of Spain?

    Philip was painstaking and conscientious in his desire for even more information, demanding up to date reports from every regional governor on "cities, towns, sites, wilderness, rivers, of their advantages civil and military, their finances, manufactures and tributes.." Yet this hid an inability to distinguish between the important and the trivial and a temperamental unwillingness to make decisions.

  1. Philosophical Foundations of the American Political System

    The Federalists, led by George Washington believed in a strong central government and supported the new writing of the Constitution. George Washington was a leader and advocate of the state's ratification process. He knew that to have the support needed he would need each and every state to support the Constitution's principles.

  2. Asian Values in Singaporean Perspective.

    strengthen their own leadership and in view of Singapore's continuing economic success a transfer of power in Singapore today seems as remote as ever. 2. The Definition of "Asian Values" Many have stressed the problem for a clear definition of "Asian values" as the discussion easily becomes politicized and a serious argument becomes difficult to be made.

  1. Why did a Civil War break out in Spain in 1936?

    Spain was also divided in a rather prosperous north and a poor South, where landowners ran their own estates. All this led to increasing discontent and disappointment with the government and eventually a general disillusionment with the system. This on the other hand led to the rise of many liberal movements, such as Socialism and Anarchism.

  2. How successful was Peel's Ministry 1841-1846?

    Peel also passed reform in 1844 with the 'Bank Charter Act' creating a more efficient banking system on which the government could trust and rely, as well as the 'Companies Act' which monitored company's progress and improved the nation's financial health.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work