Crown of Castile

The Crown of Castile[nb 1] was a medieval state in the Iberian Peninsula that formed in 1230 as a result of the third and definitive union of the crowns and, some decades later, the parliaments of the kingdoms of Castile and León upon the accession of the then Castilian king, Ferdinand III, to the vacant Leonese throne. It continued to exist as a separate entity after the personal union in 1469 of the crowns of Castile and Aragon with the marriage of the Catholic Monarchs up to the promulgation of the Nueva Planta decrees by Philip V in 1715.

The Indies, Islands and Mainland of the Ocean Sea were also a part of the Crown of Castile when transformed from lordships to kingdoms of the heirs of Castile in 1506, with the Treaty of Villafáfila, and upon the death of Ferdinand the Catholic.

The title of "King of Castile" remained in use by the Habsburg rulers during the 16th and 17th centuries. Charles I was King of Aragon, Majorca, Valencia, and Sicily, and Count of Barcelona, Roussillon and Cerdagne, as well as King of Castile and León, 1516–1556.

In the early 18th century, Philip of Bourbon won the War of the Spanish Succession and imposed unification policies over the Crown of Aragon, supporters of their enemies. This unified the Crown of Aragon and the Crown of Castile into the kingdom of Spain. Even though the Nueva Planta decrees did not formally abolish the Crown of Castile, the country of (Castile and Aragon) was called "Spain" by both contemporaries and historians.

"King of Castile" also remains part of the full title of Felipe VI of Spain, the current King of Spain according to the Spanish constitution of 1978, in the sense of titles, not of states.

Crown of Castile

Latin: Corona Castellae
Castilian: Corona de Castilla
The Crown of Castile in the early 16th century
The Crown of Castile in the early 16th century
CapitalBurgos, Toledo, Madrid[a]
Common languagesOfficial languages:
Old Spanish (Castilian), Latin
Unofficial languages:
Basque, Galician, Astur-Leonese, Mozarabic, Andalusian Arabic, Judaeo-Spanish, Guanche[1]
Official religion:
Roman Catholic
Minority religions:
Sunni Islam,
Sephardic Judaism
GovernmentMonarchy subject to fueros
• 1230–1252
Ferdinand III (first)
• 1474–1504
Isabella I and Ferdinand V
LegislatureCortes of Castile
Historical eraMiddle Ages
• Union of Castile & León
23 September 1230
19 October 1469
2 January 1492
(11 June 1515 officially)
• Ascension of Charles I
23 January 1516
1516380,000 km2 (150,000 sq mi)
• 1516
CurrencySpanish real,
Spanish maravedí
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Kingdom of Castile
Kingdom of León
Kingdom of Navarre
Habsburg Spain
Today part of Spain
a. ^ Itinerant until Philip II fixed it to Madrid.


Preceding events

Two kingdoms: León and Castile

The Kingdom of León arose out of the Kingdom of Asturias. The Kingdom of Castile appeared initially as a county of the Kingdom of León. From the second half of the 10th century to the first half of the 11th century it changed hands between León and the Kingdom of Navarre. In the 11th century it became a kingdom in its own right.

The two kingdoms had been united twice previously:

  • From 1037 until 1065 under Ferdinand I of León. Upon his death his kingdoms passed to his sons, León to Alfonso VI, Castile to Sancho II, and Galicia to García.
  • From 1072 until 1157 under Alfonso VI (died 1109), Urraca (died 1126), and Alfonso VII. From 1111 until 1126 Galicia was separate from the union under Alfonso VII. In 1157 the kingdoms were divided between Alfonso's sons, with Ferdinand II receiving León and Sancho III Castile.

Crown of Castile from the rule of Ferdinand III until the ascension of Charles I

Union of the two kingdoms under Ferdinand III

Ferdinand III received the Kingdom of Castile from his mother, Queen Berengaria of Castile granddaughter of Sancho III in 1217, and the Kingdom of León from his father Alfonso IX of León son of Ferdinand II in 1230. From then on the two kingdoms were united under the name of the Kingdom of León and Castile, or simply as the Crown of Castile. Ferdinand III later conquered the Guadalquivir Valley, while his son Alfonso X conquered the Kingdom of Murcia from Al-Andalus, further extending the area of the Crown of Castile. Given this, the kings of the Crown of Castile traditionally styled themselves "King of Castile, León, Toledo, Galicia, Murcia, Jaén, Córdoba, Seville, and Lord of Biscay and Molina", among other possessions they later gained. The heir to the throne has been titled Prince of Asturias since the 14th century.

Union of the Cortes and the legal code

Toison d’Or le Roi de-Castille
Equestrian heraldic of King John II of Castile in the Equestrian armorial of the Golden Fleece 1433–1435. Collection Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal.

Almost immediately after the union of the two kingdoms under Ferdinand III, the parliaments of Castile and León were united. It was divided into three estates, which corresponded with the nobility, the church and the cities, and included representation from Castile, León, Galicia, Toledo, Navarre and the Basque provinces. Initially the number of cities represented in the Cortes varied over the next century, until John I permanently set those that would be allowed to send representatives (procuradores): Burgos, Toledo, León, Sevilla, Córdoba, Murcia, Jaén, Zamora, Segovia, Ávila, Salamanca, Cuenca, Toro, Valladolid, Soria, Madrid and Guadalajara (with Granada added after its conquest in 1492).

Under Alfonso X, most sessions of the Cortes of both kingdoms were held jointly. The Cortes of 1258 in Valladolid comprised representatives of Castile, Extremadura and León ("de Castiella e de Estremadura e de tierra de León") and those of Seville in 1261 of Castile, León and all other kingdoms ("de Castiella e de León e de todos los otros nuestros Regnos"). Subsequent Cortes were celebrated separately, for example in 1301 that of Castile in Burgos and that of León in Zamora, but the representatives demanded that the parliaments be reunited from then on.

Although the individual kingdoms and cities initially retained their individual historical rights-including the Old Fuero of Castile (Viejo Fuero de Castilla) and the different fueros of the municipal councils of Castile, León, Extremadura and Andalucía-a unified legal code for the entire new kingdom was created in the Siete Partidas (c. 1265), the Ordenamiento de Alcalá (1248) and the Leyes de Toro (1505). These laws continued to be in force until 1889, when a new Spanish civil code, the Código Civil Español, was enacted.

Spanish languages and universities

Medieval Spanish Universities
Map of Castilian and Aragonese Universities

In the 13th century there were many languages spoken in the Kingdoms of León and Castile among them Castilian, Leonese, Basque and Galician-Portuguese. But, as the century progressed, Castilian gained increasing prominence as the language of culture and communication- one example of this is the Cantar de Mio Cid.

In the last years of the reign of Ferdinand III, Castilian began to be used for some important documents, such as the Visigothic Code, the basis of the legal code for Christians living in Muslim Cordova, but it was during the reign of Alfonso X that it became the official language. Henceforth all public documents were written in Castilian, likewise all translations of Arabic legal and government documents were made into Castilian instead of Latin.

Some scholars think that the substitution of Castilian for Latin was due to the strength of the new language, whereas others consider that it was due to the influence of Hebrew-speaking intellectuals who were hostile towards Latin, the language of the Christian Church.

In 1492, under the Catholic Monarchs, the first edition of the Grammar of the Castilian Language by Antonio de Nebrija was published. Castilian was eventually carried to the Americas in the 16th century by the conquistadors. Because of Castilian's importance in the land ruled by the Spanish Crown, the language is also known as Spanish.

Furthermore, in the 13th century many universities were founded where instruction was in Castilian, such as the Leonese University of Salamanca, the Castilian Estudio General of Palencia and the University of Valladolid, which were among the first universities in Europe.

Ascension of the Trastámara dynasty

Crown of Castile - Map
Expansion of Castilian territory.

On the death of Alfonso XI a dynastic conflict started between his sons, the Infantes Peter (Pedro) and Henry, Count of Trastámara, which became entangled in the Hundred Years' War (between England and France). Alfonso XI had married Maria of Portugal with whom he had his heir, the Infante Peter. However, the King also had many illegitimate children with Eleanor of Guzman, among them the above-mentioned Henry, who disputed Peter's right to the throne once the latter became king.

In the resulting struggle, in which both brothers claimed to be king, Pedro allied himself with Edward, Prince of Wales, "the Black Prince". In 1367, the Black Prince defeated Henry II's allies at the Battle of Nájera, restoring Pedro's control of the kingdom. The Black Prince, seeing that the king would not reimburse his expenses, left Castile. Henry, who had fled to France, took advantage of the opportunity and recommenced the fight. Henry finally was victorious in 1369 in the Battle of Montiel, in which he had Peter killed.

In 1371 the brother of the Black Prince, John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, married Constance, Peter's daughter. In 1386, he claimed the Crown of Castile in the name of his wife, the legitimate heir according to the Cortes de Seville of 1361. He arrived in A Coruña with an army and took the city. He then moved on to occupy Santiago de Compostela, Pontevedra and Vigo. He asked John I, Henry II's son, to give up the throne in favor of Constance.

John declined but proposed that his son, the Infante Henry, marry John of Gaunt's daughter Catherine. The proposal was accepted, and the title Prince of Asturias was created for Henry and Catherine. This ended the dynastic conflict, strengthened the House of Trastámara's position and created peace between England and Castile.

Relations with the Crown of Aragon during the 14th century

Corona de Castilla 1400 en
Castilian territory at the end of 14th century.

During the reign of Henry III royal power was restored, overshadowing the much powerful Castilian nobility. In his later years Henry delegated some of his power to his brother Ferdinand I of Antequera, who would be regent, along with his wife Catherine of Lancaster, during the childhood of his son John II. After the Compromise of Caspe in 1412, Ferdinand left Castile to become King of Aragon.

Upon the death of his mother, John II at the age of 14, took to the throne and married his cousin Maria of Aragon. The young king entrusted his government to regent Álvaro de Luna, the most influential person in court and allied with the lesser nobility, the cities, the clergy, and the Jews. This brought together the mutual dislikes of the king shared by the greater Castilian nobility and the Aragonese Infantes, sons of Ferdinand I of Antequera, who sought to control the Castilian crown. This eventually led to war in 1429 and 1430 between the two kingdoms. Álvaro de Luna won the war and expelled the Aragonese Infantes from Castile.

Second Conflict of Succession

Henry IV unsuccessfully tried to re-establish the peace with the nobility that his father, John II, had shattered. When his second wife, Joan of Portugal, gave birth to Infanta Joanna, it was claimed that she was the result of an affair of the Queen with Beltrán de la Cueva, one of the King's chief ministers.

The King, besieged by riots and the demands of the nobles, had to sign a treaty in which he named as his successor his half-brother Alfonso, leaving Infanta Joanna out of the line of succession. After the death of Alfonso in an accident, Henry IV signed the Treaty of the Bulls of Guisando with his half-sister Isabella I in which he named her heiress in return for her marrying a prince chosen by him.

Catholic Monarchs: Union with the Crown of Aragon

La Rendición de Granada - Pradilla
The Recapture of Granada (F. Padilla)

In October 1469 Isabella I and Ferdinand II, heir to the throne of Aragon, married in secret in the Palacio de los Vivero in Castilian Valladolid. The consequence was a dynastic union of the Crown of Castile and the Crown of Aragon in 1479 when Ferdinand ascended to the Aragonese throne. This union however was not effective until the reign of his grandson Charles I (Holy Roman Emperor Charles V). Ferdinand and Isabella were related and had married without papal approval. Although Isabella wanted to marry Ferdinand, she refused to proceed with the marriage until she received a Papal dispensation. Consequently, Ferdinand's father forged a papal dispensation for the two to marry. Isabella believed that the dispensation was authentic and the marriage went ahead. A genuine papal dispensation arrived afterwards. Later Pope Alexander VI bestowed upon them the title of 'los Reyes Católicos' ('the Catholic Monarchs').

Henry IV, half brother of Isabella, considered the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella as breaking the treaty of Tratado de los Toros de Guisando under which Isabella would ascend to the Castilian throne on his death only if her suitor was approved by him. Henry wanted to ally Castile with Portugal or France rather than Aragon. He therefore decided to name his daughter Infanta Joanna as heiress to the throne rather than Isabella I. When he died in 1474 the War of the Castilian Succession broke out over who would ascend to the throne. It lasted until 1479 when Isabella and her supporters came out victorious.

Christopher Columbus9
Columbus and the Catholic Monarchs (The return of Columbus)

After Isabella's victory in the civil war and Ferdinand's ascension to the Aragonese throne the two crowns were united under the same monarchs. However, this was a personal union and both kingdoms remained administratively separate to some extent, each maintaining largely its own laws; both parliaments remained separate, the only common institution would be the Inquisition. Despite their titles of "Monarchs of Castile, Leon, Aragon and Sicily" Ferdinand and Isabella reigned over their respective territories, although they also took decisions together. Its central position, larger territorial area (three times greater than that of Aragon) and larger population (4.3 million as opposed to the 1 million in Aragon) led to Castile becoming the dominating partner in the union.

As a result of the Reconquista (Reconquest) the Castilian aristocracy had become very powerful. The monarchs needed to assert their authority over the nobility and the clergy. With this end in mind they founded a law enforcement body, the Consejo de la Hermandad, more commonly known as the Santa Hermandad (the Holy Brotherhood), which was staffed and funded by the municipalities. They also took further measures against the nobility, destroying feudal castles, prohibiting private wars and reducing the power of the Adelantados (a governor-like military office in regions recently conquered). The monarchy incorporated military orders under the Consejo de las Órdenes in 1495, reinforced royal judicial power over the feudal one and transformed the Audiencias into the supreme judicial bodies. The crown also sought to better control the cities, and so in 1480 in the Cortes of Toledo it created the corregidores, representatives of the crown, which supervised the city councils. In religion, they reformed religious orders and sought unity of the various sections of the church. They pressured Jews to convert to Catholicism, in some cases persecuted by the Inquisition. Finally in 1492, the monarchs decided that those who would not convert would be expelled. It is estimated that between 50,000 and 70,000 people were expelled from Castile. From 1502 onwards, they began to convert the Muslim population.

Between 1478 and 1497 the monarchs' forces conquered the three Canary Islands of Gran Canaria, La Palma and Tenerife. On 2 January 1492 the monarchs entered Granada's Alhambra marking the completion and end of the Reconquista. Also in 1492, the Christopher Columbus maritime expedition claimed the newly found lands in the Americas for the Crown of Castile and began the New World conquests. In 1497 Castile conquered Melilla on the north coast of North Africa. After Castile's conquest of the Kingdom of Granada, its politics turned towards the Mediterranean, and Castile militarily helped Aragon in its problems with France, culminating in the reconquest of Naples for the Crown of Aragon in 1504. Later that same year, Isabella died, on November 26.

Period of regency – Joanna I

Upon Isabella I's death 1504, the crown passed to her daughter Joanna, who was married to Philip of Austria (nicknamed 'Philip the Handsome'). But Isabella knew of her daughter's possible mental health incapacities (and so nicknamed 'Juana la Loca' or 'Joanna the Mad' ) and named Ferdinand as regent in the case that Joanna "didn't want to or couldn't fulfil her duties". In the 'Salamanca Agreement' of 1505, it was decided that the government would be shared by Philip I, Ferdinand V and Joanna. However, poor relations between Phillip, who was supported by the Castilian nobility, and Ferdinand resulted in Ferdinand renouncing his regent's powers in Castile in order to avoid an armed conflict.

Through the Concordia de Villafáfila of 1506, Ferdinand returned to Aragon and Phillip was recognized as King of Castile, with Joanna a co-monarch. In the Treaty of Villafáfila in 1506 King Ferdinand the Catholic renounced not only the government of Castile in favour of his son-in-law Philip I of Castile but also the lordship of the Indies, withholding a half of the income of the kingdoms of the Indies. Joanna of Castile and Philip immediately added to their titles the kingdoms of Indies, Islands and Mainland of the Ocean Sea. Phillip died and Ferdinand returned in 1507 once again to be regent for Joanna. Her isolated confinement-imprisonment in the Santa Clara Convent at Tordesillas, to last over fifty years until death, began with her father's orders in 1510.

In 1512 a joint Castilian-Aragonese force invaded Navarre and most of the Kingdom of Navarre south of the Pyrenees was annexed to Castile.

Crown of Castile within Habsburg Spain

Charles I

"The Comuneros Padilla, Bravo and Maldonado in the Patíbulo", by Antonio Gisbert, 1860.

Charles I received the Crown of Castile, the Crown of Aragon and the empire through a combination of dynastic marriages and premature deaths:

Charles I was not well received in Castile. This was partly because he was a foreign-born king (born in Ghent), and even before his arrival in Castile he had granted important positions to Flemish citizens and had used Castilian money to fund his court. The Castilian nobility and the cities were on the verge of an uprising to defend their rights. Many Castilians favoured the king's younger brother Ferdinand, who grew up in Castile, and in fact the Council of Castile opposed the idea of Charles as King of Castile.

In 1518 the Castilian parliament in Valladolid named the Wallonian Jean de Sauvage as its president. This caused angry protests in the parliament, which rejected the presence of foreigners in its deliberations. Despite threats, the parliament led by Juan de Zumel representing Burgos, resisted and forced the king to respect the laws of Castile, remove all foreigners from important governmental posts, and learn to speak Castilian. After taking his oath, Charles received a subsidy of 600,000 ducats.

Charles was conscious of the fact that he had options to become emperor and needed to impose his authority over Castile to gain access to its riches for his imperial goals. The riches from the Americas came through Castile which was one of the more dynamic, rich, and advanced territories in Europe in the 16th century. It started to realise that it could become immersed within an empire. This, added to the broken promise of Charles, only increased hostility towards the king. In 1520 in Toledo Parliament rejected a further subsidy for the king. Parliament in Santiago de Compostela reached the same decision. Finally, when Parliament was held in A Coruña, many members were bribed and others denied entry, with the result that the subsidy was approved. Those members who voted in favour were attacked by the Castilian people and their houses were burned. Parliament was not the only opposition which Charles would come up against. When he left Castile in 1520, the Castilian War of the Communities broke out. Los comuneros were defeated one year later (1521). After their defeat, Parliament was reduced to a merely consultative body.

Imperial policies of Philip II

Philip II continued the politics of Charles I, but unlike his father he made Castile the core of the Spanish Empire, centralising all administration in Madrid. The other Spanish regions maintained certain degree of autonomy, being governed by a Viceroy.

In fact, since the reign of Charles I the financial burden of the empire had fallen mainly on Castile, but under Philip II the cost quadrupled. During his reign, as well as increasing existing taxes he created some new ones, among them the excusado in 1567. That same year Philip ordered the proclamation of the La Pragmática; an act whereby all Moriscos had to abandon all Moorish traditions and become true Catholics. This edict limited religious, linguistic and cultural freedom of the Morisco population and provoked the Morisco Revolt (1568–1571), which was put down by John of Austria.

Castile entered a phase of recession in 1575; Spain as a whole followed, which provoked the suspension of wages (the third of his reign). In 1590 the Cortes approved the millones; a new tax on food. This exhausted Castilian cities and hindered the economy. In 1596, pay was once again suspended.

Later Habsburgs

Crown of-Castile 3
Worldwide Crown of Castile

In the previous kingdoms, positions in national institutions were filled by educated gentlemen. Philip II's administrators would normally come from either the University of Alcalá or the University of Salamanca. After Philip III the nobility once again asserted their right to govern the country. In order to show that there was a new order ruling there was a cleansing of the blood of Spain. Religious persecution led Philip to declare the expulsion of the Moriscos in 1609.

Faced with the collapse of the Exchequer, in order to maintain the hegemony of Philip IV's Spanish Empire, the Count-Duke of Olivares, the king's favourite (valido) from 1621 to 1643, tried to introduce a series of reforms. Among these was the Unión de Armas, the creation of a new army of 140,000 reservists. Every territory within the kingdom contributed citizens proportionally in order to maintain the force. His aims of union did not work and the Spanish Crown continued as a confederation of kingdoms.

Luis Méndez de Haro took over from Olivares as favourite Philip IV between 1659 and 1665. This was in order to alleviate interior conflicts sparked off by his predecessor (revolts in Portugal, Catalonia and Andalusia) and achieve peace in Europe.

Upon the death of Philip IV in 1665, and with the incapacity of Charles II to govern, Spain suffered an economic slowdown and battles for power between the different 'favourites'. The death of Charles II in 1700 without descendants provoked the War of the Spanish Succession.

After the war, all the territories were unified as a single country under the Crown of Spain.[2][3]

Spanish territorial divisions within the Crown of Castile

Crown of Castile
The Crown in modern-day Spain
Mapa del Virreinato de la Nueva España (1794)
Overseas North
Overseas South

In Spain




See also


  1. ^ Spanish: Corona de Castilla, Galician: Coroa de Castela, Leonese: Corona de Castiella, Basque: Gaztelako Koroa, Latin: Corona Castellae.


  1. ^ Menéndez Pidal (1906))
  2. ^ Charles Arnold-Baker (2001), The Companion to British History (2, revised, illustrated, reprint ed.), Routledge, p. 1161, ISBN 9780415185837, Louis XIV accepted [in 1700] on behald of his grandson, who succeeded as Philip V on condition that the Crowns of France and Spain should never be united. (...) This provoked the great War of the Spanish Succession. (...) Barcelona fell in 1714 and the Aragonese privileges were abolished. Spain had become one country.
  3. ^ Vicent de Melchor; Albert Branchadell; Vicent de Melchor (2002), El catalán: Una lengua de Europa para compartir, Univ. Autònoma de Barcelona, pp. 106–107, ISBN 9788449022999, Mas que con los Reyes Católicos (a finales del siglo XV), como todavia suele repetirse, es a partir de Felipe V (a principios del sigo XVIII) cuando podemos comenzar a considerar España como un Estado auténticamente unificado o, mejor, unitario: es a partir de entonces cuando podemos empezar a hablar con propiedad de un rey de España o de una Corona de España y, consecuentemente de un Reino de España.

Coordinates: 40°23′N 3°43′W / 40.383°N 3.717°W


Adelantado (Spanish pronunciation: [aðelanˈtaðo]) (meaning "advanced") was a title held by Spanish nobles in service of their respective kings during the Middle Ages. It was later used as a military title held by some Spanish conquistadores of the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries.

Adelantados were granted directly by the monarch the right to become governors and justices of a specific region, which they were charged with conquering, in exchange for funding and organizing the initial explorations, settlements and pacification of the target area on behalf of the Crown of Castile. These areas were usually outside the jurisdiction of an existing audiencia or viceroy, and adelantados were authorized to communicate directly with the Council of the Indies.

Castile (historical region)

Castile (; Spanish: Castilla [kasˈtiʎa]) is a historical region of Spain divided between Old Castile and New Castile. The area covers the following modern autonomous communities: the eastern part of Castile and León, Castile-La Mancha, and Community of Madrid as well as Cantabria and La Rioja.

Castile's name derives from the Spanish for "land of castles" (castle in Spanish is castillo) in reference to the castles built in the area to consolidate the Christian Reconquest from the Moors.


Castilian (sometimes spelled Castillian) usually refers to something of, from, or related to Castile, including:

Castilian people, an ethnic group from Castile

Spanish language, or Castilian language, a Romance language that originated in Castile

Crown of Castile, a former state on the Iberian Peninsula

Kingdom of Castile, a former kingdom on the Iberian Peninsula

Castile and León, an autonomous community of Spain

Castile–La Mancha, an autonomous community of Spain

Castilian Spanish, a variety of the Spanish language

SS Castilian, a 1919 British ship

The Castilian, a 1963 film


Castilians (Spanish: castellanos) are certain inhabitants in regions of central Spain: Castile and León, Castile-La Mancha, and the Community of Madrid, who are the source of the Spanish language (Castilian) among other aspects of cultural identity. West Castile and León, Albacete, Cantabria and La Rioja are often also included in the definition, but this is controversial for historical reasons and the strong sense of unique cultural identity of those regions.

A broader definition is to consider as Castilians the population belonging to the Peninsular territories (and Canary Islands) controlled by the Crown of Castile, which is a large part of the Iberian Peninsula.

However, not all people in the regions of the medieval Kingdom of Castile or Crown of Castile think of themselves as Castilian. For this reason, the exact limits of what Castile is today are disputed. As an ethnicity, they are most commonly associated with the sparsely populated inner plateau of the Iberian peninsula, which is split in two by the Sistema Central mountain range and Northern or Old Castile from Southern or New Castile, the latter being somewhat closer in terms of culture and dialect to southern regions of Spain such as Andalusia, Extremadura and Murcia.

Through the Reconquista and other conquests in the Middle Ages, the Kingdom of Castile (later Crown of Castile) spread over a large part of the Iberian Peninsula, especially towards the southern Spanish regions. After this, since the 15th century, through the Spanish colonization of the Americas, the Castilians also spread over the New World, bringing with them not only their language, but also elements of their culture and traditions.

Castilla de Oro

Castilla de Oro or del Oro (Spanish: [kasˈtiʎa ðe ˈoɾo]) was the name given by the Spanish settlers at the beginning of the 16th century to the Central American territories from the Gulf of Urabá, near today's Colombian-Panamanian border, to the Belén River. Beyond that river, the region was known as Veragua, and was disputed by the Spanish crown along with the Columbus family. The name "Castilla de Oro" was made official in May 1513 by King Ferdinand II of Aragon, then regent of the Crown of Castile.

After Vasco Núñez de Balboa's discovery of the Pacific Ocean, Castilla de Oro's jurisdiction was broadened to include the Pacific coasts of Panama, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua.

With the creation, in 1527, of the Province of Nicaragua, which included today's Nicaragua as well as the Nicoya Peninsula, Castilla de Oro's jurisdiction was reduced. In 1537, once the conflict between the crown and the Columbus family was settled, Castilla de Oro was split up, divided by the Duchy of Veragua.

The western portion, which comprised most of Panama's and Costa Rica's Pacific coasts, was merged in 1540 with Royal Veragua, to create the Province of Nuevo Cartago y Costa Rica.

The eastern part, the last remnant of Castilla de Oro, in time became known as the Realm of Tierra Firme, or Panamá, especially after the creation of the Royal Academy of Panamá in 1538. In 1560, the new Province of Veragua, created by Philip II out of the now defunct Duchy of Veragua, was merged with Castilla de Oro.

Dynastic union

A dynastic union is a kind of federation with only two different states that are governed by the same dynasty, while their boundaries, their laws and their interests remain distinct. It differs from a personal union in that a personal union is under a monarch, but not under a dynasty, although it depends on the country.

Emirate of Granada

The Emirate of Granada (Arabic: إمارة غرﻧﺎﻃﺔ‎, trans. Imārat Ġarnāṭah), also known as the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada (Spanish: Reino Nazarí de Granada), was an emirate established in 1230 by Muhammad ibn al-Ahmar. After Prince Idris left Iberia to take the Almohad Caliphate leadership, the ambitious Ibn al-Ahmar established the last Muslim dynasty on the Iberian peninsula, the Nasrids. The Nasrid emirs were responsible for building the Alhambra palace complex as it is known today. By 1250, the Emirate was the last part of the Iberian peninsula held by the Muslims. It roughly corresponded to the modern Spanish provinces of Granada, Almería, and Málaga. Andalusian Arabic was the mother tongue of the majority of the population. For two more centuries, the region enjoyed considerable cultural and economic prosperity.

It was gradually conquered by the Crown of Castile and dissolved with the 1491 Treaty of Granada, ending the Granada War. In January 1492 Muhammad XII of Granada, the last Nasrid ruler of Granada, formally relinquished his sovereignty and surrendered his territories to Castile, eventually moving to Morocco in exile.

Forced conversions of Muslims in Spain

The forced conversions of Muslims in Spain were enacted through a series of edicts outlawing Islam in the lands of Spain. This effort was overseen by three Spanish monarchies during the early 16th century: the Crown of Castile in 1500–1502, followed by Navarre in 1515–1516, and lastly the Crown of Aragon in 1523–1526.After Christian kingdoms finished their reconquest of Islamic Spain in 1492, the Muslim population stood between 500,000 and 600,000 people. At this time Muslims who lived under Christian rule were given the status of Mudéjar, legally allowing the open practice of Islam. In 1499, the Archbishop of Toledo, Cardinal Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros began a campaign in the city of Granada to force religious compliance with Christianity with torture and imprisonment; this triggered a Muslim rebellion. The rebellion was eventually quelled and then used to justify revoking the Muslims' legal and treaty protections. Conversion efforts were redoubled, and by 1501, officially, no Muslim remained in Granada. Encouraged by the success in Granada, the Castile's Queen Isabella issued an edict in 1502 which banned Islam for all of Castile. With the annexation of the Iberian Navarre in 1515, more Muslims still were forced to observe Christian beliefs under the Castilian edict. The last realm to impose conversion was the Crown of Aragon, whose kings had previously been bound to guarantee the freedom of religion for its Muslims under an oath included in their coronations. In the early 1520s, an anti-Islam uprising known as the Revolt of the Brotherhoods took place, and Muslims under the rebel territories were forced to convert. When the Aragon royal forces, aided by Muslims, suppressed the rebellion, King Charles I (better known as Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire) ruled that those forcible conversions were valid; thus, the "converts" were now officially Christians. This placed the converts under the jurisdiction of the Spanish Inquisition. Finally, in 1524, Charles petitioned Pope Clement VII to release the king from his oath protecting Muslims' freedom of religion. This granted him the authority to officially act against the remaining Muslim population; in late 1525, he issued an official edict of conversion: Islam was no longer officially extant throughout Spain.

While adhering to Christianity in public was required by the royal edicts and enforced by the Spanish Inquisition, evidence indicated that most of the forcibly converted (known as the "Moriscos") clung to Islam in secret. In daily public life, traditional Islamic law could no longer be followed without persecution by the Inquisition; as a result, the Oran fatwa was issued to acknowledge the necessity of relaxing sharia, as well as detailing the ways in which Muslims were to do so. This fatwa become the basis for the crypto-Islam practiced by the Moriscos until their expulsions in 1609–1614. Some Muslims, many near the coast, emigrated in response to the conversion. However, restrictions placed by the authorities on emigration meant leaving Spain was not an option for many. Rebellions also broke out in some areas, especially those with defensible mountainous terrain, but they were all unsuccessful. Ultimately, the edicts created a society in which devout Muslims who secretly refused conversion coexisted with former Muslims who became genuine practicing Christians, up until the expulsion.

Kingdom of Castile

The Kingdom of Castile (; Spanish: Reino de Castilla, Latin: Regnum Castellae) was a large and powerful state located on the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Ages. Its name comes from the host of castles constructed in the region. It began in the 9th century as the County of Castile (Condado de Castilla), an eastern frontier lordship of the Kingdom of León. During the 10th century its counts increased their autonomy, but it was not until 1065 that it was separated from León and became a kingdom in its own right. Between 1072 and 1157 it was again united with León, and after 1230 this union became permanent. Throughout this period the Castilian kings made extensive conquests in southern Iberia at the expense of the Islamic principalities. Castile and León, with their southern acquisitions, came to be known collectively as the Crown of Castile, a term that also came to encompass overseas expansion.

Kingdom of Granada (Crown of Castile)

The Kingdom of Granada (; Spanish: Reino de Granada) was a territorial jurisdiction of the Crown of Castile from the conclusion of the Reconquista in 1492 until Javier de Burgos' provincial division of Spain in 1833. This was a "kingdom" ("reino") in the second sense given by the Diccionario de la lengua española de la Real Academia Española: the Crown of Castile consisted of several such kingdoms. Its extent is detailed in Gelo del Cabildo's 1751 Respuestas Generales del Catastro de Ensenada (1750–54), which was part of the documentation of a census. Like the other kingdoms within Spain, the Kingdom of Granada was abolished by the 1833 territorial division of Spain.

After the Granada War ended 2 January 1492, the old Muslim-ruled Emirate of Granada became part of the Crown of Castile. The kingdom was the location of a Muslim rebellion in 1499-1501 and after the Muslims were defeated and forcibly converted, a Morisco rebellion in 1568-1571. Following the annexation, The city of Granada, which had been the last center of Muslim power in the Iberian Peninsula, lost its political importance and even much of its economic importance, and entered a long period of decline. The European discovery of America gave preeminence to Seville, the only important inland port, which by the 16th century had become the principal city not only of Andalusia, but of all Spain. Nonetheless, Granada continued to play a significant institutional role: it was one of the seventeen cities with a vote in the Cortes de Castilla, the Granada Cathedral was the seat of an archdiocese and the Royal Chancery of Granada was the highest judicial court for half of the Crown of Castile, equaled only by a corresponding institution in Valladolid.

The difficulties of religious and ethnic integration of the Moriscos (former Muslims who had converted to Christianity) with the now-dominant Old Christians resulted in the unsuccessful, harshly repressed Morisco Revolt of 1568–1571. The Moriscos were initially dispersed in the Castilian interior, then expelled outright from Spain in 1609.

Today, all the territory of the Kingdom of Granada is part of the territory of the autonomous community of Andalusia.

Kingdom of Jaén

The Kingdom of Jaén (Spanish: reino de Jaén) was a territorial jurisdiction of the Crown of Castile from the time it was won from Muslim rule in 1246 during the Reconquista until Javier de Burgos' provincial division of Spain in 1833. This was a "kingdom" ("reino") in the second sense given by the Diccionario de la lengua española de la Real Academia Española: the Crown of Castile consisted of several such kingdoms. Known also as the "Santo Reino" ("Holy Kingdom"), its territory coincided roughly with the present-day province of Jaén. Jaén was one of the Four Kingdoms of Andalusia. Its extent is detailed in Respuestas Generales del Catastro de Ensenada (1750–54), which was part of the documentation of a census.

Like the other kingdoms within Spain, the Kingdom of Jaén was abolished by the 1833 territorial division of Spain.

Kingdom of the Canary Islands

The Kingdom of the Canary Islands was founded in 1404, although it had always recognized another country as their overlord. Its purpose was probably entirely to conquer the Canaries, and to eventually be fully incorporated into the Crown of Castile when complete.

List of Castilian monarchs

This is a list of kings and queens of the Kingdom and Crown of Castile. For their predecessors, see List of Castilian counts.

Spanish colonization of the Americas

The overseas expansion under the Crown of Castile was initiated under the royal authority and first accomplished by the Spanish conquistadors. The Americas were incorporated into the Spanish Empire, with the exception of Brazil, Canada, the eastern United States and several other small countries in South America and The Caribbean. The crown created civil and religious structures to administer the region. The motivations for colonial expansion were trade and the spread of the Catholic faith through indigenous conversions.

Beginning with the 1492 arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Caribbean and continuing control of vast territory for over three centuries, the Spanish Empire would expand across the Caribbean Islands, half of South America, most of Central America and much of North America (including present day Mexico, Florida and the Southwestern and Pacific Coastal regions of the United States). It is estimated that during the colonial period (1492–1832), a total of 1.86 million Spaniards settled in the Americas and a further 3.5 million immigrated during the post-colonial era (1850–1950); the estimate is 250,000 in the 16th century, and most during the 18th century as immigration was encouraged by the new Bourbon Dynasty. In contrast, the indigenous population plummeted by an estimated 80% in the first century and a half following Columbus's voyages, primarily through the spread of Afro-Eurasian diseases. This has been argued to be the first large-scale act of genocide in the modern era, although this claim is largely disputed due to the unintended nature of the disease introduction, which is considered a byproduct of Columbian exchange. Racial mixing was a central process in the Spanish colonization of the Americas, and ultimately led to the Latin American identity, which combines Hispanic and native American ethnicities.

Spain enjoyed a cultural golden age in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries when silver and gold from American mines increasingly financed a long series of European and North African wars. In the early 19th century, the Spanish American wars of independence resulted in the secession and subsequent balkanization of most Spanish colonies in the Americas, except for Cuba and Puerto Rico, which were finally given up in 1898, following the Spanish–American War, together with Guam and the Philippines in the Pacific. Spain's loss of these last territories politically ended the Spanish rule in the Americas.

Taifa of Murcia

The Taifa of Murcia was an Arab taifa of medieval Al-Andalus, in what is now southern Spain. It became independent as a taifa centered on the Moorish city of Murcia after the fall of the Umayyad Caliphate of Córdoba (11th century). Moorish Taifa of Murcia included Albacete and part of Almería as well.

The taifa is apparently the one that existed the greatest number of separate time periods (five): from 1011 to 1014, from 1065 to 1078, in 1145, from 1147 to 1172 and finally from 1228 to 1266 when it was absorbed by Castile.

The Kingdom of Murcia later would become one of the kingdoms of the Crown of Castile.

Taifa of Niebla

The Taifa of Niebla was an Arab taifa kingdom that existed during three distinct time periods: from 1023 to 1053, from 1145 to 1150 and from 1234 to 1262.

From 1053 until 1091 it was under the forcible control of Taifa of Seville, by Abbad II al-Mu'tadid. It was finally conquered by the Crown of Castile. In 1262 it was eventually absorbed by Castile.

Treaty of Almizra

The Treaty of Almizra (or Treaty of Almiçra) was the third of a series of three treaties between the Crown of Aragon and Crown of Castile meant to determine the limits of their expansion into Andalusia so as to prevent squabbling between the Christian princes. Specifically, it defined the borders of the Kingdom of Valencia. James I of Aragon signed it on 26 March 1244, but Alfonso X of Castile did not affirm it until much later. According to the treaty, all lands south of a line from Biar to Villajoyosa through Busot were reserved for Castile.

The treaty succeeded those of Tudilén and Cazorla, which were constantly breached. The clause by which neither party seemed capable of residing was that neither crown should diminish the partition assigned to the other or put any obstacle in the way of the other attaining unto his portion. That clause was broken when James I conquered Caudete, Villena, and Sax, which technically belonged to Castile. At the same time, the infante Alfonso was holding Xàtiva in the zone assigned to Aragon.

The treaty first received mention in the second chapter of Llibre dels fets. The text of the treaty itself, however, was finally published in 1905. The treaty was signed in Campo de Mirra, where a monument, erected in 1977, still remembers it. In 1296, during a break in the war between the two crowns, James II of Aragon conquered the Kingdom of Murcia. The kingdom was divided and Medio Vinalopó, Bajo Vinalopó, L'Alacantí, and Vega Baja del Segura were incorporated into Valencia by the treaties of Torrellas (1304) and Elche (1305).

Treaty of Ayllón

The Treaty of Ayllón was a peace treaty signed in Ayllón, Castile, between the Kingdom of Portugal and Crown of Castile in 1411.

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