Queen Isabella of Castile: Deed of Marriage and Testament

Queen Isabella of Castile: Deed of Marriage and Testament

Spain — 1469 and 1504

Castile and Aragon united: testimony to the historic marriage between Isabella and Ferdinand, known as the Catholic Monarchs

  1. The marriage of Isabella I of Castile (1451–1504) and Ferdinand II of Aragon (1452–1516) united the Kingdoms of Castile and Aragon

  2. Isabella actually pursued Ferdinand, arranging for their marriage in secret and eloping in Valladolid

  3. Isabella already made arrangements to ensure the success of her kingdom after her death in 1504

Queen Isabella of Castile: Deed of Marriage and Testament

Colección Tabula Americae, 21 Archivo General (Simancas, Spain)
  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Queen Isabella of Castile: Deed of Marriage and Testament

The compendium of two very personal documents of the first Queen of Spain: Isabella of Castile. She and her husband are famously remembered as the Catholic Monarchs. Isabella’s marriage with Ferdinand of Aragon in October of 1469 was a historical bombshell, with which the Spanish Kingdoms of Castile and Aragon were united into a single powerful realm. The deed of marriage attests directly to this special and history-steeped event. As Isabella died in the year 1504, she had already made arrangements to ensure that her kingdom would continue to be successfully lead after her death. Her daughter Joanna was named in her testament as her heir and successor in all offices. Isabella of Castile signed this unique document of her last will and testament with her own hand just three days before her death.

Queen Isabella of Castile: Deed of Marriage and Testament

The compendium of two very personal documents of the first Queen of Spain: Isabella of Castile. She and her husband are famously remembered as the Catholic Monarchs. Isabella’s marriage with Ferdinand of Aragon in October of 1469 was a historical bombshell, with which the Spanish Kingdoms of Castile and Aragon were united into a single powerful realm. The deed of marriage attests directly to this special and history-steeped event. As Isabella died in the year 1504, she had already made arrangements to ensure that her kingdom would continue to be successfully lead after her death. Her daughter Joanna was named as her heir and successor in all offices. Isabella of Castile signed this unique document of her last will and testament with her own hand just three days before her death.

The Will of a Strong Woman

After the death of her brother, Isabella I of Spain (1451–1504), better known as Isabella of Castile, became Queen of Castile and Leon according to the line of succession. Her wedding to Ferdinand of Aragon, together with whom she was described as the Catholic Monarchs, ruled over a Spain that was a unified Kingdom for the first time, making her an even more powerful woman. This was preceded by a truly dramatic spectacle. It was Isabella who – an early archetype of a modern emancipated woman – had courted her husband, because she was dissatisfied with the proposed candidate of her half-brother Henry IV. She had her intentions conveyed to Ferdinand through her advisors. It was she who asked for the hand of the future King of Aragon!

A Marriage Steeped in History

Ferdinand of Aragon agreed to the proposal. With the help of a ruse, he managed to reach the court of Castile as a rather unwanted marriage candidate and there married Isabella. This historically significant and exciting wedding took place in Valladolid on the 19th of October, 1469. The deed of marriage for this event, which is kept safe today in the Archivo General de Simanacas, gives an intimate glimpse into the wedding of Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon, the Catholic monarchs who united Spain into a mighty kingdom!

Isabella’s Last Will

An additional treasure from the Archivo General in Simanacas, Spain has an equally immediate connection to the great Spanish Queen Isabella: her last will and testament. Isabella died on 26. November, 1504 in the place of Medina del Campo. Her testament, written in her native tongue, had already been dictated by the Queen on October 12th of that year. The gist of the very personal document, which also attested to her deep faith, is the succession as the Queen Regent of the Kingdom. Isabella’s first-born daughter Joanna of Castile was declared her sole heir, and also explicitly as her successor as Queen of Castile. A provision stipulated, that in Joanna’s absence from the realm, that her father Ferdinand, Isabella’s husband and King of Spain, should represent her. This stipulation was to be in effect until Joanna’s son Carlos, an infant and Isabella’s grandson, had reached the age of 20, at which point he would rule over all of the Spanish Kingdom.

One Last Intimately Personal Document

On the 23rd of November, 1504, the Spanish Queen signed these documents of her last will and testament in the royal palace of Marina del Campo. She died only three days later on November 24th. In her will, she decreed that she wanted to be buried in Granada. Therefore, her testament had the effect of ensuring that the Kingdom of Spain would continue to be a great power in world history.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Testamento de Isabel la Católica y actas matrimonial
Heiratsurkunde und Testament von Königin Isabella von Spanien
Size / Format
28 pages / 31.0 × 23.6 cm
Origin
Spain
Date
1469 and 1504
Language
Illustrations
Marriage contract and last will and testament of Queen Isabella of Castile
Artist / School

Available facsimile editions:
Queen Isabella of Castile: Deed of Marriage and Testament – Colección Tabula Americae, 21 – Archivo General (Simancas, Spain)
Testimonio Compañía Editorial – Madrid, 1992
Limited Edition: 980 copies
Facsimile Editions

#1 Testamento de Isabel la Católica

Publisher: Testimonio Compañía Editorial – Madrid, 1992
Limited Edition: 980 copies
Binding: The facsimiles and commentary are presented in a grey velvet presentation case
Commentary: 1 volume (96 pages) by Luis Suárez Fernández
Language: Spanish
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: €€ (1,000€ - 3,000€)
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