Spain's Centuries of Crisis: 1300-1474

Spain's Centuries of Crisis: 1300-1474

Spain's Centuries of Crisis: 1300-1474

Spain's Centuries of Crisis: 1300-1474

Synopsis

A comprehensive history that focuses on the crises of Spain in the late middle ages and the early transformations that underpinned the later successes of the Catholic Monarchs.
  • Illuminates Spain's history from the early fourteenth century to the union of the Crowns of Castile and Aragon in 1474
  • Examines the challenges and reforms of the social, economic, political, and cultural structures of the country
  • Looks at the early transformations that readied Spain for the future opportunities and challenges of the early modern Age of Discovery
  • Includes a helpful bibliography to direct the reader toward further study

Excerpt

The dawn of a new century in 1300 was marked in Rome, and elsewhere throughout the medieval West, with lavish celebrations. The Great Jubilee drew thousands of pilgrims to the capital of Western Christianity, and Dante, writing the first lines of his Divine Comedy two years later, chose Good Friday 1300 as the date for his fictional encounter with Virgil and the date for the wrenching journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise, and to his final vision of the Godhead. On November 15, 1300, Ferdinand (Fernando) IV, king of Castile, León, Asturias, Galicia, Toledo, and of the wide collection of other kingdoms and territories that constituted the realm of Castile in the Middle Ages, exempted Don Estebán and his wife, Doña Inés, both citizens of Burgos, from all taxes, except for moneda forera (a tax paid to the Crown for maintaining the stability of the coinage), as a reward for Estebán’s efforts as a surgeon. That same year, under the authority of the regents, Ferdinand’s mother, María de Molina, and his uncle, the Infante Don Henry (Enrique) – for the king was still a minor – the young king granted similar privileges and exemptions to men and women throughout the realm, issued charters to municipalities, made donations to monasteries, and other such examples of royal largesse and power.

In 1300 other extant documents in Castile, the Crown of Aragon, Navarre, and even the Muslim kingdom of Granada reveal mostly the normal and mundane affairs of everyday life. Property transactions, donations, wills, monastic protests against noble encroachment and abuses, and royal attempts – more often than not failed attempts or ignored by a restless nobility – to restore order are similar in many respects to those of preceding and succeeding decades. In the Iberian peninsula, 1300 was not the dramatic watershed that the arrival of the new century marked for other parts of Europe. Yet, though not charged with the symbolic weight that it had in other realms throughout the medieval West, many Castilians, Aragonese . . .

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