Prescott, in the introduction to Ferdinand and Isabella, the earliest of his works, remarks that the reign of these sovereigns is the proper basis for the study of the history of Spain. It is true -- especially as applying to the hundred glorious years then begun, during which occurred that explosion of Spanish energy which is perhaps the most brilliant chapter in all history. In a single year, 1492, Granada was wrested from the Moors, America was discovered, and the Jews were expelled. Twelve years previously occurred an event intimately, though obscurely, connected with the others of the annus mirabilis: the Inquisition began to operate in Spain with a peculiar thoroughness.
Ferdinand and Isabella may be taken as the two lobes of the Spanish brain directing everything. The King was by no means lacking in piety, but in the main he represented political sagacity and practical ability; the . . .
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