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European Kingdoms




Castile started as a march county of Leon, with local castellans as governors. Fernan Gonzalez was a count of Castile who gained autonomy. However, during the Islamic invasion of Iberia, remaining independent populations of former tribal Autrigones, Caristii, and Varduli took refuge in the Atlantic coastal areas behind the mountains on the Bay of Biscay. There they regrouped to form the basis for the county of Bardulia. According to some sources this is the primitive form of the later Castile, located in the north of the province of Burgos.

After being part of Sancho the Great's Navarre, Castile was detached by him and then willed to his son Ferdinand I as a separate kingdom. Castile later absorbed Leon, Aragón, and then, briefly, Portugal. The kingdom comprised most of the central Spanish plateau including Andalusia, the former heartland of the Vandal kingdom in Roman Iberia. Reignal numbering was continued from Leon.

712 - 755

The region falls under the authority of the Islamic empire.

755 - c.800

The Umayyad caliphate in Iberia controls the area around Cordoba.

c.850 - 910

The county is ruled by Asturias.

910 - 1029

The county is ruled by Leon. It is administered by local counts at Burgos from at least 930.

County of Castile
AD 930 - 1029

930 - 970

Fernan Gonzalez

944 - 947


970 - 995

Garcia I of the White Hands

995 - 1017

Sancho I of the Good Laws


The boundaries are drawn between Navarre and the county of Castile. What is to become the Basque Country now falls within Navarre. The twelfth century reign of Sancho VII 'the Strong' will be the last in four hundred years of Basque monarchies which had begun with that of Eneko de Aritza of Pamplona in 840.

1017 - 1029

Garcia II Sanchez

1029 - 1035

The country is annexed and ruled by Navarre.

Kingdom of Castile
AD 1035 - 1516

Ferdinand's accession also brought him overlordship of the county of Portugal from Navarre.

(Information by Peter Kessler and from the John De Cleene Archive, with additional information from The New Islamic Dynasties: A Chronological and Genealogical Manual, C E Bosworth (2004).)

1035 - 1065

Ferdinand I the Great

Also king of Leon & Galicia.


Ferdinand's kingdom is divided between his three sons: Sancho II receives Castile, Alfonso VI, Leon, and Galicia is once again sub-divided from Leon for Garcia. Sancho attacks Alfonso as he attempts to capture Leon, and Garcia takes the opportunity to proclaim the independence of Galicia and Portugal.

1065 - 1072

Sancho II the Strong

Forcibly gained Galicia.

1070 - 1157

Sancho defeats Alfonso in 1070 and drives him into exile, reassembling the whole of Ferdinand's kingdom, although Galicia and Portugal are still autonomous. In 1071 Garcia is able to defeat Count Nuno II Menendez of Portugal, claiming the title king of Galicia and Portugal. His victory is short-lived, as Sancho and Alfonso attack him and partition the kingdom, In 1072, Sancho dies, and the kingdom of Castile, Leon and Galicia immediately falls to Alfonso.

1157 - 1158

Sancho III the Desired

1158 - 1214

Alfonso VIII the Noble

1191 - 1195

Fresh from failure in front of the walls of Tomar, stronghold of the Portuguese Templars, Yaqub al Mansur of the Almohads recaptures Paderne Castle and nearby territory around Albufeira, Portuguese holdings since 1182. This victory and other seizures allow him to return to North Africa in triumph but as soon as he leaves Iberia, the Christians resume the offensive. They take several Islamic cities, including Beja, Silves, and Vera, necessitating another campaign. This time Yaqub returns to inflict a further defeat on them, taking hostages to sell as slaves. Once he leaves Iberia again, the largest Christian army of the period is assembled. Determined to put a halt to this, Yaqub defeats the army which is commanded by Alfonso VIII, slaughtering thousands of his men.

1214 - 1217

Henry I


Guipuzcoa, Alava, and Vizcaya break away from the kingdom of Navarre amid a difficult political situation and, according to personal treaties with the king of Castile, become incorporated into Castile.


Caliph Muhammad suffers a devastating defeat by the Christian Iberians of Aragon, Castile, Navarre, and Portugal at Los Navos de Tolosa. Humiliated, they are forced to give way, and their army never fully recovers from the disaster. In the east, the empire fades as local tribes begin to rebel against Almohad rule and control over more territory is gradually lost, along with domination of the western Mediterranean Sea.

Battle of Los Navos de Tolosa
Ongoing battles between the Almohads and the Iberian Christians would end up in North African defeat at the Battle of Los Navos de Tolosa in 1212

1217 - 1252

St Ferdinand III

San Fernando Rey de Espana. Joined Leon to Castile.


Having succeeded Almohad Caliph Abdallah following the latter's untimely death in a bath tub, Caliph Yahya has more general support but immediately faces the threat of a pretender named Idris I. He seizes parts of the empire and a civil war breaks out. Idris calls for support from King Ferdinand, and the 12,000 knights he receives enables him to conquer Marrakech and exterminate the sheiks who have supported Yahya. Idris rules virtually all of the empire until his death.

1235 - 1248

Castile captures Cordova in 1235. Seville is taken from the Omayyad caliphs in 1248.


The kingdom of Leon becomes a permanent part of Castile, with Castile's rulers usually carrying the title, 'king of Castile and Leon'.

1252 - 1284

Alfonso X the Emperor

Elected HRE (1257) but never acceded the throne.


The ancient city of Cadiz (formerly Gadir) is conquered from the Nasrid kings of Granada by Alfonso X.

1284 - 1295

Sancho IV the Brave


The accession of Abu Yaqub Yusuf an-Nasr to the Merinid throne in North Africa is disputed by several of his relatives. Some of them are even backed by the Abdal Wadids in an effort to destabilise Merinid possessions. Desperate for support, Abu Yaqub agrees a treaty with Mohammad II of Granada which cedes almost all Merinid holdings in Iberia to him. Only Algeciras, Guadix, Ronda, and Tarifa are retained (although Guadix would be gained by Granada in 1288, Algeciras and Ronda handed over to Granada in 1295, and Tarifa captured by Sancho IV of Castile in 1292).

1295 - 1312

Ferdinand IV the Summoned


Ferdinand IV has been king of Castile and king of Leon through a personal union since 1295. Now the two kingdoms are united under a single crown with a single cortes. The unified kingdom is called 'Castile & Leon' or more simply as Castile. The Basques are still within the boundaries of the kingdom.

1312 - 1350

Alfonso XI the Just

Killed by the Great Plague.


Yusuf I of Granada is defeated at the Battle of Teba. Somewhat desperate to maintain his position he contacts Sultan Abu al-Hasan ibn Uthman of the kingdom of Fez. Hasan sends a fleet and an army which arrives in 1333 and within two months the Castilian outpost on Gibraltar has fallen. The combined Granadan and Merinid forces go on to win further victories while in Morocco Hasan builds up a massive invasion army which is intended to undo a century of Christian advances in Iberia.


Sultan Abu al-Hasan ibn Uthman launches his grand invasion of Iberia from his capital at Fez. The Castilian fleet is instantly destroyed off the coast of Gibraltar. Tarifa is besieged but Hasan, believing that the Castilians are no longer a threat at sea, lays up much of his own fleet. Alfonso, though, has sought the help of his uncle, Alfonso IV of Portugal, and the king of Aragon. The fleet this produces cuts the Merinid chain of communications across the straits of Gibraltar. The Christian army then relieves Tarifa at the Battle of Río Salado (or the Battle of Tarifa) on 30 October 1340. The Merinids are thoroughly defeated and a North African ruler never again threatens Iberia. Granada now fights alone.

1350 - 1366

Pedro 'the Cruel' / Peter

Overthrown and fled to Bayonne.


The savagery of Pedro 'the Cruel' has led to a civil war in which his illegitimate brother, Henry of Trastámara, commands a coalition of nobles who challenge Pedro's authority. Both sides seek foreign support, which began the Spanish phase of the Hundred Years War between England and France.

England supports Peter and his heirs, while the French back Henry of Trastámara and his successors. In 1366 Henry invades Castile and Leon with the help of Peter IV of Aragon and Barcelona. Their professional mercenary army is able to overthrow Pedro so that Henry can claim the throne.

1366 - 1367

Henry II 'the Bastard'


1367 - 1369

Pedro 'the Cruel' / Peter

Restored by Prince Edward of England. Later murdered.


The death of Pedro triggers a fight for the throne. Ferdinand I of Portugal is among the competitors, as are the kings of Aragon and Navarre, and John of Gaunt, English duke of Lancaster. In the end it is Pedro's illegitimate brother who gains the throne, and all parties seek peace talks from Pope Gregory XI.

1369 - 1379

Henry II the Bastard



An unsuccessful war is fought by Portugal, thanks to the intrigues of the English John of Gaunt.

1379 - 1390

Juan / John I

1379 - 1385

Upon the death of Henry II, the English duke of Lancaster (now Richard II's regent), and Ferdinand of Portugal take to the field, but Ferdinand reaches a separate agreement by which his daughter will marry John I and unify the two crowns. Unfortunately, despite the marriage going ahead in 1383, Ferdinand's daughter is pushed aside by her uncle, John of Aviz. War follows in which Castile is heavily defeated (Beatrice dies in 1408).

1390 - 1406

Henry III the Infirm


The Massacre of 1391, or Pogroms of 1391, consists of a display of anti-Semitism and violence against the long-established Jewish Diaspora population in Spain (or, specifically, Castile). It proves to be one of the most horrific and brutal anti-Semitic outrages of the Middle Ages.

Encouraged by the preaching of Fernando Martinez, a priest from Seville, around four thousand Seville Jews are murdered. Their houses and business are put to the torch or are otherwise destroyed, and those who avoid the bloodshed quickly convert to Catholic Christianity in the hopes of surviving the apocalyptic behaviour of Spaniards.


Benefiting from the anarchy within the Merinid kingdom, Henry III invades Morocco, seizes Tetouan, massacres half of the population and reduces it to slavery.

1406 - 1454

Juan / John II

1418 - 1419

FeatureSpanish sailors discover the island of Madeira (known to the Romans as the Purple Islands). A fort is soon built to protect the entrance to the main harbour which becomes an important stopping-off point for long-distance voyages, including those to the Americas within the century.

1454 - 1474

Henry IV the Impotent



Henry takes Gibraltar from the Moroccan Merinids, making the most of the increasingly chaotic situation in the North African sultanate.

1474 - 1504

Isabella I / Isabel / Ysabel

Dau of John II.


The marriage of Isabella, soon-to-be queen of Castile and Leon, to Ferdinand II, heir to the throne of Aragon, Navarre, and Sicily, on 19 October lays the foundation for the political unification of all of Spain under their grandson, Charles. However, Isabella makes it clear that she is the senior partner in the marriage, and while honouring her duties as a wife to Ferdinand, she defines him as her consort. In 1474 she even goes ahead with her coronation without him, although she is careful to maintain the illusion of shared power.

Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain
The marriage in 1469 of royal cousins Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile eventually brought stability to both kingdoms but also presaged an era of Spanish dominance in world affairs


The Treaty of Alcáçovas, also known as the Peace of Alcáçovas-Toledo, is signed between the joint kingdom of Castile and Aragon on one side and King Afonso V and Prince John II of Portugal on the other. It ends the Castilian War of Succession by recognising Isabella as queen of Castile, renouncing Spanish claims to the Portuguese throne and, most importantly for Morocco, it divides the Atlantic and its coastal territories into zones of influence. The Portuguese are now unopposed in their attempts to dominate the kingdom of Fez.

1492 - 1494

The Islamic Nasrids of Granada are finally defeated in 1492, marking the end of the Reconquista. In the same year, on behalf of the Castillian court, Christopher Columbus discovers the Bahamas, Hispaniola, and Cuba. The first Spanish colony is founded on Hispaniola a year later.

The Alhambra Decree (also known as the Edict of Expulsion) sees the country's population of Sephardi Jews being expelled from Spain in 1492. The main reason is to prevent them from influencing the recent tidal wave of conversions to Christianity (involving over half the country's Jewish population since 1391).

Further Jews convert to Christianity to avoid being kicked out of centuries-old homes. When looking for new places to settle, some of the remaining Jewish Diaspora communities return to Palestine while others migrate (heavily) into Ottoman empire North Africa, and into France, Britain, and the Netherlands. A small number head to India where they join the Cochin Jews. A few more convert to Christianity so that they can be allowed to return to Spain.

The Treaty of Tordesillas of 7 June 1494 effectively divides half the known world, including the New World, into Spanish Colonial and Portuguese colonial areas of influence. It ignores all other European powers in the process, so they ignore the treaty in return. It gives Portugal the opportunity to exploit Brazil, and also serves to confirm Portuguese domination in Morocco, amongst many other places.


The hand in marriage of the daughter of Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand, also named Isabella, is being sought by Manuel I of Portugal. Manuel is required to purify Portugal of Sephardi Jews as a condition of marriage. The kingdom subsequently embarks upon a period of enslavement, forced conversion, pogroms, and Jewish Diaspora emigration whilst blocking the ports to prevent Jews from leaving the country.

1501 - 1509

Catherine, another daughter of Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand, marries Arthur Tudor, elder son of Henry VII of England. Arthur dies in 1502, and in 1509 Catherine marries his brother, the soon-to-be-crowned Henry VIII.

1503 - 1509

The small territory on the island of Hispaniola is increased when the rest of the island is secured. Spanish Colonial attempts to control the Americas now has a firm foothold and a base from which to expand further. Puerto Rico is captured in 1508 and Cuba is conquered in 1510. Also in 1509, the League of Cambrai is formed with France, Castile, Hungary, the Papal States, the Holy Roman empire, and Ferrara against Venice. Venice is defeated at Agnadello.

1504 - 1516

Juana / Joanna the Mad

Second dau of Isabella & Ferdinand. Died 1555.

1504 - 1506

Philip I of Habsburg

Son of HRE Maximilian & Mary of Burgundy. Count of Holland.

1504 - 1507

Joanna rules as queen regnant of Castile and Aragon along with her husband, Philip I. When Philip dies in 1506, the couple's six year-old son Charles takes his place.

Rumours of Joanna's mental stability are eventually used against her while her father, Ferdinand II of Aragon, waits patiently for matters to reach a head whilst, in 1505, marrying Germaine of Foix, and thereby bringing the lordship of Andorra under Spanish rule.

In 1507, with the regency council clearly unable to solve the kingdom's problems, he returns to take control as Ferdinand V of Castile, ruling as regent in his grandson's name. Joanna remains queen in name but with no real power.


Castilian forces capture the Zayyanid city of Mostaganem. The city's harbour proves an invaluable addition to Castile's other recent holdings along the North African coast, including Melilla (which had been captured in 1496), and Mers-el-Kebir (taken in 1505).

1507 - 1516

Ferdinand V

King of Aragon, Navarre & Sicily. Regent of Castile.

1506 - 1517

Charles I of Habsburg / Carlos

Son of Joanna and Philip I.


The Castilians establish themselves on a small island called Peñón de Algiers which is situated in the waters immediately outside Algiers. The local amir, Selim al-Toumi at-Thabiti, a relative of the Zayyanid ruler, Abu Abdallah Muhammad VIII, is forced to accept this European presence by signing a treaty and paying tribute to the new arrivals. The island is fortified using the latest military technology. Selim is also forced to travel to Spain to take an oath of obedience to King Ferdinand. This is at a time when the Barbary Corsairs are coming to prominence in North Africa.


Having conquered the Iberian part of Navarre, King Ferdinand V of Aragon makes peace with Louis XII of France and in the treaty agrees to respect the sovereignty of what is now French Navarre.

Under the statutes of Navarre which are registered in the cortes of Burgos, the statutory system of the 'independent' Basque regions now begins to develop. Basque assertions of autonomy are based on these agreements.

1516 - 1517

Alonso de Aragon

Son of Ferdinand V. Interim regent.

1516 - 1517

Upon Ferdinand's death his bastard son, Alonso de Aragon, governs the country until Charles Habsburg arrives to claim his rightful place on the throne. With his accession the kingdoms of Castile, Navarre and Aragon are merged, and a united Spain is created.

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