Castile

Former kingdom in the central part of the Iberian peninsula, now forming the provinces of Burgos, Palencia, Valladolid, Segovia, Avila, Soria, Logrofio, Santander, Madrid, Toledo, Ciudad Real, and Guadalajara. Recovery of the territory of Old Castile began in the time of the first three Alfonsos of Leon. The counts appointed to rule over the new territory increased in power and revolted against the kings, one of the most famous being Fernan Gonzalez, who continued to foment discord even after the marriage of his daughter to the king‘s son. After his death the Moors again attempted to seize the conquered territory but were vanquished by his grandson Sancho Garcia in the victory of Caltafiazor (1002). By his grant of charters to many cities he won the title El de Los Fueros (He of the Rights). Sancho the Great of Navarre took possession of Castile on the death of Sancho Garcia’s son, and his son Ferdinand I united Leon and Castile which were later separated and reunited under Alfonso VI whose daughter Urraca became first queen. Alfonso VIII (1158-1214) definitely freed New Castile from the Moslem yoke in the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa (1212), commemorated annually by the Church in Spain on 16 July as “El Triumfo de la Santa Cruz” (The Triumph of the Holy Cross). Castile and Leon were united decisively under Saint Ferdinand III (1219-1252) who regained from the Moors all but the kingdom of Granada. In the reign of Alfonso XI (1310-1350) the last of the Moors attempting reconquest of Spain were vanquished in the battle of Salado. Discords later disturbed the realm and the rulers were often cruel and incompetent. At the instigation of the nobles Henry IV the Impotent declared his daughter Joan illegitimate, and the kingdom passed to his sister Isabella the Catholic (1474) whose marriage with Ferdinand of Aragon united the kingdoms, forming the basis of the modern Kingdom of Spain.