The powerful personalities of Ferdinand and Isabella had a major impact on the societies and states of early Europe and America. They unified Spain under one government and established the new Inquisition in 1478; they affirmed the country's Catholic Christian identity by forcing Muslims and Jews to convert to Christianity and they sent Christopher Columbus to discover a 'New World'. Their influence has passed down centuries, providing political and cultural role models during the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco. Powerful figures in history have generally achieved dominance as individuals, and have largely been male. This book is striking in being about a couple, not a single, dominant ruler. On the 500th anniversary of the death of Isabella, John Edwards provides a gripping and topical account of the dynamics of their power relationship and the religious controversies of their reign. This is essential reading for those concerned with power, politics and religion and with interfaith relations in the premodern world. John Edwards is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Fellow of the George Bell Institute, and Correspondent of the Spanish Royal Academy of History.
Now a Research Fellow in Spanish at the University of Oxford, he was formerly Senior Lecturer in Medieval History and Reader in Spanish History at the University of Birmingham. He has written extensively on Spanish History, including The Spain of the Catholic Monarchs, 1474-1520 (2000).
John Edwards has been involved in work on Spanish history and literature for over thirty years, having published, to date, eight books and over eighty articles and conference papers in Britain, the USA, Spain, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Poland and Israel. For twenty years he has taught at the University of Birmingham, successively as Lecturer and Senior Lecturer in Medieval History and as Reader in Spanish History. He is also a University Research Fellow in Spanish at Oxford University.