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July 08 , 2010

Ferdinand and Isabella


King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain are most often remembered for the epochal voyage of Christopher Columbus. But the historic landfall of October 1492 was only a secondary event of the year. The preceding January, they had accepted the surrender of Muslim Granada, ending centuries of Islamic rule in their peninsula. And later that year, they had ordered the expulsion or forced baptism of Spain's Jewish minority, a cruel crusade undertaken in an excess of zeal for their Catholic faith. Europe, in the century of Ferdinand and Isabella, was also awakening to the glories of a new age, the Renaissance, and the Spain of the "Catholic Kings" - as Ferdinand and Isabella came to be known - was not untouched by this brilliant revival of learning. Here, from the noted historian Malveena McKendrick, is their remarkable story.

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