Isabella: The Warrior Queen is an engaging and revolutionary biography of Isabella of Castile, the controversial Queen of Spain who funded Christopher Columbus' voyage to the New World, instituted the Spanish Inquisition, and became one of history's most powerful female rulers.
In 1474, when most women were essentially powerless, the young, 23-year-old Isabella battled a hostile brother and a turbulent husband to capture leadership of Castile and León. Her future achievements were legendary. She brought an end to a twenty-four-generation conflict between Muslims and Christians by driving North African invaders back over the Mediterranean Sea. She set the groundwork for a united Spain. She paid for Columbus' voyage to the Indies and negotiated Spanish sovereignty over much of the New World. She also destroyed everyone who dared to oppose her by instituting a violent religious Inquisition that would tarnish Spain's reputation for generations.
Whether misunderstood or downright diabolical, no other female leader has done more to influence our modern world. Nonetheless, Isabella's effect has been mostly forgotten by history. Kirstin Downey's dazzling biography, based on new academic research, tells the tale of this bright, fervent, and forgotten lady, the religion that spurred her through life, and the region of ancient wars and intrigue she brought under her rule.