Juana I pp 1-14 | Cite as

In the Footsteps of Juana I

  • Gillian B. Fleming
Part of the Queenship and Power book series (QAP)


In this introductory chapter, I place Juana I of Castile and Aragon at the heart of a deep and lengthy crisis of legitimacy that began with the death of her brother, Prince Juan, in 1497, and reached a climax in the revolutionary war of the Comunidades of 1519–1522, but did not truly end until her own death in 1555. I briefly summarise the problems that Juana faced as proprietary monarch—the monarch in whom the kingdoms of the Trastámara inheritance were embodied and who, in law, alone had the power to dispose of them. The crisis of legitimacy in question was provoked, in the first instance, by rival claims on the crown of Castile, which shared in common a desire to marginalise the lawful monarch. These competing claims led to a series of governments that were not universally, or even widely, seen as lawful, as well to a multiplication of differing poles of authority within the realms of the Castilian crown. I argue that this phenomenon led, in turn, to a curious and confusing historiographical periodisation. In effect, Juana ruled through the Royal Council for just a few months, but the widespread reluctance even to recognise a reign of Juana I has muddied the waters of history, preventing us from being able to fully interpret why things happened as they did. This chapter briefly discusses the different meanings of ‘power’ and the way in which Juana can be said to have exercised it as a key player in the first decades of the sixteenth century.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gillian B. Fleming
    • 1
  1. 1.BrightonUK

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