Juana I pp 231-256 | Cite as

The Giants’ War (1519–1520)

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

Abstract

The previous chapter charted the growing unrest in the Spanish kingdoms after Fernando’s death. In this chapter, I show how the events of 1519–1520 kindled an already explosive situation. In June 1519, following the death of Maximilian I, Charles was elected to the imperial crown. He hurried back to Castile from Aragon in preparation for his coronation journey to Aachen, and, after summoning a Cortes to Galicia, left Spain in the grip of the comunero uprising, or war of the Comunidades. The giants’ war of the chapter title refers to the contemporary work by Alonso de Castrillo, comparing the uprising to the Gigantomachy of Greek myth. At its heart was the figure of the imprisoned queen. In August 1520, talks between the queen and local officials were followed by the entry into the town of the militias of Toledo, Madrid and Segovia. Juana’s meeting with the militia captains and subsequently with the procurators of what became known as the Cortes and General Junta took place in a euphoric atmosphere. This, however, quickly deteriorated, with the Junta refusing to grant Juana’s demands and the queen refusing to endorse their acts of government. I demonstrate how the Junta’s claim to represent royal legitimacy masked an impossible struggle between queen and comuneros, with Juana constantly re-asserting her right to govern by summoning the Royal Council, and the Junta refusing to accept the Council’s (and, by extension, the queen’s) authority. Despite the increasingly revolutionary nature of the Junta’s political vision, the enduring importance of the queen for the comuneros, and their belief that “the root and first cause” of Castile’s misfortunes was Juana’s ill health, are shown by their various attempts to ‘cure’ her, including by exorcism.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

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

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