Under Ferdinand and Isabella, Castile, Aragon, and Navarre remained, de jure and de facto, independent kingdoms, and continued to be governed in accordance with their own jealously guarded statutes and traditional privileges and charters. Yet it soon became clear that something quite fundamental had begun to change with the union of crowns. The new monarchs were determined from the outset to assert and consolidate the personal authority of the crown throughout the disparate territories over which they now jointly presided. The late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries thus saw a concerted effort by them to relegate to history the decades of destabilizing political strife and violence that had so recently beset Castile and from which the constituent parts of the Crown of Aragon, especially Catalonia, had themselves been by no means exempt. The Cortes, a representative, though not itself legislative assembly convened by Ferdinand and Isabella in late April of 1476 at Madrigal de la Altas Torres marked the beginnings of a new bond, effectively one of co-dependency in the early years, between monarchs and towns that would help to underpin the crown’s authority and begin finally to erode the much abused power of an overweening Castilian nobility. Further measures, including the definitive assertion of royal control over the powerful Castilian Military Orders of Santiago, Calatrava, and Alcántara, acknowledged finally by a papal bull of 1523, served further to reign in the power of the aristocracy.
KeywordsEarly Modern Period Personal Authority Charles Versus Late Fifteenth Abuse Power
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