Isabel of Spain has always captivated historians, pro and con. According to historian Warren Carroll, she was not only the greatest woman monarch to rule in Christendom, but she is also eminently canonizable. A woman of prayer and courageous action, she was also a devoted wife and mother. Spain was far from a great Catholic country when Isabel came to full power in 1474. After eight hundred years of Moslem occupancy, much of the country was still under the enemys yoke. Even before she had married Prince Ferdinand of Aragon and united the country, the Princess of Castile had managed to restore order and discipline to her own morally dissipated province. After the reconquest of Granada, the Moslems last stronghold, she had the liberty to finance the expedition of Columbus. Many of her other virtues are chronicled by Doctor Carroll: her patience in suffering, her endurance of betrayals, and, most importantly, her unmitigating support for, and oftentimes her personal initiation of, ecclesiastical reform.
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