|Conventional short name:|
|Subdivision of:||Castile and Leon|
|Monarch:||King Alfonso José|
|Established:||1975, By the reunification of the Kingdom|
|Currency:||1 escudo = 4 pesos duros = 20 pesetas = 240 denarios|
Castilian Spain is composed of seven autonomous communities on the Iberian Peninsula in Europe and one autonomous city, Ceuta, in northern Africa.
Castilian Spain has no central government, other than the government of the Kingdom. There is however a council, the Spanish Council, which is in charge of the representation of the Spanish people in the Kingdom, the Castilian Commonwealth and in the international community.
Each autonomous community has its own governor-general (gobernador general) and legislative assembly (asamblea legislativa).
The autonomous communities and the autonomous city are:
- Comunidad Autonómica de Galicia
- Comunidad Autonómica de Asturias
- Comunidad Autonómica de León
- Comunidad Autonómica de Castilla La Vieja
- Comunidad Autonómica de Castilla-La Mancha
- Comunidad Autonómica de Estremadura
- Comunidad Autonómica de Andalucía
- Ciudad Autonómica de Ceuta
La Nación Española de Castilla i León, as it is formally known, sits astride the centre of the Iberian Peninsula and shares a long history with its neighboring countries.
León was founded as a city by the Roman Seventh Legion (Legio Septima Gemina, or 'twin seventh legion'). These headquarters were a centre for trade in gold mined nearby. This city fell to the Visigoths and their King Leovigild in 540, but fell a second time in 717 to the Moors. This was short-lived as a short quarter century later, in 742, it was recaptured by the Kingdom of Asturias.
The independent Kingdom of León was formed in 914 by Christian princes of Asturias on the northern coast who had shifted their capital from Oviedo to León. Leaving behind the unnavigable Atlantic which was infested with Vikings and supposed sea monsters, they settled on the high tableland of Iberia, or the meseta.
In this time when clashes happened between poor and isolated cultures, where salt-making and blacksmithing were considered large industries, the armies that decided kingdoms numbered in the hundreds at best. From that time forward León sought to expand south and east, filling the newly gained territories with castles. This newly acquired land was the County of Burgos until the 930s, when Count Fernán González sought to expand Burgos and make it independent and hereditary. Taking the title King of Castilla because of the plethora of castles he expanded the Kingdom of Castilla at the expense of León through his alliance with the Caliphate of Cordoba. He was stopped by Sancho the Fat of León in 966.
This rift between León and Castilla was exploited constantly by outsiders. Sancho the Great of Navarra (1004-35) succeeded in absorbing Castilla in the 1020s and León in 1034, thus sparing Galicia’s independence for a time.
Fernando, his son, took the county of Castilla, and conquered León and Galicia in 1037. He ruled over this Kingdom of León-Castilla for thirty years until he died in 1065.
Due south lay the rich and decadent Caliphate of Cordoba, like Byzantium, waiting to be sacked. Suffering from internal dissensions, the Andalusians were impoverished because of the tribute demanded by the incalculably rich, sophisticated and powerful Caliphate of Cordoba, like a western Byzantium. Internal dissensions divided Andalusian loyalties in the 11th century, so that the impoverished Christians who had been sending tribute to the Caliphate were eager for a change of government. At Ferdinand’s death his lands were split among his sons, and Garcia emerged victor of the fratricide.
In 1085, Toledo was captured and thus New Castilla was added to the territories. The battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212 marked the Moorish loss of most of the south. León was finally reunited with Castile in 1230, and quickly in succession fell Córdoba (1236), Murcia (1243) and Seville (1248) to Castilla-León hands.
The sack of Toledo on May 6, 1085, by Alfonso VI was a turning point in the growth of León-Castilla and the first milestone of note in the Reconquista. Christian Mozarabs from Al-Andalus had come north to populate the deserted frontier lands, and the traditional view of Spanish history has been that they brought with them the remains of Visigothic and Classical culture, and a new ideology of Reconquista, a crusade against the Moors. The fall of Toledo is viewed as marking a change in relations with the Moorish south, ending the tribute payments and taking land instead. Alfonso was drawn into local politics by strife within Toledo, but then found himself facing unfamiliar problems of settling garrisons in the small Muslim strongholds dependent on Toledo, which had fallen to him with the city, and of appointing a Catholic bishop. Revised definitions of the role of a Catholic king faced with the independent Muslim client-states that bought him off with gold had to be worked out in timely fashion by a Catholic king now governing sophisticated urban Muslim subjects.
León-Castilla was again partitioned in 1195, when a major defeat of Alfonso VIII weakened the authority of Castilla, but the breach was healed in 1230 under Ferdinand III. At this time the coastal province of Lusitania was separated as the independent Kingdom of Portugal. Though later kings of Castile continued to take the title King of León as the superior title, and to use a lion as part of their standard, the history of Leon after 1230 can be followed at "Castile", and locally at entries for the individual cities of León. The Romance Astur-Leonese language was being replaced by Castillian. Under a unified Spanish kingdom in the 16th century León became a captaincy-general.
An attempt was made to form a dynasty in 1469 with Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castilla, but Isabella would have no part of it, and dynastic motives were left by the wayside. Castilla-León remained separate and was strong in the colonization of the New World shortly after it was discovered in 1492 by Cristobal Colón.
Castile and Leon is located on the Iberian Peninsula in Europe, in northwestern South America, on the Central American isthmus, in western Africa, and on some islands in the Pacific. For more details please check in:
- Geography of Castilian Spain.
- Geography of the New Kingdom of Granada.
- Geography of Central America.
Castilian Spain is limited by:
on the north: Aragon and the Cantabrian Sea.
on the west: the Atlantic Ocean and Portugal.
on the east: Aragon
|Castilian Spain | New Kingdom of Granada | Central American Community | Canary Islands|
|Overseas Territories and Colonies|
|Castilian Guinea | Castilian Polynesia | Castilian West Africa | Corregimiento de Manila | Guam|