Joanna of Castile (1479–1555)

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Joanna of Castile (14791555)

Queen of Castile and Leon whose life was troubled by the recurring bouts of insanity and extreme behavior that earned her the nickname of Joan the Mad. She was born in Toledo, the daughter of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella of Castile, who united these two kingdoms to establish the monarchy of Spain. In 1496 Joanna married Philip the Handsome, son of Emperor Maximilian I. After the death of her brother John, her elder sister Queen Isabella of Portugal, and nephew Miguel of Asturias, she was the eldest surviving daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella, and as such was officially recognized by the Spanish Cortes (parliament) as the heir to the throne of Castile in 1502. The death of Queen Isabella in 1504 brought Joanna the formal right to this title, but her claim was clouded by the ambitions of her husband and of her father Ferdinand, who maintained that she had been made a prisoner by Philip. Her husband's death of typhoid fever in 1506 left her in a deranged state of mind, under which she allowed Ferdinand to rule with her as co-regent. Ferdinand took advantage of the situation to imprison Joanna in the castle of Tordesillas, where she remained. In 1516, on Ferdinand's death, her son Charles became co-regent. The nobles of Spain did not take to Charles, however, and revolted against the foreign governors he sent to rule over them in the Revolt of the Comuneros in 1520. Kept prisoner at Tordesillas, Joanna was unable to summon the rebels to her side, and after the revolt was put down she was confined to an isolated room, where she remained until her death in 1555.

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Joanna of Castile (1479–1555)

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