Isabel the Queen: Life and Times by Peggy Liss - review by Raymond Carr

Raymond Carr

Ethnic Cleansing Time

Isabel the Queen: Life and Times

By

Oxford University Press 408pp 19.95 order from our bookshop
 

Queen Isabel the Catholic is not to everybody's taste nowadays. Pressure for her sanctification has markedly dropped off lately.

Her emblem, the Yoke and Arrows, became the badge of the Fascist Falange. She was much admired by General Franco, for it was Isabel who forged the indivisible link between Catholicism and Spain's identity and existence as a nation. To enforce this unity, she expelled Jews and Muslims, founding and fostering the Spanish Inquisition. As if this was not enough, to ecologists and Third Worlders, by backing Christopher Columbus in 1492, she was responsible for the destruction of rain forests and the genocide of pacific Indians. To wash away these stains Expo '92 celebrated 1492 without mentioning Columbus, while King Juan Carlos visited a synagogue accompanied by the President of Israel.

Born in 1451, the daughter of a homosexual king, Isabel spent her youth enforcing her claims against Juana, supposedly the offspring of yet another homosexual king. The confusions conditioned to believe in the monarch's redemptive mission as the vicar of God, with whom she claimed a privileged direct relationship. Courtiers

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter