Happy Valentine’s Day from Government House! In honor of the holiday celebrating love, we are spotlighting the Spanish royal couple Isabella and Ferdinand.
Isabella (1451-1504) was born the second child of the King of Castile. At the time, Spain existed as five independent states ruled by their own monarchs. Due to a rebellion during her brother’s reign, Isabella became the heir apparent to Castile. The compromise came with one condition: Isabella would not marry without her brother’s consent or against her will.
Many attempted to arrange political marriages to Isabella. Some suitors proposed alliances while others offered money for the royal treasury. Isabella refused the proposals. Instead, she made a secret promise to marry Ferdinand (1452-1516), the son of the King of Aragon.
Afraid of opposition, Isabella escaped her brother’s court to elope with Ferdinand. The two married on October 19, 1469, under the joint motto “tanto monta, monta tanto” (“They amount to the same, the same they amount to”). They promised to share power upon inheriting their thrones.
Their marriage began the unification of Spain and issued in an age of exploration. For this we recognize the royal couple on Valentine’s Day and in the city of St. Augustine – where you can see the two represented in statues, paintings, costumes, and other art forms.