Isabella and Ferdinand

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.

A metal sculpture of Queen Isabella of Spain riding a donkey down a mountain  . An arm can be seen reaching up towards the Queen looking down.
A statue of Queen Isabella from the Hispanic Garden. (UFDC)

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.

An etching depicting Queen Isabella of Spain's profile behind King Ferdinand of Spain, who holds a scepter. Foliage surrounds their depiction, which is enclosed in a circle. Beneath their image, a description written in Latin is enclosed in an oval.
An etching of Isabella and Ferdinand (The Royal Collection Trust)

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.

A large group of people dressed as royalty and in Spanish-style clothes pose in front of the Juan Ponce De Leon Hotel.
During the 1927 Ponce De Leon celebration, the royal court included people dressed as Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. (UFDC)

One thought on “Isabella and Ferdinand

  1. Pingback: St. Augustine’s Historic Gardens – Governor's House Library

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