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Joanna I of Castile

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Joanna I of Castile

"Juana la Loca" redirects here. For the movie, see Juana la Loca (2001 film).
"Joanna of Aragon" redirects here. For other uses, see Joanna of Aragon (disambiguation).
For other uses, see Joanna of Castile (disambiguation).
Joanna
Portrait by Juan de Flandes, c. 1500
Queen of Castile and León
Reign 26 November 1504 – 12 April 1555
Predecessors Isabella I & Ferdinand V
Successor Charles I
Co-rulers Philip I
Charles I
Queen of Aragon
Reign 23 January 1516 – 12 April 1555
Predecessor Ferdinand II
Successor Charles I
Co-ruler Charles I
Spouse Philip I of Castile
Issue
Eleanor, Queen of Portugal and France
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Isabella, Queen of Denmark
Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor
Mary, Queen of Hungary
Catherine, Queen of Portugal
House House of Trastámara
Father Ferdinand II of Aragon
Mother Isabella I of Castile
Born (1479-11-06)6 November 1479
Toledo, Spain
Died 12 April 1555(1555-04-12) (aged 75)
Tordesillas, Spain
Burial Capilla Real, Granada, Spain
Religion Roman Catholicism

Joan (6 November 1479 – 12 April 1555), known as Joan the Mad (Spanish: Juana la Loca), was queen in her own right of the Castile from 1504 and of Aragon from 1516. From the union of these two crowns modern Spain evolved.[1] Joanna married Philip the Handsome, who was crowned King of Castile in 1506, initiating the rule of the Habsburgs in Spain. After Philip's death that same year, Joanna became mentally ill and was confined to a nunnery for the rest of her life. Though she remained the legal queen of Castile throughout this time, her father, Ferdinand II of Aragon, was regent until his death, when she inherited his kingdom as well. From 1517, her son, Charles, ruled as king in her name.

Life as Princess

Early life

Joanna was born in the city of Toledo, the capital of the Kingdom of Castile. She was the third child and second daughter of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon of the royal House of Trastámara. Joanna was an intelligent child and student. In the Castilian court her main tutors were the Dominican priest Andrés de Miranda, the respected educator Beatriz Galindo who was a member of the queen's court, and her mother the queen. She was accomplished in religious studies, court etiquette, the arts of dance and music, and equestrian skills. Joanna mastered all of the Iberian Romance languages: Castilian, Leonese, Galician-Portuguese and Catalan. She also was fluent in French and Latin. She was trained and educated for a significant marriage that, as a royal family alliance, would extend the kingdoms' power and security as well as its influence and peaceful relations with other ruling powers. As an infanta she was not expected to be heiress to the throne of either Castile or Aragon, although through deaths she later inherited both.

Joanna was said to have been an extremely attractive woman during her youth. She had a fair complexion, blue eyes and her hair colour was between reddish-blonde and auburn, like her mother and sister Catherine. English ambassadors at Valencia on 23 June 1505 attempted to give a detailed description of her appearance according to fifteen criteria though her clothing hampered their estimation.[2]

Marriage


In 1496, Joanna, at the age of sixteen, was betrothed to Philip the Handsome, Duke of Burgundy (titular), in the region of Flanders in the Low Countries. Philip's parents were Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor and his first wife, Duchess Mary of Burgundy. The marriage was one of a set of family alliances between the Habsburgs and the Trastámaras designed to strengthen both against growing French power. Joanna entered a proxy marriage at the Palacio de los Vivero in the city of Valladolid, Castile (her parents had secretly married there in 1469). In August 1496 Joanna left from the port of Laredo in northern Spain on the Atlantic's Bay of Biscay. She would not see her siblings again except for her younger sister Catherine of Aragon in 1506, who was then the Princess Dowager of Wales. Joanna began her journey to Flanders in the Low Countries, which consisted of parts of the present day Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, and Germany, on 22 August 1496. The formal marriage took place on 20 October 1496 in Lier,[3] north of present day Brussels. Between 1498 and 1507, she gave birth to six children: two emperors and four queens.[3]

Joanna's life with Philip was rendered extremely unhappy by his infidelity and her political insecurity. He consistently attempted to usurp her legal birthrights to power. This led in no small part to rumors of her insanity, stoked by reports of her depressive or neurotic acts while she was imprisoned or manipulated by her husband.

Princess of Asturias

The death of Joanna's brother John, the stillbirth of John's daughter and the deaths of Joanna's older sister Isabella and Isabella's son Miguel made Joanna heiress to the Spanish kingdoms. Her remaining siblings were Maria (1482–1517) and Catherine (1485–1536), younger than Joanna by three and six years, respectively. In 1502, the Castilian Cortes of Toro[4][5][6] recognized Joanna as heiress to the Castilian throne and Philip as her consort. She was named Princess of Asturias, the title traditionally given to the heir of Castile.[7] Also in 1502, the Aragonese Cortes gathered in Zaragoza to swear an oath to Joanna as heiress; however, the Archbishop of Saragossa expressed firmly that this oath could only establish jurisprudence by way of a formal agreement on the succession between the Cortes and the king.[8][9]

In 1502, Philip, Joanna and a large part of the Burgundian court traveled to Spain for Joanna to receive fealty from the Cortes of Castile as Princess of Asturias, heiress to the Castilian throne, a journey chronicled in great detail by Antoon I van Lalaing (French: Antoine de Lalaing). Philip and the majority of the court returned to the Low Countries in the following year, leaving a pregnant Joanna in Madrid where she gave birth to her and Philip's fourth child, Ferdinand, later a central European monarch and Holy Roman Emperor as Ferdinand I.

Reign


Queen of Castile

Succession

Upon the death of her mother in November 1504, Joanna became Queen regnant of Castile and her husband jure uxoris its king. Joanna's father, Ferdinand II, lost his monarchical status in Castile although his wife's will permitted him to govern in Joanna's absence or, if Joanna was unwilling to rule herself, until Joanna's heir reached the age of 20. Ferdinand refused to accept this: he minted Castilian coins in the name of "Ferdinand and Joanna, King and Queen of Castile, Léon and Aragon," and, in early 1505, persuaded the Cortes that Joanna's "illness is such that the said Queen Doña Joanna our Lady cannot govern". The Cortes then appointed Ferdinand as Joanna's guardian and the kingdom's administrator and governor. However, her husband Philip the Handsome was unwilling to accept any threat to his chances of ruling Castile and also minted coins in the name of "Philip and Joanna, King and Queen of Castile, Léon and Archdukes of Austria, etc."[10] In response, Ferdinand embarked upon a pro-French policy, marrying Germaine de Foix, niece of Louis XII of France (and his own great-niece), in the hope that she would produce a son to inherit Aragon and perhaps Castile.[11]

Ferdinand's remarriage merely strengthened support for Philip and Joanna in Castile, and in late 1505, the pair decided to travel to Castile. Leaving Flanders on 10 January 1506, their ships were wrecked on the English coast and the couple were guests of Henry, Prince of Wales, later Henry VIII and Joanna's sister Catherine of Aragon at Windsor Castle. They weren't able to leave until 21 April by which time civil war was looming in Castile. Philip apparently considered landing in Andalusia and summoning the nobles to take up arms against Ferdinand in Aragon. Instead, he and Joanna landed at La Coruña on 26 April, whereupon the Castilian nobility abandoned Ferdinand en masse. Ferdinand met Philip at Villafáfila on 20 June 1506 and handed over the government of Castile to his "most beloved children", promising to retire to Aragon. Philip and Ferdinand then signed a second treaty, agreeing that Joanna's mental instability made her incapable of ruling and promising to exclude her from government. Ferdinand then proceeded to repudiate the agreement the same afternoon, declaring that Joanna should never be deprived of her rights as Queen Proprietress of Castile. A fortnight later, having come to no fresh agreement with Philip and thus effectively retaining his right to interfere if he considered his daughter's rights to have been infringed upon, he abandoned Castile for Aragon, leaving Philip to govern in Joanna's stead.[12]

Philip's death

By virtue of the agreement of Villafáfila, the procurators of the Cortes met in Valladolid, Castile on 9 July 1506. On 12 July,[13][14] they swore allegiance to Philip I and Joanna together as King and Queen of Castile and León and to their son Charles, later Charles I of Castile, Leon and Aragon and Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, as their heir-apparent.[15] This arrangement only lasted for a few months. On 25 September 1506 Philip died suddenly of typhoid fever in the city of Burgos in Castile. Some suspected that he had been poisoned by his father-in-law Ferdinand II who had always disliked his foreign Habsburg origins and with whom he never wanted to share power. Joanna was pregnant with their sixth child, a daughter named Catherine (1507–1578), who later became Queen of Portugal. By 20 December 1506 Joanna was in the village of Torquemada in Castile, attempting to exercise her rights to rule alone in her own name as Queen of Castile. The country fell into disorder. Her son and heir-apparent, Charles, later Charles I, was a six-year old child being raised in his aunt's care in northern European Flanders; her father, Ferdinand II, remained in Aragon, allowing the crisis to grow. A regency council under Archbishop Cisneros was set up against the queen's orders but it was unable to manage the growing public disorder; plague and famine devastated the kingdom with supposedly half the population perishing of one or the other. The queen was unable to secure the funds required to assist her to protect her power. In the face of this, Ferdinand II returned to Castile in July 1507. His arrival coincided with a remission of the plague and famine, a development which quieted the instability and left an impression that his return had restored the health of the kingdom.[16]

Father's regency

Ferdinand II and Joanna met at Hornillos, Castile on 30 July 1507. Ferdinand then constrained her to yield up her power over the Kingdom of Castile and León to himself. On 17 August 1507 she summoned three members of the royal council and ordered them to inform the grandees, in her name, of her father Ferdinand II's return to power: "That they should go to receive his highness and serve him as they would her person and more." She refused to sign the instructions – a last gesture of defiance – and issued a statement that she did not, as queen regnant, endorse the surrender of her own royal power. Nonetheless, she was thereafter queen in name only and all documents, though issued in her name, were signed with Ferdinand's signature, "I the King". He was named administrator of the kingdom by the Cortes of Castile in 1510, and entrusted the government mainly to Archbishop Cisneros. He had Joanna confined in the Santa Clara convent in Tordesillas, near Valladolid in Castile, in February 1509 after having dismissed all of her faithful servants and having appointed a small retinue accountable to him alone.[7] At this time, some accounts claim that she was insane or "mad", and that she took her husband's corpse with her to Tordesillas to keep it close to her.[12]

First Queen of Spain

Succession as Queen of Aragon

Ferdinand II ended his days embittered: his second marriage had failed to produce a surviving male heir leaving his daughter Joanna as his heiress-presumptive. Ferdinand resented that, upon his death, Castile and Aragon would effectively pass to his foreign-born-and-raised grandson Charles I, to whom he had transferred his hatred of Philip I. He had hoped that his younger grandson and namesake, Ferdinand I, who was Charles I's brother and had been born and raised in Castile, would succeed him. Ferdinand II had named Ferdinand as his heir-apparent in his will before being persuaded to revoke this bequest and rename Joanna and Charles I as his heirs-presumptive instead. When Ferdinand II died in 1516, the Kingdoms of Castile and León, and Aragon and their associated crowns and territories/colonies would pass to Joanna I and Charles I.[17] With Charles I still in Flanders, Aragon was being governed after Ferdinand II's death by his bastard son, Alonso de Aragón. Meanwhile, Castile and León, already subjects of Joanna, were governed by Archbishop Cisneros as regent. A group of nobles, led by the Duke of Infantado, attempted to proclaim the Infante Ferdinand as King of Castile but the attempt failed.

Son as co-monarch

In October 1517, seventeen-year-old Charles I arrived in Asturias at the Bay of Biscay. On 4 November, he and his sister Eleanor met their mother Joanna at Tordesillas – there they secured from her the necessary authorization to allow Charles to rule as her co-King of Castile and León and of Aragon. Despite her acquiescence to his wishes her confinement would continue. The Castilian Cortes, meeting in Valladolid, spited Charles by addressing him only as Su Alteza ("Your Highness") and reserving Majestad ("Majesty") for Joanna.[18] However, no one seriously considered rule by Joanna a realistic proposition.[19]

In 1519 Charles I now ruled the Kingdom of Aragon and its territories and the Kingdom of Castile and León and its territories, in personal union. In addition, that same year Charles was elected Holy Roman Emperor. The kingdoms of Castile and Aragon (and Navarre) remained in personal union until their jurisdictional unification in the early 18th century by the Bourbons while Charles abdicated as Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in favor of his brother Ferdinand and the personal union with the Spanish kingdoms was dissolved.

Revolt of the Comuneros

In 1520, the Revolt of the Comuneros broke out in response to the perceived foreign Habsburg influence over Castile through Charles V. The rebel leaders demanded that Castile be governed in accordance with the supposed practices of the Catholic Monarchs. In an attempt to legitimize their rebellion, the Comuneros turned to Joanna. As the 'on record' sovereign monarch, had she given written approval to the rebellion, it would have been legalized and would have triumphed. In an attempt to prevent this, Don Antonio de Rojas, Bishop of Mallorca, led a delegation of royal councilors to Tordesillas, asking Joanna to sign a document denouncing the Comuneros. She demurred, requesting that he present her specific provisions. Before this could be done the Comuneros in turn stormed the virtually undefended city and requested her support. The request prompted Adrian of Utrecht, the regent appointed by Charles V, to declare that Charles would lose Castile if she granted her support. Although she was sympathetic to the Comuneros, she was persuaded by Ochoa de Landa and her confessor Fray John of Avila that supporting the revolt would irreparably damage the country and her son's kingship and she therefore refused to sign a document granting her support.[20] The Battle of Villalar confirmed that Charles would prevail over the revolt.

Forced confinement

Charles ensured his domination and throne by having his mother confined for the rest of her life in the rooms of the Convent of Santa Clara in Tordesillas, Castile. Joanna's condition degenerated further. She apparently became convinced that some of the nuns of the convent wanted to kill her, a fear which was never proved. Reportedly it was difficult for her to eat, sleep, bathe, or change her clothes. Charles wrote to the Convent of Santa Clara caretakers: "It seems to me that the best and most suitable thing for you to do is to make sure that no person speaks with Her Majesty, for no good could come from it".

Joanna had her youngest daughter, Catherine of Austria, with her during Ferdinand II's time as regent, 1507–1516. Her older daughter, Eleanor of Austria, had created a semblance of a household within the convent rooms. In her final years, Joanna's physical state began to rapidly decline with mobility ever more difficult.

Joanna died on Good Friday, 12 April 1555 at the age of 75 in the Convent of Santa Clara at Tordesillas.[7] She is entombed in the Royal Chapel of Granada (la Capilla Real) in Spain alongside her parents Isabella I and Ferdinand II, her husband Philip I and her nephew Miguel da Paz, Prince of Asturias. A statue of her stands in Tordesillas and the convent in which she was confined for fifty years can be visited.


Mental health

Most historians now agree that she had melancholia,[21]:9 severe clinical depression,[21]:9[22] a psychosis,[22] or a case of inherited schizophrenia.[21]:9[22] There is debate about the diagnosis that she was mentally ill considering that her symptoms were aggravated by non-consensual confinement and control by others who had assumed her royal powers. To legitimize the claims of her husband, father, and son to the throne, Joanna was nominalized as Queen regnant of Castile, León, and Aragon until her death. It is possible that she inherited mental illness from her mother's family: her maternal grandmother Isabella of Portugal, Queen of Castile suffered from it in widowhood after her stepson exiled her to the castle of Arévalo in Ávila, Castile.[21]:12[23]

Legacy in arts and letters

The story of Queen Joanna attracted authors, composers and artists of the 19th century romanticist movement, with her qualities of unrequited love and moral fidelity. Later authors often focus on the grief-stricken woman and her mental illness. An incomplete list of these works follows:

Arms

Children

Name Birth Death Notes
Eleanor 15 November 1498 25 February 1558(1558-02-25) (aged 59) married firstly in 1518, Manuel I of Portugal and had children; married secondly in 1530, Francis I of France and had no children.
Charles 24 February 1500 21 September 1558(1558-09-21) (aged 58) married in 1526, Isabella of Portugal and had children.
Isabella 18 July 1501 19 January 1526(1526-01-19) (aged 24) married in 1515, Christian II of Denmark and had children.
Ferdinand 10 March 1503 25 July 1564(1564-07-25) (aged 61) married in 1521, Anna of Bohemia and Hungary and had children.
Mary 18 September 1505 18 October 1558(1558-10-18) (aged 53) married in 1522, Louis II of Hungary and Bohemia and had no children.
Catherine 14 January 1507 12 February 1578(1578-02-12) (aged 71) married in 1525, John III of Portugal and had children.

All Joanna's children except Mary had children. However, only Charles, Isabella and Ferdinand have descendants today.

Ancestry

References

Bibliography

Biographies
  • W. H. Prescott, Hist. of Ferdinand and Isabella (1854)
  • Rosier, Johanna die Wahnsinnige'(1890)
  • H. Tighe, A Queen of Unrest (1907).
  • R. Villa, La Reina doña Juana la Loca (1892)
  • Bethany Aram, Juana the Mad: Sovereignty and Dynasty in Renaissance Europe" (Baltimore, John Hopkins UP, 2005).
Works cited
  • Miller T. The Castles and the Crown. Coward-McCann: New York, 1963
  • Aram, Bethany, "Juana "the Mad's" Signature: The Problem of Invoking Royal Authority, 1505- 1507", Sixteenth Century Journal
  • Elliott, J.H., Imperial Spain, 1469–1716
  • de Francisco Olmos, José María: Estudio documental de la moneda castellana de Juana la Loca fabricada en los Países Bajos (1505–1506), Revista General de Información y Documentación 2002, vol 12, núm.2 (Universidad complutense de Madrid).
  • de Francisco Olmos, José María: Revista General de Información y Documentación 2003, vol 13, núm.2 (Universidad complutense de Madrid).
  • Juan-Navarro, Santiago, Maria Gomez, and Phyllis Zatlin. . Newark and London: Bucknell University Press, 2008.

External links

  • Biography of Juana the Mad of Castile (1479–1555)
  • Juana of Castile at Find-A-Grave
Joanna of Castile
Born: 6 November 1479 Died: 12 April 1555
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Isabella I and Ferdinand V
Queen of Castile and León
1504–1555
with Philip I (1506)
Charles I (1516–1555)
Succeeded by
Charles I
Preceded by
Ferdinand II
Queen of Aragon, Sicily,
Valencia, Majorca and Naples;
Countess of Barcelona,
Roussillon and Cerdagne

1516–1555
with Charles I (1516–1555)
Spanish royalty
Vacant
Title last held by
Miguel of Portugal
Princess of Girona
1502–1509
Succeeded by
John of Aragon
Princess of Asturias
1502–1504
Succeeded by
Charles of Austria
Preceded by
John of Aragon
Princess of Girona
1509–1516
Royal titles
Vacant
Title last held by
Isabella of Bourbon
Consort to the
ruler of the Netherlands[1]

20 October 1496 – 25 September 1506
Succeeded by
Isabella of Portugal

Template:Castilian monarchs Template:Leonese monarchs Template:Aragonese monarchs

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