Although Queen Isabella is most famous for funding the voyages of Christopher Columbus, which opened up the Western Hemisphere for European settlement, she and her husband Ferdinand of Aragon focused most of their reign on the daunting task of uniting Spain under one government. Born into the ruling family of Castile, Isabella lost her parents at a young age and was raised by her unstable and unpopular half-brother, King Enrique IV. When Enrique, on his deathbed, refused to name an heir, twenty-three-year old Isabella seized the throne. It took Isabella and Ferdinand five years of war to consolidate control in Castile. Next, they turned to the long and bloody process of driving the last of the Moors from Spain and unifying most of the Iberian Peninsula. Their commitment to their faith, and to removing all non-Christians from their kingdom, earned the Catholic Monarchs, as they were called, the support of the Catholic Church, but also led to the infamous Spanish Inquisition and to the violent expulsion of all Muslims and Jews from the kingdom. Queen Isabella and the Unification of Spain introduces readers to this intriguing and controversial ruler, and to this fascinating period in European history. Book jacket.