Gold Castellano of Ferdinand & Isabella of Castile


Gold Castellano of Ferdinand & Isabella of Castile


Minted five years after the marriage of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand, this Spanish gold coin represents the increasingly unified economy of the Iberian peninsula.

The marriage of King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile was perhaps the most consequential moment in the economic trajectory of early modern Spain. More than just a marriage of two significant monarchs, it was more importantly a unification of two kingdoms that would come to challenge the political order of western Europe. The reign of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand was characterized by ambitious institutional reforms, strict enforcement of religious uniformity, and a far-reaching colonial project to expand empire. In fact, it was Queen Isabella herself who funded and authorized the first voyages of Christopher Columbus, a development that would prove to reshape the economic landscape of Europe for centuries to come. Throughout their reign, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella navigated intense social upheaval throughout the kingdoms and often responded to the demands not of the clergymen and nobles, but of comuneros whose national movement called for reforms to the very mechanism by which the Crown could mint its currency (Cowans, 47). Indeed, the grievances of the Spanish townspeople extended even to the state's monetary policy. That is not to say, however, that early modern Spain experienced uninterrupted expansion of its domestic economy. The crown's failed monetary policies proved disastrous, as gold coins such as this became increasingly valueless and price signals could not stabilize in response. By 1652, villages in Andalusia broke out in riot as commoners demanded a lower exchange rate and more affordable goods (Cowans, 173).




Unknown. Medieval Coin, 1474, The Portable Antiquities Scheme.

Cowans, Jon. Early Modern Spain : A Documentary History. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003. 




Zach Irvin


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[Unknown], “Gold Castellano of Ferdinand & Isabella of Castile,” HIST 139 - Early Modern Europe, accessed March 25, 2023,

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