Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership
Kingdom of Castilla
Also see Spain Heads and Spain Ecclesiastical Territory
1017-27 Regent Abbess Urraca Garciez de Covarrubias of Castilla
Joint regent for nephew Count Garcia II (1110-17-29), after her brother, Sancho was killed. She was daughter of Cout Carcia I and was Abbess of Covarrubias, and ruled together with bishop Pedro of Burgos.
1029-32 Heredtary Countess Munia Mayor
She took over the claims to the title after her brother Garcia II was assassinated, and her husband, King Sancho III Garces de Navarra, became Count of Castilla. After he was murdered in 1035 her son Fernando I became king of Castilla and Garcia V of Navarra. She was daughter of Count Sancho de Castile (995-1017) and Urraca Perez. She lived (995-1032).
1109-29 Queen Regnant Urraca I Alfonsez of Castilla and Léon
In 1107 she reigned over her Dowry Galicia and Zamora which was given to her first husband, Count Raimond de Bourgogne, as a fief. She inherited the throne from her father King Alfonso VI Fernandez of Castile and Leon (1040 - 1109) in 1109.Her second marriage in the year 1109 to Alfonso I Perez de Aragon (d. 1134) ended in divorce in 1112. She also fought a war against her half-sister Tarasia of Portugal who tried to expand her territories. She died in childbed, unmarried and 46 years old. She was succeeded in 1128 by her son Alfonso VII Raymundez of Castile and Leon "Imperator totus Hispaniae" (d. 1157). Urraca lived (1082-1128/29).
1157-ca.58 Regent Dowager Queen Berengela Raimondo de Barcelona of Castilla, Leon and Galicia
The widow of king Alfonso II (1105-57), she acted as regent for her son, King Fernando II (1137-57-88). She lived (1105-57).
1214 Regent Dowager Queen Leonor de Plantagenet of Castilla
Co-Regent for Enrique I (1214-17) and her daughter, Princess Bergengula became regent after her death. She was daughter of Duchess Leonora of Aquitanie and King Henry II of England. (d. 1214).
1214-15 Regent Princess Berenguela of Castilla
1217 Queen Regnant of Asturias-León and Castilla
1230 Regent in León
First she governed in the name of her brother Enrique I (1204-14-15-17). Later she divorced - under Pope Innocent III's orders - from her second-degree cousin King Alfonso IX de Leon (King of Leon 1188 -1230). When her brother died in 1217, she renounced her rights in favour of her son, Fernando II de Castilla, and she acted as his regent, according to the Cronica Latina, her "total intent and desire being to procure honor for her son in every way possible". She helped quell the rebellious nobles, and then arranged for Fernando to marry a high-born wife, Elisabeth of Swabia. She often found herself politically at odds with her former husband. Alfonso had two daughters, Sancha and Dulce, by an earlier wife, and wished to disinherit her children in favour of these daughters. To this end, he invited Jean de Brienne to marry his eldest daughter and thus inherit his kingdom. She sabotaged this plan by convincing Jean to marry her own daughter, also named Berenguela, instead. Later, in 1230 when Alfonso died, she and her son Fernando acted to set aside the rights of the older daughters, and seized the Leonese throne. She maintained close connections with her sister, Queen Blanche of France, and lived (1180-1246).
1275-1300 Politically Active Queen Violante de
Aragón of Castilla (Spain)
When her eldest son, Fernando de la Cerda, died suddenly, and her husband, Alfonso X of Castile, named their second son as heir instead of the sons of the Dowager Crown-Princess Blanche de France. Violante and her daughter-in-law escaped with the the children to Aragon, where Violante’s brother was king. The two ladies tried to find supporters everywhere in Europe, and started to build up a political network bywriting letters to Blanche's mother Marguerite de Province, the French dowager queen, to other royals, to the pope and other important personalities. Finally, after negotiating, Violante returned home but never was really reconciled with her husband. Violante spent several years in Castile consecrating her life to pious works, but occasionally made her way back to the political scene supporting for
example her son Sancho, who had started a rebellion against her estranged husband, the king. (d. circa 1300).
1275-1320 Politically Active Dowager Princess Blanche de France of Castilla (Spain)
After the death of her husband, the Castillian Heir, Prince Fernando de la Cerda, she started the fight to have her children, Alfonso de la Cerda and Ferdinando de la Cerda recognized as rightful heirs to the throne. She went in exile together with her mother-in-law, Violante de Aragón. She received open support from the queens and princesses, creating thus a kind of female network in politics. After Violante reconziled with her husband, Blanche continued her fight until her brother signed a peace treaty with king Sancho IV of Castile and recognised him as king. She was forced to ratify that treaty as well and then she retired to a French nunnery. She lived (1253-1323).
1295-1301 Regent Dowager Queen María de Alfonso de Molina of Castilla
1312-21 (†) Regent
Lady de Molina in her own right, she was widow of Sancho IV. As regent for her son, Ferdinando IV, she defended his throne against several pretenders, who were at various times supported by France, Aragón, Portugal, Navarre, and Granada. After Ferdinando’s death (1312), she acted as a guardian to her grandson Alfonso XI, while the regency was contested among his other relatives.
1369-94 Claimant to the Throne and Titular Queen Constanza of Castilla
Daughter of King Pedro I of Castillan and Léon, who was murdered in 1369. Since her brother had died in 1362 and her sister was a nun, she and her husband since 1371, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, persued the throne of her father, though unsuccessfully. Their daughter Catalina Plantagenet (1372-1418) married King Enrique III of Castile (1379–1406) of the Trastamara line. She lived (1354-94),
1406-18 Regent Dowager Queen Catalina de Lancaster of Castilla
Widow of Enrique III (1379-90-1406) she was joint regent with Fernando de Antequera for son, Juan II (1405-06-54). She was an active regent, involved in financial matters, using her influence in negotiation about matrimonies and peace-treaties in the most important European nations. She was daughter of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster and Aquitaine (1340-99) and his second wife, Constance, titular Queen of Castile (1354-94) whose father, Pedro I of Castile and Leon (1350-69), was succeeded by a brother. Catalina was considered heiress of Castilla and married her half-cousin, King Enrique, and became the mother of one son and two daughters, and lived (1374-1418).
1474-1504 Queen Isabel I de Trastamara of Castilla and León
She was the daughter of Juan II of Castile and León by his second wife, Isabella of Portugal. In 1469 she married Fernando de Aragón. She succeeded her brother Enrico IV, but Alfonso V of Portugal, who supported the claim of her brother's daughter, Juana la Beltraneja, attacked Castile and León but was defeated by the Castilian army in 1476. Three years later her husband became King Fernando V the Catholic of Aragón. This union of the two main Spanish kingdoms laid the foundation of Spain's future greatness. They had five children, including Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of Henry VIII of England, and Juana the Mad. Isabella and her husband (known together as "the Catholic monarchs") are remembered for initiating the Inquisition in 1478, for completing the reconquest of Spain from the Moors and for their ruthless expulsion of the Spanish Jews, both in 1492. That same year they sponsored Christopher Columbus's voyage, which led to the creation of the overseas Spanish colonial empire, bringing great wealth and power to Spain. She lived (1451-1504).
1474-76 Pretender Infanta Juana da Beltraneja of Castilla
In 1470 her father, Enrico IV appointed her heiress to the throne after he had disinherited Isabel after her marriage to Ferdinand of Aragon. Rumors had it that she was the result of an affair between her mother, Juana of Portugal, and Beltrán de la Cueva, and therefore the paternity was disputed, and therefore she was passed over in the succession in favour of her aunt, Queen Isabel I. She rebelled but in 1479 she signed off her rights to the throne and the following year she entered a convent in Portugal. Juana lived (1462-1530).
1504-55 Queen Juana I of Castilla, Des Asturias and Galicia
1516-55 Queen of Castilla, Leon, Granada, Toledo, Galicia, Sevilla, Cordova, Murcia, Jaen, the Algarves, Algenciras, Gibraltar, the Canary Islands, the Indias, the Islands and Mainland of the Ocean Sea
Her full title was By the Grace of God, Queen of Castilla, Aragon, Leon, Sicily, Grenada Toledo, Valencia, Galicia, Majorca, Seville, Sardinia, Cordova, Corsica, Murcia, Jaen, the Algarve, Algeciras, Gibraltar, the Canary Islands, Countess of Barcelona, Roussillon and Cerdagne, Lady of Biscay and Molina, Duchess of Athens and Neopatria, Margravine of Oristano and Gocian
She succeeded her mother, Isabel I in 1505 and father Fernando in 1516. Her father had nominated her as heir of all his possession with her son as regent, because of her mental instability, which is why she is known as Juana la Loca. Her husband Felipe I was king and regent 1504-06 and her son, Carlos I (and V of the Holy Roman Empire) became king in 1516. Juana lived (1479-1555).