“It was Isabel, far more than even bold Ferdinand, who had made Spain the that was about to burst the ancient bonds of the Ocean and transform the girdle of the world. She had united Spain, brought it justice, law, and order; she inspired it with a renewed awareness of its Catholic identity and mission; now she was about to complete the centuries-old task of its re-conquest.
Isabel the Catholic is probably the greatest woman ruler in history. Born in Madrigal de las Altas Torres in Castile in 1451, she was thirty six years olf in 1487, at the height of her powers, nearing the summit of her career. She was adored by her people and especially her soldiers, a golden-haired beauty with blue-green eyes who prayed the divine office every day like a nun, trusting in God for all things; who once rose two hundred miles without rest in a crisis (the last fifty at night in the rain), and tamed a rebel city with a word; who had borne and was raising five children, and knitted her husband’s shirts herself; with love for her God and her people and her husband and her children sparking like a hearth-fire and her will like a Toledo blade”
Our Lady of Guadelupe and the Conquest of Darkness, Warren H. Carroll