Talk:Joanna la Beltraneja
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A wildly biased article. If "no one took seriously" Joanna's claim to the throne there would not have been a civil war that lasted for years.
The article is an example of "victors history" with the account of events given by the supporters of the victors being treated as pure truth.
I will give one incident to show the moral character of those victors:
At the start of the civil war Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella (the neice of Henry IV of Castile) arrived at a castle. The castle was held by a governor who was not prepared to accept Isabella's claim to the throne of Castille.
Ferdinand and Isabella invited the governor to a meeting, swearing an oath of safe conduct. When the governor arrived Ferdinand and Isabella got a priest to annul their oath - they then had the governor tortured to death.
Study of rule of Ferdinand and Isabella shows that such an incident was quite typical of the standard of their (especially Ferdinand's) dishonesty and cruelty.
Any evidence from writers (including, indeed especially, clerical writers) supported by the government of Ferdinand and Isabella is suspect (to put it mildly).
- The evidence comes from numerous reliable European history books. Every one states that Juana was widely, likely universally and without exception, considered to be illegitimate by the Castillian people and nobles. Why was there a civil war, then? Because the Villena family had become used to controlling Castile under Enrique IV. When Isabel came to power they found themselves unable to do so. They pretended to consider Juana legitimate only because putting a thirteen-year-old girl on the throne meant there would be a regency, and they intended to grasp as much power and money during that time as they possibly could.
- Whether Joanna was legitimate or not is not the point: we'll never know that. We can however state that every single history book that discusses 15th century Spain says that Joanna was seen by virtually everyone as illegitimate, and those who supported her claim to the throne did so only for their own power-hungry and selfish purposes. I have sixteen books in my personal library on Renaissance Spain that discuss this: if I have time (and if I can figure out what box the books are in - I just moved) I'll add references. (PS "Victor's history" is no less likely to be accurate than "loser's history" - both have faults to justify.) --NellieBly (talk) 14:47, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
I've also read quite a few books on the matter and the question of Juana's fatherhood is far from settled. One must take into account that queen Isabel, who effectively took over the throne to the detriment of Juana, is still a controversial queen. Isabel was much loved by Franco-era historians and was certainly a talented, intelligent woman. There's even an ongoing movement to have her beatified by the Catholic Church. So many books you find will certainly be sympathetic to her to the detriment of Henry IV and his possible daughter, Juana.
From what I can gather.. the "evidence" against Henry IV (whether he was unable to father) comes from his adversaries. He - and his father before him - was a weak king in difficult circumstances, who had to give in to many demands by powerful nobles who'd offer or deny their support to their won benefit. His adversaries not only claimed he was impotent but also suggested he was homosexual (a charge made also of his father, who also fathered Isabel), and just plain nasty because he liked to dress simply and disliked pomp (I'm serious, chronicler Alonso de Palencia, a sworn enemy and Isabel-supporter, writes as much). In the 20th century much has been made of Gregorio Marañón's diagnosis of "eunochoid acromegaly", which included gems like suggesting he was "effeminate" and that showed in his love of music (he sung and played the lute). The fact that even his enemies say he kept a beard and greatly enjoyed hunting seems odd in that light but never mind... Marañón eventually examined the mummified body of Henry IV but that was after he had published his diagnosis.
It seems likely that Henry suffered from some sort of disease. This would explain his weakness and perhaps even his lack of many children (though other kings also have not been fertile and no particular charges have been brought against them for this reason). The fact that he was (for whatever reason) a weak king may have been enough for some people to support Isabel, especially in his later years. But many of his enemies are suspect in their motives... having supported the brother of Isabel before her... possibly because a very young prince would have been more malleable to their wishes. The more I read about the whole thing the more complicated it seems to get, to be honest, and I doubt we'll ever know the truth (Juana's body was lost during the Lisbon earthquake so DNA analysis isn't possible). But certainly I think the balance of evidence suggests that he may well have been unjustly accused.
Below are some recommendations on the subject, that deal with the issue of pro and anti-Henry propaganda. Particularly interesting in health-related matters is:
- Luis Suárez Fernández, Enrique IV de Castilla: la difamación como arma política, 2001, Barcelona: Ariel, isbn 84-344-6630-9
- OHARA, Shima, La propaganda política en torno al conflicto sucesorio de Enrique IV, 2004, Universidad de Valladolid