PART ONE: LECTURE
House of Trastámara. John II ( 1405 – 1454) was King of Castile from 1406 to 1454. He was the son of Henry III of Castile and his wife Catherine of Lancaster, daughter of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster by Constance of Castile, daughter of King Peter of Castile. Juan looked like his English grandfather, blond, blue eyed, tall and handsome, but it was only in appearance that there was any resemblance. John of Gaunt was decisive and one of the most important figures of the whole of the fourteenth century. His Castilian grandson was one of the most ineffectual rulers ever, anywhere. And worse, he sat on the throne of Castile for almost half a century. So the story of central Spain, that is Castile, begins the fifteenth century with a disastrous fifty year period of drift and civil chaos.
The Story of Spain: The Dramatic History of Europe's Most Fascinating Country,
Golden Era Books; 2nd edition (August 1, 2009),
The book is a popular history of Spain and the Spanish Empire from prehistoric times to the present day. It provides description and analysis of political, social, economic and cultural events over the centuries, which together shaped the history of this distinctive country. The book offers 60 illustrations and maps, including 16 pages of color photographs, as well as lists of historic places to visit at the end of each chapter. There is a dynastic chart, suggested readings, and index.
". . . the dramatic historical pageant of Spain . . . engages the reader from first page to last." -- Midwest Book Review, January 2000
". . . written in a style that clearly allows the reader to grasp the intricacies of Spainâ€™s historical elements." -- Spain 21 Magazine, Spring 2001
"A vivid account of the country's origins and development as a nation..." -- David Baird, Lookout Magazine
"By far the best introduction for students in English to Spain's history and culture..." -- Paul Smith, Professor Emeritus, Department of Spanish, U.C.L.A.
"For a readable and thorough but not over-long account of Spanish history, The Story of Spain is hard to beat." -- Lonely Planet guide to Spain, 2002 edition
"The title of this work prepares us for what it is: a history of Spain..." --Ruth Bennett, CUNY, Hispania Magazine
PART TWO: A Visit to CASTILE
Castile and the city of LEON