Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2011

Document Type




First Advisor

Prof. Celine Dauverd


This paper focuses on the conquest of Granada from 1482 to 1492. This period marked the end of independent Muslim rule in Iberia and the final capture of land lost to the first Muslim invaders in the year 711. The conquest of Granada under Ferdinand and Isabella reflected the modernization of warfare that occurred across Europe beginning in the fourteenth century. In particular Ferdinand's army was larger and composed of far more infantry than previous crusading armies in Iberia, and it effectively deployed gunpowder siege artillery to assault the formerly impregnable defenses of Granada. Ferdinand emerged from the crusade with a modern and well-trained army that was under his authority, not the dispersed authority typical of feudal levies. Since the conquest of Granada was fought as a crusade, the culmination of centuries of religious conflict, it is unsurprising that the Catholic Church played an active role in supporting Ferdinand and Isabella. The Church legitimized the conflict, and above all, it provided money. Ferdinand needed money above all else. Cannons and provisions for his many footsoldiers were not free. Papal subsidization for the crusade against Granada allowed Ferdinand to modernize his military and successfully wage a war of conquest. This paper will examine both the ways in which the Castilian military changed during the crusade, and the role that the Catholic Church played in making those changes possible.