Historical Committee


Upon the battle of Toro, it is up to us, a small group of elite representatives to assist in the peace negotiations between Joanna La Beltraneja (hereon knows as Joanna) and Isabella I of Castile (hereon knows as Isabella), in order to resolve the issues, and stop the fighting, as well as dealing with casualties and stopping more lives being taken.

Defining a war of succession as ‘a war prompted by a succession crisis in which two or more individuals claim the right of successor to a deceased or deposed monarch.’

The issue:

When Henry IV died in 1474 both Joanna and Isabella were proclaimed queen of Castile by their respective supporters, as they both had ties to the crown due to Joanna being Henrys daughter and Isabella his half-sister. This sharing of power hasn’t worked and thus a war for the succession of Castile has broken out.

The War of Castilian Succession is a military conflict for the ‘succession’ 1 of the crown of Castile. The conflict is based in Castile and in the Atlantic Ocean. The war is currently between the supporters of Joanna and the supporters of Isabella.

This war is that of international character, rather than that of Civil. This is due to Isabella being married to Ferdinand, heir to the thrown of Aragon, and Joanna married to King Afonso V of Portugal (her uncle). On top of this France has recently intervened in support of Portugal, as they have had previous rivalry with Aragon for territory in Italy and Roussillon2.

The situation thus far:

A Portuguese army entered the territory of the Crown of Castile, under the command of Afonso on the 10th May 1475, and advanced to Plasencia. From there they marched to Arévalo with the intention of heading to Burgos-the capital of Castile, where Afonso hoped to unite with troops sent by his ally, Louis XI of France. Upon entering Burgos, Afonso’s army received less support than they hoped, thus they retreated and remained in the areas closest to Portugal, for example the city of Toro, who received him favourably, despite the garrison3 of the castle being loyal to Isabella. Other villages in and around this area such as Zamora also accepted him. At the same time the ‘Ciudad real’ (a city in Castile) was captured by Rodrigo Manrique for Isabella.

On the 15th of July, Ferdinand had a concentrated army in Tordesillas, and ordered them to march to seek encounter with Afonso and take his land and strong hold in Toro. Afonso avoided direct combat, and due to Ferdinand lacking sufficient resources, his soldiers were forced to retreated back to Tordesillas. On the same date, the castle of Toro surrendered to Afonso, who then retreated back to Arévalo to wait for the French support.

On November 18th, a supporter of Isabella (Rodrigo Alfonso Pimentel) had a small force in Baltanás that was attacked, as a result the force broke down and he was killed and imprisoned. Due to this small force being there to spy in the Portuguese, Alfonso then decide to once more withdraw from the area, and move to Zamora.

On December 4th part of Zamora rebelled against Afonso, who was forced to flee to Toro. The Portuguese garrison maintained control of the castle, but the following day the city received a ‘visit’ from Ferdinand, and the garrison was lost.

In January 1746, the castle of Burgos surrendered to Isabella.


Battle of Toro

In February 1476 (earlier this month), the Portuguese army, reinforced by troops from Portugal, left their base in Toro and surrounded Ferdinand in Zamora. Due to the Castilian winter, the siege4 was worse for the Portuguese than those under siege, and this meant that Afonso was forced to retreat to Toro. Ferdinand launched a ‘pursuit’ with the intention of catching Afonso, which he was successful in doing and fighting has now begun in the surrounding land to Toro.

Results- yet to be confirmed as we are still in the mist of the Battle, but suspected enemy prisoners from Isabella’s side have been taken.


War at sea

One of the suspected objectives of Isabella and Ferdinand is to challenge the Portuguese monopoly in rich Atlantic territories, this is because the gold and slaves they could gain would finance the war. – as it is on the Portuguese side. To stop the Portuguese gaining these goods, Isabella and Ferdinand sent four galleys7 to the Andalusian coast to stop the Portuguese gaining such materials and also raided the Portuguese city of Alcoutim on the Guadiana river. These raids continued to the coast of Guinea, where a supposed 100 Africans were taken and sold. Last month a fleet of twenty ships prepared to set sail, under the command of Fernão Gomes to re-gain control in Guinea, these preparations were delayed due to a naval battel between the Portuguese and Castilians. – the reason for this battle is unknown to us, as it only finished recently. Since then, many Castilian ships have gone back to Africa-heavily armed- and taken more cash crops, goods and slaves. It is believed that Isabella’s supporters are now the dominant power in these areas in Africa, though we cannot be sure.


Key Involvement:


France has a long-held rivalry with the Crown of Aragon for the control of Roussillon. On the possibility that the heir to the thrown of Aragon (Ferdinand) could potentially become the King of Castile, Louis XI of France officially positioned himself next to Joanna and Afonso in September 1475 in order to stop any advanced made. On September 23rd, 1975 Louis XI signed a treaty of alliance with Afonso V of Portugal.


Portugal are heavily involved thus far, due to the marriage between Joanna and Afonso. The Portuguese are currently a large part of the fighting force against Isabella’s supporters. They are providing and weapons and ships. The Portuguese also have prior issues with the Castilians due to the situation regarding the Canary Islands.


Aragon have been heavily involved thus far, for similar reasons to that of Portugal, due to the marriage between Isabella and Ferdinand. The Aragonese are also providing military presents and weapons.

Duchy of Burgundy

Duchy of Burgundy are currently at war with the French, which could potentially lead to them siding with Isabella as they want to go against the French as and when they can.

Kingdom of England

The Kingdom of England has also recently been at war with France for a brief time. But due to the Treaty of Picquigny, they now have a nine-year truce. So, it is doubtable whether they will get involved, with the motive to attack France.

The Kingdom of Navarre

The Kingdom of Navarre are experiencing an intermittent civil war, so it is questionable how involved they will get in the coming years, as they have their own issues and haven’t got involved yet.


Joanna’s supporters:

  • Kingdom of Portugal – King Afonso V of Portugal
  • Kingdom of France- Louis XI France
  • Prince John of Portugal

Commanders and leaders involved-

  • Diego Lópes Pacheco
  • Álvaro de Zúñiga
  • Ponce de León
  • Rodrigo Téllez Girón


Isabella’s Supporters:

  • Crown of Aragon- Ferdinand II of Aragon
  • Alonso de Cárdenas

Nobles 5

  • Rodrigo Manrique
  • Jorge Manrique

Commanders and leaders involved

  • Pedro Gonzalez de Mendoza
  • Beltrán de la Cueva
  • Francisco Garcia
  • Pérez Guzmán


Possible Solutions:

Think About:

  • The possible war prisoners taken
  • peace negotiations in neutral ground
  • who will gain the crown and why? – if anyone
  • who has rights to the land?
  • what will be done about goods stolen from the Portuguese?
  • will the slaves be returned?
  • what to do with people after the war finishes? – people who have committed war crimes?
  • who started the war? And will they take blame?
  • Naval ships/warfare as well as ground troops and land combat.
  • alliances- will they be revoked?
  • Reparations?


Extra Reading

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_the_Castilian_Succession (specifically the war at Sea, and the actual outcomes of the war like the treaty)




1-‘the action or process of inheriting a title, office, property etc.’

2- A region in the southeast of France.

3- ‘the collective term for a body of troops stationed in a particular location, originally to guard it, but now often simply using it as a home base. The garrison is usually in a city, town, fort, castle, ship or similar’.

4- ‘a military operation in which enemy forces surround a town or building, cutting off essential supplies, with the aim of compelling those inside to surrender.’

5- ‘(especially in former times) a person of noble rank or birth, someone of noblilty’6.

6-‘Nobility is a social class, normally ranked immediately under royalty, that possesses more acknowledged privileges and higher social status than most other classes in a society, membership thereof typically being hereditary.’

7-  low, flat ship with one or more sails and up to three banks of oars, chiefly used for warfare or piracy and often manned by slaves or criminals.

All definitions as found on the wiki dictionary.