Isabella of Castile Born: 1451; Died: 1504
Isabella I of Spain, well known as the patron of Christopher Columbus, with her husband Ferdinand II of Aragon, are responsible for making possible the unification of Spain under their grandson Carlos I. As part of the drive for unification, Isabella appointed Tomás de Torquemada as the first Inquisitor General of the inquisition.
March 31, 1492 marks the implementation of the Alhambra Decree; expulsion edicts forcing the removal or conversion of Jews and Muslims. Roughly 200,000 people left Spain; those remaining who chose conversion were subsequently persecuted by the inquisition investigating Judaizing conversos. In 1974, Pope Paul VI opened her cause for beatification. This places her on the path toward possible sainthood. In the Catholic Church, she is thus titled Servant of God.