WI: Portugal-Castille Union?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Mister Mister, Jun 12, 2019 at 10:30 AM.

  1. Mister Mister Well-Known Member

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    So, if say, during the War of Castillian Sucession, Portugal and Castille entered an union, and remained so, eventually forming the Kingdom of Spain ( while Navarre and Aragon remaining out of it ), what would be the consequences?

    a) What would be the official language today? Today in that area we have- Portuguese-Galician speakers 13 mil, Castillaian speakers about 23 mil.

    b) what would be the capital? Lisbon- because of the overseas trade and explorations or maybe Toledo or some other like Valladolid etc.?

    c) colonial expansion? Would they reject Columbus as in OTL? Who would he work for? Wold they end up with whole OTL Latin America?

    d) What would be the relations between Portuguese and Castillians in that union? Who would have the upper hand? Would Portuguese want to separate like Catalonians today?

    e) I presume that Moors in Grenade are toast by the POD?

    f) I presume that Portuguese will allow Castillians to settle in their colonies, being the smaller part of the union and lacking the manpower?
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019 at 10:40 AM
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  2. Joao97 Well-Known Member

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    I guess the big question is whether or not Afonso V of Portugal would be able to achieve what Ferdinand of Aragon could not, and become full king of Castille with the right to pass that crown down to his descendents. Otherwise, he may still have an heir with La Beltraneja but that heir will only receive the Crown of Castille while Portugal would naturally go to Afonso's eldest son João II. Now, the reason why Ferdinand wasn't able to get his way IOTL was because the powerful Castillan aristocracy (which had supported Isabella's claim to the throne) was adamantly opposed to it. Assuming that Juana's side wins the war thanks to the Portuguese Army having better luck or maybe more French involvement, perhaps it could be even possible to bring other countries to the game such as England or Granada, and not due to a greater amount of support from the Castillan nobility, their victory is a lot more akin to an outright Portuguese conquest of Spain than a simple resolution of a succession dispute (even among the aristocracy that fought on Juana's side, a very large portion of it was of Portuguese descent and had economic interests that were tied to those of Portugal). This means that Afonso would be way less hostage of the Castillan nobility than Ferdinand was IOTL. Some measure of appeasement will probably be necessary, since he probably can't kill or exile the entire Castillan aristocracy. But a large-scale restructuring of the Castillan ruling class is certain to happen, and this means that Afonso actually has a a chance of getting his way. If he cannot, well, I guess the only thing he can do is hope that Juana gives him a daughter that he can marry to the first grandson he has.

    Now, the answers to your questions largely depend on the exact workings of the Union. How strong is the Castillan aristocracy? What is their composition? How tied are their intrests with those of the Portuguese? Does John II of Portugal inherit the throne of Castille? Without knowing the answer to these questions it's impossible to tell what the politics of this hypothetical union would be like.

    Well, this assumes the union would last until the present day, which is a possibility, but let's not get too much ahead of ourselves.

    If the union happens under the Portuguese Crown, Portuguese is likely going to be favoured in the court (I think it was still popular among Castillan elites of the time anyway...), but with time, demographics are surely on the side of Castillan.

    That said the 15th century was a period when both languages were transitioning into their modern varieties, which means they were still closer to each other than they are today. The possibility of a different evolution cannot be discounted.

    If the Castillan aristocracy is strong enough, they are surely going to demand that the capital is in Castille. Otherwise, it will most surely be Lisbon.

    Yes, they would reject Columbus because they knew that his plan was stupid. Maybe Aragon funds his voyage (unlikely since, without Castille, they would most likely focus entirely in European power squabbles), or maybe it just doesn't happen. If it doesn't happen, John Cabot will discover America when he finds Newfoundland and the Portuguese will surely bump into Brazil soon enough.

    If the get the whole of Latin America, that's impossible to know. If Portugal-Castille has a more "Portuguese" approach to colonization (likely if the aristocracy is not very strong), they are likely to eschew Imperial conquest in favour of trade, extortion and vassalisation of native peoples, which means it's unlikely they'll want to conquer the Aztec and Inca empires, though maybe the larger manpower causes them to be more like OTL Castille, frankly, I don't know.

    Once again, it depends on the power balance that is formed early on.

    John II of Portugal as King of Castille would be any Castillan nobleman's worst nightmare. He was an autocratic King who severely curtailed the privileges of the Portuguese aristocracy IOTL, creating a strong, centralized state that had more in common with 17th and 18th century absolute monarchies than it had with the still largely feudal structures that predominated in European monarchies at the time. He was also a Portuguese nationalist and "renaissance man" who disliked the religious fervour and feudal-militaristic "Reconquista" mindset that traditionally predominated in Iberian nations (especially in Castille) at the time, and instead favoured rationalism, pragmatism and a colonial expansion strategy based on trade and the spreading of Western European culture. The only way the Union can even survive with him as king is if the Castillan aristocracy is really severely cucked.

    If it does survive under these conditions, unlikely as it is, expect power to be centralized in Lisbon.

    Actually, since both Juana and the Portuguese monarchs tended to be way less militant with their catholicism than Isabella and Ferdinand, I'd say Granada is more likely to survive ITTL.

    Hum... really depends on how the colonies develop in the first place. Lack of manpower was certainly a problem in the Portuguese Empire, but Portuguese traders tended to be very defensive when it came to keeping their monopoly.
     
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  3. Lusitania Well-Known Member

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    Hm...

    The interesting thing is that Portuguese king could reduce Castile in the Iberian union. You actually have Galicia and Asturias in the north. Portugal, Leon and castile in center. In south you could have Algarve and Andalusia. So now the union is actually 7 countries. If each had their own nobles and swearing allegiance to king in Lisbon.

    The extra manpower would make a huge difference in North Africa and good chance Morocco be conquered /vassalized.

    No Columbus voyage so there would be a ramifications in new world as well as in India and east Ásia. No conquest of Philippines. If the Iberian union allows all groups equal access to colonies then you would have a strong capture of Atlantic South America and even parts of North America.

    A portuguese led union would also mean that Portuguese approach to Jews and converts would continue and neither Low Countries s snd Ottoman Empire receive the huge boost they did due to expulsion of Jews resulting in both countries being weaker.

    Iberian union/ Spain emphasis be on India and east Asia with good possibilities of South Africa being a colony. South America would initially be trade outposts and plantations.

    No Spanish involvement in Europe or very limited. Thus Low Countries situation and result would be different. Would they be able to challenge Spain for India and Asia trade? Not as effectively. No Spanish Armada vs British navy therefore decline in the 17th century be negated or much lessened.

    Language would stay fragmented with multiple languages in use in country but Portuguese be the language of court and government.
     
  4. Joao97 Well-Known Member

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    How much of a distinction is there between Castile and Leon, or even Galicia and Asturias at this point? As far as I know these territories have been under the Castillan crown for quite some time. Leonese has been reduced to spoken rural language by this point and I don't think there's much of distinct leonese nobility at this point. Galicia may still have enough of a distinct identity, but it's pretty much the only one of the "countries" you mentioned where this is certainly true. Andalusia, as far as I know, is just a name for a collection of southern lands that the Castillans took from the Arabs, just as Algarve is just a name for the southern lands that the Portuguese took from the Arabs. None of them had a distinct nobility.

    Perhaps. Certainly that would be the case at first, but there are already more Castillan speakers in Iberian by that point than there are speakers of any other language, demographics is surely on their side.
     
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  5. Lusitania Well-Known Member

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    You are correct about lack of Asturian or leonese distinct nobles and neither Portugal nor Castile ever created nobles within Algarve and Andalusia countries. The idea was that a 7 nation union with nobles linked to a smaller country could be used to limit the influence and size of Castilian Corte since now there are 7 Cortes. Makes thing more complicated but like United Kingdom which comprised of 4 countries it could of been used.

    Also in regards to language I think France faced similar situation and it was only in the 19th century that language and education was standardized into modern French.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019 at 3:50 PM
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  6. Ivan Lupo Well-Known Member

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    The first thing that would probably need to happen is to make sure Isabel of Castile never gets the chance to marry Fernando of Aragon. Now, as unlikely as the scenario I'm proposing is, my POD to help facilitate a Portugal-Castile union (since I just don't think even a victory over Isabel in the Castilian War of Succession after Isabel has already married Fernando would be enough) would be to marry Isabel to Edward IV of England shortly after his victory over the Lancastrians at Towton. This betrothal was discussed, even in OTL it was a longshot, but it's definitely not implausible. Isabel would have been married off to Edward when she was still too young to not be able to realize her burgeoning political power and Edward is only about 9 years older than her. For both sides, it's a very out of the box marriage, but it's a prestigious marriage nonetheless.

    With Isabel out of the way, and assuming her brothers die more or less on schedule, Juana is the new, child Queen of Castile. A marriage alliance is immediately made between her and her still unmarried cousin Joao of Portugal, and their eventual heir will rule Portugal and Castile in personal union. After that, further union with the other Iberian states is still possible and Granada might be able to last a little longer.

    Meanwhile, Queen Isabel in England would go down as one of England's most formidable Queen Consorts, though she will probably be looking at things in Castile and wonder if anything could have been different. Will have a lot of work to do to keep Edward from straying, as he was already wont to do, and he might still shack up with Elizabeth Woodville on the side. The best thing about this scenario would be the possibility of Isabella and Margaret facing each other down for years to come.
     
  7. Mister Mister Well-Known Member

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    Interesting ideas guys.
    So, what do you think the best POD for that would be?
     
  8. Lusitania Well-Known Member

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    The simplest one to start (not saying simplest one to continue) would be that Portugal/France support plus Castilian allies are sufficient to win the civil war. The roles of claimants be reversed with Portugal-Castile union and Aragon out.
     
  9. kasumigenx Well-Known Member

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    What about Blanche of Navarre having a daughter with Henry IV, that is a possible POD.
     
  10. Mister Mister Well-Known Member

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    Would it be better to marry Juana for Alphonso V or for his son? Because Juana is 30 years younger than Joao II, so he will die soon, leaving her as queen of Castille, and Joao II as King of Portugal.
     
  11. Joao97 Well-Known Member

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    Well, obviously it would be simpler if she married João, but that would require an earlier PoD (he married in 1470 IOTL).
     
  12. Mister Mister Well-Known Member

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    I know. So, some POD to remove that is required.
     
  13. Joao97 Well-Known Member

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    Maybe Eleanor of Viseu simply dies shortly before the Castillan war, leaving João a widower.
     
  14. Mister Mister Well-Known Member

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    But I wonder why didn't they asked for French help before? The French probably didn't want to help them after seeing them loosing a battle...
     
  15. Galba Otho Vitelius Well-Known Member

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    Anything that changes the 15th century Austria-Burgundy-Castille-Aragon marriage complex would have a huge amount of butterflies.
     
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  16. Ivan Lupo Well-Known Member

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    I
    If we go by my proposed POD of Isabel marrying Edward in the early 1460s, there would still be plenty of time afterwards to set up a betrothal between Joao and Juana, and furthermore, it would be a betrothal that makes plenty of sense between the heirs of two kingdoms, especially since they're only 7 years apart in age. If Juana is indeed the sole heir to Castile with Isabel out of the way in England, Juana's hand will be highly sought-after by not just Portugal, but definitely by Aragon and possibly even Navarre. Fernando of Aragon himself could find himself contending for Juana's hand in marriage and Enrique IV has the opportunity to set up a royal bidding war.
     
  17. Joao97 Well-Known Member

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    That is an interesting possibility. But I don't think a Portuguese-Castillan union is possible without a war, especially not when this scenario sees João II become jure uxoris king of Castile, with an heir of his set to become full king. He would not get along with the Castillan aristocracy, and sooner or later they would rise in rebellion against him. If Isabella was unavailable, they would just someone else to claim the throne (someone further down the succession line or maybe a bastard). The reason why most personal unions turn out to be short-lived is because convenient marriages don't solve everything. The Castillan nobility is bound to be in conflict with the Portuguese ruling classes, and especially with the Portuguese crown.
     
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  18. Lusitania Well-Known Member

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    Yes I agree that for the Portuguese-Castilian Union to work requires the following
    • claimant be married to portuguese heir to throne and that if he was married before there not be any male issues from 1st marriage. Therefore their issue inherits both crowns.
    • The Castilian nobles who fought on Isabel side be stripped of title and those who sided with Portugal get rewarded.
    • Try to weaken Castile and create separate kingdoms such as Galicia, Leon and other three I had stipulated previously and populate that with families loyal to Portuguese crown.
     
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  19. kasumigenx Well-Known Member

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    Galicia is Galician-Portuguese speaking and Leonese/Asturian/Extramaduran are transitional between Castillian and Portuguese which means Portuguese can assimilate them like Castillan did to them.
     
  20. Lusitania Well-Known Member

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    That why the country be called Reino Unido d’Espanha ruled by the king of Portugal, Galicia, Algarve, Astúrias, Estremadura, Leão, Andaluzia e Castille.