AuthorMatthew Cook

Isabella I of Castile

Isabel I de Castilla was born in Madrigal de las Altas Torres, Avila on April 22, 1451. She would grow up to be queen of Castile and Aragon. Alongside her husband, Ferdinand II of Aragon, their reign was a pivotal turning point for the Iberian Peninsula. It was their marriage that solidified the two kingdoms of Castile and Aragon. They shared power equally and established a code of law which strengthened the monarchy and enable the toppling of the power that the nobles held within their kingdom.

A pious Catholic all her life, she made it her mission to regain the final Muslim-ruled territories and fully conquer Spain. She was held responsible for creating the Inquisition. She had citizens, even the Jews and the Muslims, convert into Catholics or be expelled from the country. While this was marked by history as a misplaced religious zeal which destroyed what was a remarkable religious tolerance and co-existence, at the time she was lauded for her dedication to the Catholic faith–particularly by the pope.

For her time, Isabella was quite forward thinking when it came to her marriage and the role she would play. She entered into the marriage with Ferdinand with a prenuptial  agreement that stated she would be on equal terms. She would be a ruling monarch in her own right. In historical texts, it was marked how she would ride into battle in full armor and how the majority of their army looked to her for morale and leadership. It was believed that her rule had the blessing of God.

Her rule forced the mass exit of Jews and Muslims and their immigration to lads throughout Europe and North Africa; others “converted” yet practiced their real faith in secret were hunted down and purified by the Inquisition.

Isabella, once establishing peace, sought forth to progress the empire and funded Christopher Columbus and his explorations. These exploits of his led in Spain’s overseas empires and Spanish domination of Europe for the next century. This also led to the mass Christianization of the people of Latin America and the use of Spanish as the base language of millions.

Her achievements were many and great. Spain was wholly united. The power in the country was held by and centralized by the crown and no longer under the yolk of nobles. She rehabilitated the finances of the Spanish crown which was left in heavy debt under the reign of her brother Henry IV. With this as a foundation, Isabella and her husband created a legal framework for their country and The Catholic Church was successfully reformed. Through her children, she made splendid political alliances which allowed her to outflank France.

Despite this, there were several points in their rule that left quite the bad impression. The Inquisition and its intolerant treatment of religious minorities was famous for its cruelty. When the Muslims left, they took with them their advance knowledge in medicine. As a result, when plagues and illnesses wreaked havoc on local towns, populations were decimated.

Isabella officially withdrew from governmental affairs on the 14th of September 1504 and several weeks later, passed away. Several decades later, there were talks about her being canonized as a saint but that was left with much opposition from Jew organizations. While this is still being debated on in Rome, there really is no doubt that she was a woman her made her mark in history.

Neferneferuaten Nefertiti

Nefertiti was an Egyptian queen whose name has stood the test of time. She is arguably one of the more well-known Egyptian historical figures despite this, there is very little that is actually known about her. Regardless of the mysteries that surround her personage, stories of her beauty and power serve as a beacon to allure scholars and researchers to this day.

There are several rumors about Nefertiti that refuse to die like she was the Mitanni Princess Tadukhipa—this was disproved as Tadukhipa was already married to Akhenaten’s father and there was no other evidence to suggest why the princess would need to alter her name. There are some historical evidences that surface to suggest that Nefertiti came from a town called Akhmim. Nefertiti held many titles which include Hereditary Princess, Great of Praises, Lady of Grace, Lady of Two Lands, Great King’s Wife, Lady of all Women, and Mistress of Upper and Lower Egypt.

She was thrust into the international limelight when her bust, which was crafted in 1345 BC, was found in the workshop of Thutmose in 1912. It currently resides in the Berlin’s Neues Museum.

It was believed that Nefertiti married Akhenaten when she was just 15 years old. Certain hieroglyphics depicted that the couple ruled together from 1353 to 1336 BC. Other records also indicated that their marriage had born six daughters. Although there is no concrete evidence to yet support the idea, some theorize that Nefertiti and Akhenated had a son. One of their daughters, Ankhesenamun, would eventually marry her half-brother Tutankhamun.

One of Nefertiti’s well known accomplishments is her active role in the establishment of the Aten (the sun) cult.  The pharaoh’s name was originally Amenhotep IV which was changed to Akhenaten to honor their deity. Even Nefertiti’s name shifted to Neferneferuaten-Nefertiti which means “beautiful are the beauties of Aten, a beautiful woman has come”. This was a show of her absolute devotion to their deity and their religion.

A reason why Nefertiti’s legend endures to this day is because of all the power she was said to have wielded during her time. Her husband was said to go to great lengths to show his subject that his queen was his equal. She is depicted wearing the crown of a pharaoh in some uncovered murals and in others she is even seen smiting her enemies in battle. One popular theory about Nefertiti is that she became the ruler Neferneferuaten; although, this is still highly up for debate.

A curious occurrence, however, was that around 12 years after the many reliefs that depicted Nefertiti and her accomplishments—all trace of her disappears. It is uncertain as to why; some scholars go as far as to speculate that she was exiled when the worship of Amen-Ra became popular once again. Another theory was that she fell into disgrace and discredited.

While there is never a lack of rumors and theories about Nefertiti’s death and burial, or what is that truly became of her, it is to be noted that her remains have never been formally found or identified. This is probably why the legend and allure of Nefertiti will continue on until we have more concrete answers to quench our thirst.

What does Brexit mean for Europe?

What does Brexit mean for Europe?

As Britain gears up to exit the European Union before the end of 2017, Europe and the rest of the world eagerly wait to see what the impacts of the exit will be. The E.U. is a political and economic partnership between 28 European nations. It has over the recent years, however, experience some discord as distrust and founds its way among the union’s members. The distrust is a key reason for Britain’s decision to break from the association.

The move to exit did have its fair share of support and disapproval with a few being undecided. The Electoral Commission, with the approval of Cameron, did a poll based on the question – if the U.K. should exit or remain in the E. U. The outcome of the referendum has 45.6% of the respondents support the exit and 54.4% voted for the United Kingdom to stay. The exit is a big move, one that Britain says it will not back out from and will ensure there are no attempts to rejoin the European Union in future.

The U.K will have two years to determine come up with solid terms of its exit. And, after the exist, the nation will have a few more years to forge new economic relationships with the remaining European Union countries. The process of establishing new economic partnerships and agreements with the those left in the consortium may take around ten years. As such, new and existing enterprises in Britain may face uncertain times in the few years to come.

On top of the issues raised that lead to the exit is that of immigration. Many British citizens raised concerns about the influx of immigrants into the country, which has affect various economic elements such as housing and availability of jobs. The refugee crisis fueled the growing push for the exit. As such, Brexit would have a significant impact of immigration and this would see some notable changes in the existing immigration laws and policies for the U.K. and which would affect the rest of Europe.

What direction things take remains only to be seen after Brexit takes effect. The European Union members and other European nations as well as the rest of the world are keen on knowing where Britain stands (what kind of relationship it has with the E.U.).

The impacts of Brexit on the United Kingdom and the larger Europe will mostly be felt in the economy. The breakaway will solicit positive and negative outcomes much of which will be based on how the consortium members and the rest of the world will react after the exit. A majority of the E.U. members fear that issues of job losses and economic uncertainty will be Britain’s undoing after their exit from the union.

On the positive side, the exit will mean that Britain will have a more freedom to trade with other nations and global companies. Businesses in other parts of Europe and the world, both new and existing, will be more inclined to trade with Great Britain. Emerging enterprises in the E.U. nations will, however, be reluctant to do business with British companies.

King Tut Ancient Egypt


In thе уеаr 1922, the tоmb of a Phаrаоh wаѕ unсоvеrеd in the сеmеtеrу of the Pharaohs оf ancient Egурt. In the Vаllеу of the Kings оf Egурt and fоr the vеrу fіrѕt tіmе, this tomb thаt wаѕ unсоvеrеd wаѕ still sealed.

Thе tоmb thаt wаѕ discovered wаѕ thаt оf King Tutankhamun (Kіng Tut) a young Phаrаоh whо succeeded his fаthеr, Akhenaten tоwаrdѕ thе еnd оf the 18th Dуnаѕtу. Durіng the king’s 9 year rulе hе rеѕtоrеd Thebes (Luxor) аѕ the Cаріtаl оf Egурt аnd also rеѕtоrеd the wоrѕhір оf Amon.

Prеvіоuѕ Egyptologists were nоt іntеrеѕtеd in fіndіng thіѕ particular kіng’ѕ tоmb аѕ thеу already рrеѕumеd thаt іt wоuld соntаіn poor соntеnt. At the tіmе thіѕ tоmb was dіѕсоvеrеd іt was presumed that thаt Vаllеу of Kіngѕ had уіеldеd all іtѕ’ tombs, but Lоrd Cаrnаrvоn, a wеаlthу Englishman, thought differently, аnd he wаѕ соnvіnсеd thаt thеrе wаѕ аn іntасt tomb.

A mаn nаmеd Hоwаrd Cаrtеr hеаdеd Lord Cаrnаrvоn’ѕ Team аnd hе worked dеdісаtеdlу fоr ѕіx ѕеаѕоnѕ. Abоut 200,000 tоnѕ оf rubble were mоvеd, аnd hе Howard Cаrtеr was fоrсеd tо believe that thеrе wеrе nо mоrе tombs to be unсоvеrеd in thе Valley of the Kіngѕ; hоwеvеr, there wаѕ оnе last remote rеgіоn, аnd this аrеа was a ѕіtе іmmеdіаtеlу bеnеаth thе tоmb of Ramses VI. The аrеа wаѕ covered wіth wоrkmеn’ѕ huts and Howard hаd his mеn remove thеm.

In thаt year, a dооrwау of a tоmb wаѕ fоund at thе bоttоm of thе ѕtерѕ around the area, the seals оf thе tombs еvеn арреаrеd tо bе іntасt. While Lоrd Cаrnаrvоn wаѕ іnfоrmеd about the dіѕсоvеrу рrераrаtіоnѕ wеrе mаdе tо ореn thе nеw tomb. When thеу finally еntеrеd the tоmb, іt еxсееdеd thеіr wіldеѕt drеаmѕ.

Althоugh, Lоrd Cаrnаrvоn аttеndеd the ореnіng оf the tomb, he nеvеr lіvеd to see thе full contents of thе tоmb. The dеаth of Cаrnаrvоn was lіnkеd to ‘Thе Pharaoh’s curse – a sting frоm a mosquito.

Kіng Tutankhamun аt hіѕ tіmе was the last оf his fаmіlу line, and hіѕ tоmb wаѕ fіllеd wіth family trеаѕurеѕ аѕ wеll as hіѕ оwn. Many оf the pieces found іn hіѕ tоmb wеrе tаkеn frоm thе Royal Tеmрlеѕ of Tеl El Amаrnа, і.е.thе рrісеlеѕѕ rоуаl throne іn the Egурtіаn Muѕеum ѕhоwіng the kіng bеіng аnоіntеd bу hіѕ wіfе with a bасkgrоund оf thе Atеn, thе ѕуmbоl оf his fаthеr Akhеnаtеn’ѕ hеrеѕу. The kіng rеnоunсеd his father’s tеасhіngѕ but саrrіеd thе pieces to hіѕ grаvе wіth thе artifacts lеft іn his tоmb.

Mаnу оf thе vаѕеѕ аnd ѕсерtеrѕ belonged to his fаthеr’ѕ rеіgn. Sоmе of thе оbjесtѕ were lаtеr proved tо have been mаdе for Semnekh-Ka-Ra, Akhenaten’s son-in-law. This also included a lаrgеr shrine, ѕоmе mummу оrnаmеntѕ, аnd thе mіnіаturе соffіnѕ.

Thе tomb wаѕ uѕеd еаrlу аѕ a result оf thе Kіng’ѕ sudden dеаth аt a very tender аnd уоung age. It is ѕо оbvіоuѕ thаt thеrе wаѕ not еnоugh tіmе tо finish thе tоmb. And іt іѕ still very unlikely thаt it will еvеr bе knоwn іf thе Kіng dіеd bу ассіdеnt оr wаѕ murdеrеd.

© 2020 Dr. Matthew Cook

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