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Crónica de los Reyes Católicos, late medieval Spanish history


Composed in the late fifteenth century, Fernando del Pulgar’s Crónica de los Reyes Católicos was the official account of – and therefore one of the best sources for – some of the most significant events in late medieval Spanish history. Within his narrative, Pulgar described the marriage of Isabel and Fernando (better known today as the Catholic Monarchs), the establishment of the Spanish Inquisition, and the buildup to the conquest of Granada. Despite the importance of the events that he described, as well as his own role as official historian, Pulgar revealed a radical understanding of history and history writing in his personal correspondence. In particular, Pulgar claimed that it was the historian’s responsibility to embellish their account of the past and to change details to make their narratives as rhetorically compelling as possible. This essay explores how Pulgar embellished his official history to support specific nobles, the converso community, and the political interests of the Catholic Monarchs. In doing so, it not only provides insight into Fernando del Pulgar and the Crónica de los Reyes Católicos, but it also reveals the complexity and literary sophistication of the historical narratives produced at the court of the Catholic Monarchs.