The Kingdom of Castile, Castile, Castille, Castilla, is a large constitutional monarchy on the Iberian Peninsula of Southwest Europe. It borders Portugal, Leon, France, Confederation of the Pyrenees, Aragon and Granada. The capital is Madrid and the population is around 7.7 million.
The Head of State is King Philip VIII.
The official language is Castilian, which is mutually intelligible with the various Leonese dialects.
The currency is the Castilian Peso (CSP).
Like Portugal, Castile was once a county within the Leonese realm clinging to the North Iberian coast following the near complete wipe out of the Christian kingdom of the Visigoths in 718. Occasionally rising in revolt against its masters, its rulers slowly increased their own power in the county and played the Leonese off against the Navarrese to the east. It would receive independence in 1065 when the Leonese kingdom was divided between the sons of Ferdinand I however this lasted only until 1072.
Split once more from Leon in 1157 Castile would direct its energies southwards into the slowly faltering Islamic states. By 1270 it had cut all its neighbours off from the main thrust of this Reconquista and seized the lion's share of central Iberia. Diplomatic and dynastic failures ensured it would remain fierce rivals with its neighbours however and many of the Islamic armies, or at least their Christian mercenary commanders, would be bankrolled by Leonese or Aragonese gold. Meanwhile the only effective Islamic state left in Iberia; Granada, was all-but a Castilian vassal and the kingdom engorged itself on African gold. Castile's rivals constantly looked for ways to undermine its control and finally in 1402 Castilian ambitions would be permanently dashed by the Portuguese. At the Battle of Zafra Castilian commanders awaited Granadan allies to bolster their armies however sustained secret diplomacy had convinced the Emir to delay, hence Portugal gained the upper hand and Granada obtained its freedom.
This of course did not end Castile's wars with Granada, in fact it intensified them however its neighbours were more brazen in opposing the Reconquista and between 1402 and 1534 the peninsula crackled with near constant warfare, impoverishing all participants and hardening attitudes within Castile. The Castilian royal family and its loyal clergy were described as 'fanatical', routing out heresy real or supposed, as well as repeatedly purging the kingdom of Jews, Muslims, 'untrustworthy' Catholic converts and later on, Protestants. It was almost a relief therefore when Portugal opened the 'Southern Route' across the Atlantic and energies could be directed somewhere other than the increasingly fortified borders of Iberia.
National rivalries remained however and, following the 'Battle' in the Portuguese Azores between Castilian and Granadan sailors, both countries were banned from using the islands as staging points. Granada quickly formalised its occupation of Coabana as a result, Castile would seize the smaller island of Boriken 1552 in response. While trade rebuilt the damaged economy, war, waged successful against Aquitaine, provided a salve to damaged national pride. War against a reinvigorated Aragon between 1597-1599 by contrast was an utter failure and the 17th century was miserable for the country by any standards.
Succession crises, largely instigated by the Grandees jostling for position, wealth and power by promoting their favoured candidates, repeatedly paralysed the functions of state and for many years it looked as though the country would simply cease to exist. The insular nature of the country saved it however as few foreign monarchies had any claim to the throne, or the wherewithal to do anything about it, so it limped on until Philip, Duke of Feria could oust the ineffectual Ferdinand V and crown himself Philip V. His and his successor's reigns would put the country back on track and it more or less concentrated on reining in the corruption of the nobility and improving its trading position, following trends to set up trading forts in Africa, India and even into the Roasjoinn. Outwardly Castile appeared to have recovered from its bad luck. However, war against Aragon (the San Javier War, 1762-1767) put Castile firmly in its place as well ruining its ally Aquitaine.
The Iberian Revolution & Hispania
Several poor harvests in the 1810s pushed the populace into revolt with 1816, the 'year without summer' proving too much for the country to bear. Amidst faltering loyalty in the army the northern coast was left in revolutionary hands for a year and a year later, underestimating the peasants' wherewithal, the Royal army was defeated. Henry VIII convened the Cortes, then arrogantly attempted to dismiss it when they refused to grant him funds. He would be arrested a year later when the Royal army suffered its final defeat and the Cortes embraced the revolution.
Much of the power was drained away from the nobles and church. Of course its neighbours were not supportive of this change. Leon invaded in 1819, only to fall into disarray. The reorganised Castilian army overran Leon in months and replaced Alfonso XIII with a more pliable relative. The sidelined Henry VIII however had been in contact with other states looking to restore him to power yet he was discovered and with opinion hardening, the king was executed and Castile became a republic. This, of course, caused a shock wave around Europe from which Castile was quickly forced to defend itself from. First Leon, once again in revolt, was invaded and absorbed into the new republic. In 1821 Granada fell and was absorbed. This pre-staged a power struggle in the Cortes and with Portugal and Aragon poised to invade much of the real power passed to the military.
And when the military produced a seemingly invincible general in the shape of the Enrique del Olmo the population and the politicians alike plied him with men, money and power. By 1824 he was the dictator of the republic winning victories over a varied coalition of European states and annexing parts of Aragon and Aquitaine. By 1830 he had annexed Aragon and much of southern France, sent armies into North Africa, seized absolute power and restored the monarchy under his own control. Yet while his achievements would continue, the weight of Europe slowly bore down upon del Olmo and Hispania leading to the collapse of the armies in 1834. Aragon was liberated, Leon and Granada ceded away. treated as the aggressor Castile was punished in the ensuing peace talks. Rioja went to Aragon, various possessions around the world were confiscated, Boriken was temporarily seized then returned for 'good behaviour'.
Much of the remaining 19th century was a tentative tussle between the politicians for reform under the watchful eyes of European statesmen. That reform did not happen quick enough has fueled considerable anger both at home and in Boriken and civil war was narrowly averted in the 1920s. Stressing a conciliatory but somewhat inflexible line Castile has endured.
Castile is governed by a bicameral Cortes with elections held every three or four years. The franchise is not universal however.
The current head of state is King Philip VIII and his Prime Minister is José Manuel Alba.