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- On November 23, 1504, three days before her death, Queen Isabella of Spain signed, in Medina del Campo, a codicil before the same notary, Gaspar de Gricio, and five of the seven witnesses who had been present on October 12 for the signing of her last will and testament. In the testament, the queen addressed the fundamental aspects of government by the Catholic monarchs. In the codicil, besides reaffirming what she had stipulated in the testament, she addressed questions directly affecting peninsular government and showed her concern for Spanish policy in America by setting the bases for the Laws of the Indies (the body of law issued by the crown governing Spanish possessions in America and the Philippines). In the last clause of the testament, the queen expressed the wish that the original of the codicil be sent to the Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe, at Extramadura in central Spain, which did not occur. It is known that at some time in 1543–45 the testament was taken to the castle of Simancas, which soon after became the Spanish royal archive. The codicil, which strangely had broken away from the testament, was added to the collections at the Royal Library, becoming part of a collected volume from which it was separated in 1881. The codicil begins with a brief salutation to God and ratifies what was expressed in the testament. The body of the codicil follows with 16 clauses and the queen’s signature with the remains of the royal seal plate. The document ends with the notary’s statement and the signatures and seals of the five witnesses. Written in a courtly classical style on three sheets of parchment with an additional sheet that serves as a cover, the codicil probably was similar in appearance to the testament.
Title in Original Language
Codicilo de la Reina Isabel la Católica, otorgado en Medina del Campo, el 23 de noviembre de 1504
Type of Item
- 4 sheets ; parchment : 32 x 22 centimeters
- Includes autograph signature