- from Kings & Queens
Queen Isabella I of Spain (1451–1504) had a dream.
She dreamed that all the countries of Europe would unite. They would have one ruler (herself) and one government (hers). They would all have one religion (hers again). Many other monarchs had similar dreams. Each of them dreamed of a Europe united under their rule, their government, and their faith.
For thousands of years, Europeans went to war with each other. They fought over land, power, wealth, and religion. Countries came and went. Maps changed all the time. In the Hundred Years’ War, English and French kings traded territory for more than a century (1337–1453). Spain was overrun by the Moors (Arab Muslims), but they lost it over time (711–1492). The Ottoman Empire, one of the world’s greatest empires, thrived from the late thirteenth century until the nineteenth century. Eventually it too fell. By the time World War I ended, the great empires of Germany, Russia, and Turkey were all gone. New governments had taken over. They included monarchies, constitutional republics, and sheikdoms.
So much for Queen Isabella’s dream. The reality is that a united Europe would be nearly impossible to cut from one cloth. It’s more like a patchwork quilt of many different colors and designs.