- 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), one government (hers), and one religion (hers again). It’s safe to say that many other monarchs had similar dreams, but all dreamed of a Europe united under their rule, their government, and their religion.
For thousands of years, Europeans fought wars over land, power, wealth, and religion. As soon as a map was drawn, borders changed. Countries came and went. In the Hundred Years’ War, English and French kings traded territory for more than a century (1337–1453). Moors (Arab Muslims) took over Spain, but over time (711–1492), they eventually lost it. The Ottoman Empire, one of the greatest empires in the world, thrived from the late thirteenth century until the nineteenth century, when outside forces eventually brought it down. By the time World War I had ended, the great empires of Germany, Russia, and Turkey had disappeared and were replaced by various kinds of governments, such as 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. Imagine instead a patchwork quilt composed of many different colors, designs, and textures.