On the other hand, what became more and more acute was the gap between the regions forming the Castilian monarchy and those constituting the Catalan-Aragonese: the accession to the Aragonese throne of Ferdinand el de Antequera having changed the situation very little, although it could in some way prepare the country to accept closer dynastic ties; because at the moment of the marriage between Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile there was a profound difference between the political, moral and economic life of the two states.
The occupation of the Muslim dominions having tightened its relations with the Arabs and with the Jews and having allowed it to acquire territories far richer than those it already possessed, from the century onwards. XII onwards in the Castilian monarchy the development of life became particularly intense. As it has been pointed out, especially during the reigns of Alfonso X and his son Sancho IV, it fulfilled the task, which could not fail to be its own, of mediator between Eastern, Arab and Jewish scientific culture and modern European culture; then, thanks to the monarchs themselves and their collaborators, in the impressive work of translations, abstracts and adaptations, the Castilian language also reached a truly remarkable precision of expressions: and then poetry and prose made great progress in the fourteenth century and, under L’ Italian influence, in the fifteenth century. In the economic field, the conquest of the navigable course of the Guadalquivir and Andalusia in general brought great benefits to Castile, which gave it possession of the richest region of Spain thanks to the gift of nature and the work of man, and an outlet on the sea, much more comfortable than the few, which until that time it had enjoyed, in the provinces of the Gulf of Biscay, separated from the rest of the country due to the lack of easy means of communication. Then Castile began to be a real maritime power; ships and merchants from every part of Europe and Mediterranean Asia and Africa began to flow into Seville; as the roads were improved – with Alfonso X a regular postal service was also re-established – internal trade made the fairs of Seville, Medina, Santiago de Compostela crowded; and a considerable increase also ended up with the merchant navy of Galicia and the Basque provinces, whose shipowners went as far as the English Channel and the North Sea. So they began to export agricultural products, the raw wool that the herds of the plateau supplied in enormous quantities, the metals extracted from the silver mines of Venasque, of mercury of Almadén, of iron of Vizcaya, which were then exploited with greater intensity.. And a certain development also had or preserved industry, favored in various places by the rise of the guilds (gremios), which regulated production and provided for the distribution of raw materials to avoid hoarding, and which were protected by the monarch for help in the fight against the aristocracy.
According to CLOTHINGEXPRESS.ORG, thus some importance acquired or continued to have the woolen industry in Old Castile, that of silk factories in Seville, that of linen and hemp in Toledo, Seville, Segovia, that of rope factories in the provinces of East and West., that of leather in Andalusia, that of ceramics in Seville, that of steel in Toledo, always of European resonance. But the already noted inability to ensure a stable accommodation for one’s life was also revealed in the economic and moral field: because even here it became clear how scarce was in the victorious country the ability to treasure the experiences of the residents of the occupied territories, to overcome religious differences and to accept the manifest superiority of the civilization of Muslims and Jews, to collaborate intensely in development of the luxuriant life of the conquered country, to eventually become independent from the elements that this life had created. As has rightly been observed, the annexation of Andalusia did not substantially change the Castilian economy: because the manufacturing industry was unable to give sufficient production to the needs of domestic consumption, and the main occupation of the country was still farming. cattle, supplier of excellent wool which, at least in part, had to be exported due to the lack of a well-equipped wool industry. So when, after the first days of the conquest, the immediate benefits that it had given were squandered, the fusion of the three peoples or the definitive and effective triumph of the conqueror appeared impossible and the prevalence of the nobility ended, to which Jews and Muslims had been very useful, the bourgeoisie, enthusiastic about the first political successes, found itself powerless to win the competition of the two elements that had been the fortune of the Muslim world and, in order to increase its earnings, wanted to replace them; then the persecutions began, especially against the Jews, and their removal from the life of the country, without, however, being able to replace them due to the lack of adequate training in the bourgeoisie, it made the country’s economic development ephemeral or only apparent, which could only seem luxuriant compared to the previous one of the part of Spain that had returned to Christianity in the early days of the reconquest. Then Castile, which due to its natural poverty was the least indicated, definitively confirmed its supremacy over Andalusia and gave its character to the monarchy forever.
On the other hand, more favored by nature and due to its geographical position rich in easy outlets on the Mediterranean, which was still the center of European economic and political life, the Catalan-Aragonese monarchy was able to give a marvelous development to its commercial traffic and, despite the opposition of Aragon, linked to the continent, he lived most of his life outside the peninsula, giving his subjects new homelands scattered throughout the Mediterranean, assimilating contemporary civilization, making its own contribution to this. In fact, this is the era of the Catalan-Aragionese expansion, in which monarch and subjects, traders and soldiers collaborated with perfect unity of understanding, sometimes each acting on his behalf, but all adventurers, taken by the same ardor and aiming at the same end., conquerors of states for the crown, creators of autonomous political bodies, founders of colonies of merchants scattered everywhere, and builders and owners of a massive fleet, which became one of the most important in the world. Consulates of the sea arose in Valencia, Tortosa, Zaragoza, Barcelona, and theBook of the consulado de mar of the latter city became law for almost the whole Mediterranean; many cities had their bags (lonjas). There was no port that was not touched by the sailors of Catalonia and Majorca, in Dalmatia, in the Morea, in the Archipelago, in the islands of Heraklion and Rhodes, in the Black Sea, on the coasts of Syria and Asia Minor, in Tunisia. ; at the time of Alfonso V an attempt was made to forge relations with Egypt and Ethiopia; an attempt was made to enter Morocco through the markets of Oran and Tlemecen. As for the possessions, it began with Sicily, which if it later became independent, still remained in the Aragonese sphere of influence and then returned to the Spanish monarch. Later Sardinia was added. And if the daring enterprises of the Catalan Company (1302-10) only briefly ensured the dominion over Asia Minor and then the possession of the Duchy of Athens (1311) and of the Duchy of Neopatria (1319) – why the Acropolis was lost in 1388 and the castle of Neopatria in 1390 – and if only for a few years princes of the Majorcan branch dominated the principality of Morea (1315, 1334); however, the county of Salona remained Catalan until 1394, the island of Aegina until 1418, the lordship of Piada (La Paiada) in Argolide, the last possession, until 1460; even after the Catalan ships, often dedicated to piracy, continued to cross in the Archipelago; many Catalans remained there; in 1456 at the Cortes of Barcelona the bishop of Elna Joan Margarit could thus celebrate the deeds of his fellow citizens, in one of the most brilliant speeches of the Catalan political oratory: “This is the very fortunate, glorious and most faithful nation of Catalonia, which in past was feared in lands and seas.