From sword to seal : the ascent of the Carvajal family in Spain (1391-1516)
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This dissertation examines the Carvajal family’s century-long transformation from less prestigious knights (caballeros) into influential church leaders and royal advisors to the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabel. During the 15th century, the Carvajal family successfully utilized the tools of family confederations, occupational patronage, religious endowments, and wealth generation in their pursuit of enhanced status in Castile. Additionally, this work documents a family confederation formed by the Carvajals and the Santa Marías, an influential clan of Jewish converts to Christianity (conversos). The geographic focus of this study is the city and diocese of Plasencia, Spain, and the timeframe is from 1391 to 1516. The key Plasencia families examined in this project are the allied Carvajals and Santa Marías, as well as their rivals, the Estúñigas. Research for this dissertation explored fourteen city, cathedral, provincial, royal, and national archives and libraries across Spain. This pioneering archival history breaks new ground in its exploration of the familial, economic, occupational, and social processes that facilitated the rise of the Carvajals of Plasencia.