Fournier: España Imperial Playing Cards

30 Aug

España Imperial Playing Cards were printed by Fournier in 1983.

Playing cards were designed by Ricardo “Serney” Summers (Discovery and Colonisation of America Playing Cards). Backs were designed by Tapicerías Gancedo.

Modern Spain was originally composed of a number of independent kingdoms and it was not united until 1479 when both Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand ascended to their thrones. Their marriage in 1469 joined together the royal houses of the Kingdom of Castile and the Kingdom of Aragon. Imperial Spain was born from this “Union of the Crowns”. These playing cards are dedicated to the period of the formation and develpment of the Imperial Spain, to main persons who played a historic part in this process.

The deck: 52 playing cards + 1 Joker + 1 ad card. Bridge size. The set consists of two decks with two different backs (different colours).


All pictures are clickable

The Ace of Spades

The Jack of Spades – El Gran Capitan

Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba (1453 – 1515) also known as The Great Captain was a Spanish general who fought in the times of the Conquest of Granada and the Italian Wars. He reorganized the emerging Spanish army and its tactics and came to be known as “the Father of Trench Warfare”.


The Queen of Spades – Isabel la Catolica

Isabella I (1451 – 1504) also known as Isabella the Catholic was queen of Castile and León (Crown of Castile). She and her husband Ferdinand II of Aragon brought stability to the kingdoms that became the basis for the political unification of Spain under their grandson Charles V. She reorganized the governmental system and brought the crime rate to the lowest it had been in years.

The King of Spades – Fernando el Catolico

Ferdinand the Catholic (1452 – 1516) was the King of Aragon (as Ferdinand II), Sicily, Naples (as Ferdinand III), Majorca, Valencia, Sardinia and Navarre, Count of Barcelona, jure uxoris* King of Castile (as Ferdinand V) and then regent of that country from 1508 to 1516.

jure uxoris is a Latin term that means “by right of his wife” or “in right of a wife”. It is commonly used to refer to a title held by a man whose wife holds it in her own right. In case of Ferdinand – in right of Isabella I.


The Ace of Hearts

The Jack of Hearts – Hernan Cortes

Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro (1485 – 1547) was a Spanish Conquistador* who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile (Ferdinand the Catholic) in the early 16th century. Cortés was part of the generation of Spanish colonizers that began the first phase of the Spanish colonization of the Americas.

* Conquistadors were soldiers, explorers, and adventurers at the service of the Spanish Empire and Portuguese Empire.


The Queen of Hearts – Juana de Castilla

Joan of Castile (1479 – 1555) was heiress of the Kingdoms of Castile and Aragon. She was also known as Joan the Mad or Juana la Loca (in Spanish). Joan married Philip the Handsome and cause the rule of the Habsburgs in Spain. She ruled Castille after her mother’s (Isabella I) death. But after Philip’s death in 1506, Joanna became mentally ill and was confined to a nunnery for the rest of her life. Though she remained the legal queen of Spain throughout this time – her father Ferdinand the Catholic and later her son Charles V ruled in her place.

The King of Hearts – Felipe I el Hermoso

Philip I (1478 – 1506) was the first member of the house of Habsburg to be King of Castile. He was also known as Philip the Handsome or the Fair. Philip briefly succeeded to the Crown of Castile as the husband of Queen Joanna of Castile. He was the first Habsburg monarch in Spain. 


The Ace of Clubs

The Jack of Clubs – Legazpi

Miguel López de Legazpi (1502 – 1572) is also known as El Adelantado and El Viejo. He was a Basque Spanish navigator and governor who established the first Spanish settlement in the East Indies when his expedition crossed the Pacific Ocean from the Viceroyalty of New Spain (in modern-day Mexico). He was the first Governor-General of Spanish East Indies which included the Philippines and other Pacific archipelagos, namely Guam and the Marianas Islands.


The Queen of Clubs – Isabel de Valois

Elisabeth of France (1545 – 1568) was the eldest daughter of Henry II of France and Catherine de’ Medici. She was also known as Elizabeth of Valois. 14-year-old Elisabeth married Philip II of Spain in 1559. She was his second wife after the death of Queen Mary I of England.

The King of Clubs – Felipe II

Philip II of Spain (1527 – 1598) was King of Spain (as Philip II in Castille and Philip I in Aragon) and Portugal as Philip I. He was the son of of Charles V (the son of Philip the Handsome and Joan the Mad) and was known in Spain as Philip the Prudent (Felipe el Prudente). His empire included territories on every continent then known to Europeans and during his reign Spain was the foremost Western European power. The country reached the height of its influence and power under his rule. He organized directing explorations all around the world and settling the colonisation of territories on all the known continents including his namesake Philippine Islands. The expression “The empire on which the sun never sets” was coined during Philip’s time to reflect the enormity of his possessions. Philip is also known for organizing a huge naval expedition against Protestant England in 1588. It is known usually as the Spanish Armada which was unsuccessful due to storms and grave logistical problems.


The Ace of Diamonds

The Jack of Diamonds – Juan de Austria

John of Austria (1547 – 1578) was an illegitimate son of Charles V. He became a military leader in the service of his half-brother Philip of Spain and is best known for his naval victory at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 against the Ottoman Empire.


The Queen of Diamonds – Isabel de Portugal

Isabella of Portugal (1503 – 1539) was an Infanta of Portugal (by birth) and a Holy Roman Empress, Queen of Germany, Italy, Spain, Naples and Sicily, Duchess of Burgundy etc. as the spouse of Charles V (the son of Philip the Handsome and Joan the Mad). She served as regent of Spain during the absence of her spouse for long periods.

The King of Diamonds – Carlos I

Charles V (1500 – 1558) was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I as Holy Roman Emperor and his son Philip II as King of Spain in 1556. He was known in Spain as Charles I (Carlos I). Charles was the eldest son of Philip the Handsome and Joanna the Mad. His grandmother was Isabella I of Castile. As the heir of three of Europe’s leading dynasties – the House of Habsburg of the Habsburg Monarchy; the House of Valois-Burgundy of the Burgundian Netherlands and the House of Trastámara of the Crowns of Castile and Aragon – he ruled over extensive domains in Central, Western and Southern Europe, the Spanish colonies in the Americas and Asia. Charles became the first King of Spain as he was the first king to rule Castile, León, and Aragon simultaneously in his own right.

Much of Charles’ reign was devoted to the Italian Wars against France which, although enormously expensive, were militarily successful. Aside from this, Charles is best known for his role in opposing the Protestant Reformation.


Joker + Ad Card

Espana_Imperial_Fournier_Playing_Cards_Joker Espana_Imperial_Fournier_Playing_Cards_Ad_Card




This blog thanks Oksana Kovalenko and World Web Playing Card Museum from the bottom of its soft heart for the pictures of these playing cards.


See other playing cards printed by Fournier (Category: “Fournier”).



Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: