Fernando de Aragón
Fernando de Aragón
King of Aragon

  • Born 10 May 1451
  • Deceased in 1516,aged 65 years old
  • King
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 Spouses and children


Individual Note

Ferdinand II of Aragon the Catholic, Spanish: Fernando II de Aragón y V de Castilla "el Católico", Catalan: Ferran II d'Aragó "el Catòlic", Aragonese: Ferrando II d'Aragón "lo Catolico"; (Sos del Rey Católico (March 10, 1452 – January 23, 1516 in Madrigalejo) was king of Aragon (1479–1516), Sicily (1468–1516), Naples (1504–1516), Valencia, Sardinia and Navarre, Count of Barcelona, de jure uxoris King of Castile (1474-1504) and then Regent (and true ruler) of that country also from 1508 to his death, in the name of his mentally challenged daughter Joanna the Mad.

BiographyAcquiring titles

Ferdinand was the son of John II of Aragon (whose family was a cadet branch of the House of Trastámara) by his second wife, the Castilian noblewoman Juana Enriquez. He married Infanta Isabella, the half-sister and heiress of Henry IV of Castile, on 19 October 1469 in Valladolid and became jure uxoris King of Castile when Isabella succeeded her brother as Queen of Castile in 1474. Isabel also belonged to the royal House of Trastámara. Married under the joint motto, tanto monta, monta tanto, the two young monarchs were initially obliged to fight a civil war against Joan, princess of Castile (also known as Juana la Beltraneja), the purported daughter of Henry IV, and were swiftly successful. When Ferdinand succeeded his father as King of Aragon in 1479, the Crown of Castile and the various territories of the Crown of Aragon were united in a personal union creating for the first time since the 8th century a single political unit began to be called España (Spain), the root of which is the ancient name Hispania, although the various states were not formerly administered as a single unit until the 18th century, but rather, as separate political units under the same Crown.

The first decades of Ferdinand and Isabella's joint rule were taken up with the conquest of the Kingdom of Granada, the last Muslim enclave in the Iberian peninsula, which was completed by 1492. In that same year, the Alhambra Decree was issued, expelling the Jews from both Castile and Aragon, and Christopher Columbus was sent by the couple on his infamously accidental expedition to the new world. By the Treaty of Tordesillas of 1494, the extra-European world was split between the crowns of Portugal and Castile by a north-south line through the Atlantic Ocean.

The latter part of Ferdinand's life was largely taken up with disputes over control of Italy with successive Kings of France, the so-called Italian Wars. In 1494, Charles VIII of France invaded Italy and expelled Alfonso II (who was Ferdinand's first cousin once removed and stepson of Ferdinand's sister) from the throne of Naples. Ferdinand allied with various Italian princes and with Emperor Maximilian I, to expel the French by 1496 and install Alfonso's son, Ferdinand, on the Neapolitan throne. In 1501, following the death of Ferdinand II of Naples and his succession by his uncle Frederick, Ferdinand of Aragon signed an agreement with Charles VIII's successor, Louis XII, who had just successfully asserted his claims to the Duchy of Milan, to partition Naples between them, with Campania and the Abruzzi, including Naples itself, going to the French and Ferdinand taking Apulia and Calabria. The agreement soon fell apart, and over the next several years, Ferdinand's great general Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba conquered Naples from the French, having succeeded by 1504. Another less famous "conquest" took place in 1503, when Andreas Paleologus, de jure Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire, left Ferdinand and Isabella as heirs to the empire, thus Ferdinand became de jure Roman Emperor.After Isabella

After Isabella's death, her kingdom went to their daughter Joanna. Ferdinand served as the latter's regent during her absence in the Netherlands, ruled by her husband Archduke Philip. Ferdinand attempted to retain the regency permanently, but was rebuffed by the Castilian nobility and replaced with Joanna's husband, who became Philip I of Castile. After Philip's death in 1506, with Joanna supposedly mentally unstable, and her and Philip's son Charles of Ghent was only six years old, Ferdinand resumed the regency, ruling through Francisco Cardinal Jimenez de Cisneros, the Chancellor of the Kingdom.

Ferdinand disagreed with Philip's policies. In 1505, Ferdinand remarried with Germaine of Foix, a granddaughter of his half-sister Queen Leonor of Navarre, in hopes of fathering a new heir and so separating Aragon and Castile (denying Philip the governance of Aragon), and to potentially lay claim to Navarre.

Ferdinand also had children from his mistress, Aldonza Ruiz de Iborre y Alemany of Cervera. He had a son, Alfonso de Aragon (born in 1469), who later became Archbishop of Saragossa, and a daughter Joanna (born in 1471), who married Bernardino de Valsco, the 1st Duke of Frias.

In the 1500s, Alfonso de Aragon, who later became Archbishop of Saragossa found a hidden study under the palace of Ferdinand, containing over 400 documents written by Ferdinand himself. In these documents, Ferdinand explained his general outlook on political power, and his true goals behind all his decisions during life as the King of Spain. Also through these documents, which surprised many people, writings stated that Ferdinand, during times of very complicated decision making, blindfolded himself to concentrate on the true matter of the situation, as to not let various things cloud his judgment.

In 1508, war resumed in Italy, this time against Venice, which all the other powers on the peninsula, including Louis XII, Ferdinand, Maximilian, and Pope Julius II joined together against as the League of Cambrai. Although the French were victorious against Venice at the Battle of Agnadello, the League soon fell apart, as both the Pope and Ferdinand became suspicious of French intentions. Instead, the Holy League was formed, in which now all the powers joined together against France.

In November 1511 Ferdinand and his son-in-law Henry VIII of England signed the Treaty of Westminster, pledging mutual aid between the two against France. Earlier that year, Ferdinand had conquered the southern half of the Kingdom of Navarre, which was ruled by a French nobleman, and annexed it to Spain. The Holy League was generally successful in Italy, as well, driving the French from Milan, which was restored to its Sforza dukes by the peace treaty in 1513. The French were successful in reconquering Milan two years later, however.

Ferdinand died in 1516 in Madrigalejo, Cáceres, Extremadura, Spain.Legacy and succession

Ferdinand and Isabella established a highly effective coregency under equal terms. They utilized a prenuptial agreement to lay down their terms. During their reign they supported each other effectively in accordance to their joint motto of equality: Tanto monta or monta tanto, Isabel como Fernando ("They amount to the same, Isabella and Ferdinand"). Isabella and Ferdinand's achievements were remarkable: Spain was united, the crown power was centralized, the reconquista was successfully concluded, the groundwork for the most dominant military machine of the next century and a half was laid, a legal framework was created, the church reformed. Even without the benefit of the American expansion, Spain would have been a major European power. Columbus' discovery set the country on the course for the first modern world power.

They are, however, also remembered for having created the Spanish Inquisition.

In 1502, the members of the Aragonese Cortes gathered in Saragossa, swore an oath of loyalty to their daughter Joanna as heiress, but the Archbishop of Saragossa stated firmly that this oath was invalid and did not change the law of succession which could only be done by formal legislation by the Cortes with the King. [1][2] So, when King Ferdinand died on 23 January 1516, his daughter Joanna inherited the Crown of Aragon, and his grandson Charles became Governor General (Regent).[3] Nevertheless, the Flemings wished that Carlos assume the royal title, and this was supported by his paternal grandfather the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I and by Pope Leo X. Consequently, after Ferdinand II's funeral on 14 March 1516, Carlos I was proclaimed King of Castile and of Aragon jointly with his mother. Finally, the Castilian Regent, Cardinal Jiménez de Cisneros accepted the fait accompli, and the Castilian and Aragonese Cortes paid homage to him [4] as King of Aragon jointly with his mother.[5]


With his mistress Aldonza Ruiz de Iborre y Alemany, a Catalan noblewoman of Cervera, King Ferdinand had two illegitimate children:

   1. Alonso (1470 - 1520) Spanish Prelate, Archbishop of Saragossa and Viceroy of Aragón;   2. Juana (? - ), married with Bernardino Fernandez de Velasco III as Count of Haro and VII as grandee of Castille.

With his wife Isabella I the Catholic (whom he married 19 October 1469), King Ferdinand had 5 children:

   1. Isabella of Castile (1470 - 1498), Princess of Asturias (1497 - 1498). She married first Prince Afonso, Prince of Portugal, but after his death she married his cousin Prince Emanuel, the future King Emanuel I of Portugal. She died in childbirth delivering her son Michael of Paz, Crown Prince of both Portugal and Spain who, in turn, died in infancy;   2. Juan, Prince of Asturias (1478 - 1497), Prince of Asturias (1478 - 1497). He married Margaret of Habsburg (daughter of King Maximilian I). He died of tuberculosis and his posthumous child with Margaret was stillborn.   3. Joanna the Mad. (1479 - 1555), Princess of Asturias (1500 - 1504), Queen of Castile (1504 - 1555). She married Philip I the Handsome (son of the Emperor Maximilian I) and was the mother of Charles I of Spain (also known as Charles V as Holy Roman Emperor). Incarcerated by her father in Tordecillas, she lived on until her grandson Philip II was already on the throne of Spain;   4. Maria of Aragon (1482 - 1517). She married King Emanuel I of Portugal, the widower of her elder sister Isabella and she was the mother of King John III of Portugal and of the Cardinal-King Henry I of Portugal;   5. Catherine of Aragon (1485 - 1536). She married first Arthur, Prince of Wales, son of and heir to King Henry VII of England and after Prince Arthur's death she married his brother Henry, Duke of York who also became Prince of Wales and then King Henry VIII. She thus became Queen of England and was the mother of Queen Mary I Tudor (“Bloody Mary”). Eventually, in 1533, she was put aside by King Henry (by a marriage annulment which neither she nor the Pope recognised and which was the prime cause of the English Reformation and the separation of the Church of England from Rome) she died in lonely isolation in Kimbolton Castle in Cambridgeshire and was buried in Peterborough Cathedral.

With his second wife, Germaine of Foix, niece of King Louis XII of France (whom he married on 19 October 1505 in Blois) King Ferdinand had one son:

* John (3 May 1509 - he died hours after being born), Prince of Gerona.

Other illegitimate children King Ferdinand had by various different mothers included:

   1. Alfonso (1470 - 1530). Fruit of its relation with Luisa de Estrada, he fought in the Americas;   2. Miguel Fernández, the Knight of Granada (1495-1575). Son of Aixa -Sister Isabel of Granada- (daughter of Boabdil, the Spanish name for the vanquished Arab King Muhammad XII of Granada.   3. Maria (? - ). Abbess of the Royal Convent of Our Lady Mother of Grace at Avila.   4. Maria de Aragón. Abbess of the Augustinian Convent of the Holy Mother at Torres Discharges.

Thus, his grandson Charles, was to inherit not only the Spanish lands of his maternal grandparents, but the Habsburg and Burgundian lands of his paternal family, which would make his heirs the most powerful rulers on the continent and, with the discoveries and conquests in the Americas and the Philippines, of the first truly global Empire.


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