Ferdinand II

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Ferdinand II


Ferdinand the Catholic,

1452–1516, king of Aragón (1479–1516), king of Castile and León (as Ferdinand V, 1474–1504), king of Sicily (1468–1516), and king of Naples (1504–16). His father, John II of Aragón, gave him Sicily during his lifetime and left him Aragón when he died. In 1469, Ferdinand married Isabella IIsabella I
or Isabella the Catholic,
1451–1504, Spanish queen of Castile and León (1474–1504), daughter of John II of Castile. In 1469 she married Ferdinand of Aragón (later King Ferdinand II of Aragón and Ferdinand V of Castile).
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 of Castile, and in 1474 they assumed joint rule of Castile. Thus, all of Spain except for the Moorish kingdom of Granada became united. The royal couple, known as the Catholic kings, set out with energetic determination to complete the unification, and Granada fell to them at last in 1492.

In the same year Ferdinand and Isabella took the fateful step of expelling from their kingdoms all Jews who refused to accept Christianity. One of the effects of this measure was to deprive Spain of a valuable cultural and economic community. The expulsion of the Moors (1502) had less impact, for many more Moors than Jews chose to pretend to accept Christianity and remain in Spain. The Catholic kings also instituted the InquisitionInquisition
, tribunal of the Roman Catholic Church established for the investigation of heresy. The Medieval Inquisition

In the early Middle Ages investigation of heresy was a duty of the bishops.
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 in Spain to bolster religious and political unity.

Their reign was crucial in the history of the world as well as that of Spain. In 1492, Christopher ColumbusColumbus, Christopher,
Ital. Cristoforo Colombo , Span. Cristóbal Colón , 1451–1506, European explorer, b. Genoa, Italy. Early Years
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, sailing under their auspices, discovered the New World, and in 1494, by the Treaty of Tordesillas (see Tordesillas, Treaty ofTordesillas, Treaty of
, 1494, agreement signed at Tordesillas, Spain, by which Spain and Portugal divided the non-Christian world into two zones of influence. In principle the treaty followed the papal bull issued in 1493 by Pope Alexander VI, which fixed the demarcation line
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), Spain and Portugal divided the non-Christian world between them. Ferdinand personally was more interested in Mediterranean affairs. He began Spain's struggle with France for control of Italy in the Italian WarsItalian Wars,
1494–1559, series of regional wars brought on by the efforts of the great European powers to control the small independent states of Italy. Renaissance Italy was split into numerous rival states, most of which sought foreign alliances to increase their
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. His general Gonzalo Fernández de CórdobaFernández de Córdoba, Gonzalo
, 1453–1515, Spanish general, called the Great Captain. He fought in the civil wars preceding and following the accession of Isabella I and in the conquest of Granada.
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 conquered Naples in 1504. Ferdinand joined the League of Cambrai (1508) against Venice and the Holy League (1511) against France. In 1512 he annexed most of Navarre, basing his claim on his marriage (1506) to Germaine de Foix.

After Isabella's death (1504) he retained control over Castile as regent for his daughter JoannaJoanna
(Joanna the Mad), 1479–1555, Spanish queen of Castile and León (1504–55), daughter of Ferdinand II and Isabella I. She succeeded to Castile and León at the death of her mother.
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. Joanna's husband, Philip IPhilip I
(Philip the Handsome), 1478–1506, Spanish king of Castile (1506), archduke of Austria, titular duke of Burgundy, son of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I and Mary of Burgundy.
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, became king of Castile in 1506 but died the same year. For the rest of his life Ferdinand continued his regency over Castile, first in the name of Joanna, who became insane, and then for his grandson, later Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. When Ferdinand died, he left his grandson a united Spain, as well as Naples, Sicily, Sardinia, and an overseas empire.

During the reign of the Catholic kings the power of the throne grew. The nobles and the Cortes (parliament) were curbed, and the church was used as an instrument of political policy. Many of Ferdinand's policies had long-lasting effects, especially the expulsion of the Jews and the Muslims, many of whom settled in N Africa, the search for American gold, and the conversion of large agricultural areas into grazing lands for the benefit of the wool industry. Spain became an Atlantic power and revolutionized the commerce of Europe.


See W. H. Prescott, History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella (4 vol., 1838; abridged and ed. by C. H. Gardiner, 1963); J. H. Mariéjol, The Spain of Ferdinand and Isabella (1892, tr. 1961); R. B. Merriman, The Rise of the Spanish Empire (Vol. II, The Catholic Kings, 1918); J. H. Elliott, Imperial Spain: 1469–1716 (1963).

Ferdinand II,

1816–85, king consort of Portugal (1837–53). The eldest son of Ferdinand, duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, he married Maria II (Maria da Glória) of Portugal in 1836. After her death (1853), he was regent for his son, Peter V, until the latter's majority (1855). However, he left the actual government to ministers, while he occupied himself with his art collection. In 1862 he was offered and refused the Greek crown, and in 1869 he declined the Spanish crown because the Spanish leader Juan Prim could not guarantee future Portuguese independence.

Ferdinand II,

1578–1637, Holy Roman emperor (1619–37), king of Bohemia (1617–37) and of Hungary (1618–37); successor of Holy Roman Emperor Matthias.

Grandson of Ferdinand IFerdinand I,
1503–64, Holy Roman emperor (1558–64), king of Bohemia (1526–64) and of Hungary (1526–64), younger brother of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.
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, son of Archduke Charles of Styria, Ferdinand was educated by the Jesuits and supported the Counter Reformation. He was chosen successor to Matthias and became, before the emperor's death, king of Bohemia and Hungary. His Catholicism, however, alienated the Bohemian nobles, who rebelled (1618) and chose (1619) Frederick V (Frederick the Winter KingFrederick the Winter King,
1596–1632, king of Bohemia (1619–20), elector palatine (1610–20) as Frederick V. The Protestant diet of Bohemia deposed the Roman Catholic King Ferdinand (Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II) and chose Frederick as king.
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), elector palatine, as their ruler. This began the Thirty Years WarThirty Years War,
1618–48, general European war fought mainly in Germany. General Character of the War

There were many territorial, dynastic, and religious issues that figured in the outbreak and conduct of the war.
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. The Bohemians at first were successful and pressed upon Vienna, but Ferdinand, allied with Maximilian IMaximilian I,
1573–1651, elector (1623–51) and duke (1597–1651) of Bavaria, one of the outstanding figures of the Thirty Years War and an ardent supporter of the Counter Reformation.
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 of Bavaria and the Catholic League, won back Bohemia in 1620 in the battle of the White Mt. War continued in the Palatinate.

In Hungary, Gabriel BethlenBethlen, Gabriel
, 1580–1629, prince of Transylvania (1613–29). He was chief adviser of Stephen Bocskay and was elected prince after the assassination of Gabriel Báthory.
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 was successful in opposing Ferdinand in 1619 and 1620, but after the defeat of the Bohemians a peace was signed (1621). During the Danish phase (1625–29) of the Thirty Years War, TillyTilly, Johannes Tserklaes, count of
, 1559–1632, general in Bavarian and later imperial service during the Thirty Years War. A younger son of a noble family of Brabant, he served under Duke Alessandro Farnese and against the Turks before entering the service of Duke
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, commander of the Catholic League, and WallensteinWallenstein or Waldstein, Albrecht Wenzel Eusebius von
, 1583–1634, imperial general in the Thirty Years War, b. Bohemia.
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, head of the imperial army, defeated the Danes, and a favorable peace was made with Denmark. Ferdinand, then at the height of his power, issued (1629) the Edict of Restitution, ordering the restoration of ecclesiastical property secularized after 1552. That further antagonized the Protestant princes, but they did not take up arms. At that time, however, Gustavus IIGustavus II
(Gustavus Adolphus), 1594–1632, king of Sweden (1611–32), son and successor of Charles IX. Military Achievements

Gustavus's excellent education, personal endowments, and early experience in affairs of state prepared him for his crucial role
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 (Gustavus Adolphus) of Sweden, a Protestant, came into the war.

Ferdinand in 1630 had dismissed Wallenstein under pressure from the princes of the empire, who felt the general was becoming too powerful. In 1632, however, after a series of defeats, Wallenstein was restored. He was later suspected of treason and dismissed. In 1634, Wallenstein was assassinated, almost certainly at the instigation of Ferdinand. The battle of Nördlingen marked the resurgence of the imperialists, but the war was wrecking Germany and the house of Hapsburg. The Peace of Prague (1635), the last important act of the irresolute Ferdinand, did not end the fighting. The war reached its unhappy conclusion in the reign of his son, Ferdinand IIIFerdinand III,
1608–57, Holy Roman emperor (1637–57), king of Hungary (1626–57) and of Bohemia (1627–57), son and successor of Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II.
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Ferdinand II,

d. 1188, Spanish king of León (1157–88), son and successor of Alfonso VII. He invaded Castile and set up a protectorate during the minority (1158–66) of his nephew Alfonso VIIIAlfonso VIII
(Alfonso the Noble), 1155–1214, Spanish king of Castile (1158–1214), son and successor of Sancho III. Chaos prevailed during his minority, but he quickly restored order after assuming (1166) the government.
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. He also fought the Moors in Extremadura. His son Alfonso IX succeeded him.

Ferdinand II,

1810–59, king of the Two Sicilies (1830–59), son and successor of Francis I. Although initially he sought to improve the wretched conditions of his kingdom, he soon relapsed into the repressive policies of his predecessors and became an absolute despot. Fear of revolution made him grant a constitution in 1848, but when disorders broke out in Sicily he ordered the bombardment of Messina (1848) and Palermo (1849)—an act that earned him the nickname "King Bomba." He soon revoked the constitution, becoming even more reactionary. Great Britain and France, in protest against his inhuman treatment of at least 15,000 political prisoners, withdrew their envoys (1856). He was opposed by conservatives as well as liberals. The political isolation brought about by Ferdinand facilitated the fall of the dynasty under his son and successor, Francis II.


See H. M. Acton, The Last Bourbons of Naples (1961).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ferdinand II


(Ferdinand II of Aragón, Ferdinand V of Castile; called the Catholic). Born Mar. 10, 1452, in Sos; died Jan. 23, 1516, in Madrigalejo. King of Aragón from 1479; king of Sicily from 1468 and of Castile from 1479 to 1504.

With his marriage to Isabella of Castile, Ferdinand II joined the kingdoms of Aragón and Castile into what became the nascent state of modern Spain. After Isabella’s death in 1504, he was appointed regent for his daughter Juana the Mad. As king, Ferdinand II set upon a course to complete the Reconquista, which he did with the capture of Granada from the Moors in 1492. In 1493 he added Roussillon and Cerdagne to Spain under the Treaty of Barcelona with France, and in 1512 he seized Upper Navarre. In 1504, during the Italian Wars of 1494–1559, he conquered the Kingdom of Naples, where he was proclaimed Ferdinand III.

Ferdinand II sought to establish absolutism in his kingdom by adopting measures intended to centralize the administration of government and by limiting the privileges of the great feudal lords and, later, of the various cities. At the same time, he endeavored to strengthen Catholicism. In 1480, for example, he and Isabella set up the Inquisition in Castile, and in 1492 they issued a decree banishing all Jews from Spain; they also increased persecution of the Moors, forcing many of them to convert to Christianity. In 1486, Ferdinand II promulgated the Sentencia de Guadalupe. During his reign, which coincided with the discovery of the New World, Spain began a period of colonial expansion.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Ferdinand II

1578--1637, Holy Roman Emperor (1619--37); king of Bohemia (1617--19; 1620--37) and of Hungary (1617--37). His anti-Protestant policies led to the Thirty Years' War
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005