Ferdinand II of Aragon (Ferdinand V of Castile) (1452–1516)

views updated

Ferdinand II of Aragon (Ferdinand V of Castile) (14521516)

King of Aragon who, by marriage to Queen Isabella of Castile, established the kingdom of Spain. Ferdinand was also the king of Sicily and Naples. The son of John II of Aragon, he was born in Sos. John granted Ferdinand the kingdom of Sicily in 1468 and the kingdom of Naples in 1503. Following his marriage to Isabella in 1469, the couple agreed to consolidate their authority in Castile in 1474, an act that brought all of Spain outside of the Moorish kingdom of Granada under a single monarchy. Ferdinand and Isabella sought to establish Catholicism as a dominating force in the new kingdom, establishing the Spanish Inquisition to root out heresy and false conversion on the part of the Jews and Moors. In 1492, Spain expelled all Jews who would not convert. In the same year, Granada was conquered, bringing the Reconquista, or Christian reconquest of Moorish Spain, to a successful conclusion.

The conquest of Granada allowed Ferdinand and Isabella to support the voyage of Christopher Columbus in the fall of 1492. Seeking a westerly route to the East Indies, Columbus instead discovered an entirely new hemisphere, where Spain was soon sending voyages of conquest and colonization. In 1494, Spain and Portugal agreed to the Treaty of Tordesillas, which set a boundary to their respective spheres of colonization. In the following years, Spanish explorers and conquistadores would establish colonies in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, and Peru; immense sums of silver and gold were brought to Spain from these colonies and much of the western hemisphere became a Spanish-speaking dominion.

Ferdinand disputed control of northern Italy with France, after coming to the defense of his cousin Alfonso II, the king of Naples who was expelled by the French in 1494. Spain allied with the emperor Maximilian I and ejected the French from Italy in 1496, after which Alfonso's son, Ferdinand, became the king of Naples. After this king's death in 1501, Ferdinand of Spain agreed with King Louis XII of France to divide Italy between them. The treaty failed, however, and gradually the powerful Spanish armies took control of Naples and ended French claims to that kingdom. Ferdinand later signed the Treaty of Westminster with King Henry VIII of England, allying the two countries against the rising power of France. In the same year, Ferdinand added the kingdom of Navarre, a frontier territory between Spain and France, to the kingdom of Spain.

After the death of Isabella in 1504, Ferdinand kept control of Castile by acting as regent for their daughter Joanna. Also known as la loca (the insane) or Joan the Mad, Joanna proved herself incapable of ruling, which left Castile under Ferdinand's control until his death in 1516. On this event, his grandson Charles became king of Spain, Naples, Sicily, and Sardinia, and later the Holy Roman Emperor as Charles V, concentrating more power in his hands than any European ruler since the time of Charlemagne.

See Also: Charles V; Columbus, Christopher; Isabella of Castile; Spain

About this article

Ferdinand II of Aragon (Ferdinand V of Castile) (1452–1516)

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article