Infante of Portugal; b. Santarém, Portugal, Sept. 29, 1402; d. Fez, Morocco, June 5, 1443. He lived as a monk at the court of his father, John I, and, at 20, became grand master of the Order of aviz. He was a model of virtue and chivalry—averse to argumentation, criticism, and swearing—chaste of body and soul. In command of the disastrous Portuguese expedition to capture Tangiers in
September 1437, he surrendered himself, his secretary, his confessor, and several pages as hostages to the Moroccans to save his troops. The Portuguese refused to deliver Ceuta as Ferdinand's ransom, and he died after a harsh captivity, which he endured with great patience. In 1451, João Alvarez, his secretary, brought Ferdinand's heart to Lisbon and wrote an account of his captivity (Acta Sanctorum June 1:552–581, and Coimbra 1911). The rest of his relics were translated from Morocco to Batalha in 1463. Calderón's El príncipe constante dramatizes Ferdinand's career.
Feast: June 5.
Bibliography: a. de holanda and s. bening, A genealogia do Infante Dom Fernando de Portugal (Porto, Portugal 1984). j. alvares, Obras, critical edition ed. a. de almeida calado, 2 v. (Coimbra 1960); Trautado da vida e feitos do muito vertuoso Sor. ifante D. Fernando, critical edition ed. a. de almeida calado, (Coimbra 1960). g. marsot, Catholicisme 4:1187.
[j. pÉrez de urbel]