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▶Name:Ferdinand II of Aragon ▶Birthplace: Sada Palace, Sos del Rey Catolico ▶Current Location: Naples, Italy ▶Date of Birth: 10 March 1452 ▶Gender: Male ▶Orientation: Straight ▶Species: Immortal ▶Marital Status: Single ▶Children: Joanna of Castile, Catherine of Aragon, Isabella of Aragon, Queen of Portugal, John, Prince of Asturias, Maria of Aragon, Queen of Portugal, Alonso de Aragon, John of Aragon, Prince of Girona, John, Prince of Girona, María Esperanza de Aragon, Juana de Aragon, Maria Blanca de Aragon
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Ferdinand was born in Sada Palace, Sos del Rey Catolico, Kingdom of Aragon, as the son of John II of Aragon (whose family was a cadet branch of the House of Trastamara) by his second wife, Juana Enriquez. He married Infanta Isabella, the half-sister and heiress of Henry IV of Castile, on 19 October 1469 in Valladolid, Kingdom of Castile and Leon. Isabella also belonged to the royal House of Trastamara, and the two were cousins by descent from John I of Castile. They were married with a clear prenuptial agreement on sharing power, and under the joint motto "tanto monta, monta tanto." He became jure uxoris King of Castile when Isabella succeeded her deceased brother in 1474 to be crowned as Queen Isabella I of Castile. The two young monarchs were initially obliged to fight a civil war against Joan 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. For the first time since the 8th century, this union created a single political unit referred to as Espana (Spain), the root of which is the ancient name Hispania. The various states were not formally administered as a single unit, but as separate political units under the same Crown. (The legal merging of Aragon and Castile into a single Spain occurred under Philip V in 1707-1715.)
The first years of Ferdinand and Isabella's joint rule saw the Spanish conquest of the Nasrid dynasty of the Emirate of Granada (Moorish Kingdom of Granada), the last Islamic al-Andalus entity on the Iberian peninsula, completed in 1492.
The completion of the Reconquista was not the only significant act performed by Ferdinand and Isabella in that year. In March 1492, the monarchs issued the Edict of Expulsion of the Jews, also called the Alhambra Decree, a document which ordered all Jews either to be baptised and convert to Christianity or to leave the country. That document was signed with the defeated Moorish Emir of Granada Muhammad XII, who had bargained for the Muslims of Spain to be left alone. It allowed Mudejar Moors (Islamic) and converso Marrano Jews to stay, while expelling all unconverted Jews from Castile and Aragon (most Jews either converted or moved to Islamic lands of North Africa and the Ottoman Empire). 1492 was also the year in which the monarchs commissioned Christopher Columbus to find a westward maritime route for access to Asia, which resulted in the Spanish arrival in the Americas.
In 1494 the Treaty of Tordesillas divided the entire world beyond Europe between Portugal and Castile (Spain) for conquest and dominion purposes - by a north-south line drawn down the Atlantic Ocean.
House of Trastamara
Ferdinand violated the 1492 Alhambra Decree peace treaty in 1502 by dismissing the clearly guaranteed religious freedom for Mudejar Muslims. Ferdinand forced all Muslims in Castile and Aragon to convert, converso Moriscos, to Catholicism, or else be expelled. Some of the Muslims who remained were mudejar artisans, who could design and build in the Moorish style. This was also practised by the Spanish inquisitors on the converso Marrano Jewish population of Spain. The main architect behind the Spanish Inquisition was King Ferdinand II, who was ironically of converso heritage (or perhaps because of it, he may have been embittered by being the great-grandson of Fadrique's mistress).
Ferdinand destroyed over ten thousand Arabic manuscripts in Granada alone, burning them.
The latter part of Ferdinand's life was largely taken up with disputes with successive Kings of France over control of Italy, 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 accession of his uncle Frederick, Ferdinand 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 Fernandez de Cordoba fought to take Naples from the French, finally succeeding by 1504.
Isabella made her will on 12 October 1504, in advance of her 26 November 1504 death. In it she spelled out the succession to the crown of Castile, leaving it to Joanna and then to Joanna's son Charles. Isabella was dubious of Joanna's ability to rule and was not confident of Joanna's husband Archduke Philip. Ferdinand moved quickly after his wife's death to continue his role in Castile. "On the day of his wife's death, Ferdinand formally renounced his title as king of Castile, which he had held since 1474, and instead became governor (gobernador) of the kingdom," as a way to become regent. Philip deemed his wife sane and fit to rule. A compromise was forged between Philip and Ferdinand, which gave Ferdinand a continued role in Castile. Ferdinand II had 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.
Ferdinand disagreed with the policies and foreignness of Philip I. Ferdinand remarried to Germaine of Foix on October 19, 1505 in Blois, Kingdom of France, the granddaughter of his half-sister Queen Eleanor of Navarre and niece of Louis XII of France. His hope to father a new heir of Aragon, separating it from Castile, was not realised. It would have denied his son-in-law Philip I, and his grandson Charles I, from inheriting the crown and governance of Aragon. A son, John, Prince of Girona, was born on May 3, 1509, but died within hours. John was buried in the convent of Saint Paul in Valladolid, Kingdom of Castile and Leon, and later transferred to Poblet Monastery, Vimbodi i Poblet, Catalonia, Kingdom of Aragon, traditional burial site of the kings of Aragon.
Statue of Ferdinand in the Sabatini Gardens in Madrid
Ferdinand also had children from his mistress, Aldonza Ruiz de Iborre y Alemany of Cervera. He had a son, Alonso de Aragon (born in 1469), who later became Archbishop of Saragossa, and a daughter Joanna (born in 1471), who married Bernardino Fernandez de Velasco, 1st Duke of Frias.
In the 16th century his son Alonso de Aragon, found a hidden study under Ferdinand's palace containing over 400 documents written by Ferdinand. 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 Castile and Aragon. Also through these documents, Ferdinand wrote that "during times of very complicated decision making he blindfolded himself to concentrate on the true matter of a situation, and not let other things 'cloud his judgment'."
In 1508 war resumed in Italy, this time against the Republic of Venice, which all the other powers with interests on the Italian peninsula, including Louis XII, Ferdinand II, 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 of Cambrai soon fell apart, as both the Pope and Ferdinand II became suspicious of French intentions. Instead, the 'Holy League' was formed, in which now all the powers joined together against Louis XII and France.
In November 1511 Ferdinand II and his son-in-law King Henry VIII of England signed the Treaty of Westminster, pledging mutual aid between the two against Navarre and France ahead of the Castilian invasion of Navarre as of July 1512. After the fall of Granada in 1492, he had manoeuvred for years to take over the throne of the Basque kingdom, ruled by Queen Catherine of Navarre and King John III of Navarre, also lords of Bearn and other sizeable territories of the Pyrenees and western Gascony. Ferdinand annexed Navarre first to the Crown of Aragon, but later, under the pressure of Castilian noblemen, to the Crown of Castile. 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 II died on January 23, 1516 in Madrigalejo, Extremadura, Kingdom of Castile and Leon. He is entombed at Capilla Real, Granada, Kingdom of Castile and Leon. Isabella I, Joanna I, and Philip I are beside him there.