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Fernando II de Aragon

King of Aragon, Valencia, Majorca, Sardinia and Count of Barcelone
King of Castile and of León

     Fernando II of Aragon, the Catholic, was born in Sos del Rey Católico village on March 10, 1452 (he died in Madrigalejo, on January 23, 1516). He was a king of Aragon and of Castile (like Fernando V) and son of Juan II the Big and of his second wife Juana Enríquez. Likewise, he was a king of Aragon between the year 1479 and 1516. King of Castile between 1474 and 1504 and also regent of the Castilian crown between 1507 and 1516 -due to the disqualification of his daughter Juana- after the death of Felipe el Hermoso. King of Sicily (1468-1516) and of Naples (1504-1516).
     For desire of his mother, Fernando was born in Aragonese territory, since he was in Navarre (in the succession disputes between her stepson Carlos and her husband Juan II) and moved up to the big house of Sada, situated on the border with Navarre, of the town of Sos. Recognized heir of the Aragonese crown when the death of his almost brother, Carlos, prince of Viana (1461), was crowned like hereditary King of Aragon in Calatayud; he was nominated a general substitute of Catalonia (1462) also, and in 1468, king of Sicily.
    During the Catalan civil war (1462 - 1472), in which he took active part, familiarized himself with the administration of the state to instances of his father. After dieing his cousin, the infante Alfonso de Castilla (1468) and after being recognized by most of the nobility the infanta Isabel -his cousin and almost sister of Enrique IV of Castile- like heiress of Castile, his father Juan II put his determination in obtaining Fernando's marriage with the Castilian princess, who took place in October, 1469, in Valladolid. Nevertheless, to the death of Enrique IV (1474) began a civil war between Isabel's followers and those of the daughter of Enrique, Juana de Trastamara, nicknamed the Beltraneja supported by the king of Portugal, Alfonso V the African, who was trying to marry her, joining the crowns of Castile and Portugal. Fernando, after arduous discussions with the suspicious Castilian nobility, managed to be proclaimed co-regent of Castile with the same rights as Isabel by means of the Concord of Segovia (1475). Fernando took part actively in the military direction of this war, to whose result contributed in a definitive way, especially with the victory in the first battle of Toro (1476). From 1476 to 1477 was a manager of the Order of Santiago.
    The war ended with the Juana defeat. For the Treaty of Alcáçovas (1479), Juana resigned from the throne in favor of Isabel and was imprisoned in a Coímbra convent, turning Isabel I into queen undiscussed Castile. The same year, (January 20, 1479) Fernando succeeded to his father as king of Aragon. But it was in the year 1475 when can be fixed the union of both crowns as the terms of the Concord of Segovia (corroborated later in the Concord of Calatayud of the year 1481) by which Fernando was nominated a king of Castile like Fernando V, reigning together with his wife the queen Isabel I, joining this way both crowns. Nevertheless, the queen Isabel I of Castile could not be named of iure (of right) queen of Aragon, since the salic law of the mentioned kingdom was preventing it. For this reason, Isabel was the Queen Consort of Aragon.
     After dictating the first measurements of internal arranging of his kingdoms (in 1480 the figure of the chief magistrate becomes institutionalized; in 1481 the Inquisition is created in Castile; the rebellious noblemen are sanctioned and the royal treasury is reorganized), the kings tackled in 1481 the conquest of the nazarí Kingdom of Granada. Across the difficulties of this war (1481 - 1492) -fundamentally of siege- the king Fernando was revealing his diplomatic and military talent. The war ended with the capitulation of Granada on January 2, 1492. The conquest of the last Moslem stronghold in the peninsula granted to the kings a prestige that the real authority helped to consolidate. In the kingdoms of the Crown of Aragon, Fernando did not modify the traditional political system (that was making the power concentration difficult in hands of the king), and finished in his States the problem of the Catalan "remensas" (like a farmers sindicat) by means of the abolition of the bad uses and the consolidation of the contracts of emphyteusis (arbitral judgment of Guadeloupe, 1486).
      He introduced in Castile the Aragonese institutions of the consulates (like the Consulate of the Sea, of Burgos) and the unions, favoring this way the Castilian economic development, especially the commerce of the wool. In the religious aspect, he took of Castile the Inquisition (present in Aragon from 1249) and reformed the program of his wife, sitting the bases of the modern State on having introduced the religious uniformity: decree of expulsion of the Jews of March 3, 1492 -except baptism- and necessary conversion of the Moorishs from Granada in 1503, to whom the queen had guaranteed the right to the religious freedom after the capitulation of the kingdom of Granada.
    From 1492, Fernando centred his activity on the traditional Aragonese expansion towards East, principally Italy and the north of Africa. By means of the agreement of Barcelona (1493), he recovered the Roussillon and the Cerdaña (occupied from 1463 by France). In Italy, to oppose to the French attempt of being annexed the Kingdom of Naples and Sicily, he organizes the Holy League (1495), his first big international diplomatic success. The successes in the military campaigns (in which the army of the king was directed by Gonzalo Fernández of Cordova, the Big Captain) and the astuteness of the king, allowed to expel to the reigning dynasty of the Kingdom of Naples and Sicily and, in 1504, to the French, with what Naples joined the possessions of the crown. Pope Alejandro VI -who in spite of belonging to native of the territories of the Crown of Aragon, did not had good relations with him, was afraid that in his territorial emulations he wanted to include part of the pontifical states- granted to Fernando and his wife, the queen Isabel I of Castile, the title of Reyes Católicos by means of the papal bull "Si Convenit" of December 19, 1496. The above mentioned title was inherited by the progeny in the throne (so many "austrias" like Bourbon), possessing it at present king Juan Carlos I of Spain.
    In the north of Africa, he proved to be opposite to large-scale occupations and restricted his actions to the occupation of some coastal places of the Mediterranean, like for example Orán. While all this happened in Europe, the discovery of America and the rapid occupation and development of the American grounds were strengthening the international position of the Reyes Católicos.
      To the death of Isabel (1504), Fernando proclaimed his daughter like queen of Castile and took the reins of the government of the kingdom under the last will of Isabel la Católica. But the husband of Juana, archduke Felipe was not for the work of resigning from the power and in the concord of Salamanca (November, 1505) he remembered the joint government of Felipe and the proper Juana, like kings, acting Fernando as governor. Previously, Fernando had neutralized the French support to his son-in-law Felipe for the Treaty of Blois, and had married Germana de Foix, niece of king Luis XII.
     On October 19, 1505, beeing 18 years old, German married for powers Fernando II of Aragon, 53 years old, widower of Isabel la Católica from almost one year. In the agreements, the king of France transferred his niece the dynastic rights of the kingdom of Naples and granted to Fernando the king's title of Jerusalem, rights that would return France in case the marriage had no offspring. In return, the Catolic King promised to name heir of the possible son of the marriage. The marriage raised the anger of the noblemen of Castile, since they saw it like a maneuver of Fernando the Catholic to prevent Felipe El Hermoso and Juana could inherit the Crown of Aragon. With her, Fernando had, in 1509, another son, Juan, who of not having died at a few hours of being born, would have turned into king of Aragon.

    In 1506, came the marriage of Juana and Felipe to the peninsula and soon the bad relations were evident between the son-in-law (supported the Castilian nobility, which formed the "felipista" group) and the father-in-law (supported by the representatives of the cities, which formed the Aragonese group) so that for the Concord of Villafáfila (1506), Fernando withdrew of Aragon by himself and Felipe was proclaimed king of Castile in the Spanish Parliament of Valladolid, with the name of Felipe I. But on September 25 of this year dies Felipe I "the Beautiful", and by the incapability of the queen Juana, the Cisneros Cardinal took temporarily the responsibility of the power as President of the Council of Regency of Castile up to Fernando's return. When he returned, locked up his daughter's life in Tordesillas and governed like regent in Castile leaving the government of Castile to the Cisneros Cardinal (Concord of Burgos of 1507).
      As son of Juan II intervened of active form in the Civil war of Navarre, with the introduction of Castilian troops inside the Kingdom of Navarre, until in 1512 and with the excuse of supporting to the "beamontés" group (those who have surname beamont) he realized, by an open form, the Conquest of Navarre with the Castilian troops, supervised by the duke of Alba. To control the kingdom and inside the diplomatic measurements, the Spanish Parliament of Navarre met on March 23, 1513, in an assembly to which only came "beamonteses", for they should give him a support, which he obtained, after promising to respect all the rights of the Kingdom. For it, the attorneys swore obedience to him like «Catholic king don Fernando, king of Navarre our gentleman from here on...» . On June 7, 1515, the Castilian Spanish Parliament assembled in Burgos, without Navarrese's presence, accepted the incorporation of the Kingdom of Navarre to the Crown of Castile proposed by king Fernando. Nevertheless, the war to control the kingdom would extend until 1524, reigning his grandson, Carlos I.
      In his testament, left all his possessions to his daughter. And in her position had to assume the government and the regency of the kingdoms of Castile and Aragon, his grandson Carlos de Gante, the future Carlos I. Until his arrival, he named his illegitimate child Alonso de Aragón regent of the kingdoms of the Crown of Aragon and to the Cisneros Cardinal, regent of Castile. He died on January 23, 1516 in Madrigalejo (province of Cáceres), when he was going to be present at the chapter of the orders of Calatrava and Alcántara in the Monastery of Guadeloupe.
     In his testament left legacies to certain servants, to his illegitimate child Alfonso de Aragón, to his grandson Fernando and to his wife Germana de Foix. He expressed likewise his will of being buried in the Real Chapel of Granada, along with his first wife, Isabel de Castilla.
      The cause of his death could be related to the abuse of cantharides, which in those times was used like an aphrodisiac, in an attempt for a hereditary male managed with his wife Germana de Foix.
      His father negotiated secretly Fernando's marriage with Isabel, newly proclaimed a Princess of Asturias and, therefore, heiress to the throne of Castile and León. The conversations were secret because Fernando was promised with the daughter of don Juan Pacheco, preferred of the Castilian king Enrique IV. Isabel was inclined to this marriage, but there was a canonical problem for this linkage: the bride and groom were cousins (their grandparents were brothers). They needed, therefore, a papal bull that would be authorizing the betrothal. The Pope, nevertheless, did not go so far as to sign this document, afraid of there being attracted the antipathies of the kingdoms of Castile, Portugal and France.

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      Finally on October 19, 1469, Isabel married -in the Palacio de los Vivero deValladolid- Fernando, king of Sicily and Prince of Gerona. This cost him the confrontation with his stepbrother, who went so far as to paralyze the papal exemption bull for kinship between Isabel and Fernando. Finally, on December 1, 1471, Sixto IV expressed the document that was excusing to the marriage of its bonds of consanguinity.

     With his wife Isabel I the Catholic married on October 19, 1469, he had 6 children:
      - Isabel (1470 - 1498), Princess of Asturias (1497 - 1498); she married the infante Alfonso de Portugal, but to his death she contracted a new marriage with the cousin of the deceased Manuel, who would be a king of Portugal with the name of Manuel I. She died in the childbearing of her son Miguel de Paz.
      - Juan (1478 - 1497). The Prince of Asturias (1478 - 1497). He married Margarita de Austria (daughter of the Germanic emperor Maximiliano I of Hapsburg). He died of tuberculosis.
      - Juana I de Castilla (6 de Noviembre de 1479 – 1555). Princess of Asturias (15001504), Reigns of Castile (1504-1555) with the name of Juana I. In 1496, married Felipe El Hermoso of Hapsburg (also son of the emperor Maximiliano I). With him a new dynasty entered Spain -that of Hapsburg- that was forming the House of Austria. In 1500, she was for the second time mother of her first son male, future Carlos I, who succeeded her and would be also an Emperor of the Sacred Empire Romano Germánico as Carlos V. In 1503, She gave birth to Fernando, Carlos's successor in the Sacred Empire as Fernando I, and restored the imperial Austrian branch of the House of the Austrias. Mentally affected by the death of her husband, she was imprisoned by her father Fernando in Tordesillas, where she died.
      - María (1482 - 1517). She married the widower of her sister, Manuel I of Portugal, and was mother of Juan III and of Enrique I the Cardinal, without forgetting that would be the future empress Isabel de Portugal, wife of her nephew Carlos I of Spain.
      - Catalina (1485 - 1536). She married prince Arturo de Gales and after the death of this, his brother, who would be Enrique VIII; therefore she turned into queen of England. She was a mother of the queen Maria I Tudor.
      - Pedro de Embasaguas (1488 – 1490), the Infante. He died to the little of having been born.

      With his second wife Germana de Foix, niece of Luis XII of France, married on October 19, 1505 in Blois:
      - Juan (3 de Mayo de 1509). He died a few hours after being born. Prince of Gerona.

      With Aldonza de Ivorra, Catalan noblewoman of Cervera, He had two bastard children:
      - Alonso (or Alfonso) (1470 - 1520). Spanish prelate, abbot of the Monastery of Montearagón from 1492 until 1520, archbishop of Saragossa and viceroy of Aragon..
      - Juana (¿? - ¿?). The second wife of Bernardino Fernández de Velasco III, count of Haro and VII Constable of Castile. They were parents of Juliana Ángela de Velasco and Aragon, married with her cousin, Pedro Fernández de Velasco, count of Haro.

      Other bastard children:
      - María (¿? - ¿?), abbess of Our Lady of Grace the Real of Madrigal, Avila.

     
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