|Saint Ferdinand III|
|Born||5 August 1199, monastery of Valparaíso (Peleas de Arriba, Zamora)|
|Died||30 May 1252, Sevilla, Spain|
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church|
|Canonized||1671, Rome by Pope Clement X|
|Major shrine||Cathedral of Sevilla;|
|Patronage||University of Salamanca; Lucena City Cathedral of Burgos; Lucena Cathedral; Cathedral of Sevilla; of friars (Dominican, Franciscan, Trinitarian, and Mercedarian); City of San Fernando, Pampanga; Metropolitan Cathedral of San Fernando|
Saint Ferdinand III (5 August 1199 – 30 May 1252), was the King of Castile from 1217 and King of Galicia and Leon from 1230. He was the son of Alfonso IX of León and Berenguela of Castile. Through his second marriage he was also Count of Aumale. He finished the work done by his maternal grandfather Alfonso VIII and consolidated the Reconquista. In 1231, he permanently united Castile and Galicia-León. He was canonized in 1671 and, in Spanish, he is Fernando el Santo, San Fernando or San Fernando Rey.
Ferdinand was born at the monastery of Valparaíso (Peleas de Arriba, Zamora) in 1198 or 1199. His parents' marriage was annulled by order of Pope Innocent III in 1204, due to consanguinity. Berenguela took their children, including Ferdinand, to the court of her father. In 1217, her younger brother Henry I died and she succeeded him to the Castilian throne, but she immediately surrendered it to her son Ferdinand, for whom she initially acted as regent. When Alfonso died in 1230, Ferdinand also inherited León, though he had to fight for it with Alfonso's designated heirs, Sancha and Dulce, the daughters of his first wife. He thus became the first sovereign of both kingdoms following the death of Alfonso VII in 1157.
St Ferdinand spent much of his reign fighting the Moors. Through diplomacy and war, exploiting the internal dissensions in the Moorish kingdoms, he triumphed in expanding Castilian power over southern Iberian Peninsula. He captured the towns of Úbeda in 1233, Córdoba in 1236, Jaén in 1246, and Seville in 1248, and occupied Murcia in 1243, thereby reconquering all Andalusia save Granada, whose king nevertheless did homage to Ferdinand. Ferdinand divided the conquered territories between the Knights, the Church, and the nobility, whom he endowed with great latifundias. When he took Córdoba, he ordered the Liber Iudiciorum to be adopted and observed by its citizens, and caused it to be rendered, albeit inaccurately, into Castilian.
The capture of Córdoba was the result of a well planned and executed process whereby parts (the Ajarquía) of the city first fell to the independent almogavars of the Sierra Morena to the north, which Ferdinand had not at the time subjugated. Only in 1236 did Ferdinand arrive with a royal army to take Medina, the religious and administrative centre of the city. Ferdinand set up a council of partidores to divide the conquests and between 1237 and 1244 a great deal of land was parcelled out to private individuals and members of the royal family as well as the Church. On 10 March 1241, Ferdinand established seven outposts to define the boundary of the province of Córdoba.
On the domestic front, he strengthened the University of Salamanca and founded the current Cathedral of Burgos. He was a patron of the newest movement in the Church: that of the friars. Whereas the Benedictines and then the Cistercians and Cluniacs had taken a major part in the Reconquista up til then, Ferdinand founded Dominican, Franciscan, Trinitarian, and Mercedarian houses in Andalusia, thus determining the religious future of that region. Ferdinand has also been credited with sustaining the convivencia in Andalusia.
The Primera Crónica General de España asserts that, on his death bed, Ferdinand commended his son "you are rich in lands and in many good vassals — more so than any other king in Christendom," probably in recognition of his expansive conquests. He was buried within the Cathedral of Seville by his son Alfonso X. His tomb is inscribed with four languages: Arabic, Hebrew, Latin, and an early incarnation of Castilian. St Ferdinand was canonized by Pope Clement X in 1671. Several places named San Fernando were founded across the Spanish Empire.
The symbol of his power as a king was his sword Lobera.
After he was widowed, he married Joan, Countess of Ponthieu, before August 1237. They had four sons and one daughter:
|King of Castile
1217 – 1252
|King of León
1230 – 1252
FERDINAND III., El Santo or "the Saint," king of Castile (1199-1252), son of Alphonso IX. of Leon, and of Berengaria, daughter of Alphonso VIII. of Castile, ranks among the greatest of the Spanish kings. The marriage of his parents, who were second cousins, was dissolved as unlawful by the pope, but the legitimacy of the children was recognized. Till 1217 he lived with his father in Leon. In that year the young king of Castile, Henry, was killed by accident. Berengaria sent for her son with such speed that her messenger reached Leon before the news of the death of the king of Castile, and when he came to her she renounced the crown in his favour. Alphonso of Leon considered himself tricked, and the young king had to begin his reign by a war against his father and a faction of the Castilian nobles. His own ability and the remarkable capacity of his mother proved too much for the king of Leon and his Castilian allies. Ferdinand, who showed himself docile to the influence of Berengaria, so long as she lived, married the wife she found for him, Beatrice, daughter of the emperor Philip (of Hohenstaufen), and followed her advice both in prosecuting the war against the Moors and in the steps which she took to secure his peaceful succession to Leon on the death of his father in 1231. After the union of Castile and Leon in that year he began the series of campaigns which ended by reducing the Mahommedan dominions in Spain to Granada. Cordova fell in 1236, and Seville in 12 4 8. The king of Granada did homage to Ferdinand, and undertook to attend the cortes when summoned. The king was a severe persecutor of the Albigenses, and his formal canonization was due as much to his orthodoxy as to his crusading by Pope Clement X. in 1671. He revived the university first founded by his grandfather Alphonso VIII., and placed it at Salamanca. By his second marriage with Joan (d. 127 9), daughter of Simon, of Dammartin, count of Ponthieu, by right of his wife Marie, Ferdinand was the father of Eleanor, the wife of Edward I. of England.