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Ferdinando I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany.

Ferdinando I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany (30 July 1549 – 17 February 1609) was Grand Duke of Tuscany from 1587 to 1609, having succeeded his older brother Francesco I.

Contents

Biography

Ferdinando was the fifth son of Cosimo I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany and Eleonora di Toledo, the daughter of Don Pedro Alvarez de Toledo, the Spanish viceroy of Naples. He was created a Cardinal in 1562 at the age of 14 and succeeded his brother Francesco I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany in 1587 at the age of 38. He had already proved an able administrator in Rome. He founded the Villa Medici in Rome and acquired many works of art, which he then brought back to Florence with him.

Ferdinando I de' Medici, Cardinal (from 1562 to 1589).

He retained the office of Cardinal after he became Grand Duke, until he married Christine of Lorraine in 1589 [1]. Until the advent of Pope Urban VIII, Cardinals were not obliged to become ordained clerics, even though most were ordained in the Holy Orders of Deacon, Priest, or Bishop. Thus, the title and power associated with the title became greatly coveted.

When he died in 1609, he left four sons, of whom the oldest, Cosimo, inherited the throne at the age of 19. Ferdinando's daughter, Claudia (1604-1648) married Federico Ubaldo, Duke of Urbino, whilst another daughter was Maria Maddalena de' Medici.

Reign

In many ways, Ferdinando was the opposite of his brother who preceded him. Approachable and generous, he set out to rule mildly. He re-established the justice system and was genuinely concerned about the welfare of his subjects. During his reign, Tuscany revived and regained the independence his brother had given up.

Ferdinando fostered commerce and gained great wealth through the Medici banks, which were established in all the major cities of Europe. He enacted an edict of tolerance for Jews and heretics[1], and Livorno became a haven for Spanish Jews, expelled from Iberia in 1492, as well as other persecuted foreigners.

He improved the harbor Cosimo had built and diverted part of the flow of the Arno River into a canal called the Naviglio, which aided commerce between Florence and Pisa. He fostered an irrigation project in the Val di Chiana, which allowed the flatlands around Pisa and Fucecchio and in the Val di Nievole to be cultivated.

His foreign policy attempted to free Tuscany from Spanish domination. After the assassination of Henry III of France in 1589, he supported Henry IV of France in his struggles against the Catholic League. Ferdinando lent Henry money and encouraged him to convert to Catholicism, which he eventually did. Ferdinando also used his influence with the Pope to get him to accept Henry's conversion.

Henry showed no appreciation for these favors, and Ferdinando let the relationship cool, maintaining his cherished independence. He supported Philip III of Spain in his campaign in Algeria and the Holy Roman Emperor in his against the Turks. For these undertakings, he found it necessary to raise taxes on his subjects. He finally obtained the formal investiture of Siena, which his father had conquered.

Ferdinando also strengthened the Tuscan fleet, and it saw victories against pirates on the Barbary coast in 1607, and against a superior Turkish fleet the following year.

He also dreamed of a small African empire, and then considered the possibility of a colony in Brasil[2]. Ferdinando organised an expedition in 1608 under the command of Captain Thornton to northern Brasil and the Amazon river in order to create a colony.

He was succeeded by his eldest son, who reigned as Cosimo II.

Ancestors

References

  • Hibbert, Christopher (1979). "XXI". in Pelican History of Art. The Rise and Fall of the House of Medici. pp. 279–281. 
  1. ^ Ferdinando I De Medici, Document Inviting Jewish Merchants to Settle in Livorno and Pisa, in Italian, Manuscript on Vellum, Florence, Italy, 10 June 1593 (fac-simile)
  2. ^ Italians in Brasil, of Matteo Sanfilippo (in Italian)

See Also

Preceded by
Francesco I de' Medici
Grand Duke of Tuscany
1587–1609
Succeeded by
Cosimo II de' Medici
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Simple English

Ferdinando I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany (30 July 1549 – 17 February 1609) was Grand Duke of Tuscany from 1587 to 1609. He succeeded his older brother Francesco I.

Ferdinando was the fifth son of Cosimo I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany and Eleonora di Toledo.

He was a Cardinal after he became Grand Duke, until he married Christine of Lorraine in 1589. He was succeeded by his eldest son, who reigned as Cosimo II. His wife and daughter-in-law Maria Maddalena of Austria acted as regents for Cosimo II.

Issue

  • Cosimo II de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany (1590–1621); married Maria Maddalena of Austria and had issue;
  • Eleonora de' Medici (1591–1617) died unmarried
  • Catherine de' Medici (1593–1629); married Ferdinando Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua, later Governor of Siena;
  • Francesco de' Medici (1594–1614) died unmarried;
  • Carlo de' Medici (1595–1666) died unmarried;
  • Filippino de' Medici (1598–1602) died unmarried;
  • Lorenzo de' Medici (1599–1648) died unmarried;
  • Maria Maddalena de' Medici (1600–1633) died unmarried;
  • Claudia de' Medici (1604–1648); married (1) Federico della Rovere and had issue; (2) Leopold V, Archduke of Austria and had issue.

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