FERDINAND III, King of Castile and Leon

FERDINAND III, King of Castile and Leon. Fernando III called El Santo (the Saint), (1198/1199 – May 30, 1252) was a king of Castile (1217 - 1252) and Leon (1230 - 1252). Ferdinand III, King of Castile and Leon (Saint Ferdinand) Titles: King of Castile (1217 - 1252) King of Leon (1230 - 1252)
Born (30 July or 5 August 1199-s1) at the monastery of Valparaíso (Peleas de Arriba, Zamora), Spain; son of ALFONSO IX, King of Leon, and Berengaria (Berenguela), of Castile.

His parents were divorced by order of Pope Innocent III in 1204. 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 since the death of Alfonso VII in 1157.

Ferdinand III was the King of Castile from 1217. Early in his reign, Ferdinand had to deal with a rebellion of the House of Lara.

In 1219, Ferdinand married Elizabeth of Hohenstaufen, a daughter of the German king Philip of Swabia and Eirene Angelina. Elizabeth was called Beatriz in Spain.

Fernando 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.

He became King of León from 1230. In 1231, he permanently united Castile and León. He finished the work done by his maternal grandfather Alfonso VIII and consolidated the Reconquista. The symbol of Ferdinand's power as a king was his sword Lobera.

After Elizabeth died in 1235, he married Jeanne de Dammartin, Countess of Ponthieu, before August 1237. They had four sons and one daughter. Through his second marriage he was also Count of Aumale.

He captured the towns of Córdoba in 1236, Jaén in 1246, and Seville in 1248, and occupied Murcia in 1243, thereby completing the reconquest of Spain, except Granada, whose king nevertheless did homage to Fernando.

The capture of Córdoba was the result of an uneven and uncoordinated 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.

He also established a permanent border with the Kingdom of Aragon by the Treaty of Almizra in 1244.

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.

He died on 30 May 1252 at Seville, Andalusia, Spain at age 53 of natural causes; and was buried in Seville, Andalusia, Spain. 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. His tomb is inscribed with four languages: Arabic, Hebrew, Latin, and an early incarnation of Castilian.

WIFE (1):
Elizabeth of Hohenstaufen. (She was called Beatriz in Spain)(Beatrice)(of Swabia).
Born in 1203; daughter of PHILIP of Swabia and Irene (Eirene) Angelina. She married Ferdinand on 30 November 1219. She died in 1235.

CHILDREN of FERDINAND III and Beatrice of Hohenstaufen
  1. ALFONSO X, King of Castile and Leon. Born 23 Nov 1221. Died on 4 Apr 1284.
  2. Fadrique. (September 1223-1277), secretly executed by his brother Alfonso.
  3. Fernando. (1225-1243/1248)
  4. Leonor. (Eleanor). Born in 1227. She died young.
  5. Berenguela, a nun at las Huelgas. (1228-1288/89).
  6. Enrique. (Henry). "El Senador." (March 1230-August 1304)
  7. Felipe. (Philip). Born in 1231. He was promised to the Church, but was so taken by the beauty of Christine of Norway, daughter of Haakon IV of Norway), who had been intended as a bride for one of his brothers, that he abandoned his holy vows and married her. She died in 1262, childless. Felipe died in 1274.
  8. Sancho, Archbishop of Toledo and Seville. (1233-1261)
  9. Manuel. (S1). (Juan Manuel-S2). Lord of Villena. Born in 1234. He died in 1283.
  10. Maria, died an infant in November 1235.

WIFE (2):
Jeanne (Joan) de Dammertien. Countess of Ponthieu, Countess Aumale, also Countess of Montreuil in 1251.
Daughter of Simon of Dammartin and Marie, Countess of Montreuil. She married Ferdinand III in 1237 at Burgos, Castile and Leon, Spain. She died probably in 1279, when the title of Countess of Montreuil passed to her daughter Eleanor.

CHILDREN of FERDINAND III and Jeanne de Dammertien:
  1. Fernando. (Ferdinand). Count of Aumale. Born in 1239. He died in 1269.
  2. ELEANOR of Castile. Countess of Ponthieu. Born in (1241-S2)(1244-S1). She married EDWARD I, King of England. She died 28 Nov 1290.
  3. Luis. (Louis). Born in 1243. He died in 1269.
  4. Ximen. (Simon). Born in 1244. He died young and was buried in a monastery in Toledo.
  5. Juan. (John). Born in 1245. He died young and was buried at the cathedral in Córdoba.