Online Encyclopedia

FERDINAND I

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V10, Page 266 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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FERDINAND I., king of Aragon (1373-1416), called " of Antequera," was the son of John I. of Castile by his wife Eleanor, daughter of the third marriage of Peter IV. of Aragon. His surname " of Antequera " was given him because he was besieging that town, then in the hands of the Moors, when he was told that the cortes of Aragon had elected him king in succession to his uncle Martin, the last male of the old line of Wilfred the Hairy. As infante of Castile Ferdinand had played an honourable part. When his brother Henry III. died at Toledo, in 1406, the cortes was sitting, and the nobles offered to make him king in preference to his nephew John. Ferdinand refused to despoil his brother's infant son, and even if he did not act on the moral ground he alleged, his sagacity must have shown him that he would be at the mercy of the men who had chosen him in such circumstances. As co-regent of the kingdom with Catherine, widow of Henry III. and daughter of John of Gaunt by his marriage with Constance, daughter of Peter the Cruel and Maria de Padilla, Ferdinand proved a good ruler. He restrained the follies of his sister-in-law, and kept the realm quiet, by firm government, and by prosecuting the war with the Moors. As king of Aragon his short reign of two years left him little time to make his mark. Having been bred in Castile, where the royal authority was, at least in theory, absolute, he showed himself impatient under the checks imposed on him by the fueros, the chartered rights of Aragon and Catalonia. He particularly resented the obstinacy of the Barcelonese, who compelled the members of his household to pay municipal taxes. His most signal act as king was to aid in closing the Great Schism in the Church by agreeing to the deposition of the antipope Benedict XIV., an Aragonese. He died at Ygualada in Catalonia on the 2nd of April 1416.
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