Portrait of Ferdinand I (1751-1825), King of the Two Sicilies (1816-1825), King of Naples (Ferdinand IV) from 1759 to 1806 and from 1815 to 1816; King of Sicily (Ferdinand III) from 1759 to 1816, 1815
Ferdinand I (Italian: Ferdinando I delle Due Sicilie; 12 January 1751 – 4 January 1825), was the King of the Two Sicilies from 1816, after his restoration following victory in the Napoleonic Wars. Before that he had been, since 1759, Ferdinand IV of the Kingdom of Naples and Ferdinand III of the Kingdom of Sicily. He was deposed twice from the throne of Naples: once by the revolutionary Parthenopean Republic for six months in 1799 and again by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1805. Ferdinand was the third son of King Charles VII of Naples and V of Sicily by his wife, Maria Amalia of Saxony. On 10 August 1759, Charles succeeded his elder brother, Ferdinand VI, becoming King Charles III of Spain, but treaty provisions made him ineligible to hold all three crowns. On 6 October, he abdicated his Neapolitan and Sicilian titles in favour of his third son, because his eldest son Philip had been excluded from succession due to illnesses and his second son Charles was heir to the Spanish throne. Ferdinand was the founder of the cadet House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies. Ferdinand was born in Naples and grew up amidst many of the monuments erected there by his father which can be seen today; the Palaces of Portici, Caserta and Capodimonte. Ferdinand was his parents' third son, his elder brother Charles was expected to inherit Naples and Sicily. When his father ascended the Spanish throne in 1759 he abdicated Naples in Ferdinand's favor in accordance with the treaties forbidding the union of the two crowns. A regency council presided over by the Bernardo Tanucci was set up. The latter, an able, ambitious man, wishing to keep the government as much as possible in his own hands, purposely neglected the young king's education, and encouraged him in his love of pleasure, his idleness and his excessive devotion to outdoor sports. Ferdinand's minority ended in 1767, and his first act was the expulsion of the Jesuits. The following year he married Archduchess Maria Carolina, daughter of Empress Maria Theresa. By the marriage contract the queen was to have a voice in the council of state after the birth of her first son, and she was not slow to avail herself of this means of political influence. Tanucci, who attempted to thwart her, was dismissed in 1777. The Englishman Sir John Acton, who in 1779 was appointed director of marine, won Maria Carolina's favour by supporting her scheme to free Naples from Spanish influence, securing rapprochement with Austria and Great Britain. He became practically and afterward actually prime minister. Although not a mere grasping adventurer, he was largely responsible for reducing the internal administration of the country to a system of espionage, corruption and cruelty.
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