Portrait of Ferdinand II (1452-1516), King of Aragon, Valencia, and Majorca; Count of Barcelona (1479-1516), King of Sicily (1468), King of Naples (1504), King of Castile and León (with Isabella the Catholic) from 1474 to 1504, Regent of Castile (1508-1516), 1500
Ferdinand II (Spanish: Fernando II; 10 March 1452 – 23 January 1516), called the Catholic, was King of Sicily from 1468 and King of Aragon from 1479 until his death. The 1469 marriage of Ferdinand, heir apparent to the crown of Aragon, and Isabella of Castile, heir apparent to the crown of Castile, was the marital and political "cornerstone in the foundation of the Spanish monarchy." As a consequence of his marriage to Isabella I, he was de jure uxoris King of Castile as Ferdinand V from 1474 until her death in 1504. At Isabella's death the crown of Castile passed to their daughter Joanna, by the terms of their prenuptial agreement and her last will and testament. Following the death of Joanna's husband Philip I of Spain, and her alleged mental illness, Ferdinand was recognized as regent of Castile from 1508 until his own death. In 1504, after a war with France, he became King of Naples as Ferdinand III, reuniting Naples with Sicily permanently and for the first time since 1458. In 1512, he became King of Navarre by conquest. In 1505 he married Germaine de Foix of France, but Fernando's son of that marriage died soon after birth; had the child survived, the personal union of the crowns of Aragon and Castile would have ceased. Ferdinand had a role in inaugurating the first European encounters in the future Americas, since he and Isabella sponsored the first voyage of Christopher Columbus (1451–1506), in 1492. That year was the final victory in the war with Granada which defeated the last Muslim state in Iberia and all of Western Europe. This brought to a close the centuries-long Christian reconquest of Iberia. For that Christian victory, Pope Alexander VI, born in the Kingdom of Valencia, awarded the royal couple the title of Catholic Monarchs. At Ferdinand's death Joanna's son, Ferdinand's grandson, Charles I, who was co-ruler in name over all the several Iberian kingdoms except for Portugal, succeeded him, making Charles the first King of Spain. However, during the regency of Ferdinand, many called him the King of Spain as distinct from his daughter Joanna, "queen of Castile".
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