|Ferdinand I (1423 – January 25, 1494), also called Don Ferrante, was the King of Naples from 1458 to 1494.|
He was the natural son of Alfonso V of Aragon and I of Sicily and Naples.
In order to arrange a good future for Ferdinand, King Alfonso had him married in 1444 to a feudal heiress, Isabella of Taranto, who besides being the elder daughter of Tristan di Chiaramonte (Tristan de Clermont-Lodeve), Count of Capertino, and Catherine of Baux Orsini, was the niece and heiress presumptive of childless prince Giovanni Antonio del Balzo Orsini of Taranto. She was a granddaughter of Queen Mary of Enghien (mother of Giovanni and Catherine), who had been Queen Consort of Naples (Queen of Jerusalem and Sicily) in 1406-14.
Ferrante's wife was the heiress presumptive of remarkable feudal possessions in Southern Italy.
He used the title King of Naples and Jerusalem (Ferdinand I of Naples). In accordance with his father's will, Ferdinand succeeded Alfonso on the throne of Naples in 1458, when he was 35 years old, but Pope Calixtus III declared the line of Aragon extinct and the kingdom a fief of the church. But although he died before he could make good his claim (August 1458), and the new Pope Pius II recognized Ferdinand, John of Anjou, profiting by the discontent of the Neapolitan barons, decided to try to regain the throne of his ancestors that was lost by his father René, and invaded Naples.
Ferdinand was severely defeated by the Angevins and the rebels at Sarno in July 1460, but with the help of Alessandro Sforza and of the Albanian chief, Skanderbeg, who came to the aid of the prince whose father had aided him, he triumphed over his enemies, and by 1464 had re-established his authority in the kingdom. In 1478 he allied himself with Pope Sixtus IV against Lorenzo de 'Medici, but the latter journeyed alone to Naples where he succeeded in negotiating an honourable peace with Ferdinand.
The original intent of making Taranto as his and his heirs' main principality was not any longer current, but still it was a strengthening of Ferrante's resources and position that his wife in 1463 succeeded her uncle Giovanni Antonio del Balzo Orsini as possessor of Taranto fiefs. Isabella became also the holder of Brienne rights to the Kingdom of Jerusalem.
After Isabella's death in 1465, Ferrante married secondly Infanta Juana of Aragon, his own first cousin, in 1476.
In 1480, forces of the Ottoman Empire under orders of Mehmed II captured Otranto, and massacred the majority of the inhabitants, but in the following year it was retaken by Ferdinand's son Alphonso, duke of Calabria. His oppressive government led in 1485 to an attempt at revolt on the part of the nobles, led by Francesca Coppola and Antonello Sanseverino and supported by Pope Innocent VIII; the rising having been crushed, many of the nobles, notwithstanding Ferdinand's promise of a general amnesty, were afterwards treacherously murdered at his express command.
Encouraged by Ludovico Sforza of Milan, in 1493 King Charles VIII of France was preparing to invade Italy for the conquest of Naples and starting the Italian Wars, and Ferdinand realized that this was a greater danger than any he had yet faced. With almost prophetic instinct he warned the Italian princes of the calamities in store for them, but his negotiations with Pope Alexander VI and Ludovico Sforza failed.
He died on January 25, 1494, worn out with anxiety; he was succeeded by his son, Alfonso, Duke of Calabria, who was soon deposed by the invasion of King Charles which his father had so feared. The cause of his death was determined, in 2006, to have been colorectal cancer, by examination of his mummy.
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica Eleventh Edition, "Ferdinand was gifted with great courage and real political ability, but his method of government was vicious and disastrous. His financial administration was based on oppressive and dishonest monopolies, and he was mercilessly severe and utterly treacherous towards his enemies."
Marriages and children
Ferdinand married twice.
• First to Isabel de Claremont in 1444. Isabel was daughter to Tristan, Count di Copertino and Caterina Orsini. She died in 1465. They had six children:
• Alphonso II of Naples (November 4, 1448 – December 18, 1495).
• Leonora of Naples (June 22, 1450 – October 11, 1493). She was consort to Ercole I d'Este, Duke of Ferrara and mother to Isabella d'Este and Beatrice d'Este. The later daughter was consort to Ludovico Sforza.
• Frederick IV of Naples (April 19, 1452 – November 9, 1504).
• Giovanni of Naples (June 25, 1456 – October 17, 1485). Later Archbishop of Taranto and then Cardinal.
• Beatrice of Naples (September 14/November 16, 1457 – September 23, 1508). She was Queen consort to Matthias Corvinus of Hungary.
• Francesco of Naples, Duke of Sant Angelo (December 16, 1461 – October 26, 1486).
• Second to Joanna of Aragon (1454 – January 9, 1517). She was born to John II of Aragon and Juana Enríquez. They were married on September 14, 1476. They had two children:
• Giovanna of Naples (1478 – August 27, 1518). Queen consort to her nephew Ferdinand II of Naples, who was actually her elder.
• Carlo of Naples (1480–1486).
Ferdinand also had a number of illegitimate children:
• By his mistress Diana Guardato.
• Ferdinand d' Aragona, Duke di Montalto.
• Maria d'Aragona. Later consort to Antonio Todeschini Piccolomini, Duke of Amalfi, a nephew of Pope Pius II and brother of Pope Pius III.
• Giovanna d' Aragona. Later consort to Leonardo della Rovere, Duke of Arce and Sora, a nephew of Pope Sixtus IV and brother of Pope Julius II.
• By his mistress Eulalia Ravignano.
• Maria d'Aragona. Later wife to Gian Giordano Orsini.
• By his mistress Giovanna Caracciola.
• Ferdinand d'Aragona, Count of Arsena.
• Arrigo d'Aragona, Marquess of Gerace
• Cesare d'Aragona, Marquess of Santa Agata.
• Leonor d'Aragona.
• Lucrezia d'Aragona, daughter of either Giovanna Caracciola or Eulalia Ravignano. She was consort to Onorata III, Prince of Altamura.
|Joanna of Aragon (also Juana of Aragon) (1454-1517) was an infanta (princess) of Aragon. She was the daughter of King John II of Aragon and his second wife, a noblewoman, Juana Enríquez. Joanna was the second wife of Ferdinand I of Naples, whom she married on September 14, 1476.|
They had two children:
1. Giovanna of Naples (1478 - August 27, 1518). Queen consort to her nephew Ferdinand II of Naples, who was actually her elder.
2. Carlo of Naples (1480-1486).
|Last Modified 5 Sep 2009||Created 3 Jun 2012 using Reunion for Macintosh|