Saint Ferdinand III of Castille

detail of a portrait of Saint Ferdinand III of Castille, c.1893, by Jose Maria Rodriguez de Losada, Ayntamiento de Leon, SpainMemorial


Son of Alfonso IX, King of Leon, and Berengaria, daughter of King Alfonso III of Castile; cousin of Saint Louis IX. King of Castile in 1217 at age 18. King of Leon in 1230. King of Palencia, Valladolid, and Burgos. Married to Princess Beatrice, daughter of Philip of Swabia, King of Germany. The couple had seven sons and three daughters. In his later years, Ferdinand’s father desired to return to his throne, and he turned against Ferdinand; he eventually gave up the idea, however, and the two reconciled. Following the death of Beatrice in 1236, Ferdinand married Joan of Ponthiers, with whom he had two sons and a daughter.

A stern judge when it came to the law, he was gentle and forgiving in his personal life. Founded the University of Salamanca. Rebuilt the Cathedral of Burgos. Crusaded for 27 years against the Muslims in Spain. Successfully held back Islamic invasions in 1225, and took Cordoba and Seville from them in 1234-36. Founded the Cathedral of Burgos and the University of Salamanca. Converted the Great Mosque in Seville to a cathedral.

A man of great faith and devotion, especially to Our Lady, Ferdinand founded and funded hospitals, bishoprics, monasteries, and churches. He reformed Spanish law, and compiled it into a form used for centuries after. An excellent administrator and just ruler, often pardoning those who worked against the crown. Strove always to use his power to better his people and his nation.







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MLA Citation

  • “Saint Ferdinand III of Castille“. CatholicSaints.Info. 5 January 2022. Web. 25 January 2022. <>