Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies

Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies

Infobox Two Sicilies Royalty|majesty
name =Ferdinand II
title =King of the Two Sicilies

caption =
reign =8 November 1830 - 22 May 1859
coronation =
predecessor =Francis I
successor =Francis II
succession = King of the Two Sicilies
spouse =Maria Christina of Savoy
Maria Theresa of Austria
issue =Francis II
Prince Louis, Count of Trani
Prince Albert Maria, Count of Castrogiovanni
Prince Alfonso, Count of Caserta
Princess Maria Annunciata
Princess Maria Immaculata Clementina
Prince Gaetan, Count of Girgenti
Prince Giuseppe, Count of Lucera
Maria Pia della Grazia, Duchess of Parma
Prince Vincenzo, Count of Melazzo
Prince Pasquale, Count of Bari
Princess Maria Luisa Immaculata
Prince Gennaro, Count of Caltagirone
royal house =House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies
royal anthem =
father =Francis I of the Two Sicilies
mother =Maria Isabella of Spain
date of birth =birth date|1810|1|12|df=y
place of birth = Palermo, Sicily
date of death =death date and age|1859|5|22|1810|1|12|df=y
place of death =
place of burial =|

Ferdinand II ("Ferdinando Carlo", January 12,1810 – May 22,1859) was the King of the Two Sicilies from 1830 until his death.


Ferdinand was born in Palermo, the son of King Francis I of the Two Sicilies and his wife and first cousin Maria Isabella of Spain.

His paternal grandparents were King Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies and Queen Marie Caroline of Austria. His maternal grandparents were Charles IV of Spain and Maria Luisa of Parma.

Ferdinand I and Charles IV were brothers, both sons of Charles III of Spain and Maria Amalia of Saxony.

Early reign

In his early years he was fairly popular. Progressives credited with Liberal ideas and in addition, his free and easy manners endeared him to the so-called "lazzaroni", the lower classes of Neapolitan society.

On succeeding to the throne in 1830, he published an edict in which he promised to give his most anxious attention to the impartial administration of justice, to reform the finances, and to use every effort to heal the wounds which had afflicted the Kingdom for so many years. His goal, he said, was to govern his Kingdom in a way that would bring the greatest happiness to the greatest number of his subjects while respecting the rights of his fellow monarchs and those of the Roman Catholic Church. The early years of his reign were comparatively peaceful: he cut taxes and expenditures, had the first railway in Italy built (between Naples and the royal palace at Portici), his fleet had the first steamship in the Italian Peninsula, and he had telegraphic connections established between Naples and Palermo (Sicily).

However, in 1837 he violently suppressed Sicilian demonstrators demanding a constitution and maintained strict police sureveillance in his domains. Progressive intellectuals, who were motivated by visions of a new society founded upon a modern constitution, continued to demand for the King to grant a constitution and to liberalize his rule.

Revolutions of 1848

In September 1847, violent riots inspired by Liberals broke out in Reggio Calabria and in Messina and were put down by the military. On January 12, 1848 a rising in Palermo, Sicily, spread throughout the island and served as a spark for the Revolutions of 1848 all over Europe.

After similar revolutionary outbursts in Salerno, south of Naples, and in the Cilento region which were backed by the majority of the intelligentsia of the Kingdom, on January 29, 1848 King Ferdinand was forced to grant a constitution patterned on the French Charter of 1830.

A dispute, however, arose as to the nature of the oath which should be taken by the members of the chamber of deputies. As an agreement could not be reached and the King refused to compromise, riots continued in the streets. Eventually, the King ordered the army to break them and dissolved the national parliament on March 13, 1849. Although the constitution was never formally abrogated, the King returned to reigning as an absolute monarch.

During this period, Ferdinand showed his attachment to Pope Pius IX by granting him asylum at Gaeta. The pope had been temporarily forced to flee from Rome following similar revolutionary disturbances. (see Roman Republic (19th century), Giuseppe Mazzini.

Meantime Sicily proclaimed its independence under the leadership of Ruggeru Sèttimu, who on April 13, 1848 declared the King deposed. In response, the King assembled an army of 20,000 under the command of General Carlo Filangieri and dispatched it to Sicily to subdue the Liberals and restore his authority. A naval flotilla sent to Sicilian waters shelled the city of Messina with "savage barbarity" for eight hours after its defenders had already surrendered, killing many civilians and earning the King the nickname "Re` Bomba" ("King Bomb").

After a campaign lasting close to nine months, Sicily's Liberal regime was completely subdued on May 15,1849.

Later reign

Between 1848 and 1851, the policies of King Ferdinand caused many to go into exile. Meanwhile, an estimated 2,000 suspected revolutionaries or dissidents were jailed.

After visiting Naples in 1850, Gladstone began to support Neapolitan opponents of the Bourbon rulers: his "support" consisting of a couple of letters that he sent from Naples to the Parliament of London, describing the "awful conditions" of the Kingdom of Southern Italy and claiming that "it is the negation of God erected to a system of government". Gladstone had not actually been to Southern Italy and therefore some of his accusations were unreliable, however reports of misgovernment in the Two Sicilies were widespread throughout Europe during the 1850s. Gladstone's letters provoked sensitive reactions in the whole Europe, and helped to cause the diplomatic isolation of the Kingdom prior to the invasion and annexion of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies by the Kingdom of Piedmont, with the following foundation of modern Italy.

The British Government, which had been the ally and protector of the Bourbon dynasty during the Napoleonic Wars, had already additional interests to limit the independence of the Kingdom governed by Ferdinand II. The British Government possessed extensive business interests in Sicily and relied on Sicilian sulfur for certain industries. The King had endeavored to limit British influence, which had been beginning to cause tension. As Ferdinand ignored the advice of the British and the French governments, those powers recalled their ambassadors in 1856.

A soldier attempted to assassinate Ferdinand in 1856 and many believe that the infection he received from the soldier's bayonet led to his ultimate demise. He died on May 22, 1859, shortly after the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Sardinia had declared war against the Austrian Empire. This would later lead to the invasion of his Kingdom by Giuseppe Garibaldi and Italian unification in 1861.

Marriage and issue


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boxstyle_3=background-color: #ffc;
boxstyle_4=background-color: #bfc;
boxstyle_5=background-color: #9fe;
1= 1. Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies
2= 2. Francis I of the Two Sicilies
3= 3. Maria Isabella of Spain
4= 4. Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies
5= 5. Maria Carolina of Austria
6= 6. Charles IV of Spain
7= 7. Maria Luisa of Parma
8= 8. Charles III of Spain
9= 9. Maria Amalia of Saxony
10= 10. Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor
11= 11. Maria Theresa of Austria
12= 12. Charles III of Spain (= 8)
13= 13. Maria Amalia of Saxony (= 9)
14= 14. Philip, Duke of Parma
15= 15. Princess Louise-Élisabeth of France
16= 16. Philip V of Spain
17= 17. Elisabeth of Parma
18= 18. Augustus III of Poland
19= 19. Maria Josepha of Austria
20= 20. Leopold, Duke of Lorraine
21= 21. Élisabeth Charlotte of Orléans
22= 22. Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor
23= 23. Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
24= 24. Philip V of Spain (= 16)
25= 25. Elisabeth of Parma (= 17)
26= 26. Augustus III of Poland (= 18)
27= 27. Maria Josepha of Austria (= 19)
28= 28. Philip V of Spain (= 16)
29= 29. Elisabeth of Parma (= 17)
30= 30. Louis XV of France
31= 31. Maria Leszczyńska


* http://pages.prodigy.net/ptheroff/gotha/2sicilies.html


See also

* Napoli-Portici----

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