Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies

Ferdinand II (Italian: Ferdinando Carlo Maria; Sicilian: Ferdinannu Carlu Maria; Neapolitan: Ferdinando Carlo Maria; 12 January 1810 – 22 May 1859) was King of the Two Sicilies from 1830 until his death in 1859.

Ferdinand II
Ferdinand in 1859
King of the Two Sicilies
Reign8 November 1830 – 22 May 1859
PredecessorFrancis I
SuccessorFrancis II
Born(1810-01-12)12 January 1810
Palazzo dei Normanni, Palermo, Kingdom of Sicily
Died22 May 1859(1859-05-22) (aged 49)
Caserta Palace, Caserta, Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
(m. 1832; died 1836)
(m. 1837)
see details...
Italian: Ferdinando Carlo Maria
HouseBourbon-Two Sicilies
FatherFrancis I of the Two Sicilies
MotherMaria Isabella of Spain
ReligionRoman Catholic
SignatureFerdinand II's signature



Ferdinand was born in Palermo to King Francis I of the Two Sicilies and his second wife Maria Isabella of Spain. His paternal grandparents were King Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies and Queen Maria Carolina 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. Among his siblings were: Teresa Cristina, Empress of Brazil, wife of the last Brazilian emperor Pedro II.

Early reign


In his early years, he was fairly popular. Progressives credited him with Liberal ideas and, in addition, his free and easy manners endeared him to the so-called lazzaroni, the lower classes of Neapolitan society.[1]

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.[1] 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 surveillance in his domains. Liberal reformists, who were motivated by visions of a new society founded upon a modern constitution, continued to demand that the King grant a constitution and liberalize his rule.

Revolutions of 1848

Silver coin: 120 grana Ferdinand II - 1834

In September 1847, violent riots inspired by Liberals broke out in Reggio Calabria and in Messina, which were put down by the military. On 12 January 1848 a rising in Palermo 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 29 January 1848 King Ferdinand was forced to grant a constitution, using for a pattern the French Charter of 1830.

However a dispute arose as to the nature of the oath which should be taken by the members of the chamber of deputies.[1] 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 disperse the rioters by force and dissolved the national parliament on 13 March 1849. Although the constitution was never formally abrogated, the King resumed his rule 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.

In the meantime, Sicily declared independence under the leadership of Ruggero Settimo, who on 13 April 1848 pronounced the King deposed. In response, the King assembled an army of 20,000 men under the command of General Carlo Filangieri and dispatched it to Sicily. A naval flotilla sent to Sicilian waters bombarded 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 ("The Bomb King").

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

Later reign

Portrait of Ferdinand by F. Martorell, 1844

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 on private business in 1850, William Gladstone the British former government minister and future prime minister, began to support Neapolitan opponents of the Bourbon rulers: his "support" consisted of a couple of letters that he sent from Naples to Parliament in London, describing the "awful conditions" of the Kingdom of Southern Italy and claiming that "it is the negation of God erected into a system of government". Gladstone's letters provoked reactions of outrage in much of Europe and helped to cause the kingdom's diplomatic isolation, which facilitated its subsequent invasion and annexation by the Savoyard Kingdom of Sardinia, and the foundation of modern unified Italy in 1861.

The British government, which had been the ally and protector of the Bourbon dynasty during the Napoleonic Wars, had already additional interests in limiting the independence of the kingdom.[citation needed] It had extensive business interests in Sicily and relied on Sicilian sulphur for certain industries.[2] The King had endeavoured to limit British influence, which had begun to cause tension. As Ferdinand ignored the advice of the British and French governments, those powers recalled their ambassadors in 1856.

A soldier attempted to assassinate Ferdinand in 1856, and many[who?] believe that the infection he received from the soldier's bayonet led to his ultimate demise. He died on 22 May 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.




Name Birth Death Notes
By Princess Maria Cristina of Savoy (married 21 November 1832 in Cagliari; b. 12 November 1812, d. 21 January 1836)
Francesco II of the Two Sicilies 16 January 1836 27 December 1894 succeeded as King of the Two Sicilies
married Duchess Maria Sophie in Bavaria; had issue, an only daughter. No surviving descendants today.
By Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria (married 9 January 1837 in Vienna; b. 31 July 1816, d. 8 August 1867)
Luigi, Count of Trani 1 August 1838 8 June 1886 married Duchess Mathilde Ludovika in Bavaria; their only daughter, Princess Maria Teresa, married Prince Wilhelm of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen.
Alberto, Count of Castrogiovanni 17 September 1839 12 July 1844 died in childhood.
Alfonso, Count of Caserta 28 March 1841 26 May 1934 married his first cousin Maria Antonia of the Two Sicilies and had issue. The current lines of Bourbon-Sicily descend from him.
Maria Annunciata of the Two Sicilies 24 March 1843 4 May 1871 married Archduke Karl Ludwig of Austria; had issue.
Maria Immacolata Clementina of the Two Sicilies 14 April 1844 18 February 1899 married Archduke Karl Salvator of Austria; had issue.
Gaetano, Count of Girgenti 12 January 1846 26 November 1871 married Infanta Isabel of Spain (eldest daughter of Queen Isabella II of Spain) and was created Infante of Spain; no issue.
Giuseppe, Count of Lucera 4 March 1848 28 September 1851 died in childhood.[15]
Maria Pia of the Two Sicilies 21 August 1849 29 September 1882 married Roberto I, Duke of Parma and Piacenza; had issue.
Vincenzo, Count of Melazzo 26 April 1851 13 October 1854 died in childhood.
Pasquale, Count of Bari 15 September 1852 21 December 1904 married morganatically to Blanche Marconnay; no issue.
Maria Luisa of the Two Sicilies 21 January 1855 23 August 1874 married Prince Henry of Bourbon-Parma, Count of Bardi; no issue.
Gennaro, Count of Caltagirone 28 February 1857 13 August 1867 died in childhood.



See also



  1. ^ a b c   One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainVillari, Luigi (1911). "Ferdinand II. of the Two Sicilies". In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 10 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 268.
  2. ^ "Giuseppe Garibaldi and Sicily - Best of Sicily Magazine".
  3. ^ Almanacco reale del Regno delle Due Sicilie per l'anno ... dalla Real Tipografia del Ministero di Stato della Cancelleria Generale. pp. 457, 462, 471, 479, 498.
  4. ^ "A Szent István Rend tagjai" Archived 22 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Hof- und Staats-Handbuch des Großherzogtum Baden (1858), "Großherzogliche Orden" pp. 34, 47
  6. ^ Bayern (1858). Hof- und Staatshandbuch des Königreichs Bayern: 1858. Landesamt. p. 7.
  7. ^ H. Tarlier (1854). Almanach royal officiel, publié, exécution d'un arrête du roi (in French). Vol. 1. p. 37.
  8. ^ J ..... -H ..... -Fr ..... Berlien (1846). Der Elephanten-Orden und seine Ritter. Berling. p. 164.
  9. ^ Teulet, Alexandre (1863). "Liste chronologique des chevaliers de l'ordre du Saint-Esprit depuis son origine jusqu'à son extinction (1578-1830)" [Chronological list of knights of the Order of the Holy Spirit from its origin to its extinction (1578-1830)]. Annuaire-bulletin de la Société de l'histoire de France (in French) (2): 116. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  10. ^ Almanacco di corte. 1858. p. 321.
  11. ^ Liste der Ritter des Königlich Preußischen Hohen Ordens vom Schwarzen Adler (1851), "Von Seiner Majestät dem Könige Friedrich Wilhelm III. ernannte Ritter" pp. 19-20
  12. ^ Luigi Cibrario (1869). Notizia storica del nobilissimo ordine supremo della santissima Annunziata. Sunto degli statuti, catalogo dei cavalieri. Eredi Botta. p. 104.
  13. ^ "Caballeros Existentes en la Insignie Orden del Toison de Oro", Calendario manual y guía de forasteros en Madrid (in Spanish): 79, 1837, retrieved 25 June 2020
  14. ^ Almanacco Toscano per l'anno 1855. Stamperia Granducale. 1840. p. 275.
  15. ^ "Portale Antenati".
  16. ^ a b Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Francis I. of the Two Sicilies" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 10 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 936.
  17. ^ a b Navarrete Martínez, Esperanza Navarrete Martínez. "María de la O Isabel de Borbón". Diccionario biográfico España (in Spanish). Real Academia de la Historia. Archived from the original on 2020-08-02. Retrieved 2019-03-31.
  18. ^ a b c d Genealogie ascendante jusqu'au quatrieme degre inclusivement de tous les Rois et Princes de maisons souveraines de l'Europe actuellement vivans [Genealogy up to the fourth degree inclusive of all the Kings and Princes of sovereign houses of Europe currently living] (in French). Bourdeaux: Frederic Guillaume Birnstiel. 1768. p. 9.
  19. ^ a b Genealogie ascendate, p. 1
  20. ^ a b Genealogie ascendate, p. 96
Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies
Cadet branch of the House of Bourbon
Born: 12 January 1810 Died: 22 May 1859
Regnal titles
Preceded by King of the Two Sicilies
8 November 1830 – 22 May 1859
Succeeded by