FERDINAND II. (1136-1188), younger son of Alphonso VIII. (el Emperador), became king of Leon on the death of his father in 1157. The history of his reign of thirty-one years is obscure. A dispute that arose between him and some of his powerful nobles gave his brother Sancho III. of Castile a pretext for invading his territory (1158), but the timely submission of Ferdinand averted serious disaster. The death of Sancho shortly afterwards led to a military occupation of Castile by Ferdinand, professedly in the interests of his nephew Alphonso III.; and this occupation lasted till the marriage of Alphonso to Leonora, daughter of Henry II. of England, in 1170. Meanwhile Ferdinand, having repudiated his wife Doila Urraca, had become involved in a war with his father-in-law Alphonso I. of Portugal, which resulted in the defeat and capture of the latter at Badajoz in 1169. The later years of the reign of Ferdinand II. were distinguished by sundry successes over the Moors, especially by a brilliant victory at Santarem (cir. 1181) ; and also by the incorporation of the great military order of Alcantara, which received its first regular charter from Pope Alexander III. in 1177. He died at Benavente (Leon) in 1188, and was succeeded by his son Alphonse IX.
Mariann, Mist. COE. de Espaiia, XI. v., viii,, xiii.,xvi.; Gayangos, Mohammedan Dynasties, ii. 522.