Ferdinand VI, b. 1712 or 1713, d. 1759, king of Spain (1746–59), son of Philip V by his first queen, Marie Louise of Savoy. When Ferdinand succeeded his father, his stepmother, Elizabeth Farnese, lost her power at court and went into retirement. Ferdinand's chief ministers were José de Carvajal y Lancaster, who was pro-British, and Ensenada, who had for many years directed the affairs of Spain and strongly favored France. In the years preceding the Seven Years War (1756–63), both France and England sought a Spanish alliance. Carvajal died in 1754, and Ferdinand, desiring Spain to remain at peace, dismissed Ensenada, fearing that he might trap Spain in a French alliance. Richard Wall, an Irishman, succeeded Carvajal, and with his help Ferdinand kept Spain out of the war during his lifetime. In 1758, Ferdinand's queen, Maria Barbara de Braganza, died. Ferdinand did not recover from his grief and died soon afterward. He was succeeded by his half-brother, Charles III.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Spanish and Portuguese History: Biographies