b.29 Sep 1402
d.5 Jun 1443 Fes, Fès, Morocco
Facts and Events
Ferdinand the Holy Prince (; ; 29 September 1402 – 5 June 1443), sometimes called the "Saint Prince" or the "Constant Prince", was an infante (legitimate prince) of the Kingdom of Portugal. He was the youngest of the "Illustrious Generation" of 15th-century Portuguese princes of the House of Aviz and was lay administrator of the Knightly Order of Aviz.
In 1437, Ferdinand participated in the disastrous Siege of Tangier led by his older brother Henry the Navigator. In the aftermath, Ferdinand was handed over to the Marinid rulers of Morocco as a hostage for the surrender of Ceuta, terms negotiated in a treaty by Henry. At first, Ferdinand was held in relative comfort as a noble hostage in Asilah, but when it became apparent that the Portuguese authorities had no intention of fulfilling the terms of the treaty and yielding Ceuta, Ferdinand's status was downgraded and he was transferred to a prison in Fez, where he was subjected to much harsher incarceration conditions and humiliations by his Moroccan jailers. Negotiations for his release continued on-and-off for years, but came to naught, and Ferdinand eventually died in captivity in Fez on 5 June 1443.
A popular cult quickly developed in Portugal around the figure of "the Holy Prince" (O Infante Santo), strongly encouraged by the House of Aviz. Ferdinand remains a "popular saint" by Portuguese tradition, neither beatified nor canonized by the Roman Catholic Church.