The well-known Holy Roman Emperor, Ferdinand I of Habsburg, was born on this day in the Spanish city of Alcalá de Henares.
Due to his Spanish birthplace, Ferdinand I of Habsburg was originally called Fernando de Habsburgo. He was the son of Habsburg archduke Philip I “El Hermoso” (“the Handsome”) and Spanish princess Joanna of Castile. Ferdinand’s father amassed a huge collection of estates on the territory of what are now the Netherlands, Belgium, and Burgundy. At that time those areas were among the most developed and wealthiest in Europe (though this actually hasn’t changed much even today). Ferdinand’s grandfather, Maximilian I of Habsburg, held the grand title of Holy Roman Emperor. All in all, young Ferdinand had an exceptionally rich and powerful family background, the likes of which are rarely seen in history.
Since one of Ferdinand’s grandfathers was the Aragonese king Ferdinand (the two of them shared both their names and their date of birth), young Ferdinand had the right to the title of dynastic prince, which is called “infante” in Spanish. That word is derived from the Latin “Infans”, which means “child”. In this case it refers specifically to the child of a monarch, rather than a child in general.