in Piedrahita, the province of Ávilla in Spain.
His parents were Garcia Álvarez de Toledo y Zúñiga and Beatriz Pimentel.
Fernando's father died when he was three years old, during a campaign on the
isle of Djerba in 1510. Already at the age of six Fernando accompanied his
grandfather on a military mission to capture Navarre.
Fernando was educated in Roman Catholicism and humanism. He also learned
to speak Latin, French, English and German.
At the age of seventeen he joined the troops of Constable of Castile,this was
the second person in power after the King. For his military role Fernando was
appointed governor of Fuenterrabia.
Love & Marriage
In 1527 Fernando married his cousin Maria Enriquez de Toledo y Guzmán.
Together they had 4 children. Fernando also had an illegitimate son before
In 1541 Fernando was appointed as High Steward to the King of Spain by
King Charles I of Spain. The Duke of Alba also received the Order of the
Golden Fleece (1546).
From 1548 King Charles I of Spain started to prepare his son Philip for his
future task as King. He named the Duke of Alba as his tutor.
King Philippe II of Spain
On a tour in Europe
Fernando took Philip on a tour around Europe. That tour lasted till 1551.
He also accompanied Philip at his tour to England to attend his marriage
to Mary Tudor. The ceremony took place on July 25th. 1554 and the duke
was one of the 15 grandees of Spain who attended the ceremony at the
In the Army
Fernando, the 3rd. duke of Alba took a lot of military commands for
1532-1542: Against the Ottomans and the French
1546-1547: Campaign in Germany
1555-1559: in Milan and Naples
The iron Duke
Of course the 3rd. duke of Alba was best known for his role as governor
in The Netherlands. There he received his nickname; 'the Iron Duke'.
From August till October the iconoclasm (in Dutch: Beeldenstorm) took
place. Then Calvinist Protestant followers destroyed a lot of Catholic
monasteries and churches.
King Philip II sent The Duke of Alba to Brussels to tackle both civil and
religious rebels. On his arrival on August 22nd. 1567, he replaced
Margaret of Parma, the sister of King Philip II as governor.
On September 5th. 1567 the Duke of Alba established his council of
troubles. This was known in The Netherlands as the Court of Blood.
He ordered the beheading of inter alia the Count of Egmont and the
Count of Horn.
I made already a 'Today in History / On This Day for this tragic
event, which you can see on this link.
Back to Spain and campaign in Portugal
In 1573 after a series of losses the Duke of Alba returned to Spain.
In 1580 he helped King Philip II with a campaign in Portugal.
Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, 3rd. Duke of Alba died on
December 11th. 1582 in Lisbon, Portugal.
Source pictures: Wikipedia