Charles V (1500-1558)

Charles V

1500 On February 24th, in Gent (Gand), Belgium, Charles V was born. He was the greatest leader of Europe, after Carol the Great. As the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and as the king of Spain, this monarch from Habsburg dynasty ruled the first empire “where the sun had never set” – Europe, North Africa, Spanish America and Far East. His greatest achievement was his power to keep this large empire with separated territories for more than 40 years, despite the Protestant’s increasing adversity, the French hostility, that of papal antagonism and of the Islamic incursions.

Charles V inherited Austrian and Burgundy kingdom. He was grown up by his aunt, Margaret of Austria, Belgium today; his guardian was Adrian of Utrecht, a theologian who became Pope later.

1516 He started his reign under the name of Carol I of Spain, and in that moment his life began as a perpetual journey. He went to Spain for the first time.

1518 Two years later he was crowned king of Germany and emperor of Holy Roman Empire. Territorial disputes with France related to supremacy over Burgundy and Italy dominated the biggest part of Carol’s I Reign that is why he was implied in five wars. Carol shocked the entire Europe when he led his Spanish and German armies against France’s ally, Pope Clement VII.

1529 Peace from Cambrai held a compromise: Carol gave up to Burgundy and Francis I renounced to Milan and Naples. Peace was concluded with pope’s help who crowned Carol at Bologna as the Emperor of Holy Roman Empire.

The warrior Islamic Turkey, led by Suleiman the Magnificent, was a serious threat for Carol’s empire, so he started a battle against the Ottoman Empire, both on the land at the sea.

1530 He sent an army to defeat Vienna against a possible Turkish invasion and sent his fleets to conquer Tunisia and Algeria.

Carol tried to ensure his succession to the throne, preparing the wedding of his son, Philip, with Queen Mary I of England, but English people refused to crown Philip and Mary was not able to have babies.

1555 In a speech in Brussels, Carol announced his decision to abdicate and to leave the royal domains from the Netherlands and India, his son Philip and the imperial crown, his brother Ferdinand. His tries to achieve a universal unit had failed. The empire he kept united for more than four decades was crumbling.

1558 Diagnosed with insomnia and gout, Carol left to Spain with two of his sisters and died in his palace from Yuste, Extremadura, in the West of Spain.

Carol was a great art protector. He ordered to Italian artist, Tiziano, many portraits, he picked up a brush from the floor in order to give it to the artist, an extraordinary gesture for a monarch at that time.



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