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A biography of charles v the holy roman emperor

Carlo 24 February 1500 — 21 September 1558 was ruler of both the Spanish Empire from 1516 and the Holy Roman Empire from 1519, as well as of Habsburg Netherlands from 1506.

He voluntarily stepped down from these and other positions by a series of abdications between 1554 and 1556. Through inheritance, he brought together under his rule extensive territories in western, central, and southern Europe, and the Spanish colonies in the Americas and Asia. As a result, his domains spanned nearly four million square kilometers and were the first to be described as "the empire on which the sun never sets".

Charles was the heir of three of Europe's leading dynasties: From his own dynasty, the Habsburgs, he inherited Austria and other lands in central Europe.

He was also elected to succeed his Habsburg grandfather, Maximilian I, as Holy Roman Emperor, a title held by the Habsburgs since 1440. Charles was the first king to rule Castile and Aragon simultaneously in his own right, and as a result he is sometimes referred to as the first King of Spain. The personal union, under Charles, of the Holy Roman Empire with the Spanish Empire resulted in the closest Europe would come to a universal monarchy since the death of Louis the Pious.

Because of widespread fears that his vast inheritance would lead to the realization of a universal monarchy and that he was trying to create a European hegemony, Charles was the object of hostility from many enemies.

His reign was dominated by war, and particularly by three major simultaneous conflicts: The wars with France, mainly fought in Italy, resulted in recovery of territory lost at the beginning of his reign and included the decisive defeat and capture of Francis I of France at the Battle of Pavia in 1525.

France recovered and the wars continued for the remainder of Charles's reign. Enormously expensive, they led to the development of the first modern professional army in Europe, the Tercios.

The struggle with the Ottoman Empire was fought in Hungary and the Mediterranean. A lengthy war of attrition, conducted on his behalf by his younger brother Ferdinand, continued for the rest of Charles's reign. Charles opposed the Reformation and in Germany he was in conflict with the Protestant Princes of the Schmalkaldic League who were motivated by both religious and political opposition to him. While Charles did not typically concern himself with rebellions, he was quick to put down three particularly dangerous rebellions in the vital territories of Castile, the Frisian lands, and later in his reign in the port city of Ghent.

Once the rebellions were quelled the essential Castilian and A biography of charles v the holy roman emperor territories remained mostly loyal to Charles throughout his rule. In the Americas, Charles sanctioned the conquest by Castillian conquistadors of a biography of charles v the holy roman emperor Aztec and Inca empires. Castillian control was extended across much of South and Central America. The resulting vast expansion of territory and the flows of South American silver to Castile had profound long term effects on Spain.

Charles was only 56 when he abdicated, but after 34 years of energetic rule he was physically exhausted and sought the peace of a monastery, where he died at the age of 58.

The two empires would remain allies until the 18th century. Heritage and early life Charles was born in 1500 as the eldest son of Philip the Handsome and Joanna of Castile in the Flemish city of Ghent, which was part of the Habsburg Netherlands. The culture and courtly life of the Burgundian Low Countries were an important influence in his early life.

It is said that Charles spoke several vernacular languages: He also gained a decent command of German in which he was not fluent prior to his electionthough he never spoke it as well as French. A witticism sometimes attributed to Charles is: From his Burgundian ancestors he inherited an ambiguous relationship with the Kings of France. Charles shared with France his mother tongue and many cultural forms. In his youth he made frequent visits to Paris, then the largest city of Western Europe.

Charles also inherited the tradition of political and dynastic enmity between the royal and the Burgundian ducal lines of the Valois dynasty. Charles was very attached to the Burgundian Low Countries where he had been raised.

These lands were very rich and contributed significantly to the wealth of the Empire. He also spent much time there, mainly at Brussels. This stands in contrast with the attitude of his son Philip who only visited the Low Countries once.

Until the 1540s, Charles did not spend much time in Germany apart from the Netherlands. He never actually governed his Austrian dominions and made his brother Ferdinand the ruler of these lands in 1521, as well as his representative in the Holy Roman Empire during his absence. In spite of this, the Emperor had a close relationship with some German families, like the House of Nassau, many of which were represented at his court in Brussels.

Some German princes or noblemen accompanied him in his military campaigns against France or the Ottomans, and the bulk of his army was generally composed of German troops, especially the Imperial Landsknechte.

Indeed, in 1519, he was elected because he was considered a German prince while his main opponent was French. Nonetheless, in the long term, the growth of Lutheranism and Charles' staunch Catholicism alienated him from various German princes who finally fought against him in the 1540s and the 1550s.

It is important to note, though, that other states of the Empire chose to support him in his war, and that he had the constant support of his brother, in spite of their strained personal relationship.

Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor: Accomplishments, Facts & Quotes

Whereas Charles spent much of his final years as a ruler trying to address the issue of religion in the Empire, it would ultimately be Ferdinand, by then much more popular in Germany, who would bring peace to the German lands.

Though Spain was the core of his personal possessions and though he had many Iberian ancestors, in his earlier years Charles felt as if he were viewed as a foreign prince. He became fluent in Spanish late in his life, as it was not his first language. Nonetheless, he spent much of his life in Spain, including his final years in a Spanish monastery, and his heir, later Philip II, was born and raised in Spain. He had many Spanish counselors and, except for the revolt of the comuneros in the 1520s, Spain remained mostly loyal to him.

Spain was also his most important military asset, as it provided a great number of generals, as well as the formidable Spanish tercios, considered the best infantry of its time.

Many Spaniards, however, believed that their resources were being used to sustain a policy that was not in the country's interest. Reign Charles V's European territories. Red represents the Crown of Aragon, magenta the Crown of Castile, orange his Burgundian inheritances, mustard yellow his Austrian inheritances, and pale yellow the balance of the Holy Roman Empire. Most of the holdings were fiefs of the German Kingdom part of the Holy Roman Empireexcept his birthplace of Flanders, which was still a French fief, a last remnant of what had been a powerful player in the Hundred Years' War.

As he was a minor, his aunt Margaret of Austria born as Archduchess of Austria and in both her marriages as the Dowager Princess of Asturias and Dowager Duchess of Savoy acted as regent, as appointed by Emperor Maximilian until 1515. She soon found herself at war with France over the question of Charles' requirement to pay homage to the French king for Flanders, as his father had done.

The outcome was that France relinquished its ancient claim on Flanders in 1528. From 1515 to 1523, Charles's government in the Netherlands also had to contend with the rebellion of Frisian peasants led by Pier Gerlofs Donia and Wijard Jelckama.

The rebels were initially successful but after a series of defeats, the remaining leaders were captured and decapitated in 1523. In 1549, Charles issued a Pragmatic Sanction, declaring the Low Countries to be a unified entity of which his family would be the heirs. The Low Countries held an important place in the Empire.

For Charles V personally they were his home, the region where he was born and spent his childhood. Because of trade and industry and the wealth of the region's cities, the Low Countries also represented an important income for the Imperial treasury.

The Burgundian territories were generally loyal to Charles throughout his reign. The important port city of Ghent rebelled in 1539 due to heavy tax payments demanded by Charles. The rebellion did not last long, however, as Charles's military response, with reinforcement from the Duke of Alba, was swift and humiliating to the rebels of Ghent.

On the other hand, in 1502, the Aragonese Corts gathered in Saragossa and pledged an oath to Joanna as heiress-presumptive, but the Archbishop of Saragossa expressed firmly that this oath could not establish jurisprudence, that is to say, modify the right of the succession, except by virtue of a formal agreement between the Cortes and the King. Nevertheless, the Flemings wished Charles to assume the royal title, and this was supported by his grandfather the emperor Maximilian I and Pope Leo X.

Thus, after the celebration of Ferdinand II's obsequies on 14 March 1516, Charles was proclaimed king of the crowns of Castile and Aragon jointly with his mother. Madrid, Spain Due to the irregularity of Charles assuming the royal title while his mother, the legitimate queen, was alive, the negotiations with the Castilian Cortes in Valladolid 1518 proved difficult. In the end Charles was accepted under the following conditions: The Cortes paid homage to him in Valladolid in February 1518.

After this, Charles departed to the crown of Aragon. He managed to overcome the resistance of the Aragonese Cortes and Catalan Corts, and he was finally recognized as king of Aragon a biography of charles v the holy roman emperor count of Barcelona jointly with his mother.

The Kingdom of Navarre had been invaded by Ferdinand of Aragon jointly with Castile in 1512, but he pledged a formal oath to respect the kingdom. On Charles's accession to the Spanish throne, the Parliament of Navarre Cortes required him to attend the coronation ceremony to become Charles IV of Navarrebut this demand fell on deaf ears, and the Parliament kept piling up grievances.

Charles was accepted as sovereign, even though the Spanish felt uneasy with the Imperial style. Spanish kingdoms varied in their traditions. Castile was an authoritarian kingdom, where the monarch's own will easily overrode law and the Cortes.

By contrast, in the kingdoms of the crown of Aragon, and especially in the Pyrenean kingdom of Navarre, law prevailed, and the monarchy was a contract with the a biography of charles v the holy roman emperor. This became an inconvenience and a matter of dispute for Charles V and later kings, since realm-specific traditions limited their absolute power. With Charles, government became more absolute, even though until his mother's death in 1555 Charles did not hold the full kingship of the country.

Soon resistance to the Emperor arose because of heavy taxation to support foreign wars in which Castilians had little interest, and because Charles tended to select Flemings for high offices in Spain and America, ignoring Castilian candidates. The resistance culminated in the Revolt of the Comuneros, which Charles suppressed. Immediately after crushing the Castilian revolt, Charles was confronted again with the hot issue of Navarre when King Henry II attempted to reconquer the kingdom.

Main military operations lasted until 1524, when Hondarribia surrendered to Charles's forces, but frequent cross-border clashes in the western Pyrenees only stopped in 1528 Treaties of Madrid and Cambrai. After these events, Navarre remained a matter of domestic and international litigation still for a century a French dynastic claim to the throne did not end until the French Revolution in 1789. Castile became integrated into Charles's empire, and provided the bulk of the empire's financial resources as well as its most effective military units.

The enormous budget deficit accumulated during Charles's reign resulted in Spain declaring bankruptcy during the reign of Philip II. Aragon also previously controlled the Duchy of Milan, but a year before Charles ascended to the throne, it was annexed by France after the Battle of Marignano in 1515.

Charles succeeded in re-capturing Milan in 1522, when Imperial troops defeated the Franco-Swiss army at Bicocca.

Yet in 1524 Francis I of France retook the initiative, crossing into Lombardy where Milan, along with a number of other cities, once again fell to his attack. Pavia alone held out, and on 24 February 1525 Charles's twenty-fifth birthdayCharles's Spanish forces captured Francis and crushed his army in the Battle of Pavia, yet again retaking Milan and Lombardy. Spain successfully held on to all of its Italian territories, though they were invaded again on multiple occasions during the Italian Wars.

In addition, Habsburg trade in the Mediterranean was consistently disrupted by the Ottoman Empire.

  • In early 1552 Maurice of Saxony penetrated into Austria, forcing Charles to flee;
  • In opposing the Reformation - yet maintaining peace with England - Charles challenged several popular movements such as the German Peasants' War and the federation known as the Schmalkaldic League.

In 1538 a Holy League consisting of all the Italian states and Spain was formed to drive the Ottomans back, but it was defeated at the Battle of Preveza.

Decisive naval victory eluded Charles; it would not be achieved until after Charles's death, at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. They conquered the large Aztec and Inca empires and incorporated them into the Empire as the Viceroyalties of New Spain and Peru between 1519 and 1542. Combined with the circumnavigation of the globe by the Magellan expedition in 1522, these successes convinced Charles of his divine mission to become the leader of Christendom, which still perceived a significant threat from Islam.