Charles V (Dictionary of World Biography: Renaissance)
Article abstract: Charles V initiated 150 years of Habsburg dynastic hegemony in Europe, stopped the Turkish advance in Europe, promoted reform, and expanded Spanish colonization in America.
Charles V was born in Ghent, the ancient capital of Flanders and the heart of the Duchy of Burgundy. In 1477, Burgundy escheated to the Holy Roman Emperor, Maximilian I of the house of Habsburg. Maximilian’s rivalry with the French over the Burgundian lands led to an alliance with Spain that resulted in the marriage of his son, Philip, to Joan, daughter of Ferdinand II and Isabella. Charles, as the eldest son of the couple, became Duke of Burgundy in 1506, King of Spain in 1516, and Holy Roman Emperor in 1519.
When Charles entered Spain in 1517, he could not speak the native language and was surrounded by a Flemish court that sought to monopolize high offices in the Spanish church and state. Physically, Charles appeared rather awkward, a lanky teenager with the jutting Habsburg jaw. After two years of ineffective kingship in Spain, Charles was elected Holy Roman Emperor to the dismay of many Spaniards, who believed that Charles would relegate their country to a peripheral province to be drained of wealth for imperial ambitions. Thus, almost immediately after Charles left Spain for his coronation, the Castilian cities initiated the Comunero Revolt (1520-1521) to force Charles’s return and a reform of...
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Charles V (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Military significance: As emperor, Charles V was feared because he was known for having “armies in the field” constantly during his reign. He himself was not necessarily present at all battles, but the Imperial armies and their reputation were feared. Charles V is most commonly remembered for the Sack of Rome and the imprisonment of the pope.
Grandson of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, Charles V inherited a massive empire from both sides of his family. By a series of very well-planned and strategic marriages, he was heir not only to Spain and the New World but also to most of Europe. He was linked to England’s Henry VIII through the English monarch’s marriage to his aunt, Catherine of Aragon. His chief rival was Francis I of France.
Charles is remembered for his strong stand and resulting campaign against Martin Luther and the Sack of Rome in 1527. The attack on Rome imprisoned the pope, preventing the papal address of Henry VIII’s request for an annulment from the emperor’s aunt, Catherine.
Europe was shocked when Charles V abdicated his throne in 1556, retiring to a house on the estate of the Monastery of St. Jerome, at Yuste, where he died two years later. The Habsburg emperor was feared militarily but depended on his nobility to lead his armies.
Brandi, Karl. The Emperor Charles V. London: Jonathan Cape, 1954.
(The entire section is 261 words.)