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Charles V (1500-1558)

Charles V

Portrait of Charles V by Titian

Charles was the son of Philip the Handsome, Duke of Burgandy (Netherlands) and Joan (the Mad), Queen of Castille. Charles inherited the titles:

  • Duke of Burgandy

  • King of Spain

  • Archduke of Austria

  • and was elected Holy Roman Emperor in 1519

Charles' problems were numerous:

- Netherlands- Charles spent 28 years in the Netherlands during ten separate visits. Much of his income came from this area which he taxed heavily. This eventually led to revolt.

- Spain - Charles spent 18 years in Spain during seven separate visits. He was unpopular in the country since he did not even speak Spanish. He used most of the Spanish wealth, including gold from the New World, to pay for projects and wars in other parts of his empire.

- Holy Roman Empire (Germany) - Charles only spent 8 years in Germany during nine separate visits. He clashed with the German princes and failed to make an early decisive move to counter-act the Reformation. This eventually involved Germany in the 30 Years' War.

- Wars and conflicts - Apart from internal problems Charles V was sporadically at war with the Turks and the French on the borders of the Empire.

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© Shirley Burchill, Nigel Hughes, Richard Gale, Peter Price and Keith Woodall 2014

Footnote : As far as the Open Door team can ascertain the images shown on this page are in the Public Domain.