Emperor Charles V Essay

5153 words - 21 pages

Emperor Charles V

Born at Ghent, 1500; died at Yuste, in Spain, 1558; was a descendant of the house of Hapsburg, and to this descent owed his sovereignty over so many lands that it was said of him that the sun never set on his dominions. Charles was the son of Philip, Duke of Burgundy, by Joanna, daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella, and Burgundy was the first heritage to which he at his led, on his fathers death in 1506. As he was a minor at that time, his aunt, Margaret of Austria, undertook the regency for him. William of Chièvres, his father's chief counsellor, had charge of the prince's household; Adrian of Utrecht, the Humanist and professor of theology at Louvain, who undertook his education, appears to have exercised a deep and lasting influence on the opinions and convictions of his pupil.
Like many princes of his house, the boy developed slowly, showing no signs of a strong will. In January, 1515, he was declared to be of age, through the influence of Chièvres, who sought to destroy the power by which Margaret was forcing the Burgundian nobility into a too dynastic policy regardless of the country's need of peace. The peace of the country demanded an alliance with France, even though France should thus gain considerable influence in the internal affairs of Burgundy. Charles at once acceded to the wishes of the nobility (Treaties of Paris, 24 March, 1515, and Noyon, 13 August, 1516). Upon the death of Ferdinand of Aragon in January, 1516, Charles was named as his successor; but as the Duchess Joanna was still living, and Charles' brother Ferdinand, educated in Spain, was popular in that country, the realization of this arrangement was still in doubt. Of his own motion Charles immediately assumed the title of King of Castile, and announced his intention of going to Spain as soon as possible. It was not till the autumn of 1517 that he effected this purpose, and the Spanish opposition had mean while been silenced. But the power left in the hands of Chièvres, and the Burgundians provoked the uprising in Castile known as the War of the Communidad. It was a movement of the cities. In Castile the discontentment of the ruling classes was joined to that of the handicraftsmen and labourers, in Valencia the movement was exclusively one of mechanics and the proletariat. The rebellion failed because the commercial cities of Southern Castile took no part in it, and because Charles, acting upon his own judgment, placed Spaniards, instead of foreigners, in positions of authority.
In 1520 Charles left Spain to take possession of the German Empire to which he had been elected. The French king, Francis I, had been his rival for the dignity; Leo X thought that his interests in Italy were endangered by Charles' election. The Kingdom of Navarre was already a matter of contention between France and Spain, while France and the Netherlands wrangled over the original Dukedom of Burgundy as well as Tournai, Flanders, Artois,...

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