- Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
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- Charles V : the world emperor
- Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
- Early life
In the first months of his reign, Charles, through his ministers, arbitrated the grievances of the grandees and the demands of the Cortes and appointed Gattinara his grand chancellor to succeed the unpopular Jean de Sauvage, who died June 7, These first steps in government were accelerated by the news of the death of Maximilian; Charles was now Archduke of Austria and a candidate for the vacant imperial throne.
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Though his choice was opposed by Pope Leo X , who feared the union of the imperial and Neopolitan crowns on the head of the same sovereign, and by Francis I, Henry VIII , and Frederick the Wise of Saxony, his rivals for the title, Charles won the votes of the seven electors, partly through intrigue and liberal bribery it cost the Hapsburgs , gulden, borrowed from the banking house of the Fuggers.
Scarcely 20 years old, Charles swore to the exacting terms of the coronation oath before the electoral college , and on Jan. The empire that came to Charles was held together by a net of dynastic marriages; hence the dictum,. Let others make wars, you happy Austria make marriages; While Mars gives kingdoms to others, Venus gives them to you. The first objective of his reign was not new conquest but the protection and consolidation of his inheritance.
His aunt, catherine of aragon, was already the wife of henry viii of england, and his son Philip was later joined in a hapless marriage to mary tudor Opposition and War.
The maintenance of his wide power brought him into conflict from the inception of his reign. Charles, with his French speech, Flemish background, and Burgundian councilors, was looked upon as a foreigner in Spain, and he had to face attempts to seize or limit his royal right. Charles's relations with the king of France narrowed into a contest for the control of the Italian peninsula and the hegemony of Burgundy.
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
He challenged Francis I rights to Milan, which had been reconquered by the French king at the Battle of Marignano , as well as his dynastic claims to Naples. Four wars followed, interrupted by inconclusive and violated truces. On Feb.
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By the terms of the Treaty of Madrid Jan. At Bologna, on Feb. He was the last Holy Roman Emperor to be crowned by a pope. When Sforza, who had been reinstated as Duke of Milan, died childless in , the contest was reopened. Francis invaded Savoy and Piedmont in his third attempt to capture Milan, but his early successes were checked by Charles' invasion of Provence This war terminated with the Treaty of Nice June 18, , which reaffirmed the conditions of the Treaty of Cambrai, but left Francis in occupation of two-thirds of Piedmont.
His victory at Ceresole was again nullified when Charles invaded the valley of the Marne and marched on Paris. In secret clauses of the treaty Francis promised to help the Emperor fight Protestantism, regain Calvinist Geneva for the Duke of Savoy, and further the Council of trent. German Estates. The element of universalism in Charles' political conception met its strongest test from the German Estates.
Irony often attended Charles. Although he was the intellectual and moral superior to his rival rulers Henry and Francis, he cut a poor figure compared to them. While they cavorted in renaissance splendour as Bluff King Hal and Francis the golden, Charles appears a bureaucrat and worse. His dazzling inheritance also bequeathed him, less happily, the notorious Habsburg jaw. Gonrat Meit's bust of the young Charles depicts him as almost retarded: the brutal realism of Lucas Cranach's portrait of him aged thirty-three seems to exaggerate the jaw, and even Titian was hard put to mask it.
The deformity caused him acute physical problems. The pitilessly observant Venetians whispered that he was unable to close his mouth. He found difficulty in chewing and so swallowed his food in lumps. To wash it down, he drank copious quantities of wine and beer, making him appear a glutton.
The paradoxes continued. 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 From to , 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 In , 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.
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The Burgundian territories were generally loyal to Charles throughout his reign. The important port city of Ghent rebelled in 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 , 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 , Charles was proclaimed king of the crowns of Castile and Aragon jointly with his mother. El Escorial. 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 proved difficult.
In the end Charles was accepted under the following conditions: he would learn to speak Castilian; he would not appoint foreigners; he was prohibited from taking precious metals from Castile; and he would respect the rights of his mother, Queen Joanna. The Cortes paid homage to him in Valladolid in February After this, Charles departed to the crown of Aragon.
Charles V : the world emperor
He managed to overcome the resistance of the Aragonese Cortes and Catalan Corts, and he was finally recognized as king of Aragon and count of Barcelona jointly with his mother. The Kingdom of Navarre had been invaded by Ferdinand of Aragon jointly with Castile in , 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 Navarre , but 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 people. This became an inconvenience and a matter of dispute for Charles V and later kings, since realm-specific traditions limited their absolute power.
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
With Charles, government became more absolute, even though until his mother's death in 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 , when Hondarribia surrendered to Charles's forces, but frequent cross-border clashes in the western Pyrenees only stopped in 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 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 Charles succeeded in re-capturing Milan in , when Imperial troops defeated the Franco-Swiss army at Bicocca. Yet in 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 Charles's twenty-fifth birthday , Charles'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 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 They conquered the large Aztec and Inca empires and incorporated them into the Empire as the Viceroyalties of New Spain and Peru between and Combined with the circumnavigation of the globe by the Magellan expedition in , these successes convinced Charles of his divine mission to become the leader of Christendom, which still perceived a significant threat from Islam.
The conquests also helped solidify Charles's rule by providing the state treasury with enormous amounts of bullion. Welser, in compensation for his inability to repay debts owed. The concession, known as Klein-Venedig little Venice , was revoked in Charles V is credited with the first idea of constructing an American Isthmus canal in Panama as early as He was also the natural candidate of the electors to succeed his grandfather as Holy Roman Emperor.
The electors gave Charles the crown on 28 June Despite holding the imperial throne, Charles's real authority was limited by the German princes. They gained a strong foothold in the Empire's territories, and Charles was determined not to let this happen in the Netherlands.