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Charles V (1500–1558)

Charles V (15001558)

King of Spain and Holy Roman Emperor, Charles governed the largest realm in Europe since the time of Charlemagne. He was the son of Philip I the Handsome (the Duke of Burgundy) and Joanna the Mad of Spain. He was grandson of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile, the joint rulers of Spain, and of Maximilian I, Habsburg emperor of the Holy Roman states. Born in Ghent, he was raised by an aunt, Margaret of Austria. Charles inherited the Netherlands, a part of Burgundy, on the death of his father in 1506, but ruled through Margaret, who served as his regent until 1515. On the death of Ferdinand II in 1516, Charles became the first monarch of a united Spanish kingdom that included Aragon, Navarre, Castile, Granada, Naples, Sicily, and Sardinia, and that also governed colonies established by Spanish explorers and adventurers in the Americas. As an outsider, Charles was at

first unpopular in Spain, where he levied heavy taxes and appointed Flemish outsiders to govern.

In 1519, on the death of his grandfather Maximilian, Charles was elected as the Holy Roman Emperor, governing an area that included Austria and other territories in central Europe. His election frustrated the ambitious King Francis I of France, who also had claimed the title. This encounter laid the seeds of a long rivalry between the two rulers that would endure for decades. In 1522, finding the huge realm too much for a single man to rule, Charles gave up direct rule of his territories in Austria to his brother Ferdinand.

Charles still disputed control of Burgundy and Navarre with Francis I; at the same time, Italy was contested between the pope and foreign kings seeking to extend their influence to wealthy city-states such as Milan and Florence. The emperor allied with Pope Leo X and went to war against Francis I in 1521. Charles's army won an important victory at the Battle of Pavia in 1525, capturing Francis and bringing him to Spain, where the French king was forced to sign the Peace of Madrid. This treaty freed Milan from French control and ended France's claims to Burgundy. When he returned to France, however, Francis claimed he had signed the treaty under duress and renounced it. He formed an alliance against Charles that included King Henry VIII of England, Pope Clement VII, and the cities of Venice, Milan, and Florence. Charles responded with an invasion of Italy. His armies brutally sacked the city of Rome in 1527 and took the pope hostage. The Treaty of Cambrai in 1529 temporarily ended the conflict bctween the emperor and the French king; soon afterward Charles also signed the Peace of Barcelona with the pope. In 1535, Charles installed his son Philip as the Duke of Milan in defiance of Francis, who was again claiming the city. The war continued until 1538, then resumed in 1542 with Francis allying with Suleiman I, sultan of the Ottoman Empire, and Charles allying with Henry VIII.

In 1530, after reaching a peace agreement with Pope Clement VII, Charles was officially crowned the Holy Roman Emperor by the pope. The Spanish conquests in the New World had brought him prestige and a fortune in silver. Charles strongly believed in the Christianizing mission of the conquistadores; in Europe, he saw his own holy mission in the fight against Protestantism that was threatening the authority of the pope and emperor in Germany and in the Low Countries. In 1521, at the Diet of Worms, Charles had condemned the teachings of Martin Luther, the German monk who was leading the revolt against the Catholic Church, known as the Protestant Reformation. Charles sent inquisitors and troops to ruthlessly put down Protestant rebellion and worked to ally the princes of Germany with the Catholic Church and against the Protestant movement. In 1531 his Protestant opponents responded by organizing the Schmalkaldic League against him. The league allied with France against Charles; its officers seized Catholic properties, expelled Catholic leaders, and forcibly converted many German cities to Protestantism.

At the Council of Trent in 1545, Charles persuaded several German princes to join his crusade against Protestantism. With his opponents divided over strategy, he decisively defeated the Schmalkaldic League at the Battle of Mühlberg in 1546. In 1555 the Peace of Augsburg finally established a lasting compromise between Catholics and Protestants. By this treaty, the religion of each realm would be that of its prince. In the next year Charles abdicated his throne. His brother Ferdinand replaced him as the Holy Roman Emperor and his son Philip II became king of Spain. Charles entered a monastery in Yuste, Spain, where he died in 1558.

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Charles V

Charles V

The French king Charles V (1337-1380) ruled from 1364 to 1380. He skillfully governed France during a critical phase of the Hundred Years War.

Son of John II and Bonne of Luxemburg, Charles V was born at Vincennes on Jan. 21, 1337. He was the first heir apparent to the crown of France to bear the title Dauphin. Although nothing is known of his education, his later activities as a patron of the arts, theoretician of monarchy, and founder of the royal library at the Louvre indicate an early interest in learning. In 1350 Charles married his cousin Jeanne de Bourbon.

Charles was born, grew up, and reigned in the shadow of the great Anglo-French conflict called the Hundred Years War (1337-1453). When he was 16, Charles was made Duke of Normandy by his father and was thus entrusted with one of the most vulnerable areas of warfare. At the age of 19, on Sept. 19, 1356, Charles with his father and two younger brothers led the French army, which was cut to pieces by the English at Poitiers. During the battle John II was taken prisoner and held for ransom. Charles, lacking power and financial resources, had to assume the office of regent during his father's captivity, which lasted until 1360. During this period Charles weathered the threat of an English invasion and, faced with domestic discontent, put down a number of internal revolts, among them the Jacquerie, a peasant uprising. Only his astute political judgment and diplomatic skill saved the crown of France. With the Treaty of Brétigny in 1360 he arranged the terms of his father's ransom and established a temporary truce with the English.

When Charles became king on his father's death in 1364, his experience as regent had prepared him to take on his first great task—undoing the disastrous results of the political ineptitude of his father and grandfather. Although he was not a good general and was always in ill health, he devoted intense energy to ruling. He chose able advisers and was fortunate in securing a number of effective military commanders, including Bertrand du Guesclin, to counter the continuing threat from England. Charles resumed the war in 1369, and by his death in 1380 he had fought the English to a standstill.

Apart from his activities against the English, Charles's last years were spent in strengthening the defenses of France and organizing matters of law and finance. For the first time since the death of Philip V in 1314, France had an effective and intelligent ruler. But Charles's early death on Sept. 16, 1380, brought far less able men to the throne, kings who would preside over even greater defeats at the hands of the English and who would witness the further disintegration of French society.

Further Reading

There is no biography of Charles V in English; the standard works are in French. The period is well depicted in Jean Froissart's 14th-century Chronicles (many English translations), as well as in Édouard Perroy's standard study, The Hundred Years War (trans. 1951), and Kenneth Fowler's well-illustrated work, The Age of Plantagenet and Valois: The Struggle for Supremacy, 1328-1498 (1967). □

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Charles V (king of France)

Charles V (Charles the Wise), 1338–80, king of France (1364–80). Son of King John II, Charles became the first French heir apparent to bear the title of dauphin after the addition of the region of Dauphiné to the royal domain in 1349. Regent during his father's captivity in England (1356–60, 1364), Charles dealt successfully with the Jacquerie revolt, with the intrigues of King Charles II of Navarre, and with the popular movement headed by Étienne Marcel, who had armed Paris against the dauphin. Becoming king in 1364, Charles stabilized the coinage and took steps to rid France of the companies of écorcheurs, marauding bands of discharged soldiers. Aided by his great general, Bertrand Du Guesclin, he almost succeeded in driving the English from France. Charles and his ministers, the Marmousets, strengthened the royal authority, introduced a standing army, built a powerful navy, and instituted reforms that put fiscal authority more firmly in the hands of the crown. A patron of the arts and of learning, he established the royal library and interested himself in the embellishment of the Louvre and in the construction of the palace at Saint-Pol. However, his love of pomp and his lack of economy put a severe economic burden on the country. In the last year of his life he sided with Pope Clement VII against Pope Urban VI at the beginning of the Great Schism (see Schism, Great). His son, Charles VI, succeeded him.

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Charles V (duke of Lorraine)

Charles V (Charles Leopold), 1643–90, duke of Lorraine; nephew of Duke Charles IV. Deprived of the rights of succession to the duchy, he was forced to leave France and entered the service of the Holy Roman emperor. He was twice a candidate for the Polish crown (1669 and 1674). Although he took the ducal title on his uncle's death in 1675, France still held Lorraine. He was commander of the imperialist forces in the third of the Dutch Wars. At Nijmegen he refused (1678) to accept Lorraine on King Louis XIV's terms. He took part in the defense of Vienna (1683) and in expelling the Ottomans from Hungary. Charles V married (1678) Eleanora Maria, sister of Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I.

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Charles V

Charles V ( the Wise) (1337–80) King of France (1364–80). He regained most of the territory previously lost to the English during the Hundred Years' War, stabilized the coinage, and endeavoured to suppress anarchy and revolt in France. He strengthened royal authority further by introducing a regular taxation system, standing army, and powerful navy. He established a royal library, encouraged literature and art, and built the Bastille. His son succeeded him as Charles VI.

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