Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Charles V

Charles V. (1500-1558), Emperor, and one of the most prominent figures of the 16th century. He inherited immense possessions - the Netherlands, Spain with her vast and constantly increasing colonies, and Austria. Until 1517 Charles lived in the Netherlands, where he had for one of his tutors the priest who afterwards became Pope Adrian VI. He was elected emperor in 1519 on the death of his grandfather Maximilian, and was crowned at Aix. But it was a thorny crown that he inherited. The Turks under Soliman the Magnificent threatened his eastern boundaries, Francis I. of France was a bitter foe, he had to face a revolt in Spain, and the stubborn Flemings of the Low Countries gave him constant trouble. Meantime he could never be sure of the Pope's friendship, nor of that of Henry VIII. of England. Another trouble of his reign was the growth of Protestantism, which had been taken up warmly by some of the German princes. Policy, therefore, inclined the king to make terms with it if possible. It was with this view that the Diet of Worms was held (1521), in which Charles was more or less gracious towards a movement he was far from approving. And a war with Francis I., which lasted for eight years, until 1544, made him less inclined to take strong measures against the Protestants. In the same manner when the Diet of Augsburg was held (1530), the Turks were fully occupying the king's attention. In the same year an impossible compromise was attempted by the convocation of a Council, which at last met at Trent in 1545.

In 1546, the French war having ceased, Charles turned his attention to the Protestant princes and subdued them; but a few years later Maurice of Saxony, having beaten the French and the Turks turned the tables upon Charles. The French seized Metz - which they have held three centuries till the last Franco-German war - and the emperor's plans generally were abortive. He had been betrothed to Mary of England, but his son Philip married her in his place. In this case there was disappointment. The much-desired heir who should unite the Spanish and English crowns did not come, his own wife whom he had greatly loved had died many years before, his subjects troubled him, the hateful new religion made head, and he was wearied of life. He resolved upon abdication of his power, and retirement into private life. In 1554 he made over Naples to his son Philip, in 1555 he resigned the Netherlands to the Prince of Orange, and in 1556 he divested himself of the crown of Spain, and finally resigned the empire in 1558. He retired to a convent in Estremadura, near to which he built a house and occupied himself in congenial pursuits. Although no longer taking an active part in politics he kept a keen watch upon events, and often intervened with advice upon the affairs of the empire. One of his latest acts was to bequeath to his son a policy of intolerance, that policy which cost him his Low Country possessions.