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Charles V

Early Years

Born at Ghent, Charles was brought up in Flanders by his aunt, Margaret of Austria, who was regent for him in the Netherlands. She and his tutor, Adrian of Utrecht (later Pope Adrian VI), were the chief influences in his youth. Charles inherited a vast empire. The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Artois, and Franche-Comté (or Free County of Burgundy) came to him on the death (1506) of his father. Aragón, Navarre, Granada, Naples, Sicily, Sardinia, Spanish America, and joint kingship with his mother (who was insane) over Castile devolved upon him at the death (1516) of Ferdinand II.

Arriving in Spain in 1517, Charles was distrusted as a foreigner. His initial actions only heightened the resentment against him. He brusquely dismissed Cardinal Jiménez de Cisneros, who was regent of Castile after Ferdinand's death, appointed Flemish favorites to high office, and increased taxation to finance his imperial ambitions. On the death (1519) of his grandfather Maximilian I he inherited the Hapsburg lands in Austria. After bribing the electors, he was chosen Holy Roman emperor in succession to his grandfather, and in 1520 he departed for Germany.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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