Emperor Of Germany Charles V., and king of Spain under the title of Charles I., born at Ghent, Feb. 24, 1500, died at the monastery of Yuste, near Plasencia, Spain, Sept. 21, 1558. He was the eldest son of Philip of Burgundy, archduke of Austria, and Joanna, daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain. His paternal grandfather was the emperor Maximilian, Philip of Burgundy being the offspring of that emperor's marriage with the beautiful Mary, daughter of Charles the Bold and Isabella of Bourbon. By the death of his father in 1506 Charles became, when only six years old, heir presumptive to the entire possessions of the house of Ilapsburg in Germany, in right of his grandfather Maximilian, and to the dukedom of Burgundy, as it was then called, afterward the Spanish Netherlands, in right of his grandmother Mary. He was educated in this portion of his great possessions, under the care of William Croy, lord of Chievres, who had him thoroughly instructed in the learning and accomplishments of the time; he brought him up stern, cold, regular in his life, and somewhat formal in manner; the tendency of his education being to make him rather a German in spirit than a Spaniard. By the death of Ferdinand, his maternal grandfather, in 1516, he inherited the whole kingdom of Spain, the Castilian portions of which Ferdinand had governed since 1507 as regent, the kingdom of Naples, and the then literally boundless Spanish empire in America. In spite of his youth, he at once ascended the Spanisli throne and took the conduct of affairs into his own hands.
He was now the most powerful ruler in Europe. His boast that the sun never set on his dominions was justified by the greatness of his possessions. He bore on his escutcheon two globes, and had stamped upon his coin two pillars representing the pillars of Hercules (denoting the western limit of Europe), with the motto Plus ultra ("More beyond "). The armies at his command in his various territories were enormous; and the revenues upon which he could draw seemed practically unlimited. Thus situated, it was natural that Charles should direct his first aspirations toward the imperial power so long-held by his grandfather. He was early looked upon as one of the leading candidates for the succession; and on the election following Maximilian's death in 1519 he was chosen emperor (June 28), Francis I. of France being his only really dangerous competitor for the honor. He was crowned at Aix-la-Chapelle Oct. 23, 1520, after having signed an agreement (the Wahlca-pitidation) intended by the electors to restrain him in some degree in the arbitrary exercise of the immense power at his command. He entered upon his administration just as Luther had aroused Europe by those acts which formed the beginning of the reformation.
The strong excitement now pervading Germany, and the multitude of unsettled questions besides this of the religious controversy, determined Charles to call a great diet for the discussion of affairs. It met at Worms in the winter of 1521; Luther appeared before it and made his memorable defence on April 17 and 18. But the emperor did not yet perceive the importance of the religious agitation which had arisen throughout the northern portion of his empire. His mind was still occupied with affairs in Spain, which were in a most unsettled state. He was also about to begin a war with France; for although he and his jealous and disappointed competitor Francis had sworn that the result of the election should not disturb the peace between them, a pretext was not long wanting to give the two rivals an opportunity to try their strength. Charles's delay in fulfilling his promise to restore Navarre to Henri d'Albret formed the wished-for excuse; it was made a casus belli, and both monarchs prepared for the conflict.
With his attention principally occupied by these plans, the emperor was more annoyed by than interested in the religious controversies of Germany; he issued a decree of outlawry against Luther, hoping thus hurriedly to dispose of the matter in its beginning, and before the close of the year he left Germany for Spain by way of the Netherlands and England. His visit to the latter country was made for the purpose of gaining over Henry VIII., whom Francis was endeavoring to persuade into an alliance in the coming war; and so far as defeating this plan was concerned, Charles's interviews with Henry were successful. Arrived in Spain, he subdued a revolt of the cities of Castile against the crown; but he had barely succeeded in restoring order when the French war broke out both along the borders of Navarre and of the Netherlands; and at the same time the Turks under Solyman captured Belgrade and penetrated into Hungary, the ill-fated king of which, Louis II., was (Jharles's brother-in-law. The French war first received Charles's full attention.
The conflict rapidly extended, and attained its greatest force in Italy. The French at first met with success on the Spanish border, but they were defeated in the Netherlands; and Charles added greatly to his strength by at last gaining Henry VIII. of England to his side, after an unsuccessful attempt made at Calais to conclude a general peace. He now added to his previous good fortune a series of brilliant victories in Italy, won by his generals Prospero Colonna and Frundsberg. Another great gain for him was the desertion of the constable of France, Charles of Bourbon, to the imperial army. On Feb. 24, 1525, the battle of Pavia crowned his triumphs. Francis was taken prisoner, and was treated with courtesy by his conqueror, who, however, imposed such hard conditions of peace that the French king at first declared that he would rather remain a prisoner for life than submit to them. A compromise was at last effected, and though its conditions were but little better than those of the former offer, it was confirmed by the treaty of Madrid, Jan. 14,1526; an agreement which left Charles even much more powerful than at the beginning of his reign.
Meanwhile matters in Germany had been left largely under the charge of Charles's brother Ferdinand, to whom he had ceded his properly Austrian possessions, and who had conducted affairs in the empire with great skill and success. Through the conflict between the Swabian confederation and Duke Ulric of Wiirtemberg, he succeeded in acquiring the lat-ter's territory, which was subsequently given to Ferdinand, who, after the death of Louis II. at Mohi'ics (1526), had become his successor both in Hungary and Bohemia. The confederation itself Charles made use of as a means of help against the Turkish invasion, which, after Mohtics, threatened the empire itself. The result of the rapid increase of Charles's power was to excite the greatest anxiety among the governments of Europe, no one of which was now able to cope successfully with the emperor. Coalitions of several states could alone give any hope of adequate resistance to his encroachments. The pope, Clement VII., who perhaps had most of all reason to fear the growth of the imperial power, now formed an alliance with several Italian states and France; declared Francis absolved from his agreements in the treaty of Madrid, on the ground that the concessions he had made had been extorted by force; and laid his plans for freeing all Italy from the rule of the emperor.
But the coalition proved unavailing. The imperial troops under the constable de Bourbon penetrated to Borne, captured and sacked the city, and compelled the pope to surrender himself to Charles, treating the pontiff with no little indignity (May, 1527). The emperor now attempted to play a double part. He affected great indignation at the disrespect shown to the papal authority, declared that the capture of the pope's person had been made without his knowledge, and even assumed mourning, with his whole court, on account of his grief at the misfortunes of the holy father; but he continued to hold the pope a close prisoner for seven months. But Charles himself was now almost as desirous of peace as the members of the defeated coalition. He was in a position to force his enemies to accept the hardest terms, and on June 29,1529, he signed with the pope the treaty of Barcelona; shortly afterward he also ended the war with Francis by the treaty of Cainbrai (Aug. 5). By these treaties he gained possession of most of Italy, and compelled the payment of a large indemnity by his antagonists; the pope was forced to crown him at Bologna, and his power was more firmly established than ever.
Charles now (1530) turned his attention entirely to the affairs of Germany. His first aim was to smooth over and pacify rather than to crush the religious dissensions now most violently agitating the country; for he needed the help of the German princes against the Turks, who had in 1529 even penetrated to Vienna. To further these plans, the emperor called a diet at Augsburg, which assembled in March, 1530. But all efforts at a reconciliation of the contending parties were useless. The opportu-tunity given by the diet called forth in June the celebrated Augsburg confession, which only served to show more clearly than ever the impossibility of half-way measures; and when the emperor refused to recognize their creed as permissible in the empire, the Protestant princes in a body declared that they would give him no aid against the Turkish invasion; and, meeting at Smalcald in 1531, they formed a confederation which was secretly aided by England and France. The Turks continued their assaults; and by 1532 Charles found himself so hard pressed that he was forced at last to give way. By the Nuremberg agreement he engaged to permit the Protestants religious freedom for the time being, relegating the final question of the status of Protestantism to a council to be held in the future.
Aided now by the Protestant forces, the imperial army advanced against the Turks, over whom Charles's general, Schart-lin, had in the mean time gained an important victory. The Mohammedans did not wait for actual conflict, but retreated through Hungary. The emperor now went to Italy, and debated with the pope concerning a projected council by which it was proposed to settle the affairs of Germany; but be accomplished no immediate result. In 1535 be began from Spain a campaign against the Turkish pirates, who had possessed themselves of Tunis, and were annoying the Spanish fleets. Tunis was taken, and 22,000 Christian slaves who had been imprisoned there were restored to liberty. New troubles had broken out in Germany. Ulric of Wiirtemberg had regained his possessions, and the Swabian confederation had been broken up (1533)! A new war broke out with Francis I., who this time effected an alliance with the Turks; but though he invaded Italy at the same time that Solyman renewed his attack on Hungary, Charles's generals defeated both. A truce of ten years, agreed upon in 1538, with much talk of an enduring peace, had hardly begun before it was broken by a new disagreement about the terms upon which such a peace could be arranged.
Henry VIII. of England now joined Charles; and after experiencing a severe defeat at Ceresole, and repairing it by victories in France and at sea, the latter Again came out of the war as conqueror, at the peace of Crespy, Sept. 18, 1544. During the progress of the conflict he had also found time and means to make his power in Spain more nearly absolute through changes in the form of government (1539), to repress a revolt in the Netherlands (1540), and to undertake an expedition against Algiers (1541), which however was a failure. The peace of Crespy concluded, Charles again turned toward German affairs; and allying himself with the pope, Duke Maurice of Saxony, and his own brother Ferdinand, he began a campaign against the Protestant princes of the Smal-cald league, who had aroused his anger by their opposition to the settlement of religious questions by a council. He defeated them in the battle of Muihlberg, April 24, 1547, took away the territory of the elector of Saxony and gave it to Duke Maurice, issued a decree against Magdeburg for espousing the Protestant cause, and finally, in a second diet at Augsburg (1548;, issued the so-called Interim, a regulation fixing the degree of toleration and the forms of faith to be observed pending the still anticipated decision of the general council assembled at Trent. But his plans were sud-denlv defeated by a rapidly executed scheme of his former ally Duke Maurice, who was now alarmed at the apparent tendency of Charles's measures, and who allied himself with Henry II. of France, who had in 1547 succeeded Charles's old enemy Francis. In the summer of 1552 Maurice suddenly appeared with an army before Innspruck, where the emperor lay ill of the gout, at the same time that Henry invaded and took possession of a large portion of Lorraine. Charles fled before Maurice, narrowly escaping capture; he was unprepared for a war, and yielded to the Protestants' demands in the treaty of Passau, Aug. 2, 1552, which gave them entire religious freedom.
He made some further efforts to contend with Henry, but found himself unable to recapture what he had lost. Thus suddenly deprived of much of his power, depressed by illness, and disappointed in his chief plans, the emperor announced at the Augsburg diet of 1555 his intention of retiring altogether from the world. Resigning his kingdoms of Spain, the Indies, Naples, and the Netherlands to his son Philip in 1555-6, he entered the Spanish monastery of Yuste, near Plasencia. His brother Ferdinand succeeded him as emperor. At Yuste Charles spent the remainder of his life, still endeavoring to exercise an influence on the politics of Europe, remaining in constant correspondence with the principal men of the various states, and strangely mingling these occupations with study, mechanical labor, and composition. Shortly before his death he had all the ceremonies of his funeral performed, even taking his place in the coffin prepared for his body. - A man of the most remarkable executive ability, manifesting a power almost amounting to genius in the formation of his plans, and an almost unparalleled energy in carrying them out, Charles was nevertheless shortsighted in regard to the great questions of his time, and never freed his action from the narrowest motives of personal or family aggrandizement. "To gain the empire over Francis, and to leave to Don Philip a richer heritage than the dauphin could expect, were," says Motley in his masterly summing up of the emperor's character, "the great motives of the unparalleled energy displayed by Charles during the longer and more successful part of his career.'1 His Avar with the reformation was rather against its political than its religious tendencies, and, until it was too late to oppose it with success, he was blind to the vast importance of the movement.
Motley says of him that in spite of his rigid observance of religious rites, the bigoted intolerance he manifested toward the close of his life, and his harsh measures against the Protestants of the Netherlands, he was no fanatic. "He believed in nothing, save that when the course of the imperial will was impeded, and the interests of his imperial house in jeopardy, pontifl's were to succumb as well as Anabaptists." His private life, for a powerful monarch of that age, was decent and orderly; his greatest vice was gluttony, which in his retirement he carried to the utmost excess. In manner he was cold, formal, and repellent, without grace or the power of winning; but he often succeeded in persuading by the ingenuity of his arguments. Of his military and administrative talents Motley says: "He was inferior to no general of his age. He was the first to arm when a battle was to be fought, and the last to take off' his harness. He was calm in great reverses. It is said that he was never known to change color except upon two occasions; a man of a phlegmatical, stoical temperament, without a sentiment, and without a tear; essentially a man of action, a military chieftain.
Yet, though brave and warlike, he was entirely without chivalry, He trampled on the weak antagonist, whether burgher or petty potentate. He was as false as water, He inveigled his foes who trusted to imperial promises by arts unworthy an emperor or a gentleman. He was not only greedy for additional dominion, but he was avaricious in small matters, and hated to part with a dollar. He knew men, especially he knew their weaknesses, and he knew how to turn them to account. He was indefatigable in the discharge of business; and if it were possible that half a world could be administered as if it were the property of a private individual, the task would have been perhaps as well accomplished by Charles as any other man." - Among the works treating specially of Charles V., the most important are those of Antonio de Vera, Vida y hechos de Carlos V.; Prudencio de Sandoval, Historia de la vida y hechos del emperador Curios V.; Robertson, " History of the Reign of the Emperor Charles V." (London, 1709; Lanz, Correspond enzdes Kaisers Karl V. (Leipsic, 1844-'G); and Charles's instructions to his son Philip II., translated into French by Teissier (the Hague, 1700). The MS. of a description of the capture of Tunis, in the handwriting of Charles, dated Tunis, -Inly 23, 1535, and addressed by him to his sister Mary, regent of the Netherlands, has been discovered by M. Gachard, keeper of the Belgian archives.
For the life of Charles V. after his retirement, the best original authori-ties are MSS. in the archives of Simancas. Upon these are chiefly founded the Gonzalez MS.; the Chronique de Charles Quint, by Pi-chot (Paris, 1854); the Retraite et mort de Charles Quint, by Gachard; Mignet's Charles Quint, etc.; Stirling's "Cloister Life of the Emperor Charles V.;" Prescott's appendix to Robertson's history; and Motley's " Rise of the Dutch Republic," vol. i.