CHARLES V (1500 - 1558)

Charles was born in Ghent, Belgium February 24, 1500.  Actually Belgium did not exist as a country then, but was part of what was known as the Spanish Netherlands. 

His grandparents were King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain.  They were the rulers who gave Christopher Columbus the money he used to discover America.  They were also known as the "Catholic Kings" of Spain, for their deep belief in the Catholic church.  His other grandparents were the Emperor Maximilan I and Mary of Burgandy.

Juana "La Loca"
Mother of Carlos
Felipe "El Hermoso"
Father of Carlos

His mother was the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella.  Her name was Juana la Loca "Joanne the crazy".  Her brother was supposed to be inherit the Kingdom of Spain, but he died at a young age.  She married Felipe el Hermoso (Philip the handsome) who was supposed to rule for her once Ferdinand died.

Felipe died in 1506 and although Charles was only six years old he was being prepared to take over the throne upon Ferdinand's death.  Without a husband he mother was judged not fit to inherit the throne of Spain.  His mother lived until 1555 and some people still considered her to be the rightful heir to the Spanish throne.  They attempted several times unsuccessfully to make her Queen.

Charles lived with his aunt, Maria of Austria, who had control over the Netherlands, but was not a Queen.  During this time he was taught religion by Adrian of Utrecht who was later to become Pope Adrian VI (in 1522).  As we will find out in 1530 Adrian once again met Charles, but this time under different circumstances.

At the age of 15 Charles assumed rule over the Netherlands (which included not only present day Holland, but also present day Belgium and Luxembourg).  Had he only remained ruler of the Netherlands he would only be known to a few historians, but the next year, something happened that would not only change his life, but would change Europe and the Catholic church.

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