CHARLES V (1500 - 1558)

Queen Isabella on her deathbed

On November 26, 1504, Queen Isabella of Spain had died.  Her husband, Ferdinand continue to rule without her, but his life was coming to an end.  He and his wife had 5 children, 4 girls (Isabella, Joan, Maria and Catherine) and one boy (John).  John was to have succeed his father as the King of Spain, but he died in 1497.  His daughter Isabella married the King of Portugal, but died in 1498, while giving birth to her son, Miguel.  Miguel himself died only three years later.  His other daughter, Catherine, married Henry VIII of England, but Henry VIII divorced her after she could not produce a male heir for him.  (Henry VIII was the the famous ruler of England who had six wives.  Catherine was the first wife of Henry VII and was quite lucky in that after her divorce, she was allowed to stay in England.  Henry VIII had two of his wives executed including Anne Boleyn who was the woman over who Henry VIII divorced Catherine.)

That left only Charles as the heir to the Spanish throne.  On, January 23, 1516, Ferdinand died.  Charles proclaimed himself King of Spain, together with his mother who was too sick to actually to rule.  His brother, Ferdinand, who was educated in Spain, was quite popular in the country and it was not certain that Charles would actually become King.  However, in September 1517 Charles landed in Spain, a country he had never been to before, whose customs he was unfamiliar with and whose language he could barely speak and assumed the throne with no opposition.

In 1519, Charles' grandfather, the Emperor Maximilian I, died.  Charles was chosen King of Germany and immediately left for that country.  His supporters also had him elected Emperor over his powerful rival, Francis I of France.  In October 1520 Charles assumed both titles. 

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