Charles V: Europe's Last Emperor?
Chamberlin, Russell, History Today
`I SPEAK GERMAN TO MY HORSE, French to my ministers and Spanish to my God', Charles V once remarked, neatly encapsulating the complexity of his inheritance. The city of Ghent, his birthplace in modern Belgium, is currently celebrating the 500th anniversary of his birth on February 24th, 1500. The lottery of birth placed Charles at the centre of a genealogical network which covered half Europe. His father, Philip, was Duke of Burgundy. His grandfather was Emperor Maximilian of Austria. His mother, the wretched Joanna the Mad, was daughter of Isabella and Ferdinand, Spain's redoubtable `Catholic Monarchs'. Through his mother he would inherit Spain and the bloodstained kingdom of Naples as well.
He was heir also to the fabulous possessions of the New World, and through his father he would become one of the great magnates of France as Duke of Burgundy. In due course, aged nineteen, he added the imperial crown to his glittering regalia. To be exact, he purchased it, …
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Publication information: Article title: Charles V: Europe's Last Emperor?. Contributors: Chamberlin, Russell - Author. Magazine title: History Today. Volume: 50. Issue: 2 Publication date: February 2000. Page number: 2. © 2009 History Today Ltd. COPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group.
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