Charles V (1500-1558)
Charles V (Ghent 24 February 1500–Yuste 21 September 1558) was Holy Roman
Emperor, King of Spain and ruler of the Burgundian territories. In Spain, he
ruled officially as Carlos I, though he is often referred to by the ordinal as
Holy Roman Emperor. Because of his majestic rule, he is sometimes known by his
Spanish epithet, "El Dorado", or "the golden one".
He was the son of Philip the Handsome and Joanna the Mad of Castile. His
maternal grandparents were Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile,
whose marriage had first united the Spanish monarchy. His paternal grandparents
were Emperor Maximilian I and Marie, Duchess of Burgundy.
Because of his far-reaching territories he was described as ruling an Empire "in
which the sun does not set".
A conflict was amplified by his accession to both the Holy Roman Empire and the
kingdom of Spain. Though Spain was the core of his kingdom, he was never totally
assimilated and especially in his earlier years felt and was viewed as a foreign
prince. Nonetheless, he spent most of his life in Spain, including his final
years in a Spanish monastery. In 1556 Charles abdicated his various positions,
giving his personal empire to his son, Philip II of Spain, and the Holy Empire
to his brother, Ferdinand. Charles retired to the monastery of Yuste (Extremadura,
Spain) and is thought to have had a nervous breakdown. In the last few years of
his life he suffered from gout. He died in 1558.