Charles I of Spain Essay

Submitted By vickasar
Words: 756
Pages: 4

With the accession of Charles to the Spanish throne, Spain suddenly acquired large swathes of land in central and northern Europe (Austria, the Netherlands, Burgundy and chunks of Germany). In spite of a hefty inheritance received from his Spanish ancestors, Charles I of Hapsburgs exceeded his expenditures due to goals set by him as Holy Roman Emperor (HRE): commitment to Christendom, war with the Turks, fights with the French neighbours. To begin with one of Charles I goals was the commitment to Christendom. Christianity was now the common bond that held Spaniards together. Nevertheless, the religious conformity of baptized Jews and converted Muslims was frequently tested and there was widespread suspicion that their conversion was not genuine. Three years after Charles’s arrival, Spanish resentment at Flemish control erupted in the year long Revolt of the Comuneros (members of a popular communal movement). It didn’t help that Charles also requested money in pursuit of the office of Holy Roman Emperor (HRE). Spaniards feared that their country’s welfare would be subordinated to Charles’s obligations to defend the interests of the Catholic Church beyond Spain’s borders, and to some degree their fears were justified. Charles did become HRE (as Charles V) in 1519, and his priorities did extend beyond Spain. Indeed, of the 40 years that Charles ruled, he spent only 16 in Spain; in the last 13 years of his reign. The problems that stood against that plan were great. Charles always called for a crusade against the Turks, however his request was mainly ignored and some Christians, like the French, even allied with the Turks. France represented the first problem. Instead of feeling protected by its Christian neighbors, it felt dangerously flanked by Burgundy and Spain. After the peace of Madrid, Charles V set Francis free, trusting in his noble character. However Francis did not recognize his resuming of the war as a breaking of an oath, but rather he viewed this as an absolute political need. The fact that Charles never really understood the meaning of the Reformation also had a great impact. Instead of viewing the reformation as a new religious way of thinking, he just saw it as a revolt against the church. he didn’t set foot in the country at all. In addition, Charles won Spaniards over by identifying them increasingly with the mission of defending Catholicism. His struggle with the threat of heretical Protestants in Northern Europe and with Ottoman (Turkish) activities in the Mediterranean touched a common chord and recalled the crusading spirit of the Reconquista, which was still relatively fresh in the collective Spanish memory. But not all of Charles’s enemies were Protestants or Muslims. Catholic France, led by the youthful Francis I, was traditionally hostile to Aragón and challenged Charles’s claims to the duchy of Burgundy and the strategically placed duchy of Milan in northern Italy. In addition, Francis had a personal grudge against Charles, who had out-won him for the title of HRE in 1519. All was not…