Charles V of Habsburg

(1500–1558)
   Lord of the Netherlands (1506–1555), Holy Roman emperor, and king of Spain. He was a son of Philip the Handsome, who died in 1506, and Joanna of Castile and was the grandson of Maximilian of Habsburg, who served as regent until Charles was declared of age in 1515. He fought many wars against France and supported the Counter-Reformation. Charles centralized the government of the Low Countries in 1531, with the creation of three so-called collateral councils: the Council of State, the Financial Council, and the Secret Council. These bodies assisted the governor-general in Brussels. He punished his birth city Ghent in 1540, after a long period of uprisings. Charles completed the uni fication of the Low Countries in 1543, when he conquered Guelders (Gelderland). The unity of the Netherlands was further assured by the establishment of the Burgundian Circle in 1548 and the Pragmatic Sanction in 1549, which meant that all the Netherlands should be handed over as a whole. Charles’s rule was not fully successful. He provoked considerable resistance because of his severe policy against the “heretic” Lutherans and Anabaptists, and he left his son Philip II an outdated tax system. Philip was a son from Charles’s marriage with Isabella of Portugal. Margaret of Parma and John of Austria (1547–1578)—a hero in the sea battle of Lepanto against the Turks (1571), but a loser during the Dutch Revolt—were his illegit imate children who played important roles in the government of the Netherlands.

Historical Dictionary of the Netherlands. . 2012.

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