Carlos of Hapsburg is son of Felipe I, known like Felipe the Beautiful and son of Maximilian I of Hapsburg and Maria of Burgundy and of Juana I of Castile, that would happen to the history with the nickname of Juana the Local, daughter of The Catholic kings. This family inheritance would make him heir to the throne of Spain and the imperial throne of Germany. For this reason he is known as Carlos I of Spain and V of Germany. His childhood was typical of an heir to the crown of the time. With only one year his parents already signed a marriage commitment between his son and the daughter of Louis XII of France. Raised in German territory, when he first stepped on Spain, he did not even speak the language well.
He was orphaned very young, since his father died when he was still a child and his mother was confined in a convent and stripped of his right to the throne because of his mental problems. It was her own father who locked her up and proclaimed himself regent of the young king, still a minor. His paternal grandfather took the government in his name in the territory of the Habsburgs, delegating shortly to his daughter Margarita, to whom he cedes the guardianship of his brother. At the age of fifteen he is appointed of age and accedes to the German throne, not to that of Spain, since his grandfather does not yield power until his death, having to be seriously advised not to name successor Carlos’s brother Fernando, who was His favorite grandson and had been educated in Spain.
After solving many legal problems for which the diplomatic action of both Spanish and German nobles was necessary, in 1518, King Carlos I was sworn in by the Court of Castile, who came to the throne accompanied by his mother and promising a Series of conditions between which they were a better deal for this one and the not to take riches of the country to take them to the other kingdom. The kingdoms of Aragon and Catalonia would take even longer to recognize the monarch as a legitimate successor to the throne. After a long process of more than four years, Carlos I becomes the first Spanish monarch that bears the crowns of Castile, Aragon and Navarre. Much of the problems that the monarch had to get his crown in Spain were caused by his stubbornness to surround himself with high charges and noble Flemish to the detriment of the Spaniards.
Spain at that time had great possessions in the so-called Indies, the present America. During his reign took place the time known as of the conquerors, with all its lights and its shadows. Herman Cortés fought against the Aztec people conquering the present territory of Mexico and giving rise to the Viceroyalty of New Spain; Pedro de Alvarado did the same with the Maya creating the Kingdom of Guatemala; Francisco Pizarro won for the Spanish crown the Viceroyalty of Peru and Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada won against the Cha-chas, adding the present territory of Colombia to the crown under the name of New Kingdom of Granada. It is the time of the expeditions to the search of “El Dorado” and the first round the world, begun by Sebastian Lecanto and finished by Fernando de Magellan’s in 1522, that gave rise to the discovery of the Philippine Islands and the Marianas. Hundreds of ships with Spanish settlers crossed the Atlantic to settle there and create new cities. The riches of these lands, especially gold and silver, were torn from the earth and shipped to Spain in ships that filled the coffers of a crown that began to become insatiable. In spite of all this, America was never a real concern for Charles V, too immersed in European problems to be able to focus on everything that was happening beyond the sea.
As the German monarch two were his main struggles: against the Ottoman Empire and against Lutheranism. The threat of the Ottoman Empire made necessary not only military but also religious unity of Europe and put all its zeal in declaring Lutheranism a heresy. Charles V confirmed the Edict of Worms of 1521, which meant excommunication for the Lutherans but after numerous political and religious conflicts in 1555 had to sign the one known like “Peace of Augsburg” that guaranteed the German people the freedom to choose between the religion Catholic and Protestant.
Although the dream of Charles I of Spain and V of Germany had been to build a very strong European empire, before dying could intuit how this was not going to be so and while Spain became a strong power, the rest of Europe Was to be diluted in different kingdoms and principalities between them. He abdicated in favor of his brother Fernando whom he left at the head of the European Empire and left Spain and the Indies in the hands of his son Felipe II.