Portrait of Charles V and I (1500-1558), Holy Roman Emperor (1519-1556), King of Spain (1516-1556), King of Naples (1516-1554), Duke of Brabant, Limburg, Count of Artois, Flanders, Hainaut, Holland, Namur and Zeeland; Count Palatine of Burgundy (1506-1555), 1550
Charles V (Spanish: Carlos; German: Karl; 24 February 1500 – 21 September 1558) was ruler of both the Spanish Empire as Charles I from 1516 and the Holy Roman Empire as Charles V from 1519, as well as of the lands of the former Duchy of Burgundy from 1506. He voluntarily stepped down from these and other positions by a series of abdications between 1554 and 1556. Through inheritance, he brought together under his rule extensive territories in western, central, and southern Europe, and the Spanish viceroyalties in the Americas and Asia. As a result, his domains spanned nearly 4 million square kilometres and were the first to be described as "the empire on which the sun never sets". Charles was the heir of three of Europe's leading dynasties: the Houses of Valois-Burgundy (through his paternal grandmother), Habsburg, and Trastámara (his maternal grandparents were the Catholic Monarchs of Spain). He inherited the Netherlands and the Free County of Burgundy as heir of the House of Valois-Burgundy. As a Habsburg, he inherited Austria and other lands in central Europe. He was also elected to succeed his grandfather, Maximilian I, as Holy Roman Emperor. From the Spanish House of Trastámara, he inherited the Crown of Castile, which was developing a nascent empire in the Americas and Asia, and the Crown of Aragon, which included a Mediterranean empire extending to Southern Italy. Charles was the first king to rule Castile and Aragon simultaneously in his own right, and as a result he is often referred to as the first king of Spain.
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