Reformation History: Emperor Charles V plunders America, fights the Turks and Martin Luther
Charles, the V, became emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in 1519. That was shortly after Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the church door in Wittenberg.
Charles is not just the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, but also the King of Castile and Leon, King of Aragon and Sicily, King of Naples, King of the Romans, Archduke of Austria, Duke of Burgundy, Brabant Limburg, Luxembourg, and millions of other places and regions. He is the United Kingdom of Europe. He is as close to a universal king as you could possible get.
And on top of that he is also the one who plunders America. The conquistadadores Hernan Cortes and Francisco Pizzaro conquered the large Aztec and Inka empires in Peru and Mexico and channeled their gold and silver into Charles’ pockets. Magellan circumnavigated the world for the first time on his watch.
And it is actually Charles’ idea to connect the Caribbean and Pacific coast of Panama. That would make it much easier to plunder the wealth of the indigenous people.
Charles was convinced that he should be the ultimate leader of Christendom, who was tasked to defend the faith from the challenges of Islam. Throughout his reign Charles fought constantly with the Ottoman Empire and its sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.
In the mid 1550s Charles was exhausted. He abdicated from all his titles and retreated into a monastery in Spain. In 1558 at the age of 58 he died, most probably from Malaria.
Charles was one of the most influential political forces in Europe, the Mediterranean world and in the Americas. He left his mark on history and with many of his political decisions and ambitions we still deal today.
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