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Today's Featured Biography

Charles V. Of Germany

      Charles V., who ruled over more kingdoms than any other European monarch before or since, who was the most powerful ruler of his century, and who, on the whole, used his great power wisely and well, was born at Ghent, February 24, 1500. His parents were the Archduke Philip, son of the Emperor Maximilian, and Joanna, daughter of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile. To those united kingdoms Charles succeeded on the death of his grandfather Ferdinand, in 1516. The early part of his reign was stormy; a Flemish regency and Flemish ministers became hateful to the Spaniards, and their discontent broke out into civil war. The Castilian rebels assumed the name of The Holy League, and seemed animated by a spirit not unlike that of the English Commons under the Stuarts. Spain was harassed by these internal contests until 1522, when they were calmed by the presence of Charles, whose prudence and, we may hope, his humanity, put an end to the rebellion. He made some examples, but soon held his hand, with the declaration, that "too much blood had been spilt." An amnesty was more effectual than severities, and the royal authority was strengthened, as it will seldom fail to be, by clemency. Some of his courtiers informed him of the place where one of the ring leaders was concealed. His answer is worthy of everlasting remembrance: "You ought to warn him that I am here, rather than acquaint me where he is."

      Spain, the Two Sicilies, the Low Countries, and Franche C... more of the Biography of Charles V. Of Germany

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