Renaissance Europe – Charles V

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The biggest worry that people had in the early 1500s AD in Europe was that the Ottoman Empire was going to conquer Europe. Would Europe be ruled by Islamic rulers? And in fact the Ottomans, under their sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, did conquer the eastern half of Europe during the 1500s AD, and many people who lived there did convert to Islam.

Francis I (also by Titian, 1539)

Francis I (also by Titian, 1539)

Fortunately for Western Europe, the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire (modern Germany and Austria) was Emperor Charles V. He was an extremely skilled ruler. Charles also had inherited the rule of the Netherlands. And he had seized control of Spain and Portugal from his mother. So Charles V controlled most of Europe. Charles also ruled all the land the Spanish conquistadors captured in the Americas – Florida and California, Nevada, Colorado, UtahArizona, New Mexico, TexasMexico, and South America. And Charles sent Magellan on the first voyage around the world, where Magellan conquered the Philippines. European traders got very rich by forcing Indian and Safavid ships to stop trading (often by burning their ships). Europeans took over the trade between IndiaAfricaChina, and Europe. In addition, Charles’ Holy Roman Empire enslaved many Central and South American people. Europeans forced them to work in silver mines, especially in Peru. The government of China needed a lot of silver to make coins, so Charles’ empire sold them that silver and made a lot of profit from it.

King Francis I of France tried to fight Charles V, but not very successfully. Francis made an alliance with Suleiman against Charles. Several times he attacked northern Italy. But Charles mostly won these battles. Charles also succeeded in fighting off Suleiman’s attack on Vienna in 1529, and even got to take over part of Hungary. Francis tried to get control of some of North America. He sent explorers to Canada and to Manhattan Island (where New York City is now). Francis also sent trade ships to India and Indonesia. But still Charles V controlled much more land and more of the ocean trade.

Slavery in Brazil
Kidnapping in Paraguay
Smallpox in Mexico
Go on to Reformation Europe

Bibliography and further reading about Renaissance Europe:


Charles V and Austria
Suleiman and the Ottomans
Europe home home

By |2018-04-25T22:59:42+00:00August 6th, 2017|History, Modern Europe|0 Comments
Cite this page: Carr, K.E. Renaissance Europe – Charles V. Study Guides, August 6, 2017. Web. August 15, 2018.

About the Author:

Dr. Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.

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