Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor

Charles V, the son of Joanna the Mad and grandson of Ferdinand II and Isabella I, took over the Spanish crown from his grandfather. Charles was also the first Holy Roman Emperor from Spain. He was born in Ghent on February 20th, 1500 and died in September 21, 1558 at the age of 58 in Yuste, Spain. He spent all of his childhood in the Netherlands, so Spaniards felt Charles was never really connected to Spain.

The Holy Roman Empire was a collection of Catholic European countries connected together under one ruler. As Holy Roman Emperor from 1519-1558, he ruled over extensive domains in Central Europe, Western Europe, and Southern Europe; and the Spanish Colonies in North, Central, and South America, the Caribbean, and Asia.

Although he didn't want to be drawn into the wars with France, much of Charles' reign was taken up by the Italian Wars. Additionally, Charles found himself involved in conflicts in Germany, when a group of nearly 300,000 peasants rose up and left the Catholic church to oppose Charles' authority, and he opposed Henry VIII of England in the Protestant Reformation. On a more positive side, Charles was responsible for a great deal of Spain's colonization in the Americas, including the defeat of the Aztec and Incan Empires.

His son, Philip II, was Charles' successor when he died.