Charles V

Withdrawal from Power

Balked in his efforts to recapture Metz, which had been seized by Henry II, and realizing the necessity of compromising with Protestantism, Charles preferred to empower Ferdinand to treat, and he left Germany, never to return. Ferdinand negotiated the religious Peace of Augsburg (see Augsburg, Peace of), but war with France continued. It ended after Charles's death, with the Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis (1559), a triumph for Spain.

In his remaining years Charles made a series of abdications that left the Hapsburg dominions divided between Austria and Spain. In 1554 he gave Naples and Milan to his son Philip, whom he married to Queen Mary I of England; in 1555 he turned over the Netherlands to Philip, and in 1556 he made him king of Spain and Sicily as Philip II. In 1556 also, he practically surrendered the empire to Ferdinand, and in 1558 he formally abdicated as emperor. Although he retired (1556) to the monastery of Yuste, he took an active interest in politics until his death. Two of his illegitimate children were Don John of Austria and Margaret of Parma.

Sections in this article:

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: German History: Biographies