Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor

This week in 1519, Charles, King of Spain and Duke of Burgundy, was elected Holy Roman Emperor. Charles V succeeded his paternal grandfather Maximilian I (his maternal grandparents were Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain). Charles’ reign saw immense change across Europe, including the launch of the Protestant Reformation, major political and religious conflicts, and the Spanish conquest of the Aztec and Inca empires.

Special Collections owns a number of important works related to Charles V and his reign, including printed histories, laws, treaties, and a number of manuscripts and correspondence issued by the emperor or his government. This letter (Call number: VMSS 247), which is dated 9 March 1521, was written from Charles V to Rodrigo Ponce de León, Duke of Arcos. It mentions the Duke’s work to quell tensions in Seville, Spain during the Revolt of the Comuneros, a 1520-1521 uprising against Charles’ rule that was mostly confined to the region of Castile.

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