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Germany and the Holy Roman EmpireVolume I: Maximilian I to the Peace of Westphalia, 1493-1648$
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Joachim Whaley

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780198731016

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198731016.001.0001

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Charles V and the Challenge of the Reformation in the 1520s

Charles V and the Challenge of the Reformation in the 1520s

(p.153) (p.154) III Charles V and the Challenge of the Reformation in the 1520s
Germany and the Holy Roman Empire

Joachim Whaley

Oxford University Press

Charles V, already king of Spain and ruler of the Low Countries, combined the imperial title with a wider collection of lands than any ruler previously. He had visions of establishing a new world empire. In reality, problems in Spain and conflicts with France and the Turks prevented him from asserting himself in Germany. His hesitation in handing significant power to his brother Ferdinand, who had inherited the Austrian duchies, Bohemia and Hungary, allowed the princes to assert their traditional freedom and prevented the emperor from intervening decisively to deal with Luther. The Reichstag of Speyer (1526) devolved responsibility for dealing with the religious issue to the princes. Meanwhile, however, the religious protest movement spawned other leaders such as Zwingli and Müntzer and exploded in religious radicalism, the Knights' War, the Peasants' War and a wave of popular urban Reformations.

Keywords:   Charles V, Spain, France, Turks, Archduke Ferdinand, Austria, Bohemia, Hungary, Speyer Reichstag, Luther, religious radicalism, Knights' War, Peasants' War, popular reformation, Imperial Cities, Zwingli, Müntzer

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