Charles V became ruler at a time when the conquistadors were conquering vast lands and plundering an incredible amount of wealth in the Americas.
On this day in 1516 Charles V, a man of Flemish heritage, became the ruler of a united Spanish kingdom. It was the first time when a member of the Habsburg dynasty managed to take the thrones of all Spanish kingdoms (Castile, Leon, Aragon and various other lands). Charles was a member of the Habsburg dynasty, which originated from Switzerland, but built its power base in Austria. Charles himself was born in Ghent, Flanders, and at first ruled over what are now Belgium, the Netherlands, and Burgundy. Due to this power base, and the fact that he grew up speaking Flemish and French, he can be considered a ruler of Flemish origin. He learned Spanish only after acceding to the Spanish throne.
He was only 15 when he took power in Spain, and had significant problems being accepted by the local nobility. Nonetheless, he became a powerful ruler because it was during his time that the conquistadors conquered vast lands and plundered an incredible amount of wealth in the Americas.