Charles V's Rule

His successes and failures

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  • A new council of State for governing Spain and Germany was set up by Gattinara in 1522.
  • In 1523 a council of finance was established.
  • In 1524 the council of indies was established.
  • In 1555 a council for Italy was created.

Drawback of councils

  • Charles ruled his many kingdoms separately from each other, well aware the chance of revolt if he tried to introduce wide-ranging changes.
  • Spanish government and administration still lacked a capital state.
  • The council of finance was a failure, as despite Charles’ acknowledging his over-spending, he refused to curtail foreign wars or personal expenditure.
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Charles was in a lot of debt when he originally came to the throne from the conquest of Granada and Naples.

Charles refused to stop foreign wars.

One historian estimates that the total borrowed during the reign was close to 30 million ducats and interest on the loans at 10 million ducats. When an ordinary revenue from Spain was 1 million ducats a year, one can see the extent of the financial trouble, when the interest alone would take 10 years to pay back.

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He did manage to keep peace.

His control of the regents was impressive.

He did attempt to create some foundations for a bureaucratic government, however small.

He, in a way, united Spain.

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Throughout Charles’ reign, the government and administration of Spain remained largely medieval.

Charles failed to get the nobles to pay taxes and on two occasions they refused.

It was the nobility who continued to rule the countryside and many of the towns.

Charles could not afford to pay for all the new officials he would need if he were to make the royal government more effective, and furthermore he could not afford to pay the ones he did have decent salaries.

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