Charles V

Charles V (1500-1558) reigned over the principalities forming modern-day Belgium and the Netherlands from his emancipation in 1515 until his abdication in 1555. He was also King of Spain and Sicily (1516) and was elected King and Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire (1519). His entire reign was marked by rivalry with the King of France, François I. In the “Pragmatic Sanction” of 1549, he decreed that the “Netherlands” would henceforth form a “single and indivisible” entity, and these principalities went onto to remain Habsburg possessions until the French Revolution. He abdicated in 1555 in favour of his son Philip II.