Empire of Charles V, 1556

Brussels, 25 Oct 1556; Dressed entirely in black, except for the red collar of the Order of the Holy Fleece, Charles V, the Holy Roman emperor and king of Spain, Naples and the Netherlands, rode on a gentle mule into the castle here to announce that he had abdicated his empire and kingships, and was retreating to a monastery. The 56-year-old emperor, broken in health, handed his kingdoms to his son, Philip, and the empire to his brother, Ferdinand.
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Map, Charles V's Holy Roman Empire