JERUSALEM CROSS COIN PENDANTS
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor from 1519 until 1558, and, Charles I, King of Spain from 1516 until 1556, fought a losing battle to keep his Roman Catholic empire together in the face of emergent Protestantism and outside pressure.
By 1520 Charles was by far the most powerful sovereign in Christendom. His inherited lands far exceeded those of the Frankish Emperor Charlemagne. His territory included the Spanish kingdoms of Aragon and Castile; the Netherlands; the Italian states of Naples, Sicily, and Sardinia; Spanish conquests in America and Africa; and the Habsburg lands. He reigned until 1558, and for a number of those years his mother, called Johanna the Mad, shared the throne with him.
Charles was at war for most of his reign, but at heart he considered himself a crusader, and most of his battles were in support or defense of his faith. He eventually grew weary of the struggle and in 1555 he resigned the Netherlands and, in 1556, Spain, to his son Philip II. In 1556 he abdicated the imperial crown in favor of his brother, Ferdinand I, who officially became emperor in 1558. Charles retired that year to the monastery of San Jeronimo de Yuste in Extremadura, Spain, where he died on September 21, 1558.