The Habsburg Bid for Mastery v2.0
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"Henceforth, like the double-headed black eagle in the imperial coat of arms, the Habsburgs had two heads at Vienna and Madrid, looking east and west."
- - Mamatey
The year is 1526. Suleiman's Ottoman armies have slain the Hungarian king at Mohacs, ending all claims to Habsburg possessions in Central Europe. Charles V has been both Holy Roman Emperor and king of Spain since 1519, the culmination of centuries of shrewd marriages and politics. But he has also inherited his family's enemies: the Valois of France, who covet the rich cities of Italy; the Turks, who will not stop in Hungary; and the English Tudors, always anxious to curb the power of continental rivals. Underlying these struggles, a debate begun by a guilt-wracked monk named Martin Luther will prove the most perilous threat of all. Already German princes harbor Protestant preachers, and the Low Countries welcome the new religion with open arms. The stigma of excommunication means little to those who have renounced papal authority; perhaps Castilian arms and the riches of the New World can tip the balance ...
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