Charles V: two ways of living and dying

Their way of coming to this world and leaving it was different and curious

Charles V came into the world in the early morning of 24 February 1500, and left it in the early morning – also – of 21 September 1558. In the first case, he did so in the closest thing to a toilet; in the second, he was bedridden because of the disease transmitted by a mosquito bite.

The way in which the greatest emperor of Christendom, Charles I of Spain and V of Germany, came into the world can be described as curious. And we say curious because he did it in a toilet.


On the night of 23rd February 1500, his mother Joan was present at a party held at the Prinsenhof in Ghent, and in the early hours of the morning she suffered an intense belly ache. Thinking that this was a warning to go to the toilet to relieve her stomach, she found that without waiting, she gave birth to the baby she was expecting, and that it was a boy. A way of being born, at least, different from everything, don’t you think?

In the early hours of the 21st September 1558, the Emperor Charles V died prostrate in his bed in the Monastery of Yuste, and he did so as a result of the bite of a mosquito, which transmitted the disease of malaria. Mosquitoes that, like so many others, swarmed the pond that he had built at the foot of the monastery so that he could fish whenever he wanted. This disease was very present in the La Vera region, given its climate, and continued to be present in that region until a good part of the 20th century, as can be seen by visiting the Losar de la Vera Malaria Interpretation Centre.

Monasterio de Yuste.

A way of being born and dying. Those of the Emperor Carlos V.

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