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Holy Roman Empire

Claim to universal empire based on succession to Roman Empire and especially active under Charles V of the House of Hapsburg. Austria, parts of southern Germany, the Nethedands, Franche-Comte and Spain, Naples, Sicily, Sardinia and the Balearics and the Spanish possessions in the Americas were all part of Charles V's inheritance between 1516 and 1519 as eldest son of Philip of Burgundy and Joanna of Castile. In 1519 Charles was elected Holy Roman Emperor in preference to Francis I of France. The remainder of the period saw a struggle for Hapsburg succession in central Europe and immense Hapsburg-Valois rivalry in which England was embroiled.