Campus Yuste Analyses the Beginnings of Modern Diplomacy at the Time of Charles V

The European and Ibero-American Academy of Yuste Foundation has inaugurated the course “Diplomacy in the Worlds of Charles V: Negotiation and Dialogue’”, which will be held virtually from 5 to 9 July, within the programming of Campus Yuste’s international summer/autumn courses. (05/07/2021)

At the opening of the course, the director of the European and Ibero-American Academy of Yuste Foundation, Juan Carlos Moreno Piñero, affirmed that it is traditional in Campus Yuste for one of the courses to deal with Charles V and his time. Thus, three years ago the theme was “war and peace on both sides of the Atlantic”; two years ago, “women in Renaissance Europe and in the New World”; last year, “the circumnavigation journey of Magellan-Elcano and the era of spices”, and this year “diplomacy in the worlds of Charles V”. These topics, he said, “are not loose tesserae of a mosaic, but make up a very accurate picture of the time of Charles V together instead, one that is still unfinished because next year another course on Charles V and his time will take place in order to continue completing the picture”, he explained.

These statements were made during the opening ceremony in which the vice-rector of University Extension of the University of Extremadura, Juan Carlos Iglesias Zoido, and the co-directors of the course, Rosa María Martínez de Codes, professor of American History at the Complutense University of Madrid, and César Chaparro, professor emeritus of Latin Philology at the University of Extremadura, also participated.

Moreno Piñero stated that, in his opinion, many things have changed from the time of Charles V to today, but others remain unchanged. “The desire for power, greed, violence, oppression existed yesterday, today and will surely exist tomorrow. However, I also want to believe that the value of words and dialogue as a way of resolving disputes remains intact”. In this sense, he added that if in the 16th century battles were fought in hand-to-hand combat, “today there are new attackers who wait patiently for their opportunity, as great strategists do, and that when the time of the attack comes, we neither see them coming nor smell their gunpowder. In the face of certainly puzzling situations as these are and when conventional weapons are not the solution, all that remains is solidarity and the word as weapons of defence “, he concluded.

137 people from 14 countries: Argentina, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Spain, USA, Italy, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Portugal, Ukraine and Venezuela, have registered in the second course included in Campus Yuste, which combines the virtual and the face-to-face modalities.

The course aims to analyse the beginnings of modern diplomacy at the time of Charles V, an aspect of his politics which the emperor gave his personal touch to in his relations with his allies, adversaries, the church and with the new world, as he was convinced of the need to carry out his objectives, always seeking peace and negotiation in the face of conflict.

Over time and through different approaches, agreements and especially marriage unions, Charles V made extensive use of the dynasty to achieve his diplomatic purposes, as was the case of his marriage to Isabella of Portugal, generating the foundations of his foreign policy in the New World. Viceroys, governors and prelates maintained an intense and regular official correspondence, and their reports were of great use in guiding the emperor’s Indian policy and for the development of the first treaties and agreements of modern diplomatic history.

The course will consequently analyse the various scenarios where negotiation and dialogue played a relevant role both within the empire as well as in the American and non-European context.

Modern diplomacy is also, according to all scholars, the fruit of Renaissance humanism.

In the different sessions of this course, the different scenarios of negotiation and dialogue and their role within the empire as in the American and non-European context will be analysed; the role of different characters and actors of the time will be reeled off, including women; existing powers; the development of geostrategic alliances; the humanist influence on the development of diplomacy; impact on the new world; relations with the Ottoman Empire; as well as the legacy that diplomacy has left in future generations to this day.

Likewise, in the context of Renaissance humanism, various topics will be presented for reflection, such as the training of a good diplomat in the first treatises on the subject (E. Barbaro, E. Dolet, C. Braun); the diplomat, man of letters; diplomacy and art: the role of diplomats in the creation and dissemination of works of art; written diplomacy (reports, posts, letters, etc.)

This summer class setup, organised with the Cooperation Network of the Cultural Routes of Emperor Charles V – Cultural Route of the Council of Europe – which is incardinated in the summer/autumn courses of the University of Extremadura, counts with the collaboration of National Heritage, the Regional Government of Extremadura, the Provincial Councils of Cáceres and Badajoz and Mafresa. The course will feature the participation, among other speakers, of the academic member of the European and Ibero-American Academy of Yuste and professor emeritus of the Catholic University of Louvain, Gustaaf Janssens; Alain Servantie, Coordinator of the Scientific Committee of the Routes of the Emperor Charles V – Cultural Route of the Council of Europe -, Research Professor at the Institute of History of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Miguel Ángel de Bunes Ibarra; Professor Emeritus of Modern History at the Autonomous University of Madrid and the University of Alcalá, Jaime Contreras; María José Encontra y Vilalta, Coordinator of the Doctorate in Humanities at the Anáhuac University; the academic of the Royal Academy of Arts and Letters of Extremadura and director of the Santa Ana University Centre, Carmen Fernández-Daza; and the professor of Spanish Literature at the University of Barcelona, Rosa Navarro Durán.


This training programme of the European and Ibero-American Academy of Yuste Foundation aims to develop specialised courses and meetings from a multidisciplinary point of view, aimed at promoting debate and reflection among university students, researchers and professionals on the process of European construction and integration, as well as to deal with current European issues and other topics related to the history and memory of Europe and Ibero-America and other objectives of the foundation.