Royalty, also known as Maria of Habsburg, Maria of Austia or Maria of Castile. She was the fifth child of Philip I and Juana of Castile. After her fathers death in 1506 and her mothers fall into insanity she was raised by her aunt Margarete in Brussels. Her older siblings Charles, Eleanor, Isabella, stayed with her while Ferdinand and Catherine were raised in Spain. Her grandfather Maximilian promised her in the same year to the unborn son of King Vladislav II of Bohemia while her brother Ferdinand was given the hand of Vladislav daughter. The double betrothal was celebrated in 1515 in Vienna. When they were married in 1522 the army of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent was already at the borders of the kingdom. In 1526 Louis faced the Sultan in the battle of Mohács and was defeated. He drowned while fleeing from the battlefield. Maria now tried to support her brother Charles interests in Hungary to the best of her abilities. After the death of her aunt the post of the Governor of the Netherlands became vacant and the emperor named his sister as successor. He presented her personally on January 3rd, 1531 before the assembly of the seventeen provinces. Charles trust into her was immense. He named her regent in case of his sudden death and placed his children under her guardianship. She united the provinces to one state without neglecting the interests of her family. She also successfully reorganized the state defenses and was able to defeat her brother-in-law Francois I in the battle of Luxembourg. Economic and cultural life in the Netherlands flourished during her reign. She was an avid collector of art and called Titian to her court. During her reign the stock exchange in Antwerp became the largest in Europe. When the emperor resigned his position in 1556 to become a monk she also stepped down. She and her sister Eleanor traveled to Spain where she lived her remaining years. Felipe II wanted to appoint her Governor again in 1558, but her sudden death prevented her return to the Netherlands.
Bio by: Lutetia