In the early 17th century the confessional map of Europe was quite stabilised, but there were still many political, dynastic, internal and still confessional problems. In this tense situation the Bohemian estates started to revolt against the Habsburg rule after Matthias, the King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor, repealed a law of religious freedom. In the following war the Bohemian estates were supported by various Protestant states, most notably the Electorate of the Palatinate, against the Habsburg Emperor, but were finally defeated in the Battle of White Mountain in 1620. The most Protestant states were defeated by Catholic states in the following time. In 1621 the Eighty Years' War or Dutch War of Independence restarted after a 12-year truce. Starting in 1624 France renewed its anti-Habsburg politics and initiated a union between Denmark, England and the Netherlands. In 1625 Albrecht von Wallenstein started to raise a large army to further the Imperial cause. By 1629 the Protestantism in the Empire seemed to be lost, but when Emperor Ferdinand II was at the peak of power, he provoked again the Protestant resistance and Sweden under Gustav II Adolf joined the war in 1630. The Swedish marched in the following time through the Empire until they were forced to retreat in 1632. In the Battle of Lützen in November 1632 Gustav II Adolf lost his life and a time of Swedish defeats followed. In 1635 the Protestant states and the Emperor signed the Peace of Prague and decided to join forces against France and Sweden, which subsequently formed an alliance. French and Swedish attacks on German soil continued until 1648 when the Peace of Westphalia was proclaimed.
This Thirty Years' War, which was accompanied by famines and epidemics, had horrible consequences for the civilian population and some areas were completely depopulated and devastated, but did not have a big impact on the political map of Empire. The Peace of Westphalia is widely considered to be the end of the Reformation.
This is the last post in the series about the Reformation. Thanks to everyone for reading! The next big themes on this blog will be World War I, Modern Art and the Federal Chancellors of Germany. So stay tuned!
|1618: The Thirty Years' War begins with the Second Defenestration of Prague.|
|1631: The Protestant city of Magdeburg is destroyed during the Sack of Magdeburg.|
|1632-1634: Regensburg is considered to have a key role in the war.|
|1648: The Thirty Years' War ends with the Peace of Westphalia.|