Most of the fighting took place in the Holy Roman Empire, although the war grew to include European powers outside of the Empire.What began as a local, religious conflict became more and more continental and political with each expanding phase of the war. The combination destabilised large parts of the Empire. Its destructive campaigns and battles occurred over most of Europe, and, when it ended with the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, the map of Europe had been irrevocably changed. During 1629, another 274 suspected witches were killed in the Bishopric of Eichstätt, plus another 50 in the adjacent Duchy of Palatinate-Neuburg. When Frederick refused to admit defeat, the war expanded into the Palatinate, whose strategic importance drew in external powers, notably the Dutch Republic and Spain. Gustavus Adolphus despatched several thousand Scots and Swedish troops under Alexander Leslie to Stralsund, who was appointed governor. 1618-1648 - what a pleasing timeframe! It entered the war against the emperor and against Spain on the side of Protestant allies. He did so with support from the Catholic League, despite strong opposition from Protestant members, as well as the Spanish. Poland, having been drawn in as a Baltic power coveted by Sweden, pushed its own ambitions by attacking Russia and establishing a dictatorship in Moscow under Władysław, Poland’s future king. In July 1620, the Protestant Union proclaimed its neutrality, while John George of Saxony agreed to back Ferdinand in return for Lusatia, and a promise to safeguard the rights of Lutherans in Bohemia. In practice, it was a series of separate yet connected international and internal conflicts waged by regular and irregular military forces, partisan groups, private armies and conscripts. Ferdinand accepted the supremacy of the Imperial Diet and legal institutions, reconfirmed the Augsburg settlement, and recognised Calvinism as a third religion. Sweden (from 1630) There were wide regional variations; in the Duchy of Württemberg, the number of inhabitants fell by nearly 60%. The Thirty Years’ War was a major European war that occurred during the 17th century. From 1618 to 1648 a series of conflicts engulfed much of Europe. Additionally, a 15 minute YouTube video … The Peace consisted of three separate agreements; the Peace of Münster between Spain and the Dutch Republic, the treaty of Osnabrück between the Empire and Sweden, plus the treaty of Münster between the Empire and France. While Denmark kept Schleswig and Holstein until 1864, this effectively ended its reign as the predominant Nordic state. The main character crisscrosses Europe at war in his role as messenger; he witnesses the 1634 battle of Nordlingen, among other events. In addition, Christians residing in states where they were a minority, such as Catholics living under a Lutheran ruler, were guaranteed freedom of worship and equality before the law. Brandenburg-Prussia received Farther Pomerania, and the bishoprics of Magdeburg, Halberstadt, Kammin, and Minden. He began negotiations with Wallenstein, who despite his recent victories was concerned by the prospect of Swedish intervention, and thus anxious to make peace. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. [89], Between 1629 and 1631, plague exacerbated by troop movements killed 60,000 in Milan and 46,000 in Venice, with proportionate losses elsewhere. Spanish Empire The Thirty Years' War was really a series of wars, waged from 1618 to 1648. The Thirty Years War required vast armies of mercenary troops and this, although militarily wise, was a large drain on state resources. [71] Rumours now began circulating Wallenstein was preparing to switch sides, and in February 1634, Ferdinand issued orders for his arrest; on 25th, he was assassinated by one of his officers in Cheb. Thirty Years’ War (1618–48), in European history, a series of wars fought by various nations for various reasons, including religious, dynastic, territorial, and commercial rivalries. Christian IV of Denmark was also Duke of Holstein, and it was in this capacity he joined the war in 1625. Thirty Years War began 1618 and over the course of thirty years, it ended in … [113] Although suggested towns over-stated losses to avoid taxes, individual records show serious declines; from 1620 to 1650, the population of Munich fell from 22,000 to 17,000, that of Augsburg from 48,000 to 21,000. Introduction. [74] In March 1636, France finally joined the Thirty Years War in alliance with Sweden, launching offensives in Germany and the Low Countries. Each member was represented in the Imperial Diet; prior to 1663, this assembled on an irregular basis, and was primarily a forum for discussion, rather than legislation. The Thirty Years' War was one of the greatest and longest armed contests of the early modern period. This was exacerbated by several legal disputes over property, all of which were decided in favour of the Catholic Church.  Brunswick-Lüneburg (1634–1642) [127], By laying the foundations of the modern nation state, Westphalia changed the relationship of subjects and their rulers. The Habsburg Archduke Ferdinand first required the return of all property taken from the Catholic church since 1552, rather than leaving the courts to decide case by case as previously. Dutch leader Frederick Henry recaptured Breda in October, and three months later Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar destroyed an Imperial army at Rheinfelden. [80], After Wittstock, the Swedish army regained the initiative in Germany; at Second Breitenfeld in October 1642, Swedish commander Lennart Torstenson defeated an Imperial army led by Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria and Ottavio Piccolomini. It did so in a way that actually stabilized the political order of Central Europe and provided for a European balance of power that … Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. [68] In these battles, Gustavus utilized, among other things, the well-trained Finnish light cavalrymen Hakkapeliitta, which were excelled in sudden and savage attacks, raiding and reconnaissance. 2. He was supported by Spain, for whom it provided an opportunity to open another front against the Dutch. The income from their imperial possessions remained in Germany and did not benefit the kingdom of Sweden; although they retained Swedish Pomerania until 1815, much of it was ceded to Prussia in 1679 and 1720. [83] As with Rocroi, Condé was unable to fully exploit this success; his losses shocked the French court, while 25 years of constant war had devastated the countryside, forcing armies to spend more time foraging than fighting, and drastically reducing their ability to sustain campaigns. Denmark–Norway (1625–29) [25] Some historians who view the war primarily as an international conflict argue this marks the beginning of the conflict, since Spain and Austria backed the Catholic candidate, France and the Dutch Republic the Protestant. The Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) is described as a period of intense and extremely disruptive conflict in Germany and Europe. These trials lasted five years and claimed over one thousand lives, including long-time Bürgermeister, or Mayor, Johannes Junius, and Dorothea Flock, second wife of Georg Heinrich Flock, whose first wife had also been executed for witchcraft in May 1628. [33], Spanish involvement inevitably drew in the Dutch, and potentially France, although the strongly Catholic Louis XIII faced his own Protestant rebels at home and refused to support them elsewhere. [37], As a result, although Frederick accepted the crown and entered Prague in October 1619, his support gradually eroded over the next few months. [96], Externally, the treaties formally acknowledged the independence of the Dutch Republic and the Swiss Confederacy, effectively autonomous since 1499. Whilst the conflict took place mainly in the area of modern day Germany, it involved many of the great European powers at that time. Heilbronn League (1631–1635) Eventually, however, it came to involve political control and territory as well. By the time he died in 1631, over 900 people from all levels of society had been executed. WHERE? This threw them on the countryside for their supplies, and thus began the “wolf-strategy” that typified this war. After Frederick was deposed in 1623, John George of Saxony and the Calvinist George William of Brandenburg feared Ferdinand intended to reclaim former Catholic bishoprics currently held by Lutherans (see Map). The first period from 1618 to 1635 was a struggle within the Holy Roman Empire, fought between Emperor Ferdinand II and his internal opponents, with external powers playing a supportive role. This threatened both Lutherans and Calvinists, paralysed the Diet and removed the perception of Imperial neutrality. The Thirty Years' War marked the last major religious war in mainland Europe, ending the large-scale religious bloodshed accompanying the Reformation, which had begun over a century before. [16] Related conflicts include the Eighty Years War, the War of the Mantuan Succession, the Franco-Spanish War, and Portuguese Restoration War. A specially designed Malefizhaus, or 'crime house', was erected containing a torture chamber, whose walls were adorned with Bible verses, where the accused were interrogated. [41], Spanish chief minister Olivares correctly interpreted this as an invitation to open negotiations, and in return for an Anglo-Spanish alliance offered to restore Frederick to his Rhineland possessions. The Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) was a series of wars principally fought in Central Europe, involving most of the countries of Europe. Emperor Rudolf approved intervention by the Catholic Maximilian of Bavaria on their behalf; he was allowed to annex Donauwörth to recover his costs, turning a Lutheran town Catholic. The process, or 'Congress' model, was adopted for negotiations at Aix-la-Chapelle in 1668, Nijmegen in 1678, and Ryswick in 1697; unlike the 19th century 'Congress' system, these were to end wars, rather than prevent them, so references to the 'balance of power' can be misleading. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. [35] Gabriel Bethlen, Calvinist Prince of Transylvania, invaded Hungary with Ottoman support, although the Habsburgs persuaded them to avoid direct involvement, helped by the outbreak of hostilities with Poland in 1620, followed by the 1623 to 1639 war with Persia. The effects of the war included the creation of the Peace of Westphalia and a start to remaking the … 4.6 out of 5 stars 31. The Thirty Years War, a multifaceted and multinational political and military conflict that raged over central Europe between 1618 and 1648 has often been considered, at least in the scope of misery and destruction it brought to those experiencing it, as a disaster comparable to, if not greater than, the two world wars and the Black Death. This threatened other Protestant rulers within the Empire, including Christian IV of Denmark, who was also Duke of Holstein. [105] While the Thirty Years War ranks as one of the worst of these events, precise numbers are disputed; 19th century nationalists often increased them to illustrate the dangers of a divided Germany. [54], In May 1628, his deputy von Arnim besieged Straslund, the only port with large enough shipbuilding facilities, but this brought Sweden into the war. [65], However, once again Richelieu provided the requisite support; in the 1631 Treaty of Bärwalde, he provided funds for the Heilbronn League, a Swedish-led coalition of German Protestant states, including Saxony and Brandenburg. The experiences of the Thirty Years War were instrumental in bringing this about; standing armies were exceptional in 1600 but commonplace within a century. The war grew ever more muddled with the Dutch-Spanish war folded in as well. Maximilian was desperate to end the war he was largely responsible for starting, while Mazarin feared Sweden becoming too strong; on 14 March 1647, Bavaria, Cologne, France, and Sweden signed the Truce of Ulm. [48], Ferdinand had paid Wallenstein for his support against Frederick with estates confiscated from the Bohemian rebels, and now contracted with him to conquer the north on a similar basis. It is suggested the high mortality rate compared to the Wars of the Three Kingdoms in Britain was partly due to the reliance of all sides on foreign mercenaries, often unpaid and required to live off the land. The deadly clashes ravaged Europe; 20 percent of the total population of Germany died … [77] In 1640, the French captured Arras, and over-ran the rest of Artois, while protests against heavy taxes led to revolts in Portugal and Catalonia. Even after union, the Portuguese dominated the Atlantic trade in Triangular trade, exporting slaves from West Africa and Angola to work sugar plantations in Brazil. Overall, the struggle was between the Holy Roman Empire, which was Roman Catholic and Habsburg, and a network of Protestant towns and principalities that relied on the chief anti-Catholic powers of Sweden and the United Netherlands, which had at last thrown off the yoke of Spain after a struggle lasting 80 years. Fighting did not end immediately, since demobilising over 200,000 soldiers was a complex business, and the last Swedish garrison did not leave Germany until 1654. [36], On 19 August, the Bohemian Estates rescinded Ferdinand's 1617 election as king, and on 26th, formally offered the crown to Frederick instead; two days later, Ferdinand was elected Emperor, making war inevitable if Frederick accepted. … Here, in the heartland of Europe, three denominations vied for dominance: Roman Catholicism, Lutheranism, and Calvinism. Possession of these fortresses gave France effective control of Piedmont, protected the Alpine passes into Southern France, and allowed them to threaten Milan at will. The conflict lasted, unceasing, for 30 years, making it the longest continuous war in modern history. Thirty Years' War synonyms, Thirty Years' War pronunciation, Thirty Years' War translation, English dictionary definition of Thirty Years' War. Attempts to negotiate a peaceful solution failed as the conflict in Germany became part of the wider struggle between France and their Habsburg rivals in Spain and Austria. A brief treatment of the Thirty Years’ War follows. The northern … In an event known as the Third Defenestration of Prague, the two men and their secretary Philip Fabricius were thrown out of the castle windows, although all three survived. Well aware none of the princes involved would agree, Ferdinand used the device of an Imperial edict, once again asserting his right to alter laws without consultation. The Thirty Years’ War was a dark page in European history that was associated with a remapping of the continent. The Thirty Years’ War was a major European war that occurred during the 17th century. This resulted in a Gordian tangle of alliances as princes and prelates called in foreign powers to aid them. [27], Since Emperor Matthias had no surviving children, in July 1617 Philip III of Spain agreed to support Ferdinand's election as king of Bohemia and Hungary. [101] It also disappointed many exiles by accepting the restoration of Catholicism as the dominant religion in Bohemia, Upper and Lower Austria, strongholds of Protestantism in 1618. This meant each of the 224 member states was either Lutheran, the most usual form of Protestantism, or Catholic, based on the choice made by their ruler. The Thirty Years' War was a war fought primarily in Central Europe between 1618 and 1648. [94], Preliminary discussions began in 1642 but only became serious in 1646; talks were split between the towns of Münster and Osnabrück. [52], Many of Christian's German allies, such as Hesse-Kassel and Saxony, had little interest in replacing Imperial domination for Danish, while few of the subsidies agreed in the Treaty of the Hague were ever paid. Thirty Years War WHEN? This made it easier to levy national armies of significant size, loyal to their state and its leader; one lesson learned from Wallenstein and the Swedish invasion was the need for their own permanent armies, and Germany as a whole became a far more militarised society. Rulers of the 224 German states could choose the religion (Lutheranism or Catholicism) of their realms according to their consciences, and compel their subjects to follow that faith (the principle of cuius regio, eius religio). [39] Many Protestants supported Ferdinand because they objected to deposing the legally elected king of Bohemia, and now opposed Frederick's removal on the same grounds. [130] Although the Franco-Spanish conflict continued until 1659 and Spain remained a global force for another two centuries, Westphalia allowed Louis XIV of France to complete the process of replacing her as the predominant European power. While it is not a comprehensive list of all skirmishes, conflicts, or battles that took place in the Thirty Years' War, we have tried to include as many military events and actions as possible. History of Europe - History of Europe - The Thirty Years’ War: The war originated with dual crises at the continent’s centre: one in the Rhineland and the other in Bohemia, both part of the Holy Roman Empire. On 24 October, Ferdinand finally signed peace treaties with France and Sweden; the Swedes retreated from Prague, but not before looting many valuable treasures, including the Codex Gigas, today preserved in Stockholm. Includes soldiers from the Spanish Netherlands and Spanish Italy. [55] Von Arnim was forced to lift the siege on 4 August, but three weeks later, Christian suffered another defeat at Wolgast. [62] The Smolensk War is considered a separate but related part of the Thirty Years' War. The future Pope Alexander VII and the Venetian Republic acted as mediators, with a total of 109 delegations attending at one time or other. One of the most prosperous areas of the Empire, Bohemia's electoral vote was also essential to ensuring Ferdinand succeeded Matthias as Emperor, and Habsburg prestige required its recapture. During the Thirty Years' War of 1600s, a band of Protestant mercenaries peacefully coexist with German Catholic villagers in a hidden idyllic mountain valley untouched by war. Outcome of Thirty Years War The result of the thirty year war was that the German princes could choose their own religion, as long as it was one of the big three . [95], The Peace of Münster was the first to be signed on 30 January 1648; it was part of Westphalia because the provinces that made up the Dutch Republic were still technically part of the Spanish Netherlands and thus Imperial territories. In May, a combined Franco-Swedish army destroyed the last major Imperial army at Zusmarshausen, while a second Swedish force besieged Prague. [108], Parish records show regular outbreaks of these were common for decades prior to 1618, but the conflict greatly accelerated their spread. The Thirty Years' War was one of the bloodiest events in European history — deadlier than the Black Death and World War II, in terms of the proportion of the population lost. [60] With French resources tied up in Italy, he helped negotiate the September 1629 Truce of Altmark between Sweden and Poland, freeing Gustavus Adolphus to enter the war. [46], As Duke of Holstein, Christian IV was also a member of the Lower Saxon circle, while Denmark's economy relied on the Baltic trade and tolls from traffic through the Øresund. 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