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The Thirty Years' War was one of the longest and most destructive conflicts in
European history The history of Europe is traditionally divided into four time periods: prehistoric Europe (prior to about 800 BC), classical antiquity (800 BC to AD 500), the Middle Ages (AD 500 to AD 1500), and the modern era (since AD 1500). The first early ...
, lasting from 1618 to 1648. Fought primarily in
Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe between Western Europe and Eastern Europe, based on a common History, historical, Society, social and cultural identity. The Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) between Catholic Church, Catholicism and Protestanti ...
, an estimated 4.5 to 8 million soldiers and civilians died as a result of battle, famine, and disease, while some areas of what is now modern Germany experienced population declines of over 50%. Related conflicts include the
Eighty Years' War The Eighty Years' War or Dutch Revolt ( nl, Nederlandse Opstand) (Historiography of the Eighty Years' War#Name and periodisation, c.1566/1568–1648) was an armed conflict in the Habsburg Netherlands between disparate groups of rebels and t ...
, the
War of the Mantuan Succession The War of the Mantuan Succession (1628–1631) was a related conflict of the Thirty Years' War, caused by the death in December 1627 of Vincenzo II Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua, Vincenzo II, last male heir in the direct line of the House of Gonzaga ...
, the Franco-Spanish War, and the
Portuguese Restoration War The Portuguese Restoration War ( pt, Guerra da Restauração) was the war between History of Portugal (1640–1777), Portugal and Habsburg Spain, Spain that began with the Portuguese revolution of 1640 and ended with the Treaty of Lisbon (1668), ...
. Until the 20th century, historians generally viewed it as a continuation of the religious struggle initiated by the 16th-century
Reformation The Reformation (alternatively named the Protestant Reformation or the European Reformation) was a major movement within Western Christianity in 16th-century Europe that posed a religious and political challenge to the Catholic Church and in ...
within the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire was a Polity, political entity in Western Europe, Western, Central Europe, Central, and Southern Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its Dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, dissolution i ...
. The 1555 Peace of Augsburg attempted to resolve this by dividing the Empire into
Lutheran Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantism, identifying primarily with the theology of Martin Luther, the 16th-century German monk and Protestant Reformers, reformer whose efforts to reform the theology and practice of the Cathol ...
and
Catholic The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics worldwide . It is among the world's oldest and largest international institutions, and has played a ...
states, but over the next 50 years the expansion of
Protestantism Protestantism is a Christian denomination, branch of Christianity that follows the theological tenets of the Reformation, Protestant Reformation, a movement that began seeking to reform the Catholic Church from within in the 16th century agai ...
beyond these boundaries destabilised the settlement. While most modern commentators accept differences over religion and Imperial authority were important factors in causing the war, they argue its scope and extent were driven by the contest for European dominance between
Habsburg The House of Habsburg (), alternatively spelled Hapsburg in Englishgerman: Haus Habsburg, ; es, Casa de Habsburgo; hu, Habsburg család, it, Casa di Asburgo, nl, Huis van Habsburg, pl, dom Habsburgów, pt, Casa de Habsburgo, la, Domus Hab ...
-ruled
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = ''Plus ultra'' (Latin)(English: "Further Beyond") , national_anthem = (English: "Royal March") , i ...
and
Austria The Republic of Austria, commonly just Austria, , bar, Östareich is a country in the southern part of Central Europe, lying in the Eastern Alps. It is a federation of nine States of Austria, states, one of which is the capital, Vienna, ...
, and the French
House of Bourbon The House of Bourbon (, also ; ) is a European dynasty of French origin, a branch of the Capetian dynasty, the royal House of France. Bourbon kings first ruled France and Kingdom of Navarre, Navarre in the 16th century. By the 18th century, memb ...
. Its outbreak is generally traced to 1618 when
Emperor Ferdinand II Ferdinand II (9 July 1578 – 15 February 1637) was Holy Roman Emperor, King of Bohemia, King of Hungary, Hungary, and List of Croatian monarchs, Croatia from 1619 until his death in 1637. He was the son of Charles II, Archduke of Austria, Archd ...
was deposed as king of
Bohemia Bohemia ( ; cs, Čechy ; ; hsb, Čěska; szl, Czechy) is the westernmost and largest historical region of the Czech Republic. Bohemia can also refer to a wider area consisting of the historical Lands of the Bohemian Crown ruled by the List o ...
and replaced by the Protestant
Frederick V of the Palatinate Frederick V (german: link=no, Friedrich; 26 August 1596 – 29 November 1632) was the Elector Palatine The counts palatine of Lotharingia /counts palatine of the Rhine /electors of the Palatinate (german: Kurfürst von der Pfalz) ruled some ...
in 1619. Although Imperial forces quickly suppressed the
Bohemian Revolt The Bohemian Revolt (german: Böhmischer Aufstand; cs, České stavovské povstání; 1618–1620) was an uprising of the Kingdom of Bohemia, Bohemian Estates of the realm, estates against the rule of the Habsburg dynasty that began the Thirty ...
, his participation expanded the fighting into the Palatinate, whose strategic importance drew in the
Dutch Republic The United Provinces of the Netherlands, also known as the (Seven) United Provinces, officially as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands (Dutch language, Dutch: ''Republiek der Zeven Verenigde Nederlanden''), and commonly referred to in ...
and Spain, then engaged in the Eighty Years' War. Since rulers like
Christian IV of Denmark Christian IV (12 April 1577 – 28 February 1648) was King of Denmark and king of Norway, Norway and List of rulers of Schleswig-Holstein, Duke of Holstein and Schleswig from 1588 until his death in 1648. His reign of 59 years, 330 days is t ...
and
Gustavus Adolphus Gustavus Adolphus (9 December ld Style and New Style dates, N.S 19 December15946 November ld Style and New Style dates, N.S 16 November1632), also known in English as Gustav II Adolf or Gustav II Adolph, was King of Sweden from 1611 to ...
of
Sweden Sweden, formally the Kingdom of Sweden,The United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names states that the country's formal name is the Kingdom of SwedenUNGEGN World Geographical Names, Sweden./ref> is a Nordic countries, Nordic c ...
also held territories within the Empire, this gave them and other foreign powers an excuse to intervene, turning an internal dynastic dispute into a European-wide conflict. The first phase from 1618 until 1635 was primarily a
civil war A civil war or intrastate war is a war between organized groups within the same Sovereign state, state (or country). The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independence for a region, or to change go ...
between German members of the Holy Roman Empire, with support from external powers. After
1635 Events January–March * January 23 – 1635 Capture of Tortuga: The Spanish Navy captures the Caribbean island of Tortuga (Haiti), Tortuga off of the coast of Haiti after a three-day battle against the English and French Navy ...
, the Empire became one theatre in a wider struggle between
France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic, Pacific Ocean, Pac ...
, supported by Sweden, and Emperor Ferdinand III, allied with Spain. This concluded with the 1648
Peace of Westphalia The Peace of Westphalia (german: Westfälischer Friede, ) is the collective name for two peace treaties signed in October 1648 in the Westphalian cities of Osnabrück and Münster. They ended the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) and brought ...
, whose provisions included greater autonomy within the Empire for states like
Bavaria Bavaria ( ; ), officially the Free State of Bavaria (german: Freistaat Bayern, link=no ), is a state in the south-east of Germany Germany,, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central Europe. It is the sec ...
and
Saxony Saxony (german: Sachsen ; Upper Saxon German, Upper Saxon: ''Saggsn''; hsb, Sakska), officially the Free State of Saxony (german: Freistaat Sachsen, links=no ; Upper Saxon: ''Freischdaad Saggsn''; hsb, Swobodny stat Sakska, links=no), is a ...
, as well as acceptance of Dutch independence by Spain. By weakening the Habsburgs relative to France, the conflict altered the European balance of power and set the stage for the wars of
Louis XIV Louis XIV (Louis Dieudonné; 5 September 16381 September 1715), also known as Louis the Great () or the Sun King (), was List of French monarchs, King of France from 14 May 1643 until his death in 1715. His reign of 72 years and 110 days is the Li ...
.


Structural origins

The 1552
Peace of Passau Holy Roman Emperor Charles V Charles V, french: Charles Quint, it, Carlo V, nl, Karel V, ca, Carles V, la, Carolus V (24 February 1500 – 21 September 1558) was Holy Roman Emperor and Archduke of Austria from 1519 to 1556, King of S ...
sought to resolve the issues that led to conflict between
Protestants Protestantism is a Christian denomination, branch of Christianity that follows the theological tenets of the Reformation, Protestant Reformation, a movement that began seeking to reform the Catholic Church from within in the 16th century agai ...
and
Catholics The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics worldwide . It is among the world's oldest and largest international institutions, and has played a ...
within the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire was a Polity, political entity in Western Europe, Western, Central Europe, Central, and Southern Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its Dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, dissolution i ...
, while the 1555 Peace of Augsburg tried to prevent their recurrence by fixing boundaries between the two faiths. Under the principle of ''
cuius regio, eius religio () is a List of Latin phrases, Latin phrase which literally means "whose realm, their religion" – meaning that the religion of the ruler was to dictate the religion of those ruled. This legal principle marked a major development in the collec ...
'', states were categorised as either
Lutheran Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantism, identifying primarily with the theology of Martin Luther, the 16th-century German monk and Protestant Reformers, reformer whose efforts to reform the theology and practice of the Cathol ...
, then the most usual form of Protestantism, or Catholic, based on the religion of their ruler. Other provisions protected substantial religious minorities in cities like
Donauwörth Donauwörth () is a town A town is a human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people live. The complexity of a settlement can range from a minuscul ...
and confirmed Lutheran ownership of property taken from the
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics Catholic Church by country, worldwide . It is am ...
since Passau. These agreements were undermined by the post-1555 expansion of Protestantism into areas previously designated as Catholic, as well as the growth of Reformed faiths not recognised by Augsburg, especially
Calvinism Calvinism (also called the Reformed Tradition, Reformed Protestantism, Reformed Christianity, or simply Reformed) is a major branch of Protestantism that follows the Christian theology, theological tradition and forms of Christianity, Christ ...
, a theology viewed with hostility by both Lutherans and Catholics. The Peace of Augsburg also gave individual rulers within the Empire greater political autonomy and control over the religion practised in their domains, while weakening central authority. Conflict over economic and political objectives frequently superseded religion, with Lutheran
Saxony Saxony (german: Sachsen ; Upper Saxon German, Upper Saxon: ''Saggsn''; hsb, Sakska), officially the Free State of Saxony (german: Freistaat Sachsen, links=no ; Upper Saxon: ''Freischdaad Saggsn''; hsb, Swobodny stat Sakska, links=no), is a ...
, Denmark-Norway and
Sweden Sweden, formally the Kingdom of Sweden,The United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names states that the country's formal name is the Kingdom of SwedenUNGEGN World Geographical Names, Sweden./ref> is a Nordic countries, Nordic c ...
competing with each other and Calvinist
Brandenburg Brandenburg (; nds, Brannenborg; dsb, Bramborska ) is a states of Germany, state in the northeast of Germany bordering the states of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, and Saxony, as well as the country of Poland. With an ar ...
over the Baltic trade. Reconciling these differences was hampered by the fragmented nature of the Empire and its representative institutions, which included 300
Imperial Estate An Imperial State or Imperial Estate ( la, Status Imperii; german: Reichsstand, plural: ') was a part of the Holy Roman Empire with representation and the right to vote in the Imperial Diet (Holy Roman Empire), Imperial Diet ('). Rulers of thes ...
s distributed across Germany, the
Low Countries The term Low Countries, also known as the Low Lands ( nl, de Lage Landen, french: les Pays-Bas, lb, déi Niddereg Lännereien) and historically called the Netherlands ( nl, de Nederlanden), Flanders, or Belgica, is a coastal lowland region in N ...
,
Northern Italy Northern Italy ( it, Italia settentrionale, it, Nord Italia, label=none, it, Alta Italia, label=none or just it, Nord, label=none) is a geographical and cultural region in the northern part of Italy. It consists of eight administrative Regions ...
and modern France. They ranged in size and importance from the seven
Prince-elector The prince-electors (german: Kurfürst pl. , cz, Kurfiřt, la, Princeps Elector), or electors for short, were the members of the electoral college that elected the Holy Roman Emperor, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. From the 13th century ...
s who voted for the
Holy Roman Emperor The Holy Roman Emperor, originally and officially the Emperor of the Romans ( la, Imperator Romanorum, german: Kaiser der Römer) during the Middle Ages, and also known as the Roman-German Emperor since the early modern period ( la, Imperator ...
, down to Prince-bishoprics and Imperial cities like
Hamburg (male), (female) en, Hamburger(s), Hamburgian(s) , timezone1 = Central (CET) , utc_offset1 = +1 , timezone1_DST = Central (CEST) , utc_offset1_DST = +2 , postal ...
. Each also belonged to a regional grouping or " Imperial circle", which primarily focused on defence and operated as autonomous bodies. Above them sat the Imperial Diet, which prior to 1663 assembled on an irregular basis and largely served as a forum for discussion, rather than legislation. Although Emperors were elected, since 1440 the position had been held by a member of the
House of Habsburg The House of Habsburg (), alternatively spelled Hapsburg in Englishgerman: Haus Habsburg, ; es, Casa de Habsburgo; hu, Habsburg család, it, Casa di Asburgo, nl, Huis van Habsburg, pl, dom Habsburgów, pt, Casa de Habsburgo, la, Domus Hab ...
, the largest single landowner in the Holy Roman Empire with territories containing over eight million subjects, including
Austria The Republic of Austria, commonly just Austria, , bar, Östareich is a country in the southern part of Central Europe, lying in the Eastern Alps. It is a federation of nine States of Austria, states, one of which is the capital, Vienna, ...
,
Bohemia Bohemia ( ; cs, Čechy ; ; hsb, Čěska; szl, Czechy) is the westernmost and largest historical region of the Czech Republic. Bohemia can also refer to a wider area consisting of the historical Lands of the Bohemian Crown ruled by the List o ...
and
Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a landlocked country in Central Europe. Spanning of the Pannonian Basin, Carpathian Basin, it is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine to the northeast, Romania to the east and southeast, Serbia to the ...
. They also ruled
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = ''Plus ultra'' (Latin)(English: "Further Beyond") , national_anthem = (English: "Royal March") , i ...
until 1556 when the two empires were divided, although Spain retained Imperial states such as
Milan Milan ( , , Lombard language, Lombard: ; it, Milano ) is a city in northern Italy, capital of Lombardy, and the List of cities in Italy, second-most populous city proper in Italy after Rome. The city proper has a population of about 1.4  ...
and
Franche-Comté Franche-Comté (, ; ; Frainc-Comtou: ''Fraintche-Comtè''; frp, Franche-Comtât; also german: Freigrafschaft; es, Franco Condado; all ) is a cultural and historical region Historical regions (or historical areas) are geographical regions whi ...
. While the Austrian and Spanish Habsburgs often worked together, their objectives did not always align. The
Spanish Empire The Spanish Empire ( es, link=no, Imperio español), also known as the Hispanic Monarchy ( es, link=no, Monarquía Hispánica) or the Catholic Monarchy ( es, link=no, Monarquía Católica) was a colonial empire governed by Spain and its History ...
was a global maritime superpower whose possessions included the
Spanish Netherlands Spanish Netherlands (Spanish language, Spanish: Países Bajos Españoles; Dutch language, Dutch: Spaanse Nederlanden; French language, French: Pays-Bas espagnols; German language, German: Spanische Niederlande.) (historically in Spanish: ''Flandes ...
, Milan, the
Kingdom of Naples The Kingdom of Naples ( la, Regnum Neapolitanum; it, Regno di Napoli; nap, Regno 'e Napule), also known as the Kingdom of Sicily, was a state that ruled the part of the Italian Peninsula south of the Papal States between 1282 and 1816. It was e ...
, the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...
, and much of the Americas. In contrast, Austria was a land-based power, focused on ensuring their pre-eminence within Germany and securing their eastern border against the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire, * ; is an archaic version. The definite article forms and were synonymous * and el, Оθωμανική Αυτοκρατορία, Othōmanikē Avtokratoria, label=none * info page on book at Martin Luther University) ...
. Before Augsburg, unity of religion compensated for lack of strong central authority; once removed, it presented opportunities for those who sought to further weaken it. These included ambitious Imperial states like Lutheran Saxony and Catholic
Bavaria Bavaria ( ; ), officially the Free State of Bavaria (german: Freistaat Bayern, link=no ), is a state in the south-east of Germany Germany,, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central Europe. It is the sec ...
, as well as France, confronted by Habsburg lands on its borders to the
North North is one of the four compass points or cardinal directions. It is the opposite of south and is perpendicular to east and west. ''North'' is a noun, adjective, or adverb indicating Direction (geometry), direction or geography. Etymology T ...
,
South South is one of the cardinal directions or Points of the compass, compass points. The direction is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to both east and west. Etymology The word ''south'' comes from Old English ''sūþ'', from earlier Pro ...
, and along the
Pyrenees The Pyrenees (; es, Pirineos ; french: Pyrénées ; ca, Pirineu ; eu, Pirinioak ; oc, Pirenèus ; an, Pirineus) is a mountain range straddling the border of France and Spain. It extends nearly from its union with the Cantabrian Mountains to C ...
. Since many foreign rulers were also Imperial princes, divisions within the Empire drew in external powers like
Christian IV of Denmark Christian IV (12 April 1577 – 28 February 1648) was King of Denmark and king of Norway, Norway and List of rulers of Schleswig-Holstein, Duke of Holstein and Schleswig from 1588 until his death in 1648. His reign of 59 years, 330 days is t ...
, who joined the war in 1625 as
Duke of Holstein-Gottorp Holstein-Gottorp or Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorp () is the Historiography, historiographical name, as well as contemporary shorthand name, for the parts of the duchies of Duchy of Schleswig, Schleswig and Duchy of Holstein, Holstein, also known as ...
.


Background: 1556 to 1618

Disputes occasionally resulted in full-scale conflict like the 1583 to 1588
Cologne War The Cologne War (german: Kölner Krieg, Kölnischer Krieg, Truchsessischer Krieg; 1583–88) was a conflict between Protestant Protestantism is a branch of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, ...
, caused when its
ruler A ruler, sometimes called a rule, line gauge, or scale, is a device used in geometry and technical drawing, as well as the engineering and construction industries, to distance measurement, measure distances or draw straight lines. Variant ...
converted to Calvinism. More common were events such as the 1606 'Battle of the Flags' in Donauwörth, when riots broke out after the Lutheran majority blocked a Catholic religious procession. Emperor Rudolf approved intervention by the Catholic Maximilian of Bavaria. In return, he was allowed to annex the town and as agreed at Augsburg, the official religion changed from Lutheran to Catholic. When the Imperial Diet opened in February 1608, both Lutherans and Calvinists united to demand formal re-confirmation of the Augsburg settlement. However, in return the Habsburg heir Archduke Ferdinand required the immediate restoration of all property taken from the Catholic church since 1555, rather than the previous practice whereby the court ruled case by case. This threatened all Protestants, paralysed the Diet, and removed the perception of Imperial neutrality. Loss of faith in central authority meant towns and rulers began strengthening their fortifications and armies; outside travellers often commented on the growing militarisation of Germany in this period. This was taken a stage further in 1608 when
Frederick IV, Elector Palatine Frederick IV, Elector Palatine of the Rhine (german: Kurfürst Friedrich IV. von der Pfalz; 5 March 1574 – 19 September 1610), only surviving son of Louis VI, Elector Palatine and Elisabeth of Hesse, called "Frederick the Righteous" (german: ...
formed the
Protestant Union The Protestant Union (german: Protestantische Union), also known as the Evangelical Union, Union of Auhausen, German Union or the Protestant Action Party, was a coalition of Protestant German states. It was formed on 14 May 1608 by Frederick ...
and Maximilian responded by setting up the Catholic League in July 1609. Both structures were primarily designed to support the dynastic ambitions of their leaders, but their creation combined with the 1609 to 1614
War of the Jülich Succession The War of the Jülich Succession was a war of succession in the United Duchies of Jülich-Cleves-Berg. It lasted between 10 June 1609 and 24 October 1610, resumed in May 1614 and finally ended on 13 October 1614. The first round of the confli ...
to increase tensions throughout the Empire. Some historians who see the war as primarily a European conflict argue Jülich marks its beginning, with Spain and Austria backing the Catholic candidate, France and the
Dutch Republic The United Provinces of the Netherlands, also known as the (Seven) United Provinces, officially as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands (Dutch language, Dutch: ''Republiek der Zeven Verenigde Nederlanden''), and commonly referred to in ...
the Protestant. External powers became involved in what was an internal German dispute due to the imminent expiry of the 1609
Twelve Years' Truce The Twelve Years' Truce was a ceasefire during the Eighty Years' War between Habsburg Spain, Spain and the Dutch Republic, agreed in Antwerp on 9 April 1609 and ended on 9 April 1621. While European powers like Kingdom of France, France began tre ...
, which suspended the
Eighty Years War The Eighty Years' War or Dutch Revolt ( nl, Nederlandse Opstand) (Historiography of the Eighty Years' War#Name and periodisation, c.1566/1568–1648) was an armed conflict in the Habsburg Netherlands between disparate groups of rebels and t ...
between Spain and the Dutch Republic. Before restarting hostilities, Ambrosio Spinola, commander in the Spanish Netherlands, needed to secure the
Spanish Road The Spanish Road (Spanish language, Spanish: ''Camino Español'', German language, German: ''Spanische Straße'') was a military road and trade route in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, linking the Duchy of Milan, the County of ...
, an overland route connecting Habsburg possessions in Italy to
Flanders Flanders (, ; Dutch language, Dutch: ''Vlaanderen'' ) is the Dutch language, Flemish-speaking northern portion of Belgium and one of the communities, regions and language areas of Belgium. However, there are several overlapping definitions, in ...
. This allowed him to move troops and supplies by road, rather than sea where the Dutch navy was dominant; by 1618, the only part not controlled by Spain ran through the
Electoral Palatinate The Electoral Palatinate (german: Kurpfalz) or the Palatinate (), officially the Electorate of the Palatinate (), was a Imperial State, state that was part of the Holy Roman Empire. The electorate had its origins under the rulership of the Lis ...
. Since
Emperor Matthias Matthias (24 February 1557 – 20 March 1619) was Holy Roman Emperor from 1612 to 1619, Archduke of Austria from 1608 to 1619, King of Hungary and List of rulers of Croatia, Croatia from 1608 to 1618, and King of Bohemia from 1611 to 1617. His p ...
had no surviving children, in July 1617
Philip III of Spain Philip III ( es, Felipe III; 14 April 1578 – 31 March 1621) was King of Spain. As Philip II, he was also King of Portugal, List of monarchs of Naples, Naples, List of Sicilian monarchs, Sicily and List of monarchs of Sardinia, Sardinia and Duk ...
agreed to support Ferdinand's election as king of Bohemia and Hungary. In return, Ferdinand made concessions to Spain in Northern Italy and Alsace, and agreed to support their offensive against the Dutch. Delivering these commitments required his election as Emperor, which was not guaranteed; one alternative was Maximilian of Bavaria, who opposed the increase of Spanish influence in an area he considered his own, and tried to create a coalition with Saxony and the Palatinate to support his candidacy. A third candidate was the Calvinist
Frederick V, Elector Palatine Frederick V (german: link=no, Friedrich; 26 August 1596 – 29 November 1632) was the Electoral Palatinate, Elector Palatine of the Rhine Palatinate, Rhine in the Holy Roman Empire from 1610 to 1623, and reigned as King of Bohemia from 1619 t ...
, who succeeded his father in 1610, then in 1613 married Elizabeth Stuart, daughter of
James I of England James VI and I (James Charles Stuart; 19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) was King of Scotland as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and King of Ireland, Ireland as James I from the Union of the Crowns, union of the Scottish and Eng ...
. Four of the electors were Catholic, three Protestant; if this could be changed, it might result in a Protestant Emperor. When Ferdinand was elected king of Bohemia in 1617, he gained control of its electoral vote; however, his conservative Catholicism made him unpopular with the largely Protestant nobility, who were also concerned at the erosion of their rights. In May 1618, these factors combined to bring about the
Bohemian Revolt The Bohemian Revolt (german: Böhmischer Aufstand; cs, České stavovské povstání; 1618–1620) was an uprising of the Kingdom of Bohemia, Bohemian Estates of the realm, estates against the rule of the Habsburg dynasty that began the Thirty ...
.


Phase I: 1618 to 1635


The Bohemian Revolt

The
Jesuit The Society of Jesus ( la, Societas Iesu; abbreviation: SJ), also known as the Jesuits (; la, Iesuitæ), is a religious order (Catholic), religious order of clerics regular of pontifical right for men in the Catholic Church headquartered in Rom ...
-educated Ferdinand once claimed he would rather see his lands destroyed than tolerate
heresy Heresy is any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs or customs, in particular the accepted beliefs of a church or religious organization. The term is usually used in reference to violations of important religi ...
for a single day. Appointed to rule the
Duchy of Styria The Duchy of Styria (german: Herzogtum Steiermark; sl, Vojvodina Štajerska; hu, Stájer Hercegség) was a duchy located in modern-day southern Austria and northern Slovenia. It was a part of the Holy Roman Empire until Dissolution of the Holy ...
in 1595, within eighteen months he eliminated Protestantism in what was previously a stronghold of the
Reformation The Reformation (alternatively named the Protestant Reformation or the European Reformation) was a major movement within Western Christianity in 16th-century Europe that posed a religious and political challenge to the Catholic Church and in ...
. Focused on retaking the Netherlands, the Spanish Habsburgs preferred to avoid antagonising Protestants elsewhere, and recognised the dangers associated with Ferdinand's fervent Catholicism, but supported his claim due to the lack of alternatives. Ferdinand reconfirmed Protestant religious freedoms when elected king of Bohemia in May 1617, but his record in Styria led to the suspicion he was only awaiting a chance to overturn them. These concerns were exacerbated when a series of legal disputes over property were all decided in favour of the Catholic Church. In May 1618, Protestant nobles led by Count Thurn met in
Prague Castle Prague Castle ( cs, Pražský hrad; ) is a castle complex in Prague 1, Prague 1 Municipality within Prague, Czech Republic, built in the 9th century. It is the official office of the President of the Czech Republic. The castle was a seat of power ...
with Ferdinand's two Catholic representatives, Vilem Slavata and Jaroslav Borzita. In what became known as the Third Defenestration of Prague, both men were thrown out of the castle windows along with their secretary Filip Fabricius, although all three survived. Thurn established a Protestant-dominated government in Bohemia, while unrest expanded into
Silesia Silesia (, also , ) is a historical region of Central Europe that lies mostly within Poland, with small parts in the Czech Silesia, Czech Republic and Germany. Its area is approximately , and the population is estimated at around 8,000,000. S ...
and the Habsburg heartlands of Lower and
Upper Austria Upper Austria (german: Oberösterreich ; bar, Obaöstareich) is one of the nine states or of Austria The Republic of Austria, commonly just Austria, , bar, Östareich is a country in the southern part of Central Europe, lying in t ...
, where much of the nobility was also Protestant. Losing control of these threatened the entire Habsburg state, while Bohemia was one of the most prosperous areas of the Empire and its electoral vote crucial to ensuring Ferdinand succeeded Matthias as Emperor. The combination meant their recapture was vital for the Austrian Habsburgs but chronic financial weakness left them dependent on Maximilian and Spain for the resources needed to achieve this. Spanish involvement inevitably drew in the Dutch, and potentially
France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic, Pacific Ocean, Pac ...
, although the strongly Catholic
Louis XIII of France Louis XIII (; sometimes called the Just; 27 September 1601 – 14 May 1643) was King of France from 1610 until his death in 1643 and King of Navarre (as Louis II) from 1610 to 1620, when the crown of Navarre was merged with the French crown. ...
faced his own Protestant rebels at home and refused to support them elsewhere. The revolt also provided opportunities for external opponents of the Habsburgs, including the Ottoman Empire and
Savoy Savoy (; frp, Savouè ; french: Savoie ) is a cultural-historical region in the Western Alps. Situated on the cultural boundary between Occitania and Piedmont, the area extends from Lake Geneva in the north to the Dauphiné in the south. Savo ...
. Funded by Frederick and
Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy Charles Emmanuel I ( it, Carlo Emanuele di Savoia; 12 January 1562 – 26 July 1630), known as the Great, was the Duke of Savoy from 1580 to 1630. He was nicknamed (, in context "the Hot-Headed") for his rashness and military aggression. Being ...
, a mercenary army under
Ernst von Mansfeld Peter Ernst, Graf von Mansfeld (german: Peter Ernst Graf von Mansfeld; c. 158029 November 1626), or simply Ernst von Mansfeld, was a German military commander who, despite being a Catholic The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman C ...
was sent to support the Bohemian rebels. Attempts by Maximilian and John George of Saxony to broker a negotiated solution ended when Matthias died in March 1619, since many believed the loss of his authority and influence had fatally damaged the Habsburgs. By mid-June 1619, the Bohemian army under Thurn was outside
Vienna Vienna ( ; german: Wien ; bar, Wean, label=Bavarian language, Austro-Bavarian ) is the Capital city, capital, largest city, and one of States of Austria, nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's List of cities and towns in Austria, most populou ...
and although Mansfeld's defeat by Imperial forces at Sablat forced him to return to Prague, Ferdinand's position continued to worsen.
Gabriel Bethlen Gabriel Bethlen ( hu, Bethlen Gábor; 15 November 1580 – 15 November 1629) was Prince of Transylvania The Prince of Transylvania ( hu, erdélyi fejedelem, german: Fürst von Siebenbürgen, la, princeps Transsylvaniae, ro, principele Trans ...
, Calvinist
Prince of Transylvania The Prince of Transylvania ( hu, erdélyi fejedelem, german: Fürst von Siebenbürgen, la, princeps Transsylvaniae, ro, principele TransilvanieiFallenbüchl 1988, p. 77.) was the head of state of the Principality of Transylvania (1570–1711), P ...
, invaded Hungary with Ottoman support, although the Habsburgs persuaded them to avoid direct involvement; this was helped when the Ottomans became involved in the 1620 Polish war, followed by the 1623 to 1639 conflict with Persia. On 19 August, the Bohemian Estates rescinded Ferdinand's 1617 election as king; on the 26th, they formally offered the crown to Frederick. Two days later, Ferdinand was elected Emperor, making war inevitable if Frederick accepted the Bohemian crown. With the exception of Christian of Anhalt, Frederick's advisors urged him to reject it, as did the Dutch, the Duke of Savoy, and his father-in-law James I of England. 17th century Europe was a highly structured and socially conservative society, and their lack of enthusiasm was due to the implications of removing a legally elected ruler, regardless of religion. As a result, although Frederick accepted the crown and entered Prague in October 1619, his support gradually eroded over the next few months. In July 1620, the Protestant Union proclaimed its neutrality, while John George of Saxony agreed to back Ferdinand in return for the cession of
Lusatia Lusatia (german: Lausitz, pl, Łużyce, hsb, Łužica, dsb, Łužyca, cs, Lužice, la, Lusatia, rarely also referred to as Sorbia) is a historical region in Central Europe, split between Germany and Poland. Lusatia stretches from the Bóbr ...
, and a promise to safeguard the rights of Lutherans in Bohemia. Maximilian of Bavaria funded a combined Imperial-Catholic League army led by
Count Tilly Johann Tserclaes, Count of Tilly ( nl, Johan t'Serclaes Graaf van Tilly; german: Johann t'Serclaes Graf von Tilly; french: Jean t'Serclaes de Tilly ; February 1559 – 30 April 1632) was a field marshal who commanded the Catholic League (Ge ...
and Charles of Bucquoy, which pacified Upper and Lower Austria and occupied western Bohemia before marching on Prague. The Bohemians, led by Christian of Anhalt, moved to block the Imperial advance, but was defeated by Tilly at the
Battle of White Mountain The Battle of White Mountain ( cz, Bitva na Bílé hoře; german: Schlacht am Weißen Berg) was an important battle in the early stages of the Thirty Years' War. It led to the defeat of the Bohemian Revolt and ensured Habsburg control for the ne ...
in November 1620. Although far from decisive, the rebels were demoralised by lack of pay, shortages of supplies, and disease, while the countryside had been devastated by Imperial troops. Frederick fled Bohemia and the revolt collapsed.


The Palatinate Campaign

By abandoning Frederick, the German princes hoped to restrict the dispute to Bohemia, but Maximilian's dynastic ambitions made this impossible. In the October 1619 Treaty of Munich, Ferdinand agreed to transfer the Palatinate's electoral vote to Bavaria and allow him to annex the
Upper Palatinate The Upper Palatinate (german: Oberpfalz, , ) is one of the seven Regierungsbezirk, administrative districts of Bavaria, Germany, and is located in the east of Bavaria. Geography The Upper Palatinate is a landscape with low mountains and numerou ...
. 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. Doing so turned the conflict into a contest between Imperial authority and "German liberties", while Catholics saw an opportunity to regain lands lost since 1555. The combination destabilised large parts of the Empire. The strategic importance of the Palatinate and its proximity to the Spanish Road drew in external powers; in August 1620, the Spanish under Spinola and Córdoba occupied the
Lower Palatinate The Palatinate (german: Pfalz; Palatine German language, Palatine German: ''Palz'') is a region of Germany. In the Middle Ages it was known as the Rhenish Palatinate (''Rheinpfalz'') and Lower Palatinate (''Unterpfalz''), which strictly speakin ...
. James I of England responded to this attack on his son-in-law by sending naval forces to threaten Spanish possessions in the Americas and the
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...
, and announced he would declare war if Spinola had not withdrawn his troops by spring 1621. These actions were primarily designed to placate his opponents in
Parliament In modern politics, and history, a parliament is a legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: Representation (politics), representing the Election#Suffrage, electorate, making laws, and overseeing ...
, who considered his pro-Spanish policy a betrayal of the Protestant cause. However, Spanish chief minister Olivares correctly interpreted them as an invitation to open negotiations, and in return for an Anglo-Spanish alliance offered to restore Frederick to his Rhineland possessions. Since Frederick's demand for full restitution of his lands and titles was incompatible with the Treaty of Munich, hopes of reaching a negotiated peace quickly evaporated. Despite defeat in Bohemia, Frederick's allies included Georg Friedrich of Baden and
Christian of Brunswick Christian the Younger of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (20 September 1599 – 16 June 1626), a member of the House of Welf The House of Welf (also Guelf or Guelph) is a European dynasty that has included many German and British monarchs from the ...
, while the Dutch provided him with military support after the Eighty Years War restarted in April 1621 and his father-in-law James funded an army of mercenaries under Mansfeld. However, their failure to co-ordinate effectively led to a series of defeats by Spanish and Catholic League forces, including Wimpfen in May 1622 and Höchst in June. By November 1622, the Imperialists controlled most of the Palatinate, apart from Frankenthal, which was held by a small English garrison under Sir Horace Vere. The remnants of Mansfeld's army took refuge in the Dutch Republic, as did Frederick, who spent most of his time in
The Hague The Hague ( ; nl, Den Haag or ) is a list of cities in the Netherlands by province, city and municipalities of the Netherlands, municipality of the Netherlands, situated on the west coast facing the North Sea. The Hague is the country's ad ...
until his death in November 1632. At a meeting of the Imperial Diet in February 1623, Ferdinand forced through provisions transferring Frederick's titles, lands, and electoral vote to Maximilian. He did so with support from the Catholic League, despite strong opposition from Protestant members, as well as the Spanish. The Palatinate was clearly lost; in March, James instructed Vere to surrender Frankenthal, while Tilly's victory over Christian of Brunswick at Stadtlohn in August completed military operations. However, Spanish and Dutch involvement in the campaign was a significant step in internationalising the war, while Frederick's removal meant other Protestant princes began discussing armed resistance to preserve their own rights and territories.


Danish intervention (1625–1629)

With Saxony dominating the
Upper Saxon Circle The Upper Saxon Circle (german: Obersächsischer Reichskreis) was an Imperial Circle of the Holy Roman Empire, created in 1512. The circle was dominated by the electorate of Saxony (the circle's director) and the electorate of Margraviate of Bra ...
and
Brandenburg Brandenburg (; nds, Brannenborg; dsb, Bramborska ) is a states of Germany, state in the northeast of Germany bordering the states of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, and Saxony, as well as the country of Poland. With an ar ...
the Lower, both ''kreis'' had remained neutral during the campaigns in Bohemia and the Palatinate. However, Frederick's deposition in 1623 meant John George of Saxony and the Calvinist
George William, Elector of Brandenburg George William (german: Georg Wilhelm; 13 November 1595 – 1 December 1640), of the Hohenzollern The House of Hohenzollern (, also , german: Haus Hohenzollern, , ro, Casa de Hohenzollern) is a German royal (and from 1871 to 1918, imperial) dy ...
became concerned Ferdinand intended to reclaim formerly Catholic bishoprics currently held by Protestants. These fears seemed confirmed when Tilly restored the
Roman Catholic Diocese of Halberstadt The Diocese of Halberstadt was a Roman Catholic Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus (Romulus and Remus, legendary) , image_map ...
in early 1625. As Duke of Holstein, Christian IV was also a member of the Lower Saxon circle, while the Danish economy relied on the Baltic trade and tolls from traffic through the
Øresund Øresund or Öresund (, ; da, Øresund ; sv, Öresund ), commonly known in English as the Sound, is a strait A strait is an Ocean, oceanic landform connecting two Sea, seas or two other large areas of water. The surface water generally f ...
. In 1621, Hamburg accepted Danish 'supervision', while his son Frederick became joint-administrator of
Lübeck Lübeck (; Low German also ), officially the Hanseatic City of Lübeck (german: Hansestadt Lübeck), is a city in Northern Germany. With around 217,000 inhabitants, Lübeck is the second-largest city on the German Baltic Sea, Baltic coast and ...
,
Bremen Bremen (Low German also: ''Breem'' or ''Bräm''), officially the City Municipality of Bremen (german: Stadtgemeinde Bremen, ), is the capital of the Germany, German States of Germany, state Bremen (state), Free Hanseatic City of Bremen (''Freie H ...
, and Verden; possession ensured Danish control of the
Elbe The Elbe (; cs, Labe ; nds, Ilv or ''Elv''; Upper and dsb, Łobjo) is one of the major rivers of Central Europe. It rises in the Giant Mountains of the northern Czech Republic The Czech Republic, or simply Czechia, is a landloc ...
and
Weser The Weser () is a river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without ...
rivers. Ferdinand had paid
Albrecht von Wallenstein Albrecht Wenzel Eusebius von Wallenstein () (24 September 1583 – 25 February 1634), also von Waldstein ( cs, Albrecht Václav Eusebius z Valdštejna), was a Bohemian military leader and statesman who fought on the Catholic side during the Th ...
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. In May 1625, the Lower Saxony ''kreis'' elected Christian their military commander, although not without resistance; Saxony and Brandenburg viewed Denmark and Sweden as competitors, and wanted to avoid either becoming involved in the Empire. 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. In the June 1624 Treaty of Compiègne, France had agreed to subsidise the Dutch war against Spain for a minimum of three years, while in the December 1625 Treaty of The Hague, the Dutch and English agreed to finance Danish intervention in the Empire. Hoping to create a wider coalition against Ferdinand, the Dutch invited France, Sweden, Savoy, and the
Republic of Venice The Republic of Venice ( vec, Repùblega de Venèsia) or Venetian Republic ( vec, Repùblega Vèneta, links=no), traditionally known as La Serenissima ( en, Most Serene Republic of Venice, italics=yes; vec, Serenìsima Repùblega de Venèsia, ...
to join, but it was overtaken by events. In early 1626,
Cardinal Richelieu Armand Jean du Plessis, Duke of Richelieu (; 9 September 1585 – 4 December 1642), known as Cardinal Richelieu, was a French clergyman and statesman. He was also known as ''l'Éminence rouge'', or "the Red Eminence", a term derived from the ...
, main architect of the alliance, faced a new Huguenot rebellion at home and in the March Treaty of Monzón, France withdrew from Northern Italy, re-opening the Spanish Road. Dutch and English subsidies enabled Christian to devise an ambitious three part campaign plan; while he led the main force down the Weser, Mansfeld would attack Wallenstein in
Magdeburg Magdeburg (; nds, label=Low German, Low Saxon, Meideborg ) is the Capital city, capital and second-largest City, city of the Germany, German States of Germany, state Saxony-Anhalt. The city is situated at the Elbe river. Otto I, Holy Roman Em ...
, supported by forces led by Christian of Brunswick and Maurice of Hesse-Kassel. The advance quickly fell apart; Mansfeld was defeated at Dessau Bridge in April, and when Maurice refused to support him, Christian of Brunswick fell back on
Wolfenbüttel Wolfenbüttel (; nds, Wulfenbüddel) is a town in Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a States of Germany, German state (') in Northern Germany, northwestern Germany. It is the sec ...
, where he died of disease shortly after. The Danes were comprehensively beaten at Lutter in August, and Mansfeld's army dissolved following his death in November. Many of Christian's German allies, such as
Hesse-Kassel The Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel (german: Landgrafschaft Hessen-Kassel), spelled Hesse-Cassel during its entire existence, was a state in the Holy Roman Empire that was imperial immediacy, directly subject to the Emperor. The state was created i ...
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.
Charles I of England Charles I (19 November 1600 – 30 January 1649) was King of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. He was born into the House of Stuart as the second son of King James VI of Scotland, but after ...
allowed Christian to recruit up to 9,000 Scottish mercenaries, but they took time to arrive, and while able to slow Wallenstein's advance were insufficient to stop him. By the end of 1627, Wallenstein occupied
Mecklenburg Mecklenburg (; nds, label=Mecklenburgisch dialect, Low German, Mękel(n)borg ) is a historical region in northern Germany comprising the western and larger part of the federal-state Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The largest cities of the regi ...
,
Pomerania Pomerania ( pl, Pomorze; german: Pommern; Kashubian: ''Pòmòrskô''; sv, Pommern) is a historical region on the southern shore of the Baltic Sea in Central Europe, split between Poland and Germany. The western part of Pomerania belongs to ...
, and
Jutland Jutland ( da, Jylland ; german: Jütland ; ang, Ēota land ), known anciently as the Cimbric or Cimbrian Peninsula ( la, Cimbricus Chersonesus; da, den Kimbriske Halvø, links=no or ; german: Kimbrische Halbinsel, links=no), is a peninsula of ...
, and began making plans to construct a fleet capable of challenging Danish control of the Baltic. He was supported by Spain, for whom it provided an opportunity to open another front against the Dutch. On 13 May 1628, his deputy von Arnim besieged
Stralsund Stralsund (; Swedish language, Swedish: ''Strålsund''), officially the Hanseatic City of Stralsund (German language, German: ''Hansestadt Stralsund''), is the fifth-largest city in the northeastern German federal state of Mecklenburg-Western Pome ...
, the only port with large enough shipbuilding facilities, but this brought Sweden into the war. King
Gustavus Adolphus Gustavus Adolphus (9 December ld Style and New Style dates, N.S 19 December15946 November ld Style and New Style dates, N.S 16 November1632), also known in English as Gustav II Adolf or Gustav II Adolph, was King of Sweden from 1611 to ...
despatched several thousand Scots and Swedish troops to Stralsund, commanded by Alexander Leslie who was also appointed governor. Von Arnim was forced to lift the siege on 4 August, but three weeks later, Christian suffered another defeat at
Wolgast Wolgast (; csb, Wòłogòszcz) is a town in the district of Vorpommern-Greifswald, in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany. It is situated on the bank of the river (or strait) Peenestrom, vis-a-vis the island of Usedom on the Baltic Sea, Baltic coast ...
. He began negotiations with Wallenstein, who despite his recent victories was concerned by the prospect of Swedish intervention, and thus anxious to make peace. With Austrian resources stretched by the outbreak of the
War of the Mantuan Succession The War of the Mantuan Succession (1628–1631) was a related conflict of the Thirty Years' War, caused by the death in December 1627 of Vincenzo II Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua, Vincenzo II, last male heir in the direct line of the House of Gonzaga ...
, Wallenstein persuaded Ferdinand to agree to relatively lenient terms in the June 1629
Treaty of Lübeck Treaty or Peace of Lübeck ( da, Freden i Lübeck, german: Lübecker Frieden) ended the Danish intervention in the Thirty Years' War The Thirty Years' War was one of the longest and List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll ...
. Christian retained his German possessions of
Schleswig The Duchy of Schleswig ( da, Hertugdømmet Slesvig; german: Herzogtum Schleswig; nds, Hartogdom Sleswig; frr, Härtochduum Slaswik) was a duchy in Southern Jutland () covering the area between about 60 km (35 miles) north and 70 km ( ...
and Holstein, in return for relinquishing Bremen and Verden, and abandoning support for the German Protestants. While Denmark kept Schleswig and Holstein until 1864, this effectively ended its reign as the predominant Nordic state. Once again, the methods used to obtain victory explain why the war failed to end. Ferdinand paid Wallenstein by letting him confiscate estates, extort ransoms from towns, and allowing his men to plunder the lands they passed through, regardless of whether they belonged to allies or opponents. Anger at such tactics and his growing power came to a head in early 1628 when Ferdinand deposed the hereditary Duke of Mecklenburg, and appointed Wallenstein in his place. Although opposition to this act united all German princes regardless of religion, Maximilian of Bavaria was compromised by his acquisition of the Palatinate; while Protestants wanted Frederick restored and the position returned to that of 1618, the Catholic League argued only for pre-1627. Made overconfident by success, in March 1629 Ferdinand passed an
Edict of Restitution The Edict of Restitution was proclaimed by Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor in Vienna, on 6 March 1629, eleven years into the Thirty Years' War. Following Catholic League (German), Catholic military successes, Ferdinand hoped to restore control ...
, which required all lands taken from the Catholic church after 1555 to be returned. While technically legal, politically it was extremely unwise, since doing so would alter nearly every single state boundary in North and Central Germany, deny the existence of Calvinism and restore Catholicism in areas where it had not been a significant presence for nearly a century. Well aware none of the princes involved would agree, Ferdinand used the device of an Imperial
edict An edict is a decree or announcement of a law, often associated with monarchism, but it can be under any official authority. Synonyms include "dictum" and "pronouncement". ''Edict'' derives from the Latin edictum. Notable edicts * Telepinu P ...
, once again asserting his right to alter laws without consultation. This new assault on 'German liberties' ensured continuing opposition and undermined his previous success.


Swedish intervention; 1630 to 1634

Gustavus spent the previous years reorganising and modernising his armies during Sweden's war with Poland–Lithuania, ruled by his Catholic cousin
Sigismund Sigismund (variants: Sigmund (given name), Sigmund, :de:Siegmund, Siegmund) is a German proper name, meaning "protection through victory", from Old High German ''sigu'' "victory" + ''munt'' "hand, protection". Tacitus latinises it ''Segimundus''. Th ...
who was a claimant to the Swedish throne and supported by Imperial auxiliary troops. Since only a few Protestant states like
Hesse-Kassel The Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel (german: Landgrafschaft Hessen-Kassel), spelled Hesse-Cassel during its entire existence, was a state in the Holy Roman Empire that was imperial immediacy, directly subject to the Emperor. The state was created i ...
still openly opposed the consolidation of Imperial power, this made Sweden the most obvious ally for Richelieu, whose stated policy was to "arrest the course of Spanish progress", and "protect her neighbours from Spanish oppression". With French resources tied up in Italy, he helped negotiate the September 1629
Truce of Altmark __NOTOC__ The six-year Truce of Altmark (or Treaty of Stary Targ, pl, Rozejm w Altmarku, sv, Stillståndet i Altmark) was signed on 16 (O.S.)/26 (N.S.) September 1629 in the village of Altmark ( Stary Targ), in Poland, by the Polish–Lithuan ...
between Sweden and Poland, freeing Gustavus to enter the war. Partly a genuine desire to support his Protestant co-religionists, like Christian he also wanted to maximise his share of the Baltic trade that provided much of Sweden's income. Following failed negotiations with the Emperor, Gustavus landed in
Pomerania Pomerania ( pl, Pomorze; german: Pommern; Kashubian: ''Pòmòrskô''; sv, Pommern) is a historical region on the southern shore of the Baltic Sea in Central Europe, split between Poland and Germany. The western part of Pomerania belongs to ...
in June 1630 with nearly 18,000 Swedish troops. Using Stralsund as a bridgehead, he marched south along the
Oder The Oder ( , ; Czech language, Czech, Lower Sorbian language, Lower Sorbian and ; ) is a river in Central Europe. It is Poland's second-longest river in total length and third-longest within its borders after the Vistula and Warta. The Oder ri ...
towards
Stettin Szczecin (, , german: Stettin ; sv, Stettin ; Latin language, Latin: ''Sedinum'' or ''Stetinum'') is the capital city, capital and largest city of the West Pomeranian Voivodeship in northwestern Poland. Located near the Baltic Sea and the Po ...
and coerced
Bogislaw XIV, Duke of Pomerania Bogislaw XIV (31 March 1580 – 10 March 1637) was the last Duke of Pomerania. He was also the Lutheran administrator of the Prince-Bishopric of Cammin. Biography Bogislaw was born in Barth, Germany, Barth as a member of the House of Pomerania. H ...
, into agreeing an
alliance An alliance is a relationship among people, groups, or sovereign state, states that have joined together for mutual benefit or to achieve some common purpose, whether or not explicit agreement has been worked out among them. Members of an alli ...
which secured his interests in Pomerania against his rival Sigismund. As a result, the Poles turned their attention to Russia, initiating the 1632 to 1634
Smolensk War The Smolensk War (1632–1634) was a conflict fought between the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and Tsardom of Russia, Russia. Hostilities began in October 1632 when Russian forces tried to capture the city of Smolensk. Small military engag ...
. However, Swedish expectations of widespread German support proved unrealistic and by the end of 1630, their only new ally was the Administrator of Magdeburg Christian William whose capital was under siege by Tilly. Despite the devastation inflicted on their territories by Imperial soldiers, both Saxony and Brandenburg had their own ambitions in Pomerania, which clashed with those of Gustavus; previous experience also showed inviting external powers into the Empire was easier than getting them to leave. Gustavus responded by moving his troops moved south into Brandenburg, sacking Küstrin and Frankfurt an der Oder, while the
Sack of Magdeburg The Sack of Magdeburg, also called Magdeburg's Wedding (german: Magdeburger Hochzeit) or Magdeburg's Sacrifice (), was the destruction of the Protestantism, Protestant city of Magdeburg on 20 May 1631 by the Imperial Army (Holy Roman Empire), I ...
in May proved a powerful recruiting tool. Once again Richelieu used French financial power to reconcile the differences between the Swedes and the German princes; the 1631 Treaty of Bärwalde provided funds for the Swedes and their Protestant allies, including Saxony and Brandenburg. These payments amounted to 400,000
Reichstaler The ''Reichsthaler'' (; modern spelling Reichstaler), or more specifically the ''Reichsthaler specie'', was a standard thaler silver coin introduced by the Holy Roman Empire in 1566 for use in all German states, minted in various versions for the ...
, or one million
livres The (; ; abbreviation: ₶.) was one of numerous currencies used in France in the Middle Ages, medieval France, and a unit of account (i.e., a monetary unit used in accounting) used in Early Modern France. The 1262 monetary reform establishe ...
, per year, plus an additional 120,000 Reichstalers for 1630. Though less than 2% of the total French state budget, it constituted over 25% of the Swedish budget and allowed Gustavus to support an army of 36,000. He won major victories at Breitenfeld in September 1631, then Rain in April 1632, where Tilly was killed. After Tilly's death, Ferdinand turned once again to Wallenstein, who realised Gustavus was overextended and established himself at
Fürth Fürth (; East Franconian German, East Franconian: ; yi, פיורדא, Fiurda) is a List of cities and towns in Germany, city in northern Bavaria, Germany, in the administrative division (''Regierungsbezirk'') of Middle Franconia. It is now conti ...
, from where he could threaten his supply lines. The largest battle of the war took place in late August, when an assault on the Imperial camp outside the town was bloodily repulsed, arguably the greatest blunder committed by Gustavus during his German campaign. Two months later, the Swedes and Imperials met at Lützen, where both sides suffered heavy casualties; some Swedish units incurred losses of over 60%, while Wallenstein's deputy Pappenheim and Gustavus himself were killed. Fighting continued until dusk when Wallenstein retreated, abandoning his artillery and wounded. Despite their losses, this allowed the Swedes to claim victory, although the result continues to be disputed. Following the death of Gustavus, Swedish policy was directed by his extremely capable Chancellor
Axel Oxenstierna Axel Gustafsson Oxenstierna af Södermöre (; 1583–1654), Count of Södermöre, was a Swedish statesman. He became a member of the Privy Council of Sweden, Swedish Privy Council in 1609 and served as Lord High Chancellor of Sweden from 1612 unt ...
; in April 1633, the Swedes and their German allies formed the
Heilbronn League The Heilbronn League was formed in the Free Imperial City of Heilbronn, on 23 April 1633, during the Thirty Years' War. Led by Sweden, it brought together various Protestant states in western and northern Germany. It was supported by Electora ...
with funding provided by the French and in July their combined forces defeated an Imperial army led by the Bavarian general Bronckhorst-Gronsfeld at Oldendorf. Lützen had severely damaged Wallenstein's prestige, while his domestic opponents claimed he failed to support Bronckhorst-Gronsfeld. Combined with rumours he was preparing to switch sides, Emperor Ferdinand ordered his arrest in February 1634; on 25th, he was assassinated by his own officers in Cheb. The loss of Wallenstein and his organisation left Emperor Ferdinand reliant on Spain for military support, whose main concern was to re-open the Spanish Road for their campaign against the Dutch. This meant the focus of the war now shifted to the Rhineland and Bavaria.
Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand of Austria Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand (also known as Don Fernando de Austria, Cardenal-Infante Fernando de España and as Ferdinand von Österreich; May 1609 or 1610 – 9 November 1641) was Governors of the Habsburg Netherlands, Governor of the Spanish Nethe ...
, newly appointed Governor of the Spanish Netherlands, raised an army of 18,000 in Italy, which met up with an Imperial force of 15,000 at Donauwörth on 2 September 1634. Three days later, they won a decisive victory at
Nördlingen Nördlingen (; Swabian German, Swabian: ''Nearle'' or ''Nearleng'') is a Town#Germany, town in the Donau-Ries district, in Swabia (Bavaria), Swabia, Bavaria, Germany, with a population of approximately 20,674. It is located approximately east of ...
which destroyed Swedish power in Southern Germany and led to the defection of their German allies, who now sought to make peace with the Emperor.


Phase II; France joins the war 1635 to 1648

By triggering direct French intervention, Nördlingen expanded the conflict rather than ending it. Richelieu provided the Swedes with new subsidies, hired mercenaries led by
Bernard of Saxe-Weimar Bernard of Saxe-Weimar (german: Bernhard von Sachsen-Weimar; 16 August 160418 July 1639) was a German prince and general A general officer is an Officer (armed forces), officer of highest military ranks, high rank in the army, armies, and ...
for an offensive in the Rhineland and in May 1635 formally declared war on Spain. A few days later, the German states and Ferdinand agreed the Peace of Prague; in return for withdrawing the Edict of Restitution, the Heilbronn and Catholic Leagues were dissolved and replaced by a single Imperial army, although Saxony and Bavaria retained control of their own forces. This is generally seen as the point when the war ceased to be a primarily inter-German religious conflict. In March 1635, a French force entered the
Valtellina Valtellina or the Valtelline (occasionally spelled as two words in English: Val Telline; rm, Vuclina (); lmo, Valtelina or ; german: Veltlin; it, Valtellina) is a valley in the Lombardy region of northern Italy, bordering Switzerland. Toda ...
, once again cutting the link between Spanish controlled Milan and the Empire. In May, their main army of 35,000 invaded the Spanish Netherlands but was forced to retreat in July after suffering 17,000 casualties from disease and desertion. A Spanish offensive in 1636 reached Corbie in Northern France before lack of supplies forced them to retreat, and while it caused panic in Paris, the effort was not repeated. In the March 1636 Treaty of Wismar, France formally joined the war in support of Sweden, whose loss of most of the territories gained by Gustavus along with their taxes made it increasingly reliant on French financing. Although further weakened by the defection of most of its German allies following the Peace of Prague, in June 1636 a Swedish army under
Johan Banér Johan Banér (23 June 1596 – 10 May 1641) was a Swedish field marshal Field marshal (or field-marshal, abbreviated as FM) is the most senior military rank, ordinarily senior to the general officer ranks. Usually, it is the highest ran ...
entered Brandenburg and defeated an Imperial force at the
Battle of Wittstock The Battle of Wittstock took place during the Thirty Years' War The Thirty Years' War was one of the longest and List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll, most destructive conflicts in History of Europe, European history ...
on 4 October, re-establishing their predominance in North-East Germany. Ferdinand II died in February 1637 and was succeeded by his son Ferdinand III, who faced a deteriorating military position. In March 1638,
Bernard Bernard ('' Bernhard'') is a French and West Germanic The West Germanic languages constitute the largest of the three branches of the Germanic languages, Germanic family of languages (the others being the North Germanic languages, North Germa ...
destroyed an Imperial army at Rheinfelden, while his capture of
Breisach Breisach (formerly Altbreisach; Low Alemannic German, Low Alemannic: ''Alt-Brisach'') is a town with approximately 16,500 inhabitants, situated along the Rhine in the Rhine, Rhine Valley, in the districts of Germany, district Breisgau-Hochschwarz ...
in December secured French control of Alsace and severed the Spanish Road. The main Imperial army under Matthias Gallas that had pushed Banér's Swedes back to the Baltic Coast was forced to divert resources against Bernard and to dispatch von Hatzfeldt against a Swedish-Palatine invading force in Westphalia. Though Hatzfeld defeated his opponents in October at
Vlotho Vlotho () is a town in the district of Herford, in North Rhine-Westphalia North Rhine-Westphalia (german: Nordrhein-Westfalen, ; li, Noordrien-Wesfale ; nds, Noordrhien-Westfalen; ksh, Noodrhing-Wäßßfaale), commonly shortened to NRW ...
, the main army under Gallas had to retreat from the Baltic because of lack of supplies, partially dissolving in the process. Banér defeated the Saxons at
Chemnitz Chemnitz (; from 1953 to 1990: Karl-Marx-Stadt , ) is the third-largest city in the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony after Leipzig and Dresden. It is the List of cities in Germany by population, 28th largest city of Germany as ...
in April 1639, then entered Bohemia in May. To retrieve the situation, Ferdinand diverted
Piccolomini The House of Piccolomini (pronounced ) is the name of an Italian noble family, Patrician (post-Roman Europe), Patricians of Siena, who were prominent from the beginning of the 13th century until the 18th century. The family achieved the recognise ...
's army from
Thionville Thionville (; ; german: Diedenhofen ) is a city in the northeastern French Departments of France, department of Moselle (department), Moselle. The city is located on the left bank of the river Moselle (river), Moselle, opposite its suburb Yutz. ...
, ending direct military cooperation between Austria and Spain. Pressure grew on Spanish minister Olivares to make peace, especially after attempts to hire Polish auxiliaries proved unsuccessful. Cutting the Spanish Road had forced
Madrid Madrid ( , ) is the capital and most populous city of Spain. The city has almost 3.4 million inhabitants and a Madrid metropolitan area, metropolitan area population of approximately 6.7 million. It is the Largest cities of the Europ ...
to resupply their armies in Flanders by sea and in October 1639 a large Spanish convoy was destroyed at the
Battle of the Downs The Battle of the Downs took place on 21 October 1639 ( New Style), during the Eighty Years' War The Eighty Years' War or Dutch Revolt ( nl, Nederlandse Opstand) (Historiography of the Eighty Years' War#Name and periodisation, c.15 ...
by a Dutch fleet, led by
Maarten Tromp Maarten Harpertszoon Tromp (also written as ''Maerten Tromp''; 23 April 1598 – 31 July 1653) was a Dutch army general and admiral in the Dutch navy. Son of a ship's captain, Tromp spent much of his childhood at sea, including being captu ...
. Dutch attacks on their possessions in Africa and the Americas caused unrest in Portugal, then part of the Spanish Empire and combined with heavy taxes caused revolts in
Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a Sovereign state, country whose mainland is located on the Iberian Peninsula of Southern Europe, Southwestern Europe, and whose territory also includes ...
and
Catalonia Catalonia (; ca, Catalunya ; Aranese Occitan: ''Catalonha'' ; es, Cataluña ) is an autonomous community of Spain, designated as a ''nationalities and regions of Spain, nationality'' by its Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia of 2006, Statute ...
. After the French captured Arras in August 1640 and overran
Artois Artois ( ; ; nl, Artesië; English adjective: ''Artesian'') is a region of Hauts-de-France, northern France. Its territory covers an area of about 4,000 km2 and it has a population of about one million. Its principal cities are Arras (Dut ...
, Olivares argued it was time to accept Dutch independence and prevent further losses in Flanders. Spain remained a formidable power but could no longer subsidise Ferdinand, impacting his ability to continue the war. After Bernard died in July 1639, his troops joined Banér's Swedish army on an ineffectual campaign along the Weser, the highlight being a surprise attack in January 1641 on the Imperial Diet in Regensburg. Forced to retreat, Banér reached
Halberstadt Halberstadt (Eastphalian dialect, Eastphalian: ''Halverstidde'') is a town in the Germany, German state of Saxony-Anhalt, the capital of Harz (district), Harz district. Located north of the Harz mountain range, it is known for its old town cente ...
in May where he died; despite beating off an Imperial force at
Wolfenbüttel Wolfenbüttel (; nds, Wulfenbüddel) is a town in Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a States of Germany, German state (') in Northern Germany, northwestern Germany. It is the sec ...
in June, his largely German troops mutinied due to lack of pay. The situation was saved by the arrival of
Lennart Torstenson Lennart Torstensson, Count of Ortala, Baron of Virestad (17 August 16037 April 1651), was a Swedish List of Swedish field marshals, Field Marshal and military engineer. Early career He was born at Forstena manor in Västergötland. His parents ...
in November with 7,000 Swedish recruits and enough cash to satisfy the mutineers. French victory at Kempen in January 1642 was followed by Second Breitenfeld in October 1642, where Torstenson inflicted almost 10,000 casualties on an Imperial army led by
Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria (5 January 1614 – 20 November 1662), younger brother of Ferdinand III, Holy Roman Emperor, Emperor Ferdinand III, was an Austrian soldier, administrator and patron of the arts. He held a number of military ...
. The capture of
Leipzig Leipzig ( , ; Upper Saxon: ) is the most populous city in the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony. Leipzig's population of 605,407 inhabitants (1.1 million in the larger urban zone) as of 2021 places the city as Germany's L ...
in December gave the Swedes a significant new base in Germany, and despite their failure to take
Freiberg Freiberg is a college town, university and former mining town in Saxony, Germany. It is a so-called ''Große Kreisstadt'' (large county town) and the administrative centre of Mittelsachsen district. Its historic town centre has been placed un ...
, by 1643 the Saxon army had been reduced to a few isolated garrisons. While Ferdinand accepted a military solution was no longer possible, by fighting on he hoped to prevent the Imperial Estates joining his peace negotiations with France and Sweden, thus preserving his authority by allowing him to represent the Empire as a whole. This seemed more achievable with the deaths of Richelieu in December 1642, followed by
Louis XIII Louis XIII (; sometimes called the Just; 27 September 1601 – 14 May 1643) was King of France from 1610 until his death in 1643 and King of Navarre (as Louis II) from 1610 to 1620, when the crown of Navarre was merged with the French crown. ...
on 14 May 1643, leaving his five-year-old son
Louis XIV Louis XIV (Louis Dieudonné; 5 September 16381 September 1715), also known as Louis the Great () or the Sun King (), was List of French monarchs, King of France from 14 May 1643 until his death in 1715. His reign of 72 years and 110 days is the Li ...
as king. However, Richelieu's policies were continued by his successor
Cardinal Mazarin Cardinal Jules Mazarin (, also , , ; 14 July 1602 – 9 March 1661), born Giulio Raimondo Mazzarino () or Mazarini, was an Italy, Italian cardinal (Catholic Church), cardinal, diplomat and politician who served as the Chief minister of France, c ...
, while French gains in Alsace allowed him to re-focus on the war against Spain in the Netherlands. On 19 May, Condé won an emphatic victory over the Spanish at Rocroi. Although his success was less significant than often assumed, since it had no immediate effect on Spanish control of the Southern Netherlands and the Spanish veterans captured at Rocroi were quickly exchanged, it ended all chances of launching another invasion of France from the Low Countries. Condé's inability to take full advantage of Rocroi was partially due to factors that affected all the combatants. The devastation inflicted by 25 years of warfare meant armies spent more time foraging than fighting, forcing them to become smaller and more mobile with a much greater emphasis on cavalry. It also shortened the campaigning seasons, since the need to gather forage meant they started later, and restricted them to areas that could be easily supplied, usually close to rivers. In addition, the French had to rebuild their army in Germany after it was shattered by an Imperial-Bavarian force led by Franz von Mercy at Tuttlingen in November. Soon after Rocroi, Ferdinand invited Sweden and France to attend peace talks in the
Westphalia Westphalia (; german: Westfalen ; nds, Westfalen ) is a region of northwestern Germany and one of the three historic parts of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. It has an area of and 7.9 million inhabitants. The territory of the regio ...
n towns of
Münster Münster (; nds, Mönster) is an independent city An independent city or independent town is a city or town that does not form part of another general-purpose local government entity (such as a province). Historical precursors In the Hol ...
and
Osnabrück Osnabrück (; wep, Ossenbrügge; archaic ''Osnaburg'') is a city in the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Lower Saxony. It is situated on the river Hase in a valley penned between the Wiehen Hills and the northern tip of the Teutobur ...
, but these were delayed when Christian of Denmark blockaded Hamburg and increased toll payments in the Baltic. This severely impacted the Dutch and Swedish economies and in December 1643 the Swedes began the Torstenson War by invading Jutland, with the Dutch providing naval support. Ferdinand pulled together an Imperial army under Gallas to attack the Swedes from the rear, which proved a disastrous decision. Leaving Wrangel to finish the war in Denmark, in May 1644 Torstenson marched into the Empire; Gallas was unable to stop him, while the Danes sued for peace after their defeat at
Fehmarn Fehmarn (, da, Femern; from Old Wagrian Slavic languages, Slavic "''Fe More''", meaning "''In the Sea''") is an island in the Baltic Sea, off the eastern coast of Germany's northernmost state of Schleswig-Holstein. It is Germany's third-largest i ...
in October 1644. In August 1644, the French and Bavarian armies met in the three day Battle of Freiburg, in which both sides suffered heavy casualties but is generally viewed as a narrow Bavarian victory. His losses convinced Maximilian the war could no longer be won and he now put pressure on Ferdinand to end the conflict. Shortly after peace talks restarted in November, Gallas' Imperial army disintegrated and the remnants retreated into Bohemia, where they were scattered by Torstenson at Jankau in March 1645. In May, a Bavarian force under von Mercy destroyed a French detachment at Herbsthausen, before he was defeated and killed at Second Nördlingen in August. With Ferdinand unable to help, John George of Saxony signed a six-month truce with Sweden in September, followed by the March 1646 Treaty of Eulenberg in which he agreed to remain neutral until the end of the war. Under
Turenne Henri de La Tour d'Auvergne, vicomte de Turenne (11 September 161127 July 1675), commonly known as Turenne , was a French general and one of only six Marshal of France, Marshals to have been promoted Marshal General of France. The most illustr ...
, French commander in the Rhineland, and Wrangel, who had replaced Torstenson, the French and Swedes separately invaded Bavaria in the summer of 1646. Maximilian was soon desperate to end the war he was largely responsible for starting, at which point the Spanish publicised a secret offer by Mazarin to exchange French-occupied Catalonia for the Spanish Netherlands. Angered by this duplicity, the Dutch agreed a truce with Spain in January 1647 and began to negotiate their own peace terms. Having failed to acquire the Netherlands through diplomacy, Mazarin decided to do so by force and to free up resources, on 14 March 1647 he signed the Truce of Ulm with Bavaria,
Cologne Cologne ( ; german: Köln ; ksh, Kölle ) is the largest city of the German western States of Germany, state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and the List of cities in Germany by population, fourth-most populous city of Germany with 1.1 m ...
and Sweden. The offensive was to be led by Turenne, but the plan fell apart when his mostly German troops mutinied, while Bavarian general Johann von Werth refused to comply with the truce. Although the mutinies were quickly suppressed, Maximilian felt obliged to follow Werth's example and in September ordered Bronckhorst-Gronsfeld to combine the remnants of the Bavarian army with Imperial troops under von Holzappel. Outnumbered by a Franco-Swedish army led by Wrangel and Turenne, they were defeated at Zusmarshausen in May 1648 and von Holzappel was killed. Although the bulk of the Imperial army escaped thanks to an effective rearguard action by
Raimondo Montecuccoli Raimondo Montecuccoli (; 21 February 1609 – 16 October 1680) was an Italian-born professional soldier, military theorist, and diplomat, who served the Habsburg monarchy The Habsburg monarchy (german: Habsburgermonarchie, ), also known as ...
, Bavaria was left defenceless once again. The Swedes sent a second force under von Königsmarck to attack Prague, seizing the castle and Malá Strana district in July. The main objective was to gain as much loot as possible before the war ended; they failed to take the
Old Town In a city or town, the old town is its historic or original core. Although the city is usually larger in its present form, many cities have redesignated this part of the city to commemorate its origins after thorough renovations. There are ma ...
but captured the Imperial library, along with treasures including the ''
Codex Gigas The ''Codex Gigas'' ("Giant Book"; cs, Obří kniha) is the largest extant Middle Ages, medieval illuminated manuscript in the world, at a length of . Very large illuminated bibles were a typical feature of Romanesque art, Romanesque monastic ...
'', now in Stockholm. When a Spanish offensive in Flanders ended with defeat at
Lens A lens is a transmissive optics, optical device which focuses or disperses a light beam by means of refraction. A simple lens consists of a single piece of transparent material, while a #Compound lenses, compound lens consists of several simp ...
in August 1648, Ferdinand finally agreed terms and on 24 October, he signed peace treaties with France and Sweden, ending the war.


The conflict outside Germany


Northern Italy

Parts of northern Italy, which were part of the
Kingdom of Italy The Kingdom of Italy ( it, Regno d'Italia) was a state that existed from 1861, when Victor Emmanuel II of Kingdom of Sardinia, Sardinia was proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy, proclaimed King of Italy, until 1946, when civil discontent led to ...
, had been contested by France and the
Habsburgs The House of Habsburg (), alternatively spelled Hapsburg in Englishgerman: Haus Habsburg, ; es, Casa de Habsburgo; hu, Habsburg család, it, Casa di Asburgo, nl, Huis van Habsburg, pl, dom Habsburgów, pt, Casa de Habsburgo, la, Domus Hab ...
since the Italian Wars, end of the 15th century, as it was vital for control of south-west France, an area with a Huguenot rebellions, long history of opposition to the central authorities. While Spain remained the dominant power in Lombardy and in Southern Italy, its reliance on long exterior lines of communication was a potential weakness. This applied particularly to the Spanish Road, which allowed them to safely move recruits and supplies from the Kingdom of Naples through Lombardy to their army in Flanders. The French sought to disrupt the Road by attacking the Spanish-held Duchy of Milan or blocking the Alpine passes through alliances with the Grisons. Duchy of Montferrat, Montferrat and its fortress of Casale Monferrato were subsidiary territories of the Duchy of Mantua and their possession allowed the holder to threaten Milan. This meant when the Vincenzo II Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua, last duke in the direct line died in December 1627, France and Spain backed rival claimants, resulting in the 1628 to 1631 War of the Mantuan Succession. The French-born Charles I Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua, Duke of Nevers was backed by France and the Republic of Venice, his rival the Ferrante II Gonzaga, Duke of Guastalla, Duke of Guastalla by Spain, Ferdinand II, Savoy and Grand Duchy of Tuscany, Tuscany. While a relatively minor conflict, the struggle had a disproportionate impact on the Thirty Years War, since Pope Urban VIII viewed Habsburg expansion in Italy as a threat to the Papal States. The result was to divide the Catholic church, alienate the Pope from Ferdinand II and make it acceptable for France to employ Protestant allies against him. In March 1629, the French stormed Savoyard positions in the Pas de Suse, lifted the Spanish siege of Casale and captured Pinerolo. The Treaty of Suza then ceded the two fortresses to France and allowed their troops unrestricted passage through Savoyard territory, giving them control over Piedmont and the Alpine passes into Southern France. However, as soon as the main French army withdrew in late 1629, the Spanish and Savoyards besieged Casale once again, while Ferdinand II provided German mercenaries to support a Spanish offensive which routed the main Venetian field army and forced Nevers to abandon Mantua. By October 1630, the French position seemed so precarious their representatives agreed the Treaty of Ratisbon but since the terms effectively destroyed Richelieu's policy of opposing Habsburg expansion, it was never ratified. Several factors restored the French position in Northern Italy, notably a devastating outbreak of 1629–1631 Italian plague, plague; between 1629 and 1631, over 60,000 died in Milan and 46,000 in Venice, with proportionate losses elsewhere. Richelieu took advantage of the diversion of Imperial resources from Germany to fund a Swedish intervention in the Thirty Years' War, Swedish invasion, whose success forced the Spanish-Savoyard alliance to withdraw from Casale and sign the Treaty of Cherasco in April 1631. Nevers was confirmed as Duke of Mantua and although Richelieu's representative, Cardinal Mazarin, agreed to evacuate Pinerolo, it was later secretly returned under an agreement with Victor Amadeus I, Duke of Savoy. With the exception of the 1639 to 1642 Piedmontese Civil War, this secured the French position in Northern Italy for the next twenty years. After the outbreak of the Franco-Spanish War in 1635, Richelieu supported a renewed offensive by Victor Amadeus against Milan to tie down Spanish resources. These included an unsuccessful attack on Valenza in 1635, plus minor victories at Battle of Tornavento, Tornavento and Mombaldone. However, the anti-Habsburg alliance in Northern Italy fell apart when first Charles of Mantua died in September 1637, then Victor Amadeus in October, whose death led to a struggle for control of the Savoyard state between his widow Christine of France and brothers, Thomas Francis, Prince of Carignano, Thomas and Prince Maurice of Savoy, Maurice. In 1639, their quarrel erupted into open warfare, with France backing Christine and Spain the two brothers, and resulted in the Siege of Turin (1640), Siege of Turin. One of the most famous military events of the 17th century, at one stage it featured no less than three different armies besieging each other. However, the revolts in Portugal and Catalonia forced the Spanish to cease operations in Italy and the war was settled on terms favourable to Christine and France. In 1647, a French-backed rebellion succeeded in temporarily overthrowing Spanish rule in Neapolitan Republic (1647), Naples. The Spanish quickly crushed the insurrection and restored their rule over all of southern Italy, defeating multiple French expeditionary forces sent to back the rebels. However, it exposed the weakness of Spanish rule in Italy and the alienation of the local elites from Madrid; in 1650, the governor of Milan wrote that as well as widespread dissatisfaction in the south, the only one of the Italian states that could be relied on was the Duchy of Parma.


Catalonia

Throughout the 1630s, tax increases levied to pay for the war led to protests throughout Spanish territories, which in 1640 resulted in simultaneous revolts first in Portugal, then the Principality of Catalonia. Backed by France as part of Richelieu's 'war by diversion', in January 1641 the rebels proclaimed a Catalan Republic (1641), Catalan Republic. The Madrid government quickly assembled an army of 26,000 men to crush the revolt, which defeated the rebels at Battle of Martorell (1641), Martorell on 23 January 1641. The French now persuaded the Catalan Courts to recognise Louis XIII as Count of Barcelona, and ruler of Catalonia. On 26 January, a combined French-Catalan force routed a larger Spanish army at Battle of Montjuïc (1641), Montjuïc and secured Barcelona. However, the rebels soon found the new French administration differed little from the old, turning the war into a three-sided contest between the Franco-Catalan elite, the rural peasantry, and the Spanish. There was little serious fighting after France took control of Perpignan and Roussillon, establishing the modern Franco-Spanish border in the Pyrenees. The revolt ended in 1651 with the Spanish capture of Siege of Barcelona (1651), Barcelona.


Outside Europe

In 1580, Philip II of Spain also became ruler of the Portuguese Empire, creating the Iberian Union; long-standing commercial rivals, the 1602 to 1663 Dutch–Portuguese War was an offshoot of the Dutch fight for independence from Spain. The Portuguese dominated the trans-Atlantic economy known as the Triangular trade, in which slaves were transported from West Africa and Portuguese Angola to work on plantations in Portuguese Brazil, which exported sugar and tobacco to Europe. Known by Dutch historians as the 'Great Design", control of this trade would not only be extremely profitable but also deprive the Spanish of funds needed to finance their war in the Netherlands. The Dutch West India Company was formed in 1621 to achieve this purpose and a Dutch fleet captured the Brazilian port of Salvador, Bahia in 1624. After it was retaken by the Portuguese in 1625, a second fleet established Dutch Brazil in 1630, which was not returned until 1654. The second part was seizing slave trading hubs in Africa, chiefly Angola and São Tomé; supported by the Kingdom of Kongo, whose position was threatened by Portuguese expansion, the Dutch successfully occupied both in 1641. Spain's inability or unwillingness to provide protection against these attacks increased Portuguese resentment and were major factors in the outbreak of the Portuguese Restoration War in 1640. Although ultimately expelled from Brazil, Angola and São Tomé, the Dutch retained the Cape of Good Hope, as well as Portuguese trading posts in Portuguese Malacca, Malacca, the Malabar Coast, the Moluccas and Portuguese Ceylon, Ceylon.


Peace of Westphalia (1648)

The Peace of Westphalia actually 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. Preliminary discussions began in 1642 but only became serious in 1646; a total of 109 delegations attended at one time or other, with talks split between Münster and Osnabrück. After the Swedes rejected Christian of Denmark as mediator, the negotiators finally agreed on Papal Legate Pope Alexander VII, Fabio Chigi and the Venetian envoy Alvise Contarini (diplomat), Alvise Contarini. The Peace of Münster was the first to be signed on 30 January 1648 and is considered to be part of the Westphalia settlement since the Dutch Republic was still technically part of the Spanish Netherlands and thus Imperial territory. The treaty confirmed Dutch independence, although the Imperial Diet did not formally accept that it was no longer part of the Empire until 1728. The Dutch were also given a monopoly over trade conducted through the Scheldt estuary, ensuring the commercial ascendancy of Amsterdam; Antwerp, capital of the Spanish Netherlands and previously the most important port in Northern Europe, would not recover until the late 19th century. Negotiations with France and Sweden were conducted in conjunction with the Imperial Diet, and were multi-sided discussions involving many of the German states. This resulted in the treaties of Münster and Osnabrück, making peace with France and Sweden respectively. Ferdinand resisted signing until the last possible moment, doing so on 24 October only after a crushing French victory over Spain at
Lens A lens is a transmissive optics, optical device which focuses or disperses a light beam by means of refraction. A simple lens consists of a single piece of transparent material, while a #Compound lenses, compound lens consists of several simp ...
, and with Swedish troops on the verge of taking Prague. It has been argued they were a "major turning point in German and European...legal history", because they went beyond normal peace settlements and effected major constitutional and religious changes to the Empire itself. Key elements of the Peace were provisions confirming the autonomy of states within the Empire, including Ferdinand's acceptance of the supremacy of the Imperial Diet, and those seeking to prevent future religious conflict. Article 5 reconfirmed the Augsburg settlement, established 1624 as the basis, or "Normaljahr", for determining the dominant religion of a state and guaranteed freedom of worship for religious minorities. Article 7 recognised Calvinism as a Reformed faith and removed the ''ius reformandi'', the requirement that if a ruler changed his religion, his subjects had to follow suit. These terms did not apply to the hereditary lands of the Habsburg monarchy, such as Lower and Upper Austria. In terms of territorial concessions, Brandenburg-Prussia received Farther Pomerania, and the bishoprics of Magdeburg, Halberstadt, Bishopric of Kammin, Kammin, and Bishopric of Minden, Minden. Frederick's son Charles I Louis, Elector Palatine, Charles Louis regained the Lower Palatinate and became the eighth Imperial elector, although Bavaria kept the Upper Palatinate and its electoral vote. Externally, the treaties formally acknowledged the independence of the Dutch Republic and the Old Swiss Confederacy, Swiss Confederacy, effectively autonomous since 1499. In Lorraine, the Three Bishoprics of Bishopric of Metz, Metz, Bishopric of Toul, Toul and Bishopric of Verdun, Verdun, occupied by France since 1552, were formally ceded, as were the cities of the Décapole in Alsace, with the exception of Strasbourg and Mulhouse. Sweden received an indemnity of five million thalers, the Imperial territories of Swedish Pomerania, and the Prince-bishoprics of Bremen and Verden, which also gave them a seat in the Imperial Diet. The Peace was later denounced by Pope Innocent X, who regarded the bishoprics ceded to France and Brandenburg as property of the Catholic church, and thus his to assign. It also disappointed many exiles by accepting Catholicism as the dominant religion in Bohemia, Upper and Lower Austria, all of which were Protestant strongholds prior to 1618. 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. In addition, Mazarin insisted on excluding the Burgundian Circle from the treaty of Münster, allowing France to continue its campaign against Spain in the Low Countries, a war that continued until the 1659 Treaty of the Pyrenees. The Deluge (history), political disintegration of Poland-Lithuania led to the 1655 to 1660 Second Northern War with Sweden, which also involved Denmark, Russia and Brandenburg, while two Swedish attempts to impose its control on the port of Bremen failed in Swedish Wars on Bremen, 1654 and 1666. It has been argued the Peace established the principle known as Westphalian sovereignty, the idea of non-interference in domestic affairs by outside powers, although this has since been challenged. The process, or 'Congress' model, was adopted for negotiations at Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (1668), Aix-la-Chapelle in 1668, Treaties of Nijmegen, Nijmegen in 1678, and Peace of Ryswick, 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.


Human and financial cost of the war

Historians often refer to the 'The General Crisis, General Crisis' of the mid-17th century, a period of sustained conflict in states such as Ming China, China, the British Isles, Tsardom of Russia, Tsarist Russia and the Holy Roman Empire. In all these areas, war, famine and disease inflicted severe losses on local populations. While the Thirty Years War certainly ranks as one of the worst of these events, 19th century nationalists often increased or exaggerated its impact to illustrate the dangers of a divided Germany. Suggestions of up to 12 million deaths from a population of 18 million are no longer accepted, while claims of material losses are either not supported by contemporary evidence or in some cases exceed prewar tax records. The conflict has been described as one of the greatest medical catastrophes in history but by modern standards the number of soldiers involved was relatively low. Battles generally featured armies of around 13,000 to 20,000 each, the largest being Alte Veste in 1632 with a combined 70,000 to 85,000. Estimates of the total deployed by both sides within Germany range from an average of 80,000 to 100,000 from 1618 to 1626, peaking at 250,000 in 1632 and falling to under 160,000 by 1648. Casualty rates could be extremely high; of 230 men conscripted from the Swedish village of Bygdeå between 1621 and 1639, 215 are recorded as dead or missing, while another five returned home crippled. Aggregating figures from known battles and sieges, historian Peter Wilson estimates those either killed or wounded in combat totalled around 450,000. Since research shows disease either killed or incapacitated two to three times that number, that would suggest military casualties ranged from 1.3 to 1.8 million dead or otherwise rendered unfit for service. Pitirim Sorokin calculates an upper limit of 2,071,000 military casualties, although his methodology has been disputed. In general, historians agree the war was an unprecedented mortality disaster and the vast majority of casualties, whether civilian or military, took place after Swedish intervention in 1630. Based on local records, military action accounted for less than 3% of civilian deaths, with the major causes being starvation (12%), bubonic plague (64%), typhus (4%), and dysentery (5%). Although regular outbreaks of disease were common for decades prior to 1618, the conflict greatly accelerated their spread, due to the influx of soldiers from foreign countries, the shifting locations of battle fronts and displacement of rural populations into already crowded cities. This was not restricted to Germany; disease carried by French and Imperial soldiers allegedly sparked the 1629–1631 Italian plague, the "worst mortality crisis to affect Italy during the Early modern period", leading to some 280,000 deaths, with higher estimates of around 1 million. Poor harvests throughout the 1630s and repeated plundering of the same areas led to widespread famine; contemporaries record people eating grass, or too weak to accept alms, while instances of cannibalism were common. The modern consensus is the population of the Holy Roman Empire declined from 18 to 20 million in 1600 to 11 to 13 million in 1650, and did not regain pre-war levels until 1750. Nearly 50% of these losses appear to have been incurred during the first period of Swedish intervention from 1630 to 1635. The high mortality rate compared to the Wars of the Three Kingdoms in Britain may partly be due to the reliance of all sides on foreign mercenaries, often unpaid and required to live off the land. Lack of a sense of 'shared community' resulted in atrocities such as the destruction of Magdeburg, in turn creating large numbers of refugees who were extremely susceptible to sickness and hunger. While flight saved lives in the short-term, in the long run it often proved catastrophic. In 1940, agrarian historian Günther Franz published a detailed analysis of regional data from across Germany covering the period from 1618 to 1648. Broadly confirmed by more recent work, he concluded "about 40% of the rural population fell victim to the war and epidemics; in the cities,...33%". These figures can be misleading, since Franz calculated the ''absolute decline'' in pre and post-war populations, or 'total demographic loss'. They therefore include factors unrelated to death or disease, such as permanent migration to areas outside the Empire or lower birthrates, a common but less obvious impact of extended warfare. There were also wide regional variations; some areas in Northwest Germany were relatively peaceful after 1630 and experienced almost no population loss, while those of Mecklenburg, Pomerania and Duchy of Württemberg, Württemberg fell by nearly 50%. Although some towns may have overstated their losses to avoid taxes, individual records confirm 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. The financial impact is less clear; while the war caused short-term economic dislocation, especially in the period Kipper und Wipper, 1618 to 1623, overall it accelerated existing changes in trading patterns. It does not appear to have reversed ongoing macro-economic trends, such as the reduction of price differentials between regional markets, and a greater degree of market integration across Europe. The death toll may have improved living standards for the survivors; one study shows wages in Germany increased by 40% in real terms between 1603 and 1652.


Military developments

Innovations made during the war by Gustavus in particular are considered part of the tactical evolution known as the "Military Revolution", although there is some debate as to whether tactics or technology were at the heart of these changes. These developments were popularised by Maurice, Prince of Orange, Maurice of Orange in the 1590s and sought to increase infantry firepower by moving from massed Column (formation), columns to Line (formation), line formation. Gustavus refined these changes by reducing the ten ranks used by Maurice to six, while increasing the proportion of Musketeers to Pike (weapon), pikemen; in addition, each unit was equipped with quick-firing light artillery pieces on either flank. Perhaps the best example of their application in real life was the defeat of Tilly's traditionally organised army by the Swedes at Breitenfeld in September 1631. Line formations were not always successful, as demonstrated by the victory of the supposedly obsolete Spanish tercios over the "new model" Swedish army Battle of Nördlingen (1634), at Nördlingen in 1634. They were also harder to co-ordinate in offensive operations; Gustavus compensated by requiring his cavalry to be far more aggressive, often employing his Finnish light cavalry or ''Hakkapeliitta'' as shock troops. He also used columns on occasion, including the failed assault at Alte Veste in September 1632. Columns continued to be viewed as more effective in offensive operations and were used by Napoleon throughout the latter stages of the Napoleonic Wars. Such tactics needed professional soldiers, who could retain formation, reload and fire disciplined salvos while under attack, as well as the use of standardised weapons. The first half of the 17th century saw the publication of numerous instruction manuals showing the movements required, thirty-two for pikemen and forty-two for musketeers. The period needed to train an infantryman who could operate in this way was estimated as six months, although in reality many went into battle with far less experience. It also placed greater responsibility on junior officers who provided the vital links between senior commanders and the tactical unit. One of the first military schools designed to produce such men was set up at Siegen in 1616 and others soon followed. On the other hand, strategic thinking failed to develop at the same pace. Historian Jeremy Black (historian), Jeremy Black claims most campaigns were "inconclusive" and almost exclusively concerned with control of territory, rather than focused strategic objectives. The lack of connection between military and diplomatic goals helps explain why the war lasted so long and why peace proved so elusive. There were a number of reasons for this. When the Treaty of Westphalia was signed in 1648, the Franco-Swedish alliance still had over 84,000 men under arms on Imperial territory, their opponents around 77,000; while relatively small in modern terms, such numbers were unprecedented at the time. With the possible exception of Spain, the 17th century state could not support armies of this size, forcing them to depend on "contributions" levied or extorted from areas they passed through. Obtaining supplies thus became the limiting factor in campaign planning, an issue that grew more acute later in the war when much of the Empire had already been fought over. Even when adequate provisions could be gathered, the next problem was getting them to the troops; to ensure security of supply, commanders were forced to stay close to rivers, then the primary means of bulk transportation, and could not move too far from their main bases. Many historians argue feeding the troops became an objective in itself, unconnected to diplomatic goals and largely uncontrolled by their central governments. The result was "armies increasingly devoid of intelligible political objectives...degenerating into travelling armed mobs living in a symbiotic relationship with the countryside they passed through". This lack of connection often worked against the political aims of their employers; the devastation inflicted in 1628 and 1629 by Imperial troops on Brandenburg and Saxony, both nominally their allies, was a major factor in their support for Swedish intervention.


Social and cultural impact

It has been suggested the breakdown of social order caused by the war was often more significant and longer lasting than the immediate damage. The collapse of local government created landless peasants, who banded together to protect themselves from the soldiers of both sides, and led to widespread rebellions in Peasants' War in Upper Austria, Upper Austria, Bavaria and Brandenburg. Soldiers devastated one area before moving on, leaving large tracts of land empty of people and changing the ecosystem. Food shortages were worsened by an explosion in the rodent population; Bavaria was overrun by wolves in the winter of 1638, and its crops destroyed by packs of wild pigs the following spring. Contemporaries spoke of a 'frenzy of despair' as people sought to make sense of the relentless and often random bloodshed unleashed by the war. Attributed by religious authorities to divine retribution for sin, other attempts to identify a supernatural cause led to a series of Witch-hunts, beginning in Franconia in 1626 and quickly spreading to other parts of Germany. They began in the Bishopric of Würzburg, an area with a history of such events going back to 1616 and now re-ignited by Philipp Adolf von Ehrenberg, Bishop von Ehrenberg, a devout Catholic eager to assert the church's authority in his territories. By the time he died in 1631, Würzburg witch trial, over 900 people from all levels of society had been burned at the stake, executed. The Bamberg witch trials, held in the nearby Bishopric of Bamberg from 1626 to 1631, claimed over one thousand lives; in 1629, 274 died in the Eichstätt witch trials, plus another 50 in the adjacent Duchy of Palatinate-Neuburg. Elsewhere, persecution followed Imperial military success, expanding into Margraviate of Baden, Baden and the Palatinate following their reconquest by Tilly, then into the Rhineland. However, the extent to which they were symptomatic of the impact of the conflict on society is debatable, since many took place in areas relatively untouched by the war. Concerned their brutality would discredit the Counter-Reformation, Ferdinand ensured active persecution largely ended by 1630. Although the war caused immense destruction, it has also been credited with sparking a revival in German literature, including the creation of societies dedicated to "purging of foreign elements" from the German language. One example is ''Simplicius Simplicissimus'', often suggested as one of the earliest examples of the Picaresque novel; written by Hans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen in 1668, it includes a realistic portrayal of a soldier's life based on his own experiences, many of which are verified by other sources. Other less famous examples include the diaries of Peter Hagendorf, a participant in the
Sack of Magdeburg The Sack of Magdeburg, also called Magdeburg's Wedding (german: Magdeburger Hochzeit) or Magdeburg's Sacrifice (), was the destruction of the Protestantism, Protestant city of Magdeburg on 20 May 1631 by the Imperial Army (Holy Roman Empire), I ...
whose description of the everyday brutalities of the war remain compelling. For German, and to a lesser extent Czech writers, the war continued to be remembered as a defining moment of national trauma, the 18th century poet and playwright Friedrich Schiller being one of many to use it in their work. Variously known as the 'Great German War,' 'Great War' or 'Great Schism', for 19th and early 20th century German nationalists it showed the dangers of a divided Germany and was used to justify the creation of the German Empire in 1871, as well as the Greater Germanic Reich envisaged by the Nazi Germany, Nazis. Bertolt Brecht used it as the backdrop for his 1939 anti-war play ''Mother Courage and Her Children'', while its enduring cultural resonance is illustrated by the novel ''Tyll''; written by Austro-German author Daniel Kehlmann and also set during the war, it was nominated for the 2020 Booker Prize.


Political consequences

The Peace reconfirmed "German liberties", ending Habsburg attempts to convert the Holy Roman Empire into a more centralised state similar to Spain. Over the next 50 years, Bavaria, Brandenburg-Prussia, Saxony and others increasingly pursued their own policies, while Sweden gained a permanent foothold in the Empire. Despite these setbacks, the Habsburg lands suffered less from the war than many others and became a far more coherent bloc with the absorption of Bohemia, and restoration of Catholicism throughout their territories. By laying the foundations of the modern nation state, Westphalia changed the relationship between subjects and their rulers. Previously, many had overlapping, sometimes conflicting, political and religious allegiances; they were now understood to be subject first and foremost to the laws and edicts of their respective state authority, not the claims of any other entity, religious or secular. This made it easier to levy national forces 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. The benefits of Westphalia for the Swedes proved short-lived. Unlike French gains which were incorporated into France, Swedish territories remained part of the Empire, and they became members of the Lower and Upper Saxon ''kreis''. While this gave them seats in the Imperial Diet, it also brought them into direct conflict with both Brandenburg-Prussia and Saxony, their competitors in Pomerania. The income from their imperial possessions remained in Germany and did not benefit the kingdom of Sweden; although they retained parts of Swedish Pomerania until 1815, much of it was ceded to Prussia in 1679 and 1720. France arguably gained more from the Thirty Years' War than any other power; by 1648, most of Richelieu's objectives had been achieved. These included separation of the Spanish and Austrian Habsburgs, expansion of the French frontier into the Empire, and an end to Spanish military supremacy in Northern Europe. Although the Franco-Spanish conflict continued until 1659, Westphalia allowed Louis XIV to begin replacing Spain as the predominant European power. While differences over religion remained an issue throughout the 17th century, it was the last major war in Continental Europe in which it can be said to be a primary driver; later conflicts were either internal, such as the Camisards revolt in South-Western France, or relatively minor like the 1712 Toggenburg War. It created the outlines of a Europe that persisted until 1815 and beyond; the nation-state of France, the beginnings of a unified Germany and separate Austro-Hungarian bloc, a diminished but still significant Spain, independent smaller states like Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland, along with a Low Countries split between the Dutch Republic and what became Belgium in 1830.


Involvement


Notes


References


Sources

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Further reading

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * in 2 vols; translation by William Blaquiere. * * * {{Authority control Thirty Years' War, 17th-century conflicts 17th-century Christianity 17th century in Europe 17th century in the Habsburg Monarchy 17th-century military history of the Kingdom of England 17th century in Bohemia 17th century in the Dutch Republic 17th century in France 17th century in the Holy Roman Empire 17th century in the Spanish Empire 17th century in Switzerland Christianity in the Holy Roman Empire European wars of religion Habsburg Bohemia History of Central Europe History of the Palatinate (region) Principality of Transylvania (1570–1711) Warfare of the Early Modern period Wars involving England Wars involving France Wars involving Germany Wars involving the Habsburg Monarchy Wars involving the Holy Roman Empire