• The French wars of religion between Catholics
• Spanish struggle against Dutch independence
in the Netherlands.
• The struggle between Catholic Spain and
• The course of the Thirty Years’ War and the
devastation of central Europe.
• The Peace of Augsburg recognized Lutheranism as a legal religion in
the Holy Roman Empire in 1555.
• For the remainder of the 16th century, religious strife centered on
the conflict between Calvinism and Catholicism.
• Calvinism and Catholicism both were dogmatic, aggressive, and
• Even the art and architecture of the Catholic Counter-Reformation,
with its baroque energy, stands in marked contrast to Protestant
• Slowly some intellectuals – and a very few political leaders – came
to adopt a more skeptical, tolerant view of religion, but in the
meantime the Thirty Years' War between 1618-1648 drew every
nation of Europe into some degree of religious conflict.
The French Wars
• The rulers of France repeatedly cracked down on France's
Protestant Huguenots, particularly in the second half of the 16th
• After the accidental death of King Henry II, the French monarchy
• Meanwhile, although Calvinists made up only a small part of the
population, France's Calvinists included much of the aristocracy.
• Catherine de Medicis, who exercised power during the reigns of
three of her sons between 1559 and 1589, attempted with only
some success to play Catholics and Huguenots off against each
• In 1593, a few years after the Bourbon Huguenot Henry of Navarre
took the French throne, Henry renounced his Protestantism in
favor of Catholicism; his 1598 Edict of Nantes sanctioned minority
religious rights within Catholic France.
The French Civil War
St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre
The French Civil War
• Catherine started supporting the Bourbons.
Catholic CIVIL Protestant
League WAR Union
• Henri of Navarre defeated Catholic League &
becomes Henry IV of France.
• Effects of Civil War:
• France was left divided by religion
• Royal power had weakened
• Valois family now replaced by Bourbons
Triumphal Entry of Henry IV Into
Paris – Peter Paul Reubens
Henry IV of France
• Ended Spanish interference in
• Converted to Catholicism :
• Did this to compromise and make
• Paris is worth a mass.
• This was an example of politique
[the interest of the state comes
first before any religious
• Fighting for the royal inheritance
• Passed Edict of Nantes in 1598:
• Granted religious rights to
• Did not grant religious freedom for
• Philip II, who ruled Spain through most of the second
half of the 16th century, controlled vast territories,
many people, and much wealth.
• For the first 25 years or so of Philip's reign, his
attention was focused on the demographic and
economic changes within his kingdom, defense against
the Turks in the Mediterranean, and the annexation of
Portugal (which led to control over Portugal's wealthy
• The second half of his reign was overshadowed by
unrest and, eventually, defeat in the Netherlands.
The Battle of Lepanto
Fresco of the Lepanto battle plan by
England and Spain
• Catholic Mary I ruled England for five bloody years.
• Many Protestants were martyred or exiled during her reign.
• She married Spain's Prince Philip.
• Her half-sister, Elizabeth I, succeeded her and ruled for most of the
second half of the 16th century (r. 1558-1603).
• Elizabeth, a brilliant politician, strategist, and diplomat, was
probably the most successful European leader of her time.
• She steered a middle course between extremes in all areas, most
notably religion, where she created the moderate Anglican Church.
• She took firm measures against extremist Puritans (with passage of
The Conventicle Act of 1593), against would-be assassins (she
executed Mary Queen of Scots for plotting against her), and Spain
(the English navy defeated Spain's Armada in 1588).
Phillip II of Spain Married Mary I of England
The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth Tilsbury Speech
Defeat of the Spanish Armada, July 1588
The Thirty Years’ War
• Germany's political fragmentation, and conflict throughout Europe
between Lutherans, Catholics, and Calvinists, set the stage for the
Thirty Years' War.
• This devastating conflict drew in all the major lands of Europe
before it was over; it has shaped the map of Europe up to the
• There were four distinct phases to the war, named after the region
that was most actively involved in fighting at that time: the
Bohemian period (1618-1625), the Danish period (1625-1629), the
Swedish period (1630-1635), and the Swedish-French period (1635-
• Finally, the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia put an end to hostilities and,
among other provisions, reasserted the right of each ruler to
determine the religion in his or her land.
Characteristics of the Thirty Years
• The Holy Roman Empire was the
• At the beginning à it was the
Catholics vs. the Protestants.
• At the end à it was Habsburg power
that was threatened.
• Resolved by the Treaty of Westphalia
The Bohemian Phase: 1618-1622
• Ferdinand II inherited Bohemia.
• The Bohemians hated him.
• Ferdinand refused to tolerate Protestants.
• Defenestration of Prague àMay, 1618
• Bohemia named a new king, Frederick II.
The Bohemian Phase: 1618-1622
v Ferdinand II becomes Holy Roman
§ Frederick II borrowed an army from
§ Frederick lost his lands in the fighting.
v The rebellion in Bohemia inspired others.
The Danish Phase: 1625-1629
• Ferdinand II tried to end all resistance.
• Tried to crush Protestant northern Holy
• Ferdinand II used Albrecht von Wallenstein for the
• Wallenstein defeated Protestants in north.
• Edict of Restitution (1629):
• Restored to Catholics all lands lost since 1552.
• Deprived all Protestants, except Lutherans,
of their religious and political rights.
• German princes feared Ferdinand à he fired Wallenstein in
effort to calm them.
The Swedish Phase: 1630-1635
• France & Sweden now get involved.
• Both want to stop Habsburg power.
• Sweden led the charge.
• France provided support.
• Gustavus Adolphus invaded the HR Empire.
• Ferdinand II brought back Wallenstein.
• Swedish advance was stopped.
• German princes still feared Ferdinand II.
• Wallenstein assassinated to appease them.
The French Phase: 1635-1648
• France & Sweden switched roles.
• All countries in Europe now participated.
• This phase was most destructive!
• German towns decimated.
• Agriculture collapsed à famine resulted.
• 8 million dead à 1/3 of the population
[from 21 million in 1618 to 13.5 million in
• Caused massive inflation.
• Trade was crippled throughout Europe.
Loss of German Lives in 30 Years’ War
The Peace of Westphalia (1648)
• Political Provisions:
• Each Ger. prince became free from any kind of
control by the Holy Roman Emperor.
• The United Provinces [Dutch Netherlands]
became officially independent à southern part
remained a Spanish possession.
• France received. most of the German-speaking
province of Alsace.
• Sweden à got lands in Northern Germany on
the Baltic & Black Sea coasts.
• Switzerland became totally independent of the
HR Emperor à Swiss Confederation.
• Sweden won a voice in the Diet of the HR Emp.
• Brandenburg got important territories on No.
Sea & in central Germany.
The Peace of Westphalia (1648)
• Religious Provisions:
• Calvinists would have the same
privileges as the Lutherans had in the
Peace of Augsburg.
• The ruler of each state could determine
its official religion, BUT [except in the
hereditary lands of the Habsburgs], he
must permit freedom of private worship.
Treaty of Westphalia (1648)
Nobody Was Happy!
• Many Protestants felt betrayed.
• The pope denounced it.
• Only merit à it ended the fighting in a
war that became intolerable!
• For the next few centuries, this war
was blamed for everything that went
wrong in Central Europe.
• Though they were called religious wars, most of
the conflicts of this period were at least as much
about politics and power.
• The Thirty Years' War, with its many instigators
and frequent changes of venue, is an example of
the way opportunism mixed with legitimate
• The Peace of Westphalia exemplifies the kind of
settlement that tended to resolve these conflicts
most successfully, one that allowed local rulers to
determine each region's religion.
Write a complex thesis that fully
answers the essay prompt
Analyze the various ways
in which the Thirty Years’
represented a turning
point in European history.
Many thanks and appreciation to Sue Pojer,
google images, The Western Heritage;