Thirty Years' War Timeline

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By — McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Feb 3, 2012

Time Line

1617 Ferdinand Hapsburg becomes king of Bohemia; revokes Letter of Majesty
1618 Defenestration of Prague; Thirty Years’ War begins
1619 Ferdinand II elected Holy Roman Emperor; Bohemians crown Frederich Wittelsbach king, deposing Ferdinand
1620 Battle of White Mountain
1629 Edict of Restitution bans Protestantism throughout Holy Roman Empire
1635 France declares war on Spain
1648 Peace of Westphalia; Thirty Years’ War ends


The Thirty Years' War

The Thirty Years’ War marked the end of one era and the beginning of another. It began an era in which nation-states struggled for territorial and political power. It ended the dominance of the powerful Hapsburg family and began the era in which France was the strongest nation in Europe. It ended an era of Spanish military domination. It also ushered in an era in which states completed the long process of centralizing their governments, becoming what we recognize today as modern nations.

The Thirty Years’ War was fought over religious, dynastic, and political/territorial issues. It was a religious war fought between Catholics and Protestants, with much bitterness on both sides. It was a war of two powerful families, the Catholic Hapsburgs and the Protestant Wittelsbachs. It was a political war in which nations fought for territorial expansion and to gain stronger positions in the balance of European power.

Many historians have described the Thirty Years’ War as the last religious war in Europe. This is an exaggeration; religion is a powerful motivating factor in some present-day European conflicts, such as those within the United Kingdom and in the Balkans. However, it is true that from 1648 on, European leaders have openly claimed political, territorial, and economic reasons for warfare, but not religious ones.

Practice questions for these concepts can be found at:

Thirty Years' War Practice Test

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