Thirty Years' War Timeline
|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.
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