Thirty years' war summary



Thirty years' war summary


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Thirty years' war summary




  • Omission of Calvinism from Peace of Augsburg (1555); Calvinists demanded inclusion
  • Protestants continued to seize Catholic lands
  • Emperor Ferdinand II wanted to increase power in the German states
  • Protestant princes and Catholic princes had formed opposing alliances
  • Bohemians wanted to increase independence from the Empire
  • Emperor Ferdinand II wanted to destroy Protestantism in the Empire
  • Emperor Ferdinand II wanted to increase the power of the Austrian Habsburgs
    • German princes wanted to decrease the power of the Emperor while increasing their own independence and power
  • Spanish Habsburgs wanted to link their territories together
  • Spanish Habsburgs wanted to reclaim the Dutch Netherlands
  • France and some other nations wanted to limit the power of the Habsburgs, Spanish and Austrian, in Europe and the Americas
  • Denmark and Sweden wanted to protect Lutheranism and gain power in Northern Europe and the Baltic Sea
  • Dutch Netherlands wanted to cement independence and limit Spanish power in Europe and the Americas


Bohemian Period (1618-1625)

    • Bohemians rejected Ferdinand II as Emperor in favor of Calvinist Frederick V, prince of the Palatinate
    • Bohemians threw Emperor’s representatives out of a window in Prague – the “Defenestration of Prague” – to show their rejection
    • Army of Frederick V was defeated at the Battle of the White Mountain, 1620, by the combined Habsburg armies
    • Spain occupied Bohemia
    • Ferdinand II’s claim as Emperor was upheld
    • Bohemia was made Catholic

Danish Period (1625-1629)

  • Austrian Habsburg army of Ferdinand II invaded north German states to destroy Protestantism and independence of local rulers
  • King Christian IV of Denmark (reigned 1588-1648) led army into northern German states against the Empire’s army
  • Habsburg Empire easily defeated Denmark
  • Emperor Ferdinand II ordered the reclamation of all Catholic lands lost since 1552 and began to establish a stronger Habsburg Empire in northern Germany

Swedish Period (1629-1635)

  • King Gustavus Adolphus (Gustavus II of Sweden (reigned 1611-1632), led the Swedish army into northern Germany against the Empire’s army and defend Protestantism and independence of German princes
  • Money from France under Cardinal Richelieu supported Sweden
  • United Provinces (Dutch Netherlands) army supported Sweden
  • Sweden defeated Empire’s army at the Battle of Breitenfeld, 1530
  • Sweden pursued the Empire’s army driving it south
  • Gustavus Adolphus was killed in the Swedish victory at the Battle of Lützen
  • Swedish army withdrew from the war

French Period (1635-1648)

  • France, under the leadership of Cardinal Richelieu, entered the war
  • Thirty Years’ War became an expansion of the war between France and Spain
  • French army drove Spanish and Austrian armies back across German states
  • Battle of Rocroi, 1643, was the first defeat of the Spanish army in over a century
  • War was ended finally with negotiated treaty setting pattern for the future


Peace of Westphalia (1648)

  • Calvinism was granted equal rights with Catholicism and Lutheranism
  • German states (365) were each recognized as sovereign and independent
  • United Provinces of the Dutch Netherlands was recognized as sovereign and independent
  • Switzerland was recognized as sovereign and independent
  • France gained territories of Metz, Toulon, and Verdun and the province of Alsace
  • Sweden gained western Pomerania and the bishopric of Bremen

General overview of results

    • France emerged is the greatest power in Europe
    • Sweden emerged as the greatest power on the Baltic
    • Pope’s rejection of the Treaty was ignored showing the decline of the power of the Papacy
    • Austrian Habsburg power was limited in the Holy Roman Empire
  • Office of the Holy Roman Emperor was ceremonial without real power in the German states of the Empire
  • Independence of German states would keep Germany divided until 1870
  • Over one-third of the population of the Holy Roman Empire died during the Thirty Years’ War due to war, famine and disease
  • Religious toleration began to emerge: rulers were reluctant to force religious beliefs on people

Other Results

  • War between France and Spain continued until 1659 ending with French victory
  • Peace of the Pyrenees (1659) gave France the land in the Pyrenees and in Flanders
  • Peace of the Pyrenees (1659) brought marriage between Louis XIV of France and Maria Theresa, the Spanish infanta, initiating French claims to Spanish lands and throne
  • Habsburg domination of Europe was ended


  • Austrian Habsburgs would expand southeast in direction of Hungary and the Balkans against the Ottoman Empire instead of into the states of the Holy Roman Empire
  • Portugal regained independence from Spain after revolution in 1640
  • England remained out of the Thirty Years’ War due to the conflict between monarchy and Parliament
  • Spanish power was broken and Spain would go into decline
  • France under Louis XIV was now Europe’s greatest power
  • Bourbons (ruling house of France) and Habsburgs (ruling house of Austria) would clash over the succession to the Spanish throne in 1701 causing the next major European War: War of the Spanish Succession, 1701-1714


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Thirty years' war summary