Thirty Years War Facts

Thirty Years War Facts
The Thirty Years' War was a major religious war during the Reformation Era that took place from 1618 to 1648 in the German speaking kingdoms of Europe. Although the Reformation began in the German speaking kingdoms with Martin Luther in the 1500s, giving rise to Lutheranism, much of the southern German speaking kingdoms and principalities, including Austria and Bavaria, remained overwhelmingly Catholic. To complicate matters, many but not all of the German speaking kingdoms were part of the medieval confederation known as the Holy Roman Empire, which as the name denotes had a decidedly Catholic identity. Religious tensions between Protestants and Catholics led to violence, which came to a head when Ferdinand II, King of Bohemia, was elected Holy Roman Emperor in 1617. When Ferdinand II made it known that he planned to reimpose Catholicism across the empire, the Bohemian Diet deposed him and went into official revolt. Other Protestant German kingdoms soon followed and then other European powers joined, primarily along religious lines. The war ended with the Treaty of Westphalia, which allowed Protestant kingdoms to retain their religion, but led to more overwhelming majorities of Catholic or Protestant populations in places where they were already the majority. More than eight million people died in the war, which was the bloodiest in the world until that time. Unlike previous wars when civilians were collateral victims but rarely targeted, civilians in the Thirty Years' War were targeted according to their religion.
Interesting Thirty Years War Facts:
Although the belligerents were primarily divided along religious lines, there were notable exceptions. Overwhelmingly Catholic France declared war on the Holy Roman Empire in 1635 and Protestant Denmark aligned itself with the Holy Roman Empire in 1643 after being opposed to it in the first part of the war.
The Imperial forces won many early successes, thrusting south into Bohemia and north into Denmark. The thrust into Denmark brought Protestant Sweden into the war again the Holy Roman Empire.
The alliance of the Protestant German kingdoms was known as the Protestant Union, while the German Catholic countries were called the Catholic League.
The Thirty Years' War was one of the first major wars where muskets were heavily used. Pikemen were also extensively deployed, but knights had been replaced by that time by hussars.
The road to Prague was opened when an army of the Catholic League defeated a Bohemian Force at the Battle of White Mountain on November 8, 1620. In addition to having the Bohemians outnumbered, the Catholic force was better equipped and more professional, with more than 2,000 hussars.
Although the Ottoman Empire was in decline by the seventeenth century, it was still relatively powerful and quite active in European affairs. The Islamic Ottomans sided with the Protestants.
Although technically separate, the Smolensk War (1632-1634) is considered to be a adjunct to the Thirty Years' War. Catholic Poland fought against Protestant Sweden and Orthodox Russia in that war, although it had more to do with land than religion.
Potatoes became a much more common crop in Germany during the Thirty Years' War. Potatoes had only recently been imported to Germany from the Americas, but necessity made them more popular. Opposing armies often targeted the fields of their enemies, but since potatoes are a root it was much more difficult to destroy potato crops.


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