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Thirty Years' War

Major war in Central Europe (1618–1648) / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Thirty Years' War[lower-alpha 12] was one of the longest and most destructive conflicts in European history, lasting from 1618 to 1648. Fought primarily in Central Europe, an estimated 4.5 to 8 million soldiers and civilians died as a result of battle, famine, and disease, while some areas of modern Germany experienced population declines of over 50%.[19] Related conflicts include the Eighty Years' War, the War of the Mantuan Succession, the Franco-Spanish War, the Torstenson War, the Dutch-Portuguese War and the Portuguese Restoration War.

Quick facts: Thirty Years' War, Date, Location, Result, Te...
Thirty Years' War
Part of the European wars of religion and French–Habsburg rivalry
Left to right:
Date23 May 161824 October 1648
(30 years, 5 months and 1 day)
Result Peace of Westphalia and Peace of Munster
Anti-Imperial alliance prior to 1635[lower-alpha 1] Imperial alliance prior to 1635[lower-alpha 2]
Post-1635 Peace of Prague Post-1635 Peace of Prague
Commanders and leaders
Maximum actual[lower-alpha 3][lower-alpha 4]
Maximum actual
Casualties and losses
Combat deaths:[lower-alpha 9]
110,000 in Swedish service[14]
80,000 in French service[15][lower-alpha 10]
30,000 in Danish service[15]
50,000 other[15]
Combat deaths:
120,000 in Imperial service[15]
30,000 in Bavarian service[15]
30,000 other[15]
Military deaths from disease: 700,000–1,350,000[lower-alpha 11]
Total civilian dead: 3,500,000–6,500,000[16]
Total dead: 4,500,000–8,000,000[17][18]

The war was traditionally viewed as a continuation of the religious conflict initiated by the 16th-century Reformation within the Holy Roman Empire. The 1555 Peace of Augsburg attempted to resolve this by dividing the Empire into Lutheran and Catholic states, but over the next 50 years the expansion of Protestantism beyond these boundaries destabilised the settlement. However, while modern commentators accept differences over religion and Imperial authority were important factors in causing the war, they argue its scope and extent were driven by the contest for European dominance between Habsburg-ruled Spain and Austria, and the French House of Bourbon.[20]

Its outbreak is generally traced to 1618,[lower-alpha 13] when Emperor Ferdinand II was deposed as king of Bohemia and replaced by the Protestant Frederick V of the Palatinate. Although Imperial forces quickly suppressed the Bohemian Revolt, his participation expanded the fighting into the Palatinate, whose strategic importance drew in the Dutch Republic and Spain, then engaged in the Eighty Years' War. Rulers like Christian IV of Denmark and Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden also held territories within the Empire, giving them and other foreign powers an excuse to intervene. The result was to turn an internal dynastic dispute into a broader European conflict.

The first phase from 1618 until 1635 was primarily a civil war between German members of the Holy Roman Empire, with support from external powers. After 1635, the Empire became one theatre in a wider struggle between France, supported by Sweden, and Emperor Ferdinand III, allied with Spain. This concluded with the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, whose provisions included greater autonomy within the Empire for states like Bavaria and Saxony, as well as acceptance of Dutch independence by Spain. The conflict shifted the balance of power in favour of France, and set the stage for the expansionist wars of Louis XIV which dominated Europe for the next sixty years.

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