The Beginning of the Thirty Years War - Bohemian Revolt

The Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) was one of the most destructive European conflicts taking place mostly in German countries. Its origins and objectives were complex, and no single cause can accurately be named (Some conflicts simply lasted so long that there remained nobody who remembered the real initial reason for the war after it had ended.).

Research done by many respectable historians suggests that initially, the war was fought largely as a religious struggle between Protestants and Catholics in the Holy Roman Empire. Later on, it evolved into a rivalry among European powers concerning territory, trade and power.

 

Where and How it all began

Childless Emperor Matthias appointed the fierce Catholic Ferdinand of Styria, later Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor, his dynastic heir. Ferdinand was duly elected by the Bohemian estates (not all of them, naturally) to become the Crown Prince, and automatically upon the death of Matthias, the next King of Bohemia.

Ferdinand, the king-elect, then sent two Catholic councillors as his representatives to Hradcany castle in Prague in May 1618 to administer the government in his absence. However, they were seized by angry protestant noblemen and thrown out of the palace window, which was some 50 feet off the ground. Remarkably, they survived unharmed. This event, known as the Second Prague Defenestration, started the Bohemian Revolt. (So, don’t mess with Czechs, especially if you are higher than the first floor.)

The war could have been over in a couple of months, but being weak, both the sides had to search for allies. Ferdinand had to call on his nephew, King Philip IV of Spain, for assistance. The Bohemians were joined by Upper and Lower Austria and received financial and military support from Savoy and other Protestant dominions. Finally, the Bohemian estates elected Frederick V, elector Palatine, the King of Bohemia on 17 August 1619. (Basically, we didn't want to look greedy and shared the war with our neighbours.)

The scene and actors were ready and the time of glory, victory and honour on one side and the loot, hardship and lawlessness on the other could start. The Bohemian revolt was finally defeated in the Battle of White Mountain near Prague on 8 November 1620, however the war conflict continued for the next 28 years.


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Thirty Years War

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