The Thirty Years War
Written and researched by Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewska

The Thirty Years War lasted from 1618-1648. It seems to have begun with a quarrel between the German princes of the Protestant and the Roman Catholic faith. The quarrel was over who should be the next Holy Roman Emperor. The Roman Catholic, Ferdinand, King of Bohemia, was elected in 1617, but was deposed, as king, by the supporters of the Protestant Frederick, the elector Palatine, two years later.

Fendinand soon crushed Frederick, but Christain IV, the Protestant King of Denmark, intervened in 1625. By 1629, he too was defeated and withdrew from the war.

Gustav Adolphus of Sweden, with the financial backing of the Roman Catholic leader of France, Cardinal Richelieu, intervened in 1630, but was killed two years later after winning several victories.

The Swedes carried on the fight with their military and from Richelieu, who feared the growing power of Ferdinand more than he supported his religion. The political scene grew more confused, with Denmark and Sweden (both Protestant) locked in combat, and France fighting on the same side as the Protestant Netherlands.

War in Germany was ended by the Peace of Westphalia, which gave France the port of Alsace, and Lorraine. Germany was devastated, with cities ruined and millions dead.


The Thirty Years War ... The Catholic Encyclopedia's Article on the Thirty Year's War


Franklin, Fay. History's Timeline New York: Crescent Books, 1981.


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