Revolt And Anarchy In Seventeenth Century Europe

1470 words - 6 pages

Throughout the seventeenth century, Europe was in a state of crisis. In many countries, violent revolts and riots were not out of the ordinary. In most of these cases of violence, human behaviors and actions of the controlling governments and royalty authorities were the underlying factors that set the stage for the chaotic state. However, in all of the instances of revolt and anarchy seen throughout Europe, religious behaviors and influences were the most prominent and contributing cause that sparked the most violence in the general crisis during the 1600’s.
Beginning very early in the seventeenth century, religious tension was rampant throughout Europe. An example that illustrates the disastrous effects of religious conflicts in Europe that caused a tremendous amount of violence can be seen in the Holy Roman Empire. In 1618, Ferdinand Habsburg a devout Catholic succeeded the crown of the Holy Roman Empire, and set out to unify the empire under the Catholic faith. However, this mission of Ferdinand Habsburg was not accepted by Protestant citizens, which essentially led to the violence to come. In May 1618, a group of Protestant nobles killed two of the king’s catholic officials, which created the spark for Protestants all throughout the Empire to revolt. Instances of religious revolts were reported in Hungary and Bohemia, ultimately creating an exponential effect, and a reason for Protestants to unite and revolt to preserve their faith. This particular historical event later was termed the Defenestration of Prague. However, the violence did not stop there; in fact the violence only multiplied. Religious conflicts continued to occur in Bohemia in the Battle of White Mountain in 1620 in which Frederick V a Calvinist, lost to Ferdinand Habsburg a Catholic which served as a final wake up call for Protestants to unite and fight, or be eliminated. King Christian IV put this idea into reality when he led a Protestant Danish Army and attacked a Catholic German force led Count Albrecht von Wallenstein in 1629, which result in an unsuccessful effort. The significance of the loss was extremely detrimental for the Protestant religion. Soon after the Catholic defeat, Ferdinand Habsburg decided to disregard the Peace of Augsburg, and outlawed Protestantism in the Holy Roman Empire. Ultimately, in each of these instances of violence, religion was deemed the immediate cause. However, the most important detail about these wars is that they did not resolve the religious conflicts that were initially fought over. In reality, these wars essentially became the fuel for future battles to occur including the sack of Magdeburg in 1631, only two after Ferdinand Habsburg allegedly refused religious toleration to Protestants by the revocation of the Peace of Augsburg.
The religious violence that occurred in Germany early in the seventeenth century created a domino effect that eventually spread all throughout Europe. For example, on October 22, 1641 William Skelton,...

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