Thirty Years War

Sample essay topic, essay writing: Thirty Years War - 2368 words

Philip, Spanish kings. Philip I (the Handsome), 1478-1506, king of Castile (1506), was the son of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I and Mary of Burgundy. He inherited Burgundy and the Low Countries from his mother and was titular joint ruler of Castile with his wife, Joanna. But her father ruled these lands as his regent, so he contested (1504) Ferdinand's regency and assumed (1506) joint rule of Castile with his wife. Philip's early death, however, and his wife's deteriorating mental condition allowed Ferdinand to resume joint control of Castile. The Low Countries passed to Philip's son, who later became Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.

Philip II, 1527-98, king of Spain (1556-98), king of Naples and Sicily (1554-98) and, as Philip I, king of Portugal (1580-98), centralized authority under his absolute monarchy and extended Spanish colonization to the present S United States and the Philippines (which were named after him). From his father, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, he inherited Naples, Sicily, the Low Countries, and other territories. After the death of his first wife, Maria of Portugal, he married (1554) Queen Mary I of England and drew that nation into his father's war with France. Following Mary's death (1558), he married Elizabeth of Valois and concluded the war with France in 1559. Philip used the Inquisition to repress the Moriscos and assure Spanish religious unity

He dealt with the Dutch revolt in his Low Countries domain by reconquering the southern half of the country. English support of the rebels and their persistent attacks on Spanish ships led him to plan an invasion of England by the Spanish Armada (1588), which was ignominiously defeated. Earlier, he succeeded in conquering Portugal (1580). Despite his conquests and the influx of gold from America, the cumulative effects of depopulation, colonial overexpansion, and burdensome taxation debilitated Spain by the end of his reign (1598). Philip was a hardworking bureaucrat with a capacity for infinite detail, and though his administration was generally just, his bureaucratic absolutism inevitably created discontent.

His court was at the Escorial. Philip III, 1578-1621, king of Spain, Naples, and Sicily, and, as Philip II, king of Portugal (1598-1621), lacked the intelligence and capacity for work of his father, Philip II, and left the actual government to the duque de Lerma. Shortly before his reign began, Spain had ended the war with France (1598) and then made peace with England (1604) and the Netherlands (1609). But the nation fought in Italy (1615-17) and entered the Thirty Years War. Although the church prospered and the grandees accumulated vast estates, the Spanish economy declined, partly as a result of Philip's expulsion (1609-14) of the Moriscos.

During Philip's reign, Spanish culture flourished and gave to the world great artists such as the author Cervantes and the painter El Greco. Philip IV, 1605-65, king of Spain, Naples, and Sicily (1621-65) and, as Philip III, king of Portugal (1621-40), intelligent but lacking energy, was unable to prevent Spain's political and economic decline. The Thirty Years War continued until 1648, and the war with France (1621-59) ended with Spain's humiliation. Portugal revolted (1640), Catalonia was occupied by the French, and Spain had to recognize the independence of the Netherlands (1648). Philip was a patron of the arts and, thanks to Velazquez, was perhaps the most frequently portrayed king in history.

The accession of Philip V, 1683-1746, the first Bourbon king of Spain (1700-1746), precipitated the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-14) because his grandfather, Louis XIV of France, had accepted the Spanish throne for Philip. By the Peace of Utrecht, Spain lost much territory, including the Spanish Netherlands, Naples, and Sicily. Philip was forced to introduce the Salic law of succession, which forbade female monarchs and thus precluded the crown's personal union with France. The indolent and melancholy Philip was dominated by women, particularly after his marriage (1714) to Elizabeth Farnese (see Farnese, family). Under her influence, he attempted to reconquer the Italian territories, causing the formation of the Quadruple Alliance of 1718, to which Spain had to submit.

The latter years of his reign were plagued by wars. Under Philip, however, Spain began to recover from economic stagnation. Thirty Years War Thirty Years War, 1618-48, general European war, fought mainly in Germany. Although the war had many issues, it may be considered mainly a struggle of German Protestant princes and foreign powers (France, Sweden, Denmark, England, the United Provinces) against the unity and power of the Holy Roman Empire (represented by the Hapsburgs) allied with the Catholic princes of Germany. The Hapsburg empire then included Austria, Spain, Bohemia, most of Italy, and the S Netherlands.

The war began in Prague, when the Protestant Bohemian nobles deposed the Catholic King Ferdinand (later Emperor Ferdinand II) and elected the Protestant Frederick the Winter King. The imperialist forces under Tilly and the Catholic League under Duke Maximilian I of Bavaria quickly defeated the Bohemians (1620) and other Protestant forces in the Palatinate (1622-23). Thus ended the war's first phase. The second phase began in 1625 when Christian IV of Denmark invaded Germany on the side of the Protestant princes, although his chief purpose was to halt Hapsburg expansion into N Germany. Defeats by Wallenstein in 1626 and Tilly in 1627 forced him to withdraw.

Imperialist forces promptly overran Schleswig, Holstein, and Jutland. In 1629 Christian signed a peace with the emperor, surrendering the N German bishoprics. That and the emperor's attempt to declare void Protestant titles to lands in N Germany represented a further threat to the Protestant forces. Gustavus II of Sweden now entered the war. Like Christian of Denmark, he feared imperial designs in the north. He invaded Germany and enjoyed successes at Breitenfeld (1631) and Lech (1632). Gustavus was killed at L"utzen (1632), although his troops were victorious.

The anti-imperialist forces, including the Swedes, continued to fight. By 1634, however, Germany was in ruin, her fields devastated and blood-soaked. A general desire for peace led to the Peace of Prague (1635). It was accepted by all participants and helped to reconcile Protestants and Catholics. A general peace seemed to be forthcoming, but Cardinal Richelieu of France was unwilling to see the Hapsburgs retain power.

He brought France openly into the war in 1635, beginning the last and bloodiest phase of the struggle. It then spread to the Low Countries, Italy, Scandinavia, and the Iberian Peninsula. The anti-imperialist commanders-Bernard of Saxe-Weimar; the Swedes Baner, Wrangel, and Torstensson; and Louis II de Conde and Turenne of France-were victorious. Peace talks began in 1640 but proceeded slowly, not being completed until 1648 (see Westphalia, Peace of). The war had been devastating to the German people, and German agriculture, commerce, and industry were in ruins. Politically, the Holy Roman Empire was left a mere shell, and Hapsburg power had begun its long decline.

France emerged as the chief power of Europe. 30 Years WarEurope had expected that the struggle between Catholic and Protestant would be renewed in 1621, when the truce between Spain and the northern provinces of the Netherlands came to an end. But it began in the Empire several years earlier and gradually most of Europe became involved. Since Charles V, backed by the power of Spain, had been unable either to strengthen his authority at the expense of the territorial princes or to wipe out Protestantism, it was natural that his immediate successors preferred to leave the constitutional and religious issues alone. Ferdinand I (1556-1564) and Maximilian II (1564-1576) devoted most of their energy to fighting the Turks, while Rudolf II (1576-1612) preferred to dabble in astrology and to search for the philosopher's stone to turn base metals into gold.

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