30 Years War

Athreya Sundaram

Quick Summary

The 30 Years' War was the the last major war of the Protestant Reformation and lasted from 1618-1648. The 30 Years War began in Bohemia. The war had four parts, the Bohemian and Danish phases which were localized and religious, and the Swedish and French phases which were more political and continental. The war was caused when Catholic ruler Ferdinand Archduke of Styria, who ruled mostly protestant Bohemia, started to enforce Catholicism on the subjects; the protestants rebelled in anger. This led to the Defenestration of Prague which was when the protestants threw Ferdinand's messengers out of a 70 ft high window. Ferdinand wanted to get the protestants in line and began an internal war. In the Danish phase the Lutheran King Christian lV of Denmark got involved but got quickly defeated by an Ferdinand's ally, Maximilian of Bavaria. Then, the Swedish phase turned the war in the protestants favor when Sweden became directly involved. Gustavus Adolphus ll, Lutheran King of Sweden, was funded by France and led the victory . Lastly the French phase, which was the longest and most political phase, began when Gustavus Adolphus died in battle. The French then had to enter the fight. The French fought more for the balance of power than religion. This war ended in a series of treaties known as the Treaty of Westphalia.



Spain had lost the Netherlands but its dominant position in western Europe. France was now the chief power in the west. Sweden had control of the Baltic. The United Netherlands was recognized as an independent republic. The member states of the Holy Roman Empire were granted full sovereignty.

Main Significance

The main significance of The Thirty Year War was that that countries had more control of themselves now and that leaders picked what religion their land/empire/country should follow. It ended the war between the Catholics and Protestant and brought the Protestant Reformation to a close.

Primary Source


The Treaty of Westphalia ended the 30 year war. It stated that rulers could chose what religion their land should fall.The treaty also redefined territories from many empires and gave them more control over their land and some states earned sovereignty.