17th Century

The Thirty Years' War

Protestant Union


It was created by Calvinist Fredrick IV Elector Palatinate, because the 1555 Peace of Augsburg had not recognized the rights of Calvinists.

Catholic Leauge


Stated by Duke Maximilian of Bavaria to counteract the Protestant Union. By 1609, Germany was divided, anticipating a religious war.

Election of Habsburg Archduke Ferdinand as King of Bohemia


He was the King of the Holy Roman Empire, chosen to be the King of Bohemia. He tried re-Catholicizing the Calvinist Germans, who soon became unhappy with his rule.

Bohemian Phase

1618 - 1625

Ferdinand II refused to accept his disposition, formed an alliance with Duke Maximilian and the Catholic League.

Bohemian Revolt against Ferdinand


The Protestant nobles rebelled against Ferdinand by throwing two Habsburg Governors and a secretary out a window. They survived and Catholics claimed it to be intercession of the Virgin Mary, while the Protestants pointed out that they fell into a pile of manure. The Bohemian rebels siezed control of Bohemia, disposed Ferdinand and elected Ferdinand V as head of the Protestant Union and Protestant ruler of the Palatinate.

Battle of the White Mountain (Bohemian Phase)


Together Ferdinand and the Catholic League defeated Fredrick and the Bohemian nobles at the Battle of the White Mountain outside Prague on November 8, 1620.

Spanish conquest of Palatinate (Bohemian Phase)


Spanish troops took advantage of Fredrick's loss by invading Palatinate and conquering it by the end of 1622. Fredrick fled into exile in the United Provinces, and the Spanish took control of the western part of the Palatinate while Maximilian of Bavaria took the rest. Ferdinand was reestablished as King and declared Bohemia a hereditary Habsburg possession, confiscated the land of the Protestant nobles, and established Catholicism as the sole religion.

Danish Phase

1625 - 1629

Began when King Christian IV of Denmark, a Lutheran, intervened on behalf of the Protestant cause by leading an army into Northern Germany. He also wanted to gain some Catholic territory for his family. During this time, Albrecht von Wallenstein was a commander for Ferdinand's imperial force. Christian's forces were first defeated by Count Tilly, commander of the Catholic League , and then by Wallenstein in 1627. Christian IV defeat ended the Danish supremacy in the Baltic.

Edict of Restitution (Danish Phase)


Issued by Ferdinand II, this acclimation prohibited Calvinist worship and restored all property taken by Protestant Princes or cities to the Catholic Church, but was forced to dismiss Wallenstein because the German Princes were afraid for their independent status.

Swedish Phase

1630 - 1635

Was marked by the entrance of Gustavus Adolphus, king of Sweden into the war. He was a military genius and made Sweden a great Baltic power. He was also a devout Lutheran and felt compelled to help the Protestants in Germany.

Battle of Lutzen (Swedish Phase)


Wallenstein was reestablished as commander of the imperial army. His forces were met by Gustavus' troops near Leipzig. The Swedish forces won, but Gustavus was killed in battle.

Battle of Nordlingen (Swedish Phasez)


At the Battle of Nordlingen, the imperial army defeated the swedes and forced them out of Southern Germany, despite Wallenstein assassination at the orders of Ferdinand. This would guaranteed that Southern Germany would remain Catholic.

Franco-Swedish Phase

1635 - 1648

Religious issues were loosing their significance by this time. The Catholic French were now supporting the Protestant Swedes against the Catholic Habsburgs of Spain and Germany.

The Battle of Rocroi (The Swedish-Franco Phase)


In this battle, the French defeated the Spanish and brought the end to Spanish military greatness. The French also defeated by Bavarian forces in Southern Germany.

Peace of Westphalia


Ensured that all German states, including the Calvinists, were free to determine their own religion. It ended the war in Germany, and made it clear that religion and politics were now separate.

Peace of Pyrenees


It ended the war between France and Spain. By this time, France is now the dominate state in Europe.

Absolutism & Constitutionalism in Western Europe

Phillip III (Spain)

1598 - 1621

At the beginning of the 17th century spain was the most populace empire in the world. Spain's power declined as there armed forces were out of date, the government was inefficient and the comercial class was weak in the midst of a suppressed peasantry, a luxury-loving class of nobles and a over supply of priest and monks. During the reign of Phillip II many of spain's weaknesses became apparent. he gave the power over to the duke of Lerma. Lerma's primary interests were to acclamation power and wealth for himself and his family.

Louix XIII (France)

1610 - 1643

Succeeded to the throne when he was only a boy, leaving the government dependent on royal ministers in 1610.

Phillip IV (Spain)

1621 - 1665

The reign of Phillip IV offered hope for a revival of spain's energies, especially in the capable hands pf his chief minister, Gaspar de Guzman also the count of Olivares . Guzman created many domestic reform decrees aimed at curtailing the power of the church an aristocracy. he also created political reform programs whose purposed was to further centralize the government of spain and it possessions in monarchical hands. However these reformes were met with little success because of the power of the spanish aristocrats, made them too strong to curtail in any significant fashion. The defeats ended any illusions about spain's greatness.

Cardinal Richelieu as chief minister (France)

1624 - 1642

He initiated policies that eventually strengthened the power of the monarchy. He did so by eliminating the political and military rights of the Huguenots. Cardinal Richelieu preserved their religious rights and turned them into more reliable subjects. He created a network of spies to undercover noble plots and then crushed the conspiracies, executed the conspirators, and eliminated a major threat to royal authority. Richelieu sent out royal officials called intendants who executed the orders of the government. He was not as successful in financial matters. The taille was increased, which was an annual tax. The French debt continued its upward spiral under Richelieu.

Ministry of Cardinal Mazarin (France)

1642 - 1661

After King Louis XIII died, the monarchy was under the regency of Anne of Austria, the wife of the deceased king, but she allowed Cardinal Mazarin to dominate the government. He was Richelieu's trained successor and followed his policies until his death in 1661.

Louis XIV (France)

1643 - 1715

When Mazarin died in 1661, Louis XIV took over in supreme power at the age of 23. He was known as the Sun King and created the royal court at Versailles. Louis created the high nobles and the princes of the blood, positions in Versailles, to keep his eye on them and prevent them from gaining any power than they already had. Louis XIV did not allow Protestants to practice their faith in Catholic France. He revoked the Edict of Nantes.

The First Fronde (France)

1648 - 1649

A revolt by the nobles who resisted the centralized monarchy, allied with the members of the Parlement of Paris, who opposed the new taxes levied by the government to pay the costs of the Thirty Years' War with the masses of Paris. The nobles of the robe, who were part of the Parlement, led the First Fronde which broke out in Paris but was ended with a compromise.

The Second Fronde (France)

1650 - 1652

Was led by the nobles of the sword, whose ancestors were medieval nobles. They were interested in overthrowing Mazarin to secure their positions and increase their own power. The Second Fronde ended in 1652 because the nobles began fighting each other instead of Mazarin. The vast majority of the French concluded that the best hope for stability lay in the crown.

First war (versus the triple alliance)

1667 - 1668

The invasion of the spanish netherlands and the franche-compte to the east. he was stopped by the triple alliance of the dutch, english and swedes and forced to sue for peace. he accepted a few towns in the spanish netherlands for his efforts.

Dutch War

1672 - 1678

Louis never forgave the Dutch for the arrangement of the triple alliance. He isolated the Dutch in 1672 and invaded the united provinces with success. however the french vistories lead Brandenburg, Spain and the HRE to form a new collation that forced Louis to end the war by making peace at Nimwegen.

Edict of Fontainbleau


Louis issued the edict in addition to revoking the Edict of Nates. The edict of Fontainebleau provided for the destruction of Huguenot church and the destruction of schools.

War of the League of Augsburg

1689 - 1697

After the Dutch war, Louis moved eastward towards the HRE. There he faced the Grand Alliance. In the grand alliance there was Spain, the HRE, the united provinces, Sweden and England. Louis entered the war in hope to gain power and land. Unfortunately a loss lead to Louis having to pay in reparations. The treaty of Ryswick ended the war forcing Louis to give up most of his conquest in the empire, although allowed to keep Strasbourg and parts of Alsace. The losses of the war out-weighed the gains.

War of the Spanish Succession

1702 - 1713

Louis' fourth war in which was a fight over the succesion to the Spanish throne. The grandson of Louis XIV was given the crown to Spain in Charles II will. After his death Louis' grandson became Philip V. This caused a new collation to form due to the suspicion that spain and france might be united under the same dynastic family. This collation of england, united provinces, Hapsburg austria,and germany states opposed france and spain that lasted for eleven years. The peace of Utrecht and Rastatt both ended the war. Although these peace treaties affirmed that Philip V was the spanish ruler it also affirmed that he thrones of france and spain were to remain separate. Louis died two years after the war

Absolutism in Central, Eastern, and Northern Europe

Christian IV (Denmark)

1588 - 1648

Christian IV was Denmark's most renowned king. He led his country through a period of political and cultural ascendancy, but also mired it in a costly war against Sweden and the devastating Thirty Years' War in Germany.

Time of Troubles (Russia)

1598 - 1613

Ivan IV’s dynasty came to an end in 1598 and was followed by a surgence of aristocratic power in a period of anarchy known as the Time of Troubles.

Hohenzollerns acquire lands along the Rhine (Brandenburg-Prussia)


In 1609, the Hohenzollern inherited some lands in the Rhine valley in western Germany.

Gustavus Adolphus (Sweden)

1611 - 1632

Sweden's economy was weak, and the monarchy was still locked in conflict with powerful nobles. During the reign of Gustavus Adolphus, his chief minister, Axel Oxenstierna, persuaded him to adopt a new policy in which the nobility formed a “First Estate”occupying the bureaucratic positions of an expanded central government. This created a stable monarchy and freed the king to raise an army and participate in the Thirty Years' War.

Michael Romanov (Russia)

1613 - 1645

The Time of Troubles did not end until the Zemsky Sobor, or national assembly, chose Michael Romanov as the new Tsar, beginning a dynasty that would last until 1917.

Hohenzollerns acquire East Prussia (Brandenburg-Prussia)


Nine years after acquiring the Rhine, the Hohenzollerns received the duchy of Prussia.

Christina (Sweden)

1633 - 1654

Sweden entered a period of political crisis after the death of Gustavus Adolphus. His daughter Christina proved to be far more interested in philosophy and religion than ruling. Her tendency to favor the interests of the nobility led the other estates of the Riksdag, Sweden's parliament—the burghers, clergy, and peasants—to protest.

Fredrick William the Great Elector (Brandenburg-Prussia)

1640 - 1688

The foundation for the Prussian state was laid by Frederick William the Great Elector, who came to power in the midst of the Thirty Years' War. Frederick William built a standing army. By 1678, he possessed a force of 40,000 men that took over 50% of the state’s revenues. To sustain the army and his own power, Frederick William established the General War Commissariat to levy taxes for the army and oversea its growth and training. The nobles’ support of Fredrick William’s policies derived from the tacit agreement that he made with them to eliminate their power in their Estates-General. In return for a free hand in running the government, he gave the nobles almost unlimited power over their peasants, exempted nobles from taxation, and awarded them the highest ranks in the army and the General War Commissariat with the understanding that they would not challenge his political control. He continued to favor the interests of the nobility at the expense of the commercial and industrial middle class in towns.

Charles X (Sweden)

1654 - 1660

In 1654, tired of ruling and wishing to become Catholic, Christina abdicated and gave the throne to her cousin, King Charles X. His accession to the throne defused a peasant revolt against the nobility.

Charles XI (Sweden)

1660 - 1697

Charles X reestablished domestic order, but it was Charles XI who build the Swedish monarchy along the lines of absolute monarchy. By resuming control of the crown lands and the revenues attached to them from the nobility, Charles managed to weaken the independent power of the nobility.

Bloodless Revolution (Denmark)


Military loses led to a constitutional crisis in which a meeting of Denmark's Estates brought to pass a bloodless revolution in 1660. The power of the nobility was curtailed, a hereditary monarchy was established, and a new absolutist constitution was proclaimed in 1665.

Christian V (Denmark)

1670 - 1699

Under Christian V, a centralized administration was instituted with nobility as the chief officeholders.

Turkish siege of Vienna (Austria)


In the seventeenth century, Leopold I encouraged the eastward movement of the Austrian Empire, but he was sorely challenged by the revival of the Ottoman power. Having moved into Transylvania, the Ottomans eventually pushed westward and laid siege to Vienna in 1683.

Elector Fredrick III / King Fredrick I (Brandenburg-Prussia)

1688 - 1713

Fredrick William laid the groundwork for the Prussian state; his son Frederick III made one further contribution: in return for aiding the Holy Roman Empire in the War of the Spanish Succession, he was officially granted the title of king-in-Prussia. Thus was Elector Fredrick III transformed into King Fredrick I.

Peter the Great (Russia)

1689 - 1725

Born in Moscow, Russia on June 9, 1672, Peter the Great was a Russian czar in the late 17th century who is best known for his extensive reforms in an attempt to establish Russia as a great nation. He created a strong navy, reorganized his army according to Western standards, secularized schools, administered greater control over the reactionary Orthodox Church, and introduced new administrative and territorial divisions of the country.

First trip to the West (Russia)

1697 - 1698

Peter gained a firsthand account of the west when he made a trip there in 1697-1698 and returned to Russia with a firm determination to westernize. Peter’s policy of Europeanization was largely technical. He admired European technology and desired to transplant it to Russia.

Charles XII

1697 - 1718

Charles XI built up bureaucracy, subdued both the Riksdag and the church,improved the army and the navy, and left his son, Charles XII, a well-organized Swedish state that dominated northern Europe. Charles XII was primarily interested in military affairs, By the time he died in 1718, Charles XII had lost much of Sweden's northern empire to Russia, and Sweden's power as a first-class northern power had ended.

Treaty of Karlowitz (Austria)


By the Treaty of Karlowitz in 1699, Austria took control of Hungary, Transylvania, Croatia,and Slovenia, thus establishing an Austrian Empire in southeastern Europe.

Great Northern War (Russia)

1701 - 1721

The Great Northern War lasted from 1700 to 1721. The Great Northern War was fought between Sweden's Charles XII and a coalition lead by Peter the Great. By the end of the war, Sweden had lost her supremacy as the leading power in the Baltic region and was replaced by Peter the Great's Russia.

Construction of Saint Petersburg begins (Russia)


Early in the war, in the northern marshlands along the Baltic, Peter began to construct a new city, Saint Petersburg. Its construction cost the lives of thousands of peasants, but it was completed in Peter’s lifetime. It remained the R capital until 1917.

Battle of Poltava (Russia)


The Battle of Poltava was the decisive victory of Peter I of Russia over the Swedish forces in one of the battles of the Great Northern War. It is widely believed to have been the beginning of Sweden's decline as a Great Power; Russia took their place as the leading nation of north-eastern Europe.