Category Archives: Age of Religious Wars

Age of Religious Wars


Counter Reformation- was the sixteenth century movement in the Catholic Church to recover regions lost to Protestantism. The Counter Reformation made the Catholic Church stricter in its practices.

Baroque Art- was a period of artistic style that exaggerated color, light, shading, and the figures in the piece, making them exceptionally ornate.

Politiques- a ruler in a position of power who puts the success and well-being of his or her state above all else.

Michel de Montaigne- was an important writer during the French Renaissance. Montaigne became famous by his ability to seamlessly and effortlessly merge his serious works with anecdotes. He influenced many other famous writers in history.

Huguenots- were the French Protestants, named after Besancon Hugues, the leader of the revolt that won Geneva its freedom at that time.

Theodor Beza- was a French Protestant Christian who played an important role in the Reformation. Beza was a disciple of John Calvin and lived most of his life in Switzerland.

Catherine de Medici- was the daughter of Lorenzo II de Medici. Catherine de Medici was Queen of France from 1547 to 1559. She balanced the power of France and aligned with the protestants to gain power against the powerful Guises. She also served as a regent for her son, King Charles IX.

Peace of Saint-Germain-en Laye- was a treaty signed of August 5, 1570 at the royal Chateau of Saint-Germain-en-Laye ending third French Wars of Religion. The Peace of Saint-Germain-en- Laye strengthened the Huguenots, which made Catherine de Medici switch sides to the Guise and plot against the Protestants.

St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre- on August 24, 1572, a wave of Catholic mob violence, killed over 20,000 Huguenots. The massacre was thought to be coordinated by Catherine de Medici.

John Knox’s First Blast of the Trumpet against the Terrible Regiment of Women- is a political work written by John Knox published in 1558. The work attacks female monarchs saying that rule by a female is against the bible.

Henry III politique?- Henry III of France was a politique who attempted to compromise with the warring religions to save France.

Peace of Beaulieu 1576- also known as the Edict of Beaulieu, was signed by Henry III of France on May 6, 1576. The Peace of Beaulieu granted Huguenots almost complete religious and cicil freedom.

Henry of Navarre/Henry IV politique?- Henry of Navarre was a politique. He converted to Calvinism to please the masses of France. He also kept the Spanish from invading and converting Northern France to Catholicism.

The Edict of Nantes 1598- was signed by Henry IV of France on April 13, 1598. The Edict of Nantes ended the civil wars of religion and on May 2, 1598, the Treaty of Vervins made peace between France and Spain. It confirmed a promise of toleration that Henry IV to the Huguenots. It came close to slitting parts of France into Huguenots and Catholics.

hegemony- the influence or authority over a country, or a group of people.

The Escorial- The Escorial, Philip II’s massive palace which is northwest of Madrid. Built between 1563 and 1584 it was a monumental piety and power of the king.

The Holy League 1571 Venice, Spain, Papacy- was arranged by Pope St. Pius. It was intended to end the Ottoman Turk’s control over the Mediterranean. The Holy League won a crushing victory at teh Battle of Lepanto off of the Greek western coast.

Ali Pasha and the Battle of Lepanto 1571- Ali Pasha was the Turkish officer of the Ottoman Fleet that was destroyed at the Battle of Lepanto. The Battle of Lepanto was the largest naval battle of the sixteenth century. Off the Gulf of Corinth of October 7, 1571, the Holy League Fleet engaged the Turkish Fleet. By the end of the Battle over 30,000 Turks had died.

Cardinal Granvelle & The Netherlands- Granvelle was appointed by Philip II of Spain to be the regent in the Netherlands. Granvelle played a major role in the Netherlands’ revolt against Philip II’s rule. His rule made him clash with Dutch Leaders, William of Orange.

William of Nassau, Prince of Orange/ William the Silent- (1553-1584)William of Nassau/ Prince of Orange/ William the Silent was a politique who considered the political autonomy and well being of the Netherlands to be more important than the allegiance to religious creeds.

The Duke of Alba- the Duke of Alba is a Spanish title of Nobility. The Duke of Alba became known as the Council of Blood in the Netherlands when the Duke of Alba sent 10,000 men to restore order and make an example of the revolutionaries. The Duke of Alba became more hated than Granvelle or the radical Calvinists.

The Pacification of Ghent 1576- signed on November 8, 1572, was an alliance of the provinces of the Netherlands who all had the common goal of driving out the Spanish troops out of their country.

Perpetual Edict 1577- was signed in February of 1577 by Don John of Austria, which provided the removal of Spanish Troops from the Netherlands.

The Unions of Arras and Utrecht- the Union of Arras recognized Don John of Austria as the leader of the Netherlands and expressed loyalty to King Philip II of Spain. The Union of Utrecht was a treaty that unified the northern provinces of the Netherlands.

Bloody Mary & Marian Exiles- Queen Mary I (1516-1558) also referred to as Bloody Mary was a devout Catholic. Queen Mary was known for burning protestants at the stake during her five year rule, which earned her the name Bloody Mary. The Marian Exiles were Protestants who fled from England to North America to escape religious prosecution from Queen Mary.

Elizabeth I 1553-1603 politique?- Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. She built a strong monarchy and focused more onto foreign relations instead of religion. Elizabeth I established the Church of England; separate from the Catholic Church in Rome.

Act of Supremacy 1559-the Act of Supremacy was a declaration by the Parliament in 1534 in England that made Henry VIII the head of the Church of England, not the pope. This was a step away from the Catholic Church in Rome. The money from the Church in England stayed in England instead of being sent off to Rome. This was a political move by Henry VIII as much as it was a religious one. After the Act of Supremacy, in 1536-1538 Parliament dissolved the monasteries. The Act of Supremacy was a step away from the Catholic Church and made Henry VIII more of a Protestant king.

Thirty Nine Articles 1563- were the official beliefs of the Church of England. The articles established a moderate form of protestantism in England. The Thirty Nine Articles separated England from the Catholic Church.

Mary Queen of Scots- (1542-1587) Mary Stuart, was the daughter of King James V of Scotland and Mary of Guise. Mary Queen of Scots grew up in France but later returned to rule Scotland. Elizabeth I beheaded Mary Queen of Scots in 1587.

Presbyterians- Presbyterians were Puritans who favored a national church of semiautonomous congregations governed by elected representatives.

Congregationalists- Congregationalists were more extreme Puritans who believed every congregation should be autonomous, a law unto itself controlled by neither bishops nor presbyterian assemblies.

The Conventicle Act of 1593- also known as the Religion Act of 1593 was enacted by the Parliament of England. The Act would imprison anybody over the age of sixteen who failed to attend church or anyone who denied Queen Elizabeth I’s authority in religious matters.

Sir Francis Drake & John Hawkins- Sir Francis Drake (1540-1596) was an English privateer, navigator, sea captain, and politician. John Hawkins (1532-1595) was as an English naval commander, merchant and navigator. Both participated in the Spanish Armada of 1588.

James VI of Scotland/James I of England (Stuart)- James VI of Scotland (1566-1625) was the son of Mary Queen of Scots and Henry Stuart and King of Scotland.

The Armada 1588- the Spanish Armada was the Spanish fleet of 130 ships and 25,000 men with the goal of invading England. The Spanish Armada was defeated, which was a devastating loss for the Spanish. The Spanish never fully recovered. The decline of Spain led to the emergence of France, England and the Netherlands as the most powerful countries in Europe.

Maximilian of Bavaria & the Catholic League- Maximilian of Bavaria (1573-1651) was a Wittelbach ruler of Bavaria and a prince elector of the Holy Roman Empire. The Catholic League in Germany was a loose group of Roman Catholic States that formed on July 10, 1609 to resist the Protestant Union.

The Bohemian Period- was the first of four periods during the Thirty Years War. The Bohemian period (1618-1625) began when a revolt in Bohemia triggered an international war.

The Danish Period- the Danish Period was the second period of the Thirty Years War. The Danish Period is called the Danish Period due to the Danish involvement into the Thirty Years War.

Albrecht of Wallenstein 1583-1632- was a Catholic General who fought in the Thirty Years War during the Danish Period.

The Edict of Restitution 1629- was passed eleven years into the Thirty Years War. The Edict of Restitution was Ferdinand II’s attempt to revert the Peace of Augsburg to restore religious and territorial settlements.

The Swedish Period- The Swedish Period (1630-1635) was the third period of the Thirty Years War. Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden converted to protestantism. The Swedish King reversed the course of the war by winning a monumental victory a Breitenfeld in 1630.

King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden 1611-1632- King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden was a Lutheran monarch and military genius. He changed the course of the Thirty Years war at the Battle of Breitenfeld.

Peace of Prague 1635- the Peace of Prague in 1635 was a treaty between the Habsburg Emperor Ferdinand II and the Protestant states of the Holy Roman Empire. The Peace of Augsburg ended the civil war in the Holy Roman Empire but tensions and fighting between Spain, Sweden and France still carried on until 1648.

Swedish French Period- The Swedish French Period was the fourth and final phase of the Thirty Years War. The French openly entered the war in 1635 prolonging it for until 1648. Over one third of the Holy Roman Empire’s population was dead by the end of the Swedish French Period.

The Treaty of Westphalia- The Treaty of Westphalia ended the Thirty Years War in 1648. The Peace of Augsburg was reasserted. By the end of the war Switzerland and the Netherlands became sovereign. The end of the war left France with considerable territory gains.


What part did politics play in the religious positions of the French leaders?How did the king decide which side to favor? What led to the infamous Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, and what did it achieve?

Religion and politics were synonymous to people during the sixteenth century. Only the most intelligent political philosophers of the time could discuss the difference between religion and politics. Politics played a huge role in the religious positions of the French leaders. The ruler of France would choose the side that he or she thought would benefit most from. At first, Catherine de Medici aligned with the Protestants to balance power against the Guises. She decided to do this because she thought it was the best way to maintain power for herself and her posterity. Then later, Catherine de Medici tolerated Catholicism instead of Protestantism because she was afraid that the Protestants would persuade her son to invade the Netherlands which would have led to war with Spain. Henry of Navarre chose to pick sides with the Protestants due to the fact that he was almost assassinated during the Saint Bartholomew’s Day massacre by a Catholic extremist. The infamous Saint Bartholomew’s Day massacre began with the gathering of French in Paris for the wedding between Henry of Navarre and Marguerite of Valois. Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre was a turning point in the French Wars of Religion. The Huguenot religious political movement was damped by Saint Bartholomew’s Day massacre.

How did Spain achieve a position of dominance in the sixteenth century? What were its strengths and weaknesses as a nation? What were Philip II’s goals? Which was he unable to achieve and why?

During the course of the sixteenth century Spain gained significant political, military, and economic dominance throughout Europe. Spain was one the first country to spread across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas. Through conquest of the Americas Spain became extremely wealthy. The conquests in the Americas brought precious metals like gold and silver back to Spain. The Spanish were also powerful during the sixteenth century because the Kings of Spain were part of the Habsburg family which controlled the most territories in Europe at the time. The Kingdom of Naples, the Netherlands, and parts of Northern Italy belonged to the Habsburg family. The strengths of Spain were its vast amounts of territories. The large amounts of land that the Spanish controlled only helped Spain become powerful during the sixteenth century. Some of the power of Spain also came from the Americas. The plentiful resources that lied in the Americas fueled the powerful monarchy through the sixteenth century.

The main weaknesses of Spain were its rulers. Philip II, Philip III, Philip IV, and Charles II did not assert themselves powerfully and this led to Spain’s decline over the end of the sixteenth and beginning of the seventeenth century. Philip II goals’ were trying to deal with an ever protestant Europe. Philip II had too many problems to deal with during the sixteenth century. His large monarchy was starting to deflate due to the Ottoman Empire threatening Habsburg territories in the Mediterranean, the Dutch Revolution in the Netherlands, and the extremely large territory in the Americas. Some of the goals that Philip II did not achieve was the goal of the Spanish Armada. The Spanish Armada’s goal was to try to invade the Protestant country of England. After the Spanish Armada Fleet was destroyed by the English Spain never fully recovered.

Henry of Navarre (Henry IV of France), Elizabeth I, and William of Orange were all politiques. Define the term and explain why it applies to these three rulers.

The term politique is defined as a ruler in a position of power who puts the success and well-being of his or her state above all else. All of these people: Henry of Navarre, Elizabeth I, and William of Orange were all politiques because of what they did for their state. Henry of Navarre was a politique who switched his religion several times to please the masses of France. Henry of Navarre was also religiously tolerant when in 1598 he signed the Edict of Nantes, which gave Huguenots religious freedom. Henry of Navarre closely escaped assassination during the Saint Bartholomew Day’s massacre. Elizabeth I was also a politique for what she did for the state of England. Elizabeth focused on keeping the state of England united and strong. Elizabeth’s armies kept England safe from Spanish invasion by defeating the Spanish Armada. Elizabeth placed the well being of the state over religious matters. William of Orange was a successful leader and politique. He drove the Spanish out of the Netherlands. William of Orange was a politique who considered the political autonomy and well being of the Netherlands to be of greater value than religious matters. William of Orange like Henry of Navarre, switched his religion for the benefit of the state several times. First he was a Catholic who then converted to Lutheranism. After the Saint Bartholomew Day’s massacre, he then converted to Calvinism. Henry of Navarre backed the French state’s wellbeing against religious matters. All of these rulers were politiques who cared for the placidity and stability of their state.

Discuss the background to the establishment of the Anglican Church in England. What were the politics of Mary I? What was Elizabeth I’s settlement, and how difficult was it to impose on all of England? Who were her detractors and what were their criticisms?

The Anglican Church in England began in 1534 with the Act of Supremacy declared by Henry VIII. The Anglican Church began after a number years in which England was unhappy with its relationship with the Catholic Church. Henry VIII was not in accord with the vast amount of monies being sent to the Catholic Church in Rome. Henry VIII declared himself of the the Church in England. By doing this, Henry VIII kept the revenue produced by the local churches in England for the state. Henry VIII’s daughter Mary I was a devout Catholic and realigned with the Catholic Church after Henry VIII’s death in 1547. Mary I imposed strict penalties for anyone who was not Catholic. Mary I earned her name Bloody Mary after the mass slaughterings of Protestants.

Elizabeth I reverted back against the Catholic Church like her father Henry VIII. Elizabeth I chose to create the Anglican Church which was a moderate form of Protestantism. Elizabeth’s settlement was to create a mild Protestant Church. Some of the devout Catholics wanted Catholicism and the Puritans wanted to end the system of episcopal government. Queen Elizabeth struggled to impose the Anglican Church. To combat the Catholics and the Puritans Elizabeth I passed the Conventicle Act of 1593 which gave Puritans and Catholics who did not believe in the Anglican Church the option of conforming with the practices of the Church in England or face exile or death. The main detractors of Elizabeth I were the Puritans who wanted to have many semiautonomous churches that practiced the same religion and practices. The Puritans wanted to rid the religious hierarchy in the Anglican Church. The Puritans thought that the Anglican Church should not be ruled by the Queen or bishops.

Why was the Thirty Years War fought? To what extent did politics determine the outcome of the war? Discuss the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. Could matters have been resolved without war?

In the second half of the sixteenth century, the Holy Roman Empire was comprised of 360 different autonomous political cities and states. The Peace of Augsburg in 1555 made all of the autonomous states have power to decide which religion to choose. “Cuius regio, eius religio” meant whose realm, whose religion. This statement was part of the Peace of Augsburg that ended the religious struggle in the Holy Roman Empire sixty years before the Thirty Years War, that began in 1618. The Thirty Years War was fought due to several reasons. Several countries saw the situation of political turmoil in the Holy Roman Empire as an advantage to seize territory. Other countries saw it as a way to stomp Protestantism and spread Catholicism. The main reason why countries became involved in the Thirty Years War was because they acted thinking that they could gain political power as a result of gaining territory in Germany during the war. The Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 ended the war in the Holy Roman Empire but it still left Germany fragmented. In the Treaty of Westphalia, Calvinism was added to the acceptable list of religions to be practiced in the Holy Roman Empire. The Treaty of Westphalia also reconfirmed some of the key concepts stated in the Peace of Augsburg in 1555. The Thirty Years War could not have been resolved without war. For the past 130 years in Europe tensions had been rising between Catholics and Protestants. Wars of religion have killed millions of people since the beginning of history. The religious differences between the Catholics and the Calvinists started the Thirty Years War. Eight million people died as a result of the Thirty Years War in the Holy Roman Empire. The Thirty Years War was too heated to have been resolved without war.


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