Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Bohemian Revolt

The Bohemian Revolt
By the beginning of the seventeenth century Catholicism and Protestantism had achieved a rough equality within the German states, symbolized by the fact that of the seven electors who chose the Holy Roman Emperor, three were Catholic, three protestant and the seventh was emperor himself, acting as king of Bohemia.

But the delicate religious balance in central Europe presented difficulties as well as advantages. The appearance of Calvinism in Germany led to more Protestants converts the appearance of the Counter Reformation to more Catholic re-conversions,. Each change heightened anxieties. Every diplomatic marriage or contested inheritance threatened to upset balance. Protestant and Catholic states, fearful of the power of their rivals, formed separates defensive alliances. The arming of one camp incited the arming of the other.

Matters came to ahead in 1617 when Mathias, the childless Holy Roman Emperor, began making plans for his cousin, Ferdinand Habsburg, to succeed him. In order to ensure a Catholic majority among the electors, the Emperor relinquish his Bohemian title and pressed for Ferdinand election as the new king of Bohemian. On his own estates, Ferdinand abandoned the policy of toleration, Jesuit schools were founded and the precepts of the Council of Trent were enforced. Protestant preachers were barred from their office, their books publicly burned and thousands of common people were force to flee.

In May 1618 in Prague, a group of noblemen marched to the royal palace, found two king’s chief advisers and hurled them out of an upper story window. The official’s lives, if not their dignity, were preserved by the pile of manure in which they landed. This incident came to be known as The Defenestration of Prague.

This initiate a Protestant counter offensive throughout the Habsburg lands. Fear of Ferdinand’s policies led to Protestant uprising sin Hungary, as well as Bohemia. Those who seized control of government declared Ferdinand deposed and the throne vacant.
When Emperor Mathias died in 1619, the stalemate broken, Ferdinand succeeded to Imperial title as Ferdinand II (1619 – 1637) and Ferdinand V, one of the Protestant electors, accepted the Bohemian crown.
The Bohemian Revolt

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