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Chapter 14 Notes
Wars of Religion – One effect of the Reformation was a series of religious wars that swept Europe. Religious
wars were waged in France, the Spanish Empire, and the Holy Roman Empire. Although religion was the
initial factor in these wars, a strong underlying factor was a quest for political power.
The Valois dynasty began its decline with the accidental death of Henry II. He was succeeded by his three
incompetent sons who were dominated by their mother, Catherine d’ Medici.
Two factions hoped to use the weakened state of the monarchy to gain control of France.
 One faction, the Huguenots, French Protestants, was led by the Bourbon and Chatillon families
 The other faction, the Ultra-Catholics, was led by the Guise family.
Protestants and Catholics fought eight religious wars between 1562 and 1598.
Both sides committed atrocities, the worst being the Massacre at Vassy and St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre
which resulted in the killing of 3000 Huguenots. It symbolized the complete breakdown of order in France.
Politiques suggested that achieving political stability was more important than achieving religious uniformity.
After 30 years of warfare, civil order was restored when Henry of Navarre became King Henry IV, first king of
the Bourbon dynasty. As king, Henry
• Converted to Catholicism to please the majority – “Paris is well worth a mass.”
• Issued the Edict of Nantes -- recognized Catholicism as the official religion of France, but also gave the
Huguenots the right of worship and full political privileges
• Devoted his reign to rebuilding France and its prosperity (helped by the Duke of Sully – finance
• Laid the foundation for royal absolutism
• 1610 stabbed to death by a fanatic
After accepting the Peace of Augsburg, Charles I, also Charles V of HRE gave up throne and retreated to a
monastery. Ferdinand I, his brother, got the Holy Roman Empire and Philip II, his son, got Spain, the Spanish
Netherlands, and Spain’s overseas possessions.
Philip II -- “Most Catholic King”
• Incredibly wealthy
• His palace, Escorial, also functioned as a monastery
• Acquired Portugal when the king, his uncle died without a direct heir
• Commanded standing army of 50,000 and a massive navy – the Armada
• Great defender of Catholicism
• Micro-manager
Philip’s Greatest Victory -- Spain’s leadership of Holy League resulted in stunning victory against the Ottoman
Turks at Battle of Lepanto
Philip’s Greatest Challenges – Spanish Netherlands and Elizabethan England
 Rebellion in Spanish Netherlands
• Northern provinces of Netherlands were home to many Protestants
• Wanted independence from Spain.
• Resented that the taxes they paid went to Spain
• Protestants attacked Catholic churches
• Philip sent the Duke of Alva to suppress Protestant revolts
• Alva instituted the Council of Troubles, which the Dutch called the Council of Blood
• William of Orange, a Protestant aristocrat, led the fight for independence
• Dutch flooded their lands to drive the Spanish out.
Northern provinces declared their independence and were officially recognized as the United Provinces
of the Netherlands in the Treaty of Westphalia
Philip’s reign ended in 1598.
To most Europeans, Spain still seemed to be the greatest power of the age
Reality check:
 Philip had squandered much of Spain’s wealth trying to restore Catholicism to all of Europe
 Philip had declared bankruptcy several times
 His armed forces were out of date
 His government was inefficient
 Power in Europe had shifted to France and England
United Provinces of the Netherlands
• Republic
• Religious toleration – officially Calvinist, but tolerant of all – many Jews settled in the Netherlands
• Commercial Revolution – Bank of Amsterdam and the Borse
• Great Economic Prosperity – were the “middle men” of Europe
• Joint-Stock Companies – Dutch East India Company
• Great Merchant Fleet – dominated shipping – Fed Ex of their time.
Holy Roman Empire
Despite the Peace of Augsburg in 1555, religious disputes continued. Lutherans and Catholics feared
the other and both were concerned with the spread of Calvinism.
In 1617, Ferdinand, the head of the Hapsburg family and soon to be Holy Roman Emperor was elected king
of Bohemia. Ferdinand was Catholic and Austrian; the Bohemians dislike him! He ordered the closing of
Protestant churches. Protestants of course revolted! Ferdinand sends troops to Bohemia, and the German
princes see this as an opportunity to challenge his authority. Soon a full-fledged war breaks out over religion,
territory, and power.
Thirty Years’ War
The war has two phases:
 Phase of Hapsburg Victory
 Ferdinand pays his army by allowing them to plunder and rob German villages
 Phase of Hapsburg Defeat
 1630 King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden helps drive the Hapsburgs out of Northern Germany
 1635 France enters and Protestants defeat the Hapsburgs.
The Thirty Years war was the most destructive conflict Europe had experienced. Virtually all major European
powers were involved except England. The war officially ended with the Peace of Westphalia of 1648. As a
result of the treaty
• German princes were virtually independent of the HR Emperor
• Spain and Austria were weakened
• France was strengthened
• Religious wars in Europe ended
• The United Provinces of the Netherlands and Switzerland wereformally recognized
• Peace of Augsburg principle of cuius regio eius religio was expanded to include Calvinists
From 1560 to 1650 Europe experienced economic and social crises.
 Inflation, brought about by the influx of gold and silver plus the growing population which drove up
 Economic slowdown
Population leveled off around 1620, then started to decline. Warfare, plague, and famine contributed to
the decline and created social tension
Witchcraft Fear Swept Europe
 A belief in witchcraft had been a part of village culture for centuries. Now a hysteria developed.
 Common people were accused of witchcraft. 75% were women and most were over 50 and single or
 Under intense torture, the accused usually confessed to such things as sworn allegiances with the devil
and attendance at sabbats, or using evil spells and special ointments to harm neighbors.
The Malleus Maleficarum (The Hammer of the Witches) was written by Sprenger and Kramer, two Dominican
monks. It was the standard handbook on the practices of witchcraft and the methods that could be used to
discover and try witches. At the height of its popularity, The Malleus Maleficarum was surpassed in public
notoriety only by The Bible. By 1650, the hysteria began to fade. Governments grew stronger and officials did
not want to disrupt society with trials. Plus attitudes were changing and it was unreasonable to believe the
world was haunted by evil spirits.
England and the Reign of Elizabeth Tudor
 Death of Mary Tudor brought her half-sister, Elizabeth to throne.
 Elizabeth restored Protestantism to England
 “New” Act of Supremacy made Elizabeth “the supreme governor” of both church and state
 Instituted a “moderate” Protestantism in hopes of satisfying most people
 Hoped to avoid conflict by following a moderate foreign policy.
 In attempt to balance power between Spain and France, she lent her support to whichever side seemed
weaker at the time
 In spite of her attempts to avoid war, she was forced to deal with Philip II after she ordered the
execution of Mary, Queen of Scots.
Angered by the death of Mary Stuart and having secured the blessing of the pope, Philip ordered the Armada
to invade England. Spanish naval officers realized that without a miracle, the battle would be lost.
• The miracle appeared to be on the side of England – “Protestants Winds”
• England’s navy possessed faster more maneuverable ships with many more long-range guns.
• The Armanda lost many ships as it sailed back around Scotland and Ireland to reach home.
• Victory assured the independence of a Protestant England and the decline of Spain as a sea power
Absolutism: a system in which a ruler holds total power. In 17th century tied to idea of divine right of kings.
Divine Right: idea that God had created the monarch and monarch was God’s representative on earth.
Monarch only had to answer to God, not to the parliament or the people. Idea credited to Jean Bousset
Absolute Monarchs had the power to
 Make laws
 Levy taxes
 Administer justice
 Control the state’s officials
 Determine foreign policy
Reign of Louis XIII
 Came to throne at age of 9
• Weak king
• Reign dominated by his chief minister, Cardinal Armand Richelieu
 Cardinal Richelieu had 2 goals:
• Increase the power of the Bourbon monarchy
• Make France the strongest state in Europe
 Richelieu saw three dangers:
Independence of Huguenot cities – took away their political and military rights while preserving their
religious rights
Power of the nobility -- used intendants or government spies to uncover plots against the government
Encircling Hapsburg armies – involved France in 30 Years’ War on side of Protestants to weaken the
Reign of Louis XIV
 Became king at 5
 Cardinal Mazarin served as his chief minister for the next 18 years. Many nobles in France hated Mazarin
for raising taxes and strengthening the central government.
 From 1648 -1653, riots tore France apart. Nobles, merchants, peasants, and the urban poor began riots
known as the Fronde
• The Fronde had a profound effect on Louis and would have impact on his reign.
 With death of Mazarin, Louis (age 23) asserted his divine right to rule France
 To gain control of the government, Louis established his palace at Versailles.
 Versailles
• Served as the personal household of the king
• Housed the chief offices of the state
• Was the place where powerful subjects came to find favors and offices for themselves and their
 Greatest danger to Louis’s rule came from very high nobles and royal princes.
 To rid himself of this problem, he simply removed them from the Royal Council
 Simultaneously, he enticed the nobles and royal princes to come to his court, where could keep them
busy with court life and out of politics.
 Although Louis had control over France’s nationwide policy, maintaining control at the local level was a
challenge. He resorted to bribery in towns and the provinces to see that his policies were carried out.
 To achieve religious harmony, Louis issued the Edict of Fountainebleau in 1685. This edict rescinded the
Edict of Nantes – thus Catholicism was once again the only acceptable religion in France.
 Many Huguenots fled France rather than convert to Catholicism – with their exit France’s economy
 To gain money and strengthen his control over the economy, Louis appointed Jean Baptiste Colbert as his
minister of finance. Colbert established a policy of mercantilism. This policy
• Established a high tariff on imported goods
• Encouraged overseas colonies
• Regulated trade
• Expanded manufacturing by offering subsidies
Mercantilism sought to establish a favorable balance of trade – export more than you import.
The Many Wars of Louis XIV
Louis involved himself in many costly wars, the most significant being the War of the Spanish Succession
War began when Charles II of Spain died without an heir. On his deathbed, he left the throne to the grandson
of Louis XIV. The other powers of Europe feared a merger of France and Spain. A coalition of England, the
Dutch Netherlands and HRE joined forces to defeat France. The war ended with Treaty of Utrecht
According to the treaty,
• Great Britain took Gibraltar, gained Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and the Hudson Bay territories from
• A British company was granted an asiento, permission to send enslaved Africans to Spain’s American
• Austrian Hapsburgs gained the Spanish Netherlands and other Spanish lands in Italy.
• Prussia and Savoy were recognized as kingdoms.
On his deathbed, Louis warned his great-grandson and heir, Louis XV to avoid war and try to lighten the
burden of your people. Louis XV, only age 5, failed to follow the advice of his great-grandfather.
Louis XIV’s war firmly established the concept of “Balance of Power.”
Absolutism in Central and Eastern Europe
Emergence of Prussia
Having witnessed the destruction of the 30 Years’ War on his beloved Berlin, Frederick William the Great
Elector of Brandenburg, decided that since his territory possessed no natural barriers to defense, a large
standing army was his only hope for survival. Therefore, he
 Built up an efficient army of 40,000 men
 Created General War Commissariat to levy taxes for army and oversee its growth
 Commissariat soon became the chief agency of the civil government
 Junkers dominated Commissariat and Army
The War of Spanish Succession created the Kingdom of Prussia. Frederick III of Brandenburg became
Frederick I of Prussia
The New Austrian Empire
With their defeat in the 30 Years’ War, the Hapsburgs realized that their dreams of a German Empire were
gone. Thus in the 17th century, the Hapsburgs created a new empire in the East.
The core of the new Austrian Empire included the
• Traditional Austrian lands in present-day Austria, Czech Republic, and Hungary
• After defeat of Ottoman Turks in 1687, Austria took control of
• All of Hungary
• Croatia
Although the Hapsburgs had gained an empire of considerable size, it never became a highly, centralized
absolutist state because it was made up of so many different national groups. The diverse groups were held
together by the Hapsburg Emperor. Each area had its own laws and political life. The only thing that tied
these areas together was service to the emperor.
In the 15th century, a new Russian state emerged under the leadership of the grand dukes of Muscovy.
In the 17th century, Ivan IV (Terrible) became the first ruler to be called czar. Ivan IV
 Expanded Russian territories eastward
 Created a police state
 Killed his own son
With Ivan’s death, Russia entered a period known as the “Time of Troubles. This period did not end until the
Russian national assembly, the Zemsky Sobor, chose Michael Romanov as the new czar in 1613
The Romanov Dynasty lasted until 1917. One of its most famous rulers was Peter the Great. From childhood,
Peter was fascinated with the West. When he became czar, he went on a trip to the West. When he returned
to Russia, he dedicated himself to westernizing Russia.
 His first goal was to reorganize and westernize the army. He drafted peasants for 25 year stints and
employed both Russians and Europeans as officers.
 Peter borrowed Western technology to begin Russia’s first navy. Central to this navy was the
possession of a warm water port. His “window on the west” would be realized with the construction of
St. Petersburg
 To impose the rule of the central government more effectively, Peter divided Russia into provinces.
 He hoped to create a “police state” or a well-ordered community governed by law.
 Peter ordered his subjects to adopt Western customs. As a result:
• Ordered the preparation of first book of Russian etiquette
• Ordered Russian men to shave their beards and cut off their long coats
• Invited women to social gatherings and told them to leave their veils at home
Peter’s crowning achievement was St. Petersburg, his “window on the west”. To obtain land on the Baltic Sea,
he engaged in the Great Northern War with Sweden. This great city was finished during his lifetime and it
remained the capital of Russia until 1917.