Uneasy Peace, 1530-1618



As already stated, Emperor Charles V. had many problems do deal with simultaneously and was willing to find a peaceful solution for the problems posed by the reformation.
Yet, Germany's constitution as fixed in the GOLDEN BULL of 1356 complicated the situation : Emperors were to be elected by the 7 ELECTORS. Three of them, the Dukes of Brandenburg abd Saxony and the Count Palatinate, were protestants. The King of Bohemia, Charles V. himself, thus a pro-Habsburg Catholic, the other three the (presumed Catholic) archbishops of Cologne, Mainz and Trier.

Yet the achbishops were not immune to the ongoing reformation. Colognian archbishop ........... converted to protestantism and married his mistress. Cologne protestant meant a protestant majority among the electors, the next emperor would not be a Habsburgian. This Charles V. could not tolerate. The ongoing COUNCIL OF TRENT decided the program of COUNTERREFORMATION. The Emperor declared that if a bishop wanted to convert, he had to give up title and rule. Troops were sent to Cologne and a Catholic archbishop installed; the Catholic majority in the electoral council had been restored.
Germany's protestant princes were aware of their precarious position. On the one hand they were intent to defend the achievement the reformation was to them, on the other side they wanted to preserve peace. They established the FEDERATION OF SCHMALKALDEN, against which the Imperial army marched (1551). The PEACE OF AUGSBURG was signed, which established the formula cuius regio, eius religio - in whose territory you live, that (princes) confession you must have. Yet, the protestant princes, aware of their military weakness and of forced recatholicization in neighbouring regions, felt uneasy for decades to come. A showdown had been postponed, not avoided.





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This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on November 12th 2004

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