The war began with the election of Sigismund II, King of Bohemia, as Holy Roman Emperor. Unfortunately Sigismund was a Muslim, from a mainly Muslim country, and the staunchly Catholic rulers of the northern empire refused to accept his election. When the Pope in Mainz refused to crown Sigismund, the Catholic party took this as a pretext to overthrow him by force, and attacked Bohemia the next year in 1544.
Initially the war simply pitted the Muslim and Catholic states of the HRE against each other. However, as it dragged on with neither side able to gain an advantage over the other, neighbouring European states began to intervene, thus expanding the scope of the war.
Peace of Limburg
The war was finally brought to an end by the 1587 Peace of Limburg, which was agreed upon by most of the states involved.
The terms of the peace treaty included the following:
- Wladyslaw III of Bohemia, son of Sigismund II was recognized as Holy Roman Emperor.
- Freedom of religion was guaranteed for all subjects of the Holy Roman Empire. No ruler would have the right to restrict any form of worship.
- States with imperial immediacy were henceforth to be recognized as sovereign, with complete freedom over foreign and domestic policies.
- The independence of the Swabian Confederation was recognized.
- Franconia was transferred to Bavarian rule.
- Silesia was transferred to Bohemian rule.
- Poitou, Auvergne and Provence were transferred to Aquitanian rule.
- The independence of Venice, Lombardy, Milan and Genoa was recognized.
- Free trade was guaranteed along the Rhine and Elbe rivers.
- An indemnity of 3,000,000 thalers was to be paid to Bohemia