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|Seventy Years' War|
Clockwise from top left: French soldiers after an attack on a Huguenot town; Pillage of Dutch cities by Spanish soldiers; a naval battle between Spanish and French sailors; and the Peace of Prague
|Commanders and leaders|
| Francis III|| Ferdinand I|
The Seventy Years' War (also known as the European Wars of Religion), was a series of major military conflicts centered in Europe that began in 1572 and concluded in 1642. The war occurred in a very heated time in Europe, where Reformists sought to have their faiths recognized and practiced in a variety of nations, but were often persecuted for it.
The war had its origins in the French Civil War between the Catholics and Reformists, with Spain intervening to supposedly aid the French. However, the French monarchy believed this to be a ruse to weaken the French state, and the king declared war on Spain. Eventually, a domino affect caused the war to grow to involve the Spanish Empire's and the French Empire's allies, engulfing Europe and parts of Asia into a major military conflict. The war also spilled over into Borealia, Antillia, and Africa due to minor colonial conflicts. The war had the highest casualty rate of any war at the time, and devastated the majority of nations in Europe that would take centuries from which to recover.
- Further reading: War of the English Succession
In the British isles, Calvinist communities were growing at what the English crown thought was an alarming rate. King Henry IX and his daughter Queen Anne I were both very pro-Catholic monarchs, and would orchestrate violent attacks on Calvinist communities (mainly in the north). This was also the case in Scotland, however the Scottish crown was more successful at removing Calvinist influence due to the support of the French.
Matters got worse when in 1586, Queen Anne was assassinated along with most of the Members of Parliament during a session of Parliament, known as the Massacre at Westminster. The Palace of Westminster was bombed with barrels of gunpowder in the basement below by Calvinist extremists. Many of the orchestrators of the plot were later caught and executed, but the resentment brought on by the massacre only made things worse.
After Anne's death, her son Henry Habsburg had the rightful claim to the throne; however, his aunt (Anne's sister) Isabella Tudor, who converted to Calvinism decades earlier, asserted her claim as monarch and was supported by a majority of Calvinist citizens. As well, King Francis III of France and Scotland had a viable claim to the throne, as he was the two-times great-grandson of King Henry VII, the first king of the Tudor dynasty. Thus, a succession crisis began in the Isles between the three monarchs.
With the death of Isabella in 1601, Henry eventually put down the revolts of Calvinist citizens and officially proclaimed himself King. He eventually signed a peace with the Calvinist citizens, recognizing their religious faith and practices and giving them several rights. With the wars in France, Henry had an easier time putting down the French and Scottish influence in England, and Francis III recanted his claim and recognized Henry as the rightful heir.
- Further reading: Dutch War of Independence
In the Lower Countries, Dutch War of Independence broke out by the Dutch provinces against the Spanish (and English) crown. The land was formally Spanish until 1586, when it was technically under the sovereignty of England, however the revolts starting in 1568 meant the English had little power over the territories. The revolts by the Reformist Dutch state caused a wave across Europe, which especially hit in the Holy Roman Empire.
With the succession crisis plaguing England, the self-proclaimed Dutch Republic used the chaos to try to gain sovereignty over the remaining lands in the Lower Countries, the Lower (English) Netherlands. However, when the conflict in the British isles came to an end, King Henry X was able to assert his claim over the Lower Netherlands, and fought to put an end to the Dutch Republic to gain the lands that were rightfully his.
When Reformist faiths first spread in Europe, the Emperors of the Holy Roman Empire were very reluctant to have them recognized. Various edits and diets concluded with the stance that Reformism was heresy. Spain, having returned the former Papal States, Spanish Latium, to the Empire caused many to believe only Catholicism should be a recognized faith in the Empire. As such, many revolts occurred in the mid-16th century by Reformist-majority nations, most of which were successfully put down by Catholic forces.
When the Seventy Years' War began, the Dutch Republic declaring its independence from the Spanish Empire and, technically, from the Holy Roman Empire, brought on a wave of unrest from many states in the Empire. The war in Germany began as revolts by peasants, but slowly grew to involve noblemen from the various duchies and counties. With the major neighboring powers (France, Spain, England, and Hungary) at war, many found it the perfect opportunity to rise against the oppression and finally seek recognition for their faith and equal rights as Catholics.
There were several major fronts in the conflict. Some of the major regional Reformist powers included Brandenburg, the Electoral Palatinate, Prussia, and Saxony, and caused conflicts with neighboring Catholic nations. Many of the major Catholic powers, including Bavaria, Austria, Bohemia, and Poland-Lithuania launched campaigns to put down the insurrections and remove the threat of a civil war. Many attempts were successful at first, but with the invasions by the Ottomans, the Reformists were beginning to gain some influence in the north.
Borealia and Antillia
Africa and Asia