30 Years War


Without a doubt, one of the wars best known and studied by historians is the 30-year war . A warlike conflict that had its beginnings in the Holy Roman Empire , better known as Bohemia . A war that in the end became more of a conflict of interest between Catholics and Protestants.

  • When was it: From 05/23/1618 to 1648
  • Where was it: Central Europe

30 years war

The 30 Years’ War was a war that took place in Europe between the years 1618 and 1648 in which all the countries of Europe participated . A revolutionary conflict caused by religion , reform and counter- reform.


What was the 30 years war?

The 30-year war was an armed conflict that was based on the struggle to establish religion since there were many people who were for and against the reform , which gradually caused the tension that already existed between the rulers. will increase considerably. It was a conflict that did not only take place between two countries, but had as an important characteristic the participation of all the countries of Europe.


Historic context

The historical context of this war begins when Emperor Charles V of Germany and the Lutheran princes signed an agreement, however, it only managed to increase hatred between Lutherans and Catholics. At the beginning of the 18th century , tension increased throughout Europe and Spain was beginning to show interest in the German principalities as they had many important territories. Furthermore, in the second half of the 16th century , problems and tensions related to religion had also increased considerably.


The 30-year war has a large amount of related information, and in itself, it is divided into important periods, which are:

Palatine period

In this period, the conflict began in the city of Bohemia . Its inhabitants were separated, some were Protestant and others Catholics . They had formed two camps, the Evangelical Union and the Catholic League . The latter were in charge of destroying the Protestant church and the anger did not wait. They attacked the places where the Catholic royal officials worked and killed the secretaries. For this reason, Emperor Ferdinand II, sent troops and took over several places.

Danish period

When the Germans learned that the emperor had taken over Bohemia and Palatinate, they went into a state of alarm. They called in the king of Denmark , who was already a rival of Germany , and Sweden to find a way to destroy the Emperor. This one had the help of Wallenstein and they managed to invade the northern part of Germany. The Peace of Lubeck was signed which established that Denmark should not give aid to the Protestants in Germany and Denmark managed to guarantee that its territory remained intact.

Swedish period

Sweden’s introduction to the conflict was due to the great rivalry between Sweden and Germany. At that time the king of Sweden was Gustavo Adolfo , an excellent warrior who had the best troops and in his battles he managed to defeat Tilly’s army. Despite the win, the king died and the Swedes were unable to hold their positions properly, a reason Wallenstein took to triumph in many battles. Later, seeing his pride and aspiration to the crown, he was ordered to assassinate by the Emperor .

French period

France was pushed into the conflict by Cardinal Richelieu , who was in charge of signing a series of alliances with the Netherlands and with Italy . Later he invaded France achieving a few victories, defeated the Germans, the Spanish and took away the French province of Artois. Later, the German throne was occupied by Fernando III and in France Louis XIV reigned , it was the moment in which the warlike conflict finally came to an end.

Characteristics of the 30 years war

Among the most representative characteristics of the 30 Years’ War, the following are mentioned:

  • It happened in Europe between the years of 1618 and 1648.
  • All the countries of the European continent were involved in the conflict.
  • It was a war with a religious background .
  • As trade mediated in the war, countries that had the same religion clashed with each other.
  • The war was divided into four different phases .

Featured Battles

There were many battles that occurred throughout the European continent when the 30-year war happened, some of them were:

  • France : Siege of Arms, Battle of Zusmarshausen, Batallde de Honnecourt, Cádiz and Cartagena.
  • From the kingdom of Bohemia : Battle of Lomnice, White Mountain, Sablat and Wisternitz.
  • Spain : Battle of Cádiz, Palatinate Campaign, Siege of Louvain, Battle of Tornavento, Siege of Fuenterrabia, Battle of Fleurus.
  • England : Siege of Heidelberg, Palatinate Campaign and Battle of Stadtlohn.
  • Sweden : Battle of Neuensund, Battle of Neuwarp, Battle of Pasewalk and Blockade of Straisund.


The causes that led to the 30-year war are various and can be divided as follows:


Which include the desire that Emperor Ferdinand II of Germany had to unite all his States in order to impose the Catholic religion and the different religious struggles that occurred in Bohemia.


They included the desire that the emperor had to be able to change the German Empire, in which the rulers were chosen by a hereditary Empire in order to get his son to continue with the crown. In addition, there was a great rivalry between the emperor and the princes who held positions in their states.


Among them they mention the plan that France had to completely destroy the house of Austria and in this way to reestablish the balance. The rivalry that existed between Denmark, Germany and Sweden due to trade.


Among the consequences that the 30-year war originated, it is mentioned that the countries that participated in it considerably reduced the number of inhabitants and many areas throughout Europe went bankrupt because the economy was greatly affected. There was also a significant imbalance in the distribution of land as some places were left with practically nothing while others became very powerful. One of the main consequences was the Peace of Westphalia which involved two peace treaties, that of Münster and that of Osnabrück .

A series of principles of peace , equality , sovereignty and balance were established with the aim of eliminating the hegemony of the countries. It had negative repercussions for Spain as the title of Holy Roman Emperor took on more symbolic value. In addition, religious freedom was established but they did not admit the Calvinist religion until after the Peace of Westphalia was signed.

Countries that participated

All the European countries that were in favor of the reform , who were Protestants and also those who supported the counter-Reformation , the Catholics, participated in the 30 years war . The countries that were under the mandate of the Germanic Roman Empire were the first to participate and later places such as Sweden, Denmark, France, Portugal, Switzerland and others joined.


The sides that fought during this war were firstly those who supported the Protestant Reformation , a religious movement started by Martin Luther, and on the other side there were those who supported the Catholic Counter-Reformation , which was against everything established by Luther.


Among the most important characters are the following:

  • Ferdinand II of Habsburg , a devout Catholic recognized as King of Bohemia who was in charge of eliminating the Protestant religion from his territory, thus starting the 30-year war.
  • Frederick V of Palatinate, defender of Protestantism in Bohemia.
  • Felipe III who gave his support to Protestantism and tried to expand its dominions.
  • Albrecht Von Wallenstein head of one of the greatest armies.
  • Christian IV who tried to attack the Holy Roman Empire to help the Protestants but failed in the attempt.
  • Cardinal Richelieu who gave his support to try to end the forces of Spain and the Holy Empire.


The 30-year war was of great importance mainly for the Modern Age , this because thanks to it it was possible to establish the religion of religious worship in many States and also ensured the predominance of France over other Central European nations. He also managed to establish the balance of the European continent and mutual respect was established between nations.

30 years’ war in popular culture

In popular culture, the story of the war has been told in several books and films of interest, among which we can mention:

  • The Last Valley , a film that tells the story of Vogel, a professor who arrives in a place that has not been ravaged by war.
  • The Thirty Years’ War , Europe before the abyss of Cristina Borreguero Beltrán.
  • Battles of the Thirty Years’ War , Second Period from Wittstock to the Peace of Westphalia by William Guthrie.
  • Richard Bonney’s Thirty Years’ War .


One of the most destroyed places during the conflict was the island of Sri Lanka because there were many Buddhist temples that were destroyed in revenge by the belligerent Dutch and Portuguese troops, in addition, many people were killed . One of the bloodiest conflicts of the war was the Battle of Lutzen in 1632 where Sweden was massacred including its King Gustav Adolf . This war succeeded in creating peace , and thanks to this the world exists as I know it today.

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