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European Wars of Religion

What you need to know


Dutch Revolt

  • Flemish vs. Dutch
  • Catholic vs. Calvinist
  • Nobility vs. Gentry
  • Empire vs. Nation
  • Charles V
  • Alba
  • The Compromise
  • Margaret
  • Egmont, Orange, Horn
  • Elizabeth I
  • Sea Beggars
  • Union of Utrecht (1581)
  • Calvinist Fury
  • Spanish Fury
  • Spanish Armada


French Wars of Religion

  • Colloquy of Poissey
  • Catherine d’ Medici
  • Calvinism
  • St. Bartholomew Day’s Massacre
  • War of Three Henrys
  • Catholic League
  • Guise
  • Valois (Henry III)
  • Montmorency
  • Navarre (Henry IV)
  • Paris is worth a mass
  • Edict of Nantes


Thirty Years War

  • Defenestration of Prague
  • Bohemian Phase
  • Danish Phase
  • Swedish Phase
  • French Phase
  • Ferdinand
  • Frederick
  • Maximillian
  • Mazarin
  • Edict of Restitution
  • Christian of Denmark
  • Gustavus Adolphus
  • Wallenstein
  • Cardinal Richelieu
  • Portuguese Revolt
  • Catalan Revolt
  • Peace of Westphalia
  • Treaty of the Pyrenees


Questions to answer

Dutch Revolt:

  • Why did the revolt happen under Phillip II but not under his father, Charles V?
  • What role did England play in the revolt?
  • How did politics and economics play into the revolt?
  • How did Charles’ reforms of the clergy antagonize the Dutch oligarchs?
  • In what way did Charles’ response to the revolt make it worse?
  • What is the connection between Calvinism and Capitalism as played out in the revolt?
  • Why were the Dutch able to hold out so long against the greatest power in the world?
  • How did the differences in geography—north and south—enter into the revolt?

French Wars of Religion:

  • How did international politics play into the wars?
  • Was Catherine d’ Medici’s role constructive or destructive?
  • In what ways were the wars really the “French wars of politics”?
  • What did the wars actually settle?
  • How did the political settlement become a religious settlement?
  • The settlement of the Wars laid the groundwork for absolutism. Explain.
  • The Wars proved a victory of monarchical centralization over aristocratic atomization. Explain.
  • The wars were was a victory of religious toleration over doctrinal unity. Explain.
  • The wars were a victory of political expediency over religious purity. Explain.

Thirty Years War:

  • The war revealed weakness in the Empire. Explain.
  • In what way did the Empire overplay its hand with the Edict of Restitution?
  • Why did Sweden feel the need to enter the War?
  • What role did France play during the Swedish phase of the war?
  • Why did France feel the need to enter the War?
  • How did the Habsburg/Bourbon rivalry play out during the war?
  • How did colonial affairs play into the fighting of the war?
  • Who were the big losers in the War? Why?
  • Who were the big winners? Why?
  • The settlement signifies the beginning of the modern political world. Explain.
  • How did the settlement enshrine two more centuries of German atomization?
  • How did the settlement of the war change the character of future European wars?
Sample questions answered
Original documents
Supplementary notes

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European Wars of Religion Supplementary Notes

Intro to the book
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