The Ratification of the Treaty of Münster, 15 May 1648 (1648) by Gerard ter Borch
|Signed||15 May – 24 October 1648|
|Location||Osnabrück and Münster, Westphalia, Holy Roman Empire|
The Peace of Westphalia (German : Westfälischer Friede) was a series of peace treaties that were signed between May and October 1648 in the Westphalian cities of Osnabrück and Münster. They largely ended the European wars of religion, including the Thirty Years' War. They closed a calamitous period of European history that killed approximately eight million people. Scholars have identified Westphalia as the beginning of the modern international system, based on the concept of Westphalian sovereignty, though this interpretation has been challenged.
The negotiation process was lengthy and complex. Talks took place in two different cities, because each side wanted to meet on territory under its own control. A total of 109 delegations arrived to represent the belligerent states, but not all delegations were present at the same time. Three treaties were signed to end each of the overlapping wars: the Peace of Münster, the Treaty of Münster, and the Treaty of Osnabrück. These treaties ended the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) in the Holy Roman Empire, with the Habsburgs (rulers of Austria and Spain) and their Catholic allies on one side, battling the Protestant powers (Sweden, Denmark, Dutch, and certain Holy Roman principalities) allied with France (Catholic but anti-Habsburg). The treaties also ended the Eighty Years' War (1568–1648) between Spain and the Dutch Republic, with Spain formally recognising the independence of the Dutch.
The Peace of Westphalia established the precedent of peace established by diplomatic congress. A new system of political order arose in central Europe, based upon peaceful coexistence among sovereign states. Inter-state aggression was held in check by a balance of power, and a norm was established against interference in another state's domestic affairs. As European influence spread across the globe, these Westphalian principles, especially the concept of sovereign states, became central to international law and the prevailing world order.
Peace negotiations between France and the Habsburgs began in Cologne in 1641. These negotiations were initially blocked by Cardinal Richelieu of France, who insisted on the inclusion of all his allies, whether fully sovereign countries or states within the Holy Roman Empire.In Hamburg and Lübeck, Sweden and the Holy Roman Empire negotiated the Treaty of Hamburg with the intervention of Richelieu. The Holy Roman Empire and Sweden declared that the preparations of Cologne and the Treaty of Hamburg were preliminaries of an overall peace agreement.
The main peace negotiations took place in Westphalia, in the neighboring cities of Münster and Osnabrück. Both cities were maintained as neutral and demilitarized zones for the negotiations.
In Münster, negotiations took place between the Holy Roman Empire and France, as well as between the Dutch Republic and Spain.Münster had been, since its re-Catholicisation in 1535, a strictly mono-denominational community. It housed the Chapter of the Prince-Bishopric of Münster. Only Roman Catholic worship was permitted, while Calvinism and Lutheranism were prohibited.
Sweden preferred to negotiate with the Holy Roman Empire in Osnabrück, controlled by the Protestant forces. Osnabrück was a bidenominational Lutheran and Catholic city, with two Lutheran churches and two Catholic churches. The city council was exclusively Lutheran, and the burghers mostly so, but the city also housed the Catholic Chapter of the Prince-Bishopric of Osnabrück and had many other Catholic inhabitants. Osnabrück had been subjugated by troops of the Catholic League from 1628 to 1633 and then taken by Lutheran Sweden.
The peace negotiations had no exact beginning and ending, because the 109 delegations never met in a plenary session. Instead, various delegations arrived between 1643 and 1646 and left between 1647 and 1649. The largest number of diplomats were present between January 1646 and July 1647.
Delegations had been sent by 16 European states, 66 Imperial States representing the interests of 140 Imperial States, and 27 interest groups representing 38 groups.
Three separate treaties constituted the peace settlement.
The power asserted by Ferdinand III was stripped from him and returned to the rulers of the Imperial States. The rulers of the Imperial States could henceforth choose their own official religions. Catholics and Protestants were redefined as equal before the law, and Calvinism was given legal recognition as an official religion.The independence of the Dutch Republic, which practiced religious toleration, also provided a safe haven for European Jews.
The Holy See was very displeased at the settlement, with Pope Innocent X calling it "null, void, invalid, iniquitous, unjust, damnable, reprobate, inane, empty of meaning and effect for all time" in the bull Zelo Domus Dei.
The main tenets of the Peace of Westphalia were:
The treaties did not entirely end conflicts arising out of the Thirty Years' War. Fighting continued between France and Spain until the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659. The Dutch-Portuguese War had begun during the Iberian Union between Spain and Portugal, as part of the Eighty Years' War, and went on until 1663. Nevertheless, the Peace of Westphalia did settle many outstanding European issues of the time.
Scholars of international relations have identified the Peace of Westphalia as the origin of principles crucial to modern international relations, including the inviolability of borders and non-interference in the domestic affairs of sovereign states. This system became known in the literature as Westphalian sovereignty.Although scholars have challenged the association with the Peace of Westphalia, the debate is still structured around the concept of Westphalian sovereignty.
The Thirty Years' War was a war fought primarily in Central Europe between 1618 and 1648. One of the most destructive conflicts in human history, it resulted in eight million fatalities not only from military engagements but also from violence, famine, and plague. Casualties were overwhelmingly and disproportionately inhabitants of the Holy Roman Empire, most of the rest being battle deaths from various foreign armies. The deadly clashes ravaged Europe; 20 percent of the total population of Germany died during the conflict and there were losses up to 50 percent in a corridor between Pomerania and the Black Forest. In terms of proportional German casualties and destruction, it was surpassed only by the period of January to May 1945 during World War II. One of its enduring results was 19th-century Pan-Germanism, when it served as an example of the dangers of a divided Germany and became a key justification for the 1871 creation of the German Empire.
Westphalia is a region of northwestern Germany and one of the three historic parts of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. It has an area of 20,210 km2 (7,803 sq mi) and 7.9 million inhabitants.
The Dominions of Sweden or Svenska besittningar were territories that historically came under control of the Swedish Crown, but never became fully integrated with Sweden. This generally meant that they were ruled by Governors-General under the Swedish monarch, but within certain limits retained their own established political systems, essentially their diets. Finland was not a dominion, but an integrated part of Sweden. The dominions had no representation in the Swedish Riksdag as stipulated by the 1634 Instrument of Government paragraph 46: "No one, who is not living inside the separate and old borders of Sweden and Finland, have anything to say at Riksdags and other meetings..."
The Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen, also Archbishopric of Bremen, — not to be confused with the former Archdiocese of Bremen, and the modern Archdiocese of Hamburg, founded in 1994 — was an ecclesiastical principality (787–1566/1648) of the Holy Roman Empire, which after its definitive secularization in 1648, became the hereditary Duchy of Bremen. The prince-archbishopric, which was under the secular rule of the archbishop, consisted of about a third of the diocesan territory. The city of Bremen was de facto and de jure not part of the prince-archbishopric. Most of the prince-archbishopric lay rather in the area to the north of the city of Bremen, between the Weser and Elbe rivers. Even more confusingly, parts of the prince-archbishopric belonged in religious respect to the neighbouring diocese of Verden, making up 10% of its diocesan territory.
Bremen-Verden, formally the Duchies of Bremen and Verden, were two territories and immediate fiefs of the Holy Roman Empire, which emerged and gained imperial immediacy in 1180. By their original constitution they were prince-bishoprics of the Archdiocese of Bremen and Bishopric of Verden.
The Peace of Prague, Pražský mír (Czech), Prager Frieden (German), signed on 30 May 1635, ended Saxony's participation in the Thirty Years War. The terms would later form the basis of the 1648 Peace of Westphalia.
The Peace of Münster was a treaty between the Lords States General of the United Netherlands and the Spanish Crown, the terms of which were agreed on 30 January 1648. The Treaty is a key event in Dutch history marking formal recognition of the independent Dutch Republic and formed part of the Peace of Westphalia ending the Thirty Years' War and the Eighty Years' War.
The Treaties of Peace of Nijmegen were a series of treaties signed in the Dutch city of Nijmegen between August 1678 and December 1679. The treaties ended various interconnected wars among France, the Dutch Republic, Spain, Brandenburg, Sweden, Denmark, the Prince-Bishopric of Münster, and the Holy Roman Empire. The most significant of the treaties was the first, which established peace between France and the Dutch Republic and placed the northern border of France very near its modern position.
Christoph Bernhard Freiherr von Galen was Prince-bishop of Münster. He was born into a noble Westphalian family.
The Prince-Bishopric of Münster was a large ecclesiastical principality in the Holy Roman Empire, located in the northern part of today's North Rhine-Westphalia and western Lower Saxony. From the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries, it was often held in personal union with one or more of the nearby ecclesiastical principalities of Cologne, Paderborn, Osnabrück, Hildesheim, and Liège.
The Prince-Bishopric of Osnabrück) was an ecclesiastical principality of the Holy Roman Empire from 1225 until 1803. It should not be confused with the Diocese of Osnabrück, which was larger and over which the prince-bishop exercised only the spiritual authority of an ordinary bishop. It was named after its capital, Osnabrück.
The European wars of religion were a series of religious wars which were waged in Europe in the 16th, 17th and early 18th centuries. The wars, which were fought after the Protestant Reformation began in 1517, disrupted the religious and political order in the Catholic countries of Europe. However, religion was not the only cause of the wars, which also included revolts, territorial ambitions, and Great Power conflicts. For example, by the end of the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648), Catholic France was allied with the Protestant forces against the Catholic Habsburg monarchy. The wars were largely ended by the Peace of Westphalia (1648), establishing a new political order that is now known as Westphalian sovereignty.
The Swedish Wars on Bremen were fought between the Swedish Empire and the Hanseatic town of Bremen in 1654 and 1666. Bremen claimed to be subject to the Holy Roman Emperor, maintaining Imperial immediacy, while Sweden claimed Bremen to be a mediatised part of her dominions of Bremen-Verden, themselves territories immediately beneath the emperor. Sweden was able to gain some territory, but despite forcing a formal oath of allegiance on Bremen, did not gain control of the town.
North Rhine-Westphalia was established by the British military administration's "Operation Marriage" on 23 August 1946 by merging the Rhine province with the province of Westphalia. On 21 January 1947, the former state of Lippe was merged with North Rhine-Westphalia.
The historic territory of Verden emerged from the Monarchs of the Frankish Diocese of Verden in the area of present-day central and northeastern Lower Saxony and existed as such until 1648. The territory managed by secular lords for the bishops was not identical with that of the bishopric, but was located within its boundaries and made up about a quarter of the diocesan area. The territory was referred to at the time as Stift Verden or Hochstift Verden, roughly equating to Prince-Bishopric of Verden. This territory described in local sources today incorrectly as Bistum Verden and, in 1648, was given the title Principality of Verden, sometimes referred to as the Duchy of Verden.
The Bremen-Verden Campaign was a conflict during the Northern Wars in Europe. From 15 September 1675 to 13 August 1676 an anti-Swedish coalition comprising Brandenburg-Prussia, the neighbouring imperial princedoms of Lüneburg and Münster, and the Kingdom of Denmark, conquered the Duchies of Bremen and Verden.
Events from the year 1648 in Sweden
The historic town hall (Rathaus) of Osnabrück, Germany was built in the late Gothic style from 1487 to 1512. It is one of Osnabrück’s most important buildings and emblems and continues to be used as the city’s town hall today. The Treaty of Westphalia was negotiated and signed by the combatants of the Thirty Years’ War at the town halls of Osnabrück and Münster in 1648.
The itio in partes was a procedure of the Imperial Diet of the Holy Roman Empire between 1648 and 1806. In this procedure, the members of the diet divided into two bodies (corpora), the Corpus Evangelicorum and the Corpus Catholicorum, irrespective of the college to which they otherwise belonged. That is, the Protestant (Evangelical) members of the College of Electors, the College of Princes and the College of Cities gathered together separately from the Catholic members of the same. The two bodies then negotiated with each other, but debated and voted among themselves. A decision was reached only when both bodies agreed. The itio in partes could be invoked whenever there was a unanimous vote of one body. At first, it could only be invoked in matters affecting religion, but gradually this requirement was dropped.
The imperial election of 1653 was an imperial election held to select the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. It took place in Augsburg on May 31.
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