Peace of Westphalia

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Peace of Westphalia
Westfaelischer Friede in Muenster (Gerard Terborch 1648).jpg
The Ratification of the Treaty of Münster, 15 May 1648 (1648) by Gerard ter Borch
Type Peace treaty
Drafted1646–1648
Signed15 May – 24 October 1648
Location Osnabrück and Münster, Westphalia, Holy Roman Empire
Parties109

The Peace of Westphalia (German : Westfälischer Friede) was a series of peace treaties signed between May and October 1648 in the Westphalian cities of Osnabrück and Münster, largely ending the European wars of religion, including the Thirty Years' War. The treaties of Westphalia brought to an end a calamitous period of European history which caused the deaths of approximately eight million people. [1] 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. [2]

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol in Italy, the German-speaking Community of Belgium and Liechtenstein. It is one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages that are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch, including Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

Peace treaty agreement between two or more hostile parties which formally ends a state of war

A peace treaty is an agreement between two or more hostile parties, usually countries or governments, which formally ends a state of war between the parties. It is different from an armistice, which is an agreement to stop hostilities; a surrender, in which an army agrees to give up arms; or a ceasefire or truce, in which the parties may agree to temporarily or permanently stop fighting.

Westphalia State part and historic region of North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany

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.

Contents

The negotiation process was lengthy and complex. Talks took place in two different cities, as 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.

Peace of Münster Treaty between the Dutch Republic and Spain signed in 1648

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.

Thirty Years War War between 1618 and 1648; with over 8 million fatalities

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.

Holy Roman Empire Complex of territories in Europe from 962 to 1806

The Holy Roman Empire was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. The largest territory of the empire after 962 was the Kingdom of Germany, though it also included the neighboring Kingdom of Bohemia and Kingdom of Italy, plus numerous other territories, and soon after the Kingdom of Burgundy was added. Its size gradually diminished over time, particularly from 1648 onward, and by the time of its dissolution, it largely contained only German-speaking territories, plus the Kingdom of Bohemia which was bordered by the German lands on three sides.

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 to be 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 to the prevailing world order. [3]

Diplomacy art and practice of conducting negotiations between representatives of groups or states

Diplomacy is the art and practice of conducting negotiations between representatives of states. It usually refers to the conduct of international relations through the intercession of professional diplomats with regard to a full range of topical issues. Diplomacy entails influencing the decisions and conduct of foreign governments and officials through dialogue, negotiation, and other nonviolent means.

Sovereign state Political organization with a centralized independent government

In international law, a sovereign state, sovereign country, or simply state, is a political entity that is represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign states as having a permanent population, defined territory, one government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood that a sovereign state is neither dependent or non subjected to any other power or state.

Balance of power (international relations) idea that national security is enhanced when military capabilities are distributed so no state is strong enough to dominate

The balance of power theory in international relations suggests that states may secure their survival by preventing any one state from gaining enough military power to dominate all others. If one state becomes much stronger, the theory predicts it will take advantage of its weaker neighbors, thereby driving them to unite in a defensive coalition. Some realists maintain that a balance-of-power system is more stable than one with a dominant state, as aggression is unprofitable when there is equilibrium of power between rival coalitions.

Locations

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. [4] In Hamburg and Lübeck, Sweden and the Holy Roman Empire negotiated the Treaty of Hamburg with the intervention of Richelieu. [5] The Holy Roman Empire and Sweden declared the preparations of Cologne and the Treaty of Hamburg to be preliminaries of an overall peace agreement.

House of Habsburg Austrian dynastic family

The House of Habsburg and also officially called the House of Austria, was one of the most influential and distinguished royal houses of Europe. The throne of the Holy Roman Empire was continuously occupied by the Habsburgs from 1438 until their extinction in the male line in 1740. The house also produced kings of Bohemia, Hungary, Croatia, Galicia, Portugal and Spain with their respective colonies, as well as rulers of several principalities in the Netherlands and Italy. From the 16th century, following the reign of Charles V, the dynasty was split between its Austrian and Spanish branches. Although they ruled distinct territories, they nevertheless maintained close relations and frequently intermarried.

Cologne City in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

Cologne is the largest city of Germany's most populous federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the fourth most populous city in Germany after Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich. With slightly over a million inhabitants within its city boundaries, Cologne is the largest city on the Rhine and also the most populous city both of the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Region, which is Germany's largest and one of Europe's major metropolitan areas, and of the Rhineland. Centered on the left bank of the Rhine, Cologne is about 45 kilometres (28 mi) southeast of North Rhine-Westphalia's capital of Düsseldorf and 25 kilometres (16 mi) northwest of Bonn. It is the largest city in the Central Franconian and Ripuarian dialect areas.

Cardinal Richelieu French clergyman, noble and statesman

Cardinal Armand Jean du Plessis, Duke of Richelieu, commonly referred to as Cardinal Richelieu, was a French clergyman and statesman. He was consecrated as a bishop in 1607 and was appointed Foreign Secretary in 1616. Richelieu soon rose in both the Catholic Church and the French government, becoming a cardinal in 1622, and King Louis XIII's chief minister in 1624. He remained in office until his death in 1642; he was succeeded by Cardinal Mazarin, whose career he had fostered.

Dutch envoy Adriaan Pauw enters Munster around 1646 for the peace negotiations EinzugdesGesandten AdriaenPauw.jpg
Dutch envoy Adriaan Pauw enters Münster around 1646 for the peace negotiations

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.

Münster Place in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

Münster is an independent city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is in the northern part of the state and is considered to be the cultural centre of the Westphalia region. It is also capital of the local government region Münsterland. Münster was the location of the Anabaptist rebellion during the Protestant Reformation and the site of the signing of the Treaty of Westphalia ending the Thirty Years' War in 1648. Today it is known as the bicycle capital of Germany.

Osnabrück Place in Lower Saxony, Germany

Osnabrück is a city in the federal state of Lower Saxony in north-west Germany. It is situated in a valley penned between the Wiehen Hills and the northern tip of the Teutoburg Forest. With a population of 168,145 Osnabrück is one of the four largest cities in Lower Saxony. The city is the centrepoint of the Osnabrück Land region as well as the District of Osnabrück.

In Münster, negotiations took place between the Holy Roman Empire and France, as well as between the Dutch Republic and Spain. [6] 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.

Dutch Republic Republican predecessor state of the Netherlands from 1581 to 1795

The United Provinces of the Netherlands, or simply United Provinces, and commonly referred to historiographically as the Dutch Republic, was a confederal republic formally established from the formal creation of a confederacy in 1581 by several Dutch provinces—seceded from Spanish rule—until the Batavian Revolution of 1795. It was a predecessor state of the Netherlands and the first fully independent Dutch nation state.

Habsburg Spain Reigning dynasty in Spain in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries

Habsburg Spain refers to Spain over the 16th and 17th centuries (1516–1700), when it was ruled by kings from the House of Habsburg. The Habsburg rulers reached the zenith of their influence and power. They controlled territory that included the Americas, the East Indies, the Low Countries and territories now in France and Germany in Europe, the Portuguese Empire from 1580 to 1640, and various other territories such as small enclaves like Ceuta and Oran in North Africa. This period of Spanish history has also been referred to as the "Age of Expansion".

Calvinism Protestant branch of Christianity

Calvinism is a major branch of Protestantism that follows the theological tradition and forms of Christian practice set down by John Calvin and other Reformation-era theologians. Paul Helm, a well-known Reformed theologian, appropriately uses the term Augustinian Calvinism due to John Calvin's self-admitted adherence to Augustine's theology. "Augustine is so wholly within me, that if I wished to write a confession of my faith, I could do so with all fullness and satisfaction to myself out of his writings."

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. [5]

Delegations

Sebastian Dadler undated medal (1648), Christina of Sweden, portrait with feathered helmet right. Obverse Sebastian Dadler Original Medal N.D. (1648), Christina of Sweden, Peace of Westphalia. Obverse.jpg
Sebastian Dadler undated medal (1648), Christina of Sweden, portrait with feathered helmet right. Obverse
The reverse of this medal: Christina of Sweden as Minerva holding an olive branch in her left arm and grasping the tree of knowledge with her right hand. Sebastian Dadler Original Medal N.D. (1648), Christina of Sweden, Peace of Westphalia. Reverse.jpg
The reverse of this medal: Christina of Sweden as Minerva holding an olive branch in her left arm and grasping the tree of knowledge with her right hand.

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. [7]

Treaties

Three separate treaties constituted the peace settlement.

Results

Internal political boundaries

A map of 1884 showing European borders in 1648. Europe 1648 westphal 1884.jpg
A map of 1884 showing European borders in 1648.
Holy Roman Empire in 1648. Holy Roman Empire 1648.svg
Holy Roman Empire in 1648.

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. [12] [13] The independence of the Dutch Republic, which practiced religious toleration, also provided a safe haven for European Jews. [14]

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. [15] [16]

Tenets

The main tenets of the Peace of Westphalia were:

Territorial adjustments

Legacy

Allegory of the Peace of Westphalia, by Jacob Jordaens. Alegoria de la Paz de Westfalia, por Jacob Jordaens.jpg
Allegory of the Peace of Westphalia, by Jacob Jordaens.

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.

Westphalian sovereignty

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. [3] Although scholars have challenged the association with the Peace of Westphalia, [23] the debate is still structured around the concept of Westphalian sovereignty.

See also

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References

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  3. 1 2 Henry Kissinger (2014). "Introduction and Chpt 1". World Order: Reflections on the Character of Nations and the Course of History. Allen Lane. ISBN   0241004268.
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  12. 1 2 Treaty of Münster 1648
  13. 1 2 Barro, R. J. & McCleary, R. M. "Which Countries have State Religions?" (PDF). University of Chicago. p. 5. Retrieved 7 November 2006.
  14. "This day, Mary 15, in Jewish history". Cleveland Jewish News.
  15. The incipit of this bull, meaning "Zeal of the house of God", quotes from Psalm 69:9: "For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up, and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me."
  16. Larry Jay Diamond; Marc F. Plattner; Philip J. Costopoulo (2005). World religions and democracy. p. 103.
  17. Section 28
  18. Böhme, Klaus-R (2001). "Die sicherheitspolitische Lage Schwedens nach dem Westfälischen Frieden". In Hacker, Hans-Joachim (ed.). Der Westfälische Frieden von 1648: Wende in der Geschichte des Ostseeraums (in German). Kovač. p. 35. ISBN   3-8300-0500-8.
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Further reading