The term Peace of Westphalia
refers to the two peace treaties
, signed on May 15
and October 24
respectively, which ended both the Thirty Years' War
and the Eighty Years' War
and the Netherlands
. The treaties involved the Holy Roman Emperor
, Ferdinand III
), the Kingdoms of Spain, France
, the Dutch Republic
and their respective allies among the princes
of the Holy Roman Empire
The Peace of Westphalia resulted from the first modern diplomatic congress and initiated a new order in central Europe based on the concept of state sovereignty. Until 1806, the regulations became part of the constitutional laws of the Holy Roman Empire. The Treaty of the Pyrenees, signed in 1659, ended the war between France and Spain and is often considered part of the overall accord.
The peace negotiations were held in the cities of Münster and Osnabrück because Protestant
leaders refused to meet. The Catholics used Münster, while the Protestants used Osnabrück.
The French delegation was headed by Henri II d'Orléans, duc de Longueville
and further comprised the diplomats Claude d'Avaux
and Abel Servien
. The Swedes plenipotentiaries
sent Johan Oxenstierna
, the son of chancellor Axel Oxenstierna
, and Johann Adler Salvius
. The head of the delegation of the Holy Roman Empire for both cities was Count Maximilian von Trautmansdorff
; in Münster, his aides were Johann Ludwig von Nassau-Hadamar
and Isaak Volmar
(a lawyer); in Osnabrück, his team comprised Johann Maximilian von Lamberg
and Reichshofrat Johann Krane
, a lawyer. The Spanish delegation was headed by Gaspar de Bracamonte y Guzmán
. The nuntius
, Fabio Chigi
, and the Venetian
envoy Alvise Contarini
acted as mediators. Various Imperial States
of the Holy Roman Empire also sent delegations. Brandenburg sent several representatives, including Vollmar and Joachim Friedrich von Blumenthal
. The Republic of the Seven United Netherlands
sent a delegation of eight, and Johann Rudolf Wettstein
, the mayor of Basel
, represented the Old Swiss Confederacy
Internal political boundaries
The power taken by Ferdinand III in contravention of the Holy Roman Empire's constitution was stripped and returned to the rulers of the German states. This rectification allowed the rulers of the German states to independently decide their religious worship. Protestants and Catholics were redefined as equal before the law, and Calvinism was given legal recognition.
The main tenets of the Peace of Westphalia were:
- All parties would now recognize the Peace of Augsburg of 1555, by which each prince would have the right to determine the religion of his own state, the options being Catholicism, Lutheranism, and now Calvinism (the principle of cuius regio, eius religio).
- Christians living in principalities where their denomination was not the established church were guaranteed the right to practice their faith in public during allotted hours and in private at their will.
There were also territorial adjustments:
- The independence of the Dutch Republic, Switzerland, Savoy, Milan, Genoa, Mantua, Tuscany, Lucca, Modena and Parma from the Empire was formally recognised, as these regions had been de facto independent of the Emperors since the late 15th century.
- The majority of the Peace's terms can be attributed to the work of Cardinal Mazarin, the de facto leader of France at the time (the King, Louis XIV, was still a child). Not surprisingly, France came out of the war in a far better position than any of the other participants. France won control of the Bishoprics of Metz, Toul and Verdun near Lorraine, and the cities of the Décapole in Alsace (but not Strasbourg, the Bishopric of Strasbourg, or Mülhausen).
- Sweden received an indemnity, as well as control of Western Pomerania and the Prince-Bishoprics of Bremen and Verden. It thus won control of the mouth of the Oder, Elbe, and Weser Rivers, and acquired three voices in the Council of Princes of the German Reichstag.
- Bavaria retained the Palatinate's vote in the Imperial Council of Electors (which elected the Holy Roman Emperor), which it had been granted by the ban on the Elector Palatine Frederick V in 1623. The Prince Palatine, Frederick's son, was given a new, eighth electoral vote.
- The Palatinate was divided between the re-established Elector Palatine Charles Louis (son and heir of Frederick V) and Elector-Duke Maximilian of Bavaria, and thus between the Protestants and Catholics. Charles Louis obtained the Lower Palatinate, along the Rhine, while Maximilian kept the Upper Palatinate, to the north of Bavaria.
- Brandenburg-Prussia (later Prussia) received Farther Pomerania, and the Bishoprics of Magdeburg, Halberstadt, Kammin, and Minden.
- The succession to the Dukes of Jülich-Cleves-Berg, who had died out in 1609, was clarified. Jülich, Berg, and Ravenstein were given to the Count Palatine of Neuburg, while Cleves, Mark, and Ravensberg went to Brandenburg.
- It was agreed that the Prince-Bishopric of Osnabrück would alternate between Protestant and Catholic holders, with the Protestant bishops chosen from cadets of the House of Brunswick-Lüneburg.
- The independence of the city of Bremen was clarified.
- Barriers to trade and commerce erected during the war were abolished, and 'a degree' of free navigation was guaranteed on the Rhine.