What was the Peace of Westphalia?


Quick Answer

The Peace of Westphalia was a series of 17th-century peace treaties that ended the Thirty Years' War and the Eighty Years' War; it also recognized the Dutch Republic's independence. It is seen as a model for diplomacy and marked the first time that a peace treaty was drawn up with the participation of all parties involved; thousands of diplomats drafted the treaty.

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Full Answer

The treaties making up the Peace of Westphalia were signed from May to October of 1648 in Munster and Osnabruck. The treaties involved Spain, France, the Dutch Republic, the Swedish Empire, and the House of Habsburg. It also involved Ferdinand III, the Holy Roman Emperor, and the free imperial cities' sovereigns.

The Peace of Westphalia encompasses the Peace of Munster, the Treaty of Munster and the Treaty of Osnabruck. The series of treaties created a new political order system in central Europe and established a precedent for not interfering in other nation's domestic business. It also created the notion of sovereign states. It also recognized Switzerland as independent from the Holy Roman Empire and abolished trade and commerce barriers.

The Holy See did not support the treaty because it made Catholics and Protestants equal and allowed rulers to decide upon religious worship.

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