Peace of Westphalia

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Peace of Westphalia
Treaties of Osnabrück and Münster
The Ratification of the Treaty of Münster, 15 May 1648 (1648) by Gerard ter Borch
The Ratification of the Treaty of Münster, 15 May 1648 (1648) by Gerard ter Borch
Type Peace treaty
Drafted 1646–1648
Signed 15 May–24 October 1648
Location Osnabrück and Münster, Westphalia, Holy Roman Empire
Parties 109

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 that virtually ended the European wars of religion.

These treaties ended the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) in the Holy Roman Empire, with the Habsburgs and their Catholic allies on one side, and the Protestant powers (Sweden, Denmark, Dutch, and Holy Roman principalities) and France (Catholic but anti-Habsburg) on the other. 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 Republic. The Treaties of Westphalia brought to a close a tumultuous period of European history which saw the deaths of approximately eight million people.[1]

The negotiation process was lengthy and complex. Talks took place in two different cities, as both sides wanted to meet on territory under their 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. Collectively, these treaties make up the Peace of Westphalia.

The Peace of Westphalia established the precedent of peaces established by diplomatic congress. A new system of political order arose in central Europe, which political scientists now call Westphalian sovereignty, based upon the concept of co-existing 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.[2]

Locations[edit]

Peace negotiations between France and the Habsburgs began in Cologne in 1641, these negotiations were initially blocked by France, as Cardinal Richelieu of France desired the inclusion of all of its allies, whether fully sovereign countries or states within the Holy Roman Empire.[3] In Hamburg and Lübeck, Sweden and the Holy Roman Empire negotiated the Treaty of Hamburg with the intervention of Richelieu.[4] The Holy Roman Empire and Sweden declared the preparations of Cologne and the Treaty of Hamburg to be preliminaries of an overall peace agreement.

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.

In Münster, negotiations took place between the Holy Roman Empire and France, as well as between the Dutch Republic and Spain.[5] 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, which the Protestant forces controlled. 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 were mostly Lutheran, 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 1628–33 and then taken by Lutheran Sweden.[4]

Delegations[edit]

Sebastian Dadler undated medal (1648), Christina of Sweden, portrait with feathered helmet r. Obverse
The reverse of this medal: Christina of Sweden as Minerva standing l., holding an olive branch in her l. arm, and grasping the tree of knowledge with her r. 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 1643–46 and left between 1647–49, the largest number of diplomats were present between January 1646 and July 1647.

Delegations had been sent by 16 European states, sixty-six Imperial States representing the interests of 140 Imperial States, and 27 interest groups representing 38 groups.[6]

Treaties[edit]

Three separate treaties constituted the peace settlement.

  • The Peace of Münster[8] was signed by the Dutch Republic and the Kingdom of Spain on 30 January 1648, and was ratified in Münster on 15 May 1648.
  • Two complementary treaties were signed on 24 October 1648:
    • The Treaty of Münster (Instrumentum Pacis Monasteriensis, IPM),[9] between the Holy Roman Emperor and France, along with their respective allies
    • The Treaty of Osnabrück (Instrumentum Pacis Osnabrugensis, IPO),[10] between the Holy Roman Empire and Sweden, along with their respective allies.

Results[edit]

Internal political boundaries[edit]

Historical map
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,[11][12] the independence of the Dutch Republic, which practiced religious toleration, also provided a safe haven for European Jews.[13]

The Holy See was very displeased at the settlement, with Pope Innocent X in Zelo Domus Dei[14] reportedly calling it "null, void, invalid, iniquitous, unjust, damnable, reprobate, inane, empty of meaning and effect for all time".[15]

Tenets[edit]

The main tenets of the Peace of Westphalia were:

  • All parties would recognize the Peace of Augsburg of 1555, in which each prince would have the right to determine the religion of his own state (the principle of cuius regio, eius religio). The options were Catholicism, Lutheranism, and now Calvinism.[11][12]
  • Christians living in principalities where their denomination was not the established church were guaranteed the right to practice their faith in private, as well as in public during allotted hours.[16]
  • General recognition of the exclusive sovereignty of each party over its lands, people, and agents abroad, and responsibility for the warlike acts of any of its citizens or agents. Issuance of unrestricted letters of marque and reprisal to privateers was forbidden.

Territorial adjustments[edit]

Legacy[edit]

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 Spanish occupation of 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.

Westaphalian sovereignty[edit]

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.[2] Although challenges to these ideas have arisen, the debate is still structured around the concept of Westphalian sovereignty.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Clodfelter, Micheal (2017). Warfare and Armed Conflicts: A Statistical Encyclopedia of Casualty and Other Figures, 1492–2015. McFarland. p. 40. ISBN 978-0786474707.
  2. ^ a b Henry Kissinger (2014). "Introduction and Chpt 1". World Order: Reflections on the Character of Nations and the Course of History. Allen Lane. ISBN 0241004268. 
  3. ^ Croxton, Derek (2013). Westphalia: The Last Christian Peace. Palgrave. ISBN 9781137333322. 
  4. ^ a b Schiller, Frederick. "The Thirty Years War, Complete". 
  5. ^ Konrad Repgen, 'Negotiating the Peace of Westphalia: A Survey with an Examination of the Major Problems', In: 1648: War and Peace in Europe: 3 vols. (Catalogue of the 26th exhibition of the Council of Europe, on the Peace of Westphalia), Klaus Bußmann and Heinz Schilling (eds.) on behalf of the Veranstaltungsgesellschaft 350 Jahre Westfälischer Friede, Münster and Osnabrück: no publ., 1998, 'Essay Volume 1: Politics, Religion, Law and Society', pp. 355–72, here pp. 355 seq.
  6. ^ Konrad Repgen, 'Negotiating the Peace of Westphalia: A Survey with an Examination of the Major Problems', In: 1648: War and Peace in Europe: 3 vols. (Catalogue of the 26th exhibition of the Council of Europe, on the Peace of Westphalia), Klaus Bußmann and Heinz Schilling (eds.) on behalf of the Veranstaltungsgesellschaft 350 Jahre Westfälischer Friede, Münster and Osnabrück: no publ., 1998, 'Essay Volume 1: Politics, Religion, Law and Society', pp. 355–72, here p. 356.
  7. ^ Sonnino, Paul (30 June 2009). Mazarin's Quest: The Congress of Westphalia and the Coming of the Fronde. Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674043862. 
  8. ^ "Original text in Dutch National Archives". beeldbank.nationaalarchief.nl. 
  9. ^ "Digital German text Treaty of Münster". lwl.org. 
  10. ^ "Digital German text Treaty of Osnabrück". lwl.org. Retrieved 13 May 2017. 
  11. ^ a b Treaty of Münster 1648
  12. ^ a b Barro, R. J. & McCleary, R. M. "Which Countries have State Religions?" (PDF). University of Chicago. p. 5. Retrieved 7 November 2006. 
  13. ^ "This day, Mary 15, in Jewish history". Cleveland Jewish News. 
  14. ^ Psalms 69:9, "For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up, and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me."
  15. ^ Larry Jay Diamond; Marc F. Plattner; Philip J. Costopoulo (2005). World religions and democracy. 
  16. ^ Section 28
  17. ^ Böhme, Klaus-R (2001). "Die sicherheitspolitische Lage Schwedens nach dem Westfälischen Frieden". In Hacker, Hans-Joachim. Der Westfälische Frieden von 1648: Wende in der Geschichte des Ostseeraums (in German). Kovač. p. 35. ISBN 3-8300-0500-8. 
  18. ^ Böhme (2001), p. 36.
  19. ^ Böhme (2001), p. 37.
  20. ^ a b c Böhme (2001), p. 38.
  21. ^ Gross, Leo (1948). "The Peace of Westphalia, 1648–1948". American Journal of International Law. 42 (1): 20–41 [p. 25]. doi:10.2307/2193560. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Croxton, Derek, and Anuschka Tischer. The Peace of Westphalia: A Historical Dictionary (Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002).
  • Croxton, Derek (1999). "The Peace of Westphalia of 1648 and the Origins of Sovereignty". International History Review. 21 (3): 569–591. doi:10.1080/07075332.1999.9640869. 
  • Mowat, R. B. History of European Diplomacy, 1451–1789 (1928) pp 104–14 online
  • Schmidt, Sebastian (2011). "To Order the Minds of Scholars: The Discourse of the Peace of Westphalia in International Relations Literature1". International Studies Quarterly. 55 (3): 601–623. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2478.2011.00667.x.  Historiography.

External links[edit]