Peace of Westphalia, treaty, signed October 24, 1648, closed the Thirty-Years War and readjusted the religious and political affairs of Europe. It is called like that because the negotiations, which began in 1644, took place in the German cities of Münster and Osnabrück, in Westphalia. The main participants were France and Sweden and their opponents Spain and the Holy Roman Empire. By the terms of the treaty, the sovereignty and independence of each state of the Holy Roman Empire was fully recognized, making the Holy Roman emperor virtually powerless.
By the early 1640s, after witnessing so much abuse by the Hapsburg Emperor’s feudal authority against the peoples of the small and war-devastated German states; and realizing that the horrors of the Thirty Years’ War were leading toward the destruction of civilization, Cardinal Jules de Mazarin acted to shift the attention of Europe away from religious conflicts. He sought to base … Read More