The Modern State System
The Treaty of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years War, is generally cited as marking the beginning of the modern state system.
After 1648, the France and the United Kingdom replaced Spain as the dominant powers in Europe and the world. Spain and the Papacy receded in power. The Netherlands, which had successfully gained its independence from Spain and was briefly a great power, was eclipsed by the United Kingdom. Sweden lost it great power status to Russia after the Great Northern War but remained and important state. Until the end of World War I in 1918, almost all the major powers were monarchies. The United States and Japan emerged as Great Powers only in the 20th century.
The links attached to this page provide an outline history.
States and Dynasties in 1648
Review of the Major States
Ferdinand of Aragon married Isabella of Castile. Their marriage produced the modern State of Spain. The last Muslim stronghold, Granada, was captured in 1492, the same year that Columbus discovered America. The riches of the Americas went to the crown (king) and helped to finance the wars of Charles V and Philip II. The 16th century was the golden age of Spain.
Spanish absolutism was intolerant of religious diversity (Muslims and Jews), weakened the development of a middle class, and squandered its resources on wars. The defeat of the Spanish Armada (1588) and the loss of the United Provinces of the Netherlands (completed by 1648) mark the end of Spain's greatness.
| and Isabella, 1479 - 1504
Ferdinand | and Philip I, 1504 - 1506
| and Charles I, 1506 - 1516
Charles I (was also Holy Roman Emperor Charles V), 1516 - 1556
Seventeen Provinces of the Netherlands were part of the lands inherited by Charles V and thus part of the Habsburg Empire centered on Spain
Under Philip II of Spain, civil war erupted and the Netherlands gained independence from Spain. The Dutch formed the first independent Republic of modern history.
The Seventeen Provinces were themselves split between Catholic and Calvinist, which resulted in a split between what are today the Netherlands and Belgium.
Phillip II, 1556 - 1598, of Spain
Margaret of Parma, Regent of the Netherlands, 1559 - 1567
William the Silent of the House of Orange, b. 1533 - 1568
Duke of Alva, b. 1508 - 1582, seeks to subdue Netherlands from 1567 to 1573 when he resigns.
Water Beggers capture Brill 1572 and begin new conflict.
Pacification of Ghent, 1576, all provinces unite against Spain
Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma, subdued southern, Catholic provinces by restoring their old privileges, 1578 - 1592. He could not conquer seven, northern, Protestant provinces.
Union of Utrecht, 1579, of seven, Northern, Protestant provinces-- Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Gelderland, Groningen, Friesland, Overyssel--formed the United Provinces of the Netherland
Hereditary Stadtholder settled on House of Orange
Dutch Declare Independence from Spain 1581
Spanish Armada 1588
Twelve Year Truce 1609
Republic of the United Provinces’ independence recognized in Treaty of Westphalia, 1648
What is today called Germany used to be known as the Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire never became a strong centralized state in the manner of Spain or France.
The position of Holy Roman Emperor was an elective position. Seven powerful noblemen, called Electors, chose the Emperor. Usually, the Habsburgs, rulers of Austria, were elected Emperors.
Through wars and marriages, the Habsburgs had also become the Kings of Spain and the most powerful royal family in Europe.
Charles V was the greatest of the Habsburg Kings. The Protestant Reformation broke out in Saxony, Germany, during his period of rule. In 1556, Charles V abdicated and split his Empire between his son, Philip II of Spain, and his brother Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor. This produced two lines of Habsburg rulers, the Spanish Habsburgs and the Austrian Habsburgs. Both sides of the family continued to cooperate with each other.
The Austrian Habsburgs continued to be the Holy Roman Emperors.
As said before, the Holy Roman Empire was never a centralized, modern state. It continued to be a Feudal Monarchy with a weak central government (the Austrian Emperor) and many local rulers: princes, prelates, and merchant free cities. These princes, like their people, split into Catholic and Protestant camps.
Catholics versus Protestants
Peace of Augsburg 1555
Thirty Years War (1618 – 1648)
Catholics versus Lutherans and Calvinists
The Empire versus the Regional Princes
Centralization versus Local Autonomy
Habsburgs against everyone else
Foreign Intervention: Dutch, Danes, Swedes, French
Treaty of Westphalia 1648
As a result of the Thirty Years War, Germany split into a weak Confederation of over 300 semi-independent states under the Emperor. It continued to be called Holy Roman Empire
Austria, Prussia, Saxony, Hanover, and Bavaria were important states within the Empire.
Austria and Prussia were Great Powers independent of the Holy Roman Empire.
Valois Line of Kings
Catholics versus Huguenots
Civil War 1567 - 1589
Valois, Bourbon, Guise, Montmorency Families
St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, August 24, 1572
Henry of Navarre, leader of the Huguenots, becomes King Henry IV, first of the Bourbon line of kings
Edict of Nantes 1598
Queent Elizabeth I, last of the Tudors, died in 1603
King versus Parliament
Stuart Dynasty: King James I and King Charles I
Anglicans versus Catholics and Calvinists
Oliver Cromwell and the Commonwealth
Restoration of Stuarts: Charles II and James II
Glorious Revolution: William III and Mary II