Religious wars in Europe 16th century Facts and Information

Research Topics Presentation Tips History Essays 16th Century Religious Wars

Protestant and Catholic states began to war against each other. Crisis in France ended with the Edit of Nantes in 1558 that offered limited religious freedom which was rescinded the next year.

Netherlands ruled by Catholic Spain. The Netherlands asked for Religious Toleration in 1566. William enlisted aid of Germany, France and England and harassed Spanish shipping off the coast of Netherlands. Spanish levied a 10% sales tax on the Netherlands and the people rejected it. A truce in 1609 gave independence to the northern Dutch territories.

Religious tolerant England resented Spain who had supported Bloody Mary and approved of the sea pirates raiding Spanish ships. England allied with the Netherlands to keep prosperous trade arrangements. Spain sent an Armada of ships in 1588 to invade and conquer England and remove the Heretic Queen Elizabeth 1. The Armada was destroyed. England remained Protestant, the religion itself was saved and the Netherlands was saved from re-conquest.

Germany decided to eliminate Protestantism with the help of Catholic Spain and the Hapsburgs.  Protestant Sweden invaded Germany to stop the discrimination. Catholic France joined Sweden's aid to the German Protestants because it did not want to be surrounded by Spain and her allies.

Spain appeared to be rich from plundering her colonies. But Spain had spent all of her plunder on wars and failed to reinvest in colonial industry or mercantilism. The Spanish colonies revolted. Counties in Spain revolted when Spain invoked taxes to raise revenue. The Spanish empire along with Portugal eventually was lost.

1560-1660  Overview of Economic, Religious and Political Problems

  • Soaring prices

  • Population increased drastically

  • Stagnant agricultural production

  • Increased bullion from Americas

  • Wages did not rise as fast

  • War and poor harvest caused some starvation

  • Inflation hurt nations who had to increase taxes to maintain income

  • Various nations tried to enforce religious uniformity.