Peace of Westphalia: The Treaty of Münster and Osnabrück is signed

Wars in Middle Age through Renaissance Europe seemed to go on for decades at a time. There are probably dozens of wars that were taking place in 17th century Europe, but the Peace of Westphalia concerns the Thirty Years’ War & the Eighty Years’ War directly, and here is why.

On this day January 30th, in 1648, the Treaty of Munster and Osnabruck is signed. As said, it concerned the aforementioned two wars because it ended the conflict. These treaties were part of a much larger treaty known as the Peace of Westphalia. The Thirty Years’ War origin is complex and in all likelihood no one knows exactly where it began, except that it was Protestant versus Catholic in the Holy Roman Empire and that it eventually entangled much larger backers like the Hapsburgs and the Bourbons. Same old story of politics and religion commingling.

The Eighty Years’ War is probably better known in the Netherlands as the Dutch War of Independence because it was during this long war (1568-1648) in which seventeen provinces revolted against Phillip II. The Dutch had become thoroughly discontent with the Hapsburg rule and burdensome taxation, which proved to be a powerful revolutionary motivator. Ultimately, through the Peace of Westphalia, Spain acknowledged the independence of the Dutch Republic.