The most successful Eastern empires lasted until 1918, far longer than monarchial rule endured in France
Warfare and Social Change in Central and Eastern Europe
Origins of Serfdom
During the period from 1050 to 1300, personal and economic freedom for peasants increased, and serfdom nearly disappeared.
After 1300, lords in Eastern Europe revived serfdom to fight their economic woes.
Woes came from the Black Death which resulted in population and economic loss.
Laws were passed that bound peasants to land and lord (restricted their right of freedom of movement).
Lords confiscated peasant lands and imposed greater labor obligations on them.
Lords also manipulated the legal system, becoming the local prosecutor, judge and jailer to serfs.
The Consolidation of Serfdom
Hereditary subjugation (peasants were bound to their lords and land from generation to generation) was established or reestablished in Poland, Russia, and Prussia.
The consolidation of serfdom accompanied the growth of estate agriculture.
Eastern lords enjoyed much greater political power than their western counterparts.
Weak monarchs could not or would not withstand their powerful nobles’ revival of serfdom and, in any case, most eastern monarchs did not oppose the growth of serfdom.
At the same time, the power of towns and urban dwellers was undermined.
The Thirty Years’ War
An uneasy truce prevailed in the Holy Roman Empire since the Peace of Augsburg of 1555.
Peace of Augsburg meant that the faith of the prince determined the religion of his subjects
Lutheran princes formed the Protestant Union in 1608 and Catholics responded with the Catholic League in 1609.
The war began in 1618, sparked by the “defenestration of Prague.”
The war is traditionally divided into four phases:
The Bohemian phase (1618–1625)
Ferdinand won, imposed Catholicism
The Danish phase (1625–1629)
Catholics won again
Albert of Wallenstein headed the army- got greedy
In 1629 the Edict of Restitution was issued declaring that all Catholic properties lost to Protestantism since 1552 were to be restored and only Catholics and Lutheran (Protestants) were allowed to practice their faiths
The Swedish phase (1630–1635)
Louis XIII and Richelieu (Catholics) support Gustavus Adolphus (Protestant)
Swedish victory at Lutzen and Breitenfeld
Swedish loss at Battle of Nordlingen (1634)
The French, or international, phase (1635–1648)
Fear of consolidation of power in Germanic states
War on Spain because they wanted to divide the Hapsburg power
French policy opposed the Habsburgs because a weak empire enhanced France’s international stature
War lasted so long because neither side had the resources to win a quick, decisive victory
Consequences of the Thirty Years’ War
The 1648 Peace of Westphalia ended the Thirty Years’ War.
The peace acknowledged the independence of the United Provinces of the Netherlands
France acquired the province of Alsace
Shows importance of resources
Shows inability of France/Spain to acquire the land through power
Sweden received a large cash indemnity and jurisdiction over German territories along the Baltic sea
Agreements also denied the papacy the right to participate in central European religious affairs
The Augsburg agreement was also altered to allow Calvinism
Recognized as official religion
The Thirty Years’ War was incredibly destructive
The Holy Roman Empire was hit hardest by the war
Hapsburgs limited power of Emperor
The economy crashed and areas became depopulated due to the fighting and disease
Wiped out commercial agriculture
Some nobles and landlords benefited from the war, and a few northern towns also prospered as a result of the fighting.
The Rise of Austria and Prussia
The absolutist monarchs of central and eastern Europe gradually gained political power in three key areas
1. They imposed permanent taxes without consent of