Peace of Westphalia

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The two treaties of Münster and Osnabrück, commonly known as the Peace of Westphalia, was the culminating element for the Holy Roman Empire in the Thirty Years' War. It established a final religious settlement and provided for new political boundaries for the German states of central Europe. The impact of the Peace of Westphalia was broad and long-standing, as it dictated the future of Germany and ex-territories of the Holy Roman Empire for some time to come.The Peace of Westphalia put down the Counter Reformation in Germany and instituted the final religious arrangement the German states had been crying for. It renewed the terms of the Peace of Augsburg, namely that each state of the Empire received the liberty to be either Lutheran or Catholic as it chose; no individual freedom of religion was permitted. If a ruler or a free city decided for Lutheranism, then all persons had to be Lutheran. Similarly in Catholic states all had to be Catholic. In addition to re-instituting the Peace of Augsburg in its traditional form, the Peace of Westphalia included Calvinism to Lutheranism and Catholicism as an acceptable faith. On the controversial issue of church territories secularized after 1552 the Protestants won a complete victory. With the advent of the Peace of Westphalia, the squabbling between Protestants and Catholics was finally put an end to.The Holy Roman Empire was officially dissolved with the Peace of Westphalia. This had been advanced with the drawing of internal religious frontiers in the days of Luther, although now it was confirmed. Borderlands of the Empire fell away. The Dutch and Swiss established themselves as independent, as did the United Provinces. The western frontier of the Empire was carved up among France, Sweden and the Dutch. France took control over three Lorraine bishoprics which they had occupied for a century. The Swedes received the bishoprics of Bremen and Verden and the western half of Pomerania, including the city of...
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