The Thirty Years’ War was a 17th-century conflict fought primarily in central Europe.
- It started in 1618 and ended in 1648.
- It remains one of the longest and most brutal wars in human history, with more than 8 million casualties resulting from military battles as well as from the famine and disease caused by the conflict.
- Casualties were overwhelmingly and disproportionately inhabitants of the Holy Roman Empire, most of the rest being battle deaths from various foreign armies.
- Initially a war between various Protestant and Catholic states in the fragmented Holy Roman Empire, it gradually developed into a more general conflict involving most of the European great powers. It became less about religion and more about which group would ultimately govern Europe.
- The Thirty Years’ War devastated entire regions, resulting in high mortality, especially among the populations of the German and Italian states, the Crown of Bohemia, and the Southern Netherlands.
- The Thirty Years’ War ended in 1648 with the Peace of Westphalia.
- The war altered the previous political order of European powers. The rise of Bourbon France, the curtailing of Habsburg ambition, and the ascendancy of Sweden as a great power created a new balance of power on the continent, with France emerging from the war strengthened and increasingly dominant in the latter part of the 17th century.