A Brief History
On September 25, 1555, the peace treaty known as the Peace of Augsburg or alternately as the Augsburg Settlement was signed by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and his opponents, known as the Schmalkaldic League.
The signing took place in the German city of Augsburg, giving the treaty its name. The Holy Roman Empire of the time consisted of a Catholic consortium of countries, including Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Austria, and Burgundy, as well as portions of Italy.
Opposing the Emperor was the Schmalkaldic League, an alliance of Lutheran princes within the empire that sought to either usurp the Catholic leadership or at least protect their own religious and political interests. The league was centered in the German state of Thuringia.
The peace treaty allowed each sovereign state within the empire to choose its own religion, and no longer demand fealty to the Catholic Church, as well as allowing for some individual religious freedoms.
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For more information, please see…
Hough, Adam G. The Peace of Augsburg and the Meckhart Confession: Moderate Religion in an Age of Militancy. Routledge, 2019.
Wilson, Peter. The Holy Roman Empire: A Thousand Years of Europe’s History. Penguin UK, 2017.
The featured image in this article, a depiction of the Protestant princes of Germany founding the Schmalkaldic League, is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 70 years or fewer. This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published (or registered with the U.S. Copyright Office) before January 1, 1928.
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