Cologne War

Cologne War

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Cologne War'
Start a new discussion about 'Cologne War'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
The Cologne War devastated the Electorate of Cologne, a historical ecclesiastical principality of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

, present-day North-Rhine-Westphalia, in Germany. The war occurred within the context of the Protestant Reformation in Germany and the subsequent Counter-Reformation
Counter-Reformation
The Counter-Reformation was the period of Catholic revival beginning with the Council of Trent and ending at the close of the Thirty Years' War, 1648 as a response to the Protestant Reformation.The Counter-Reformation was a comprehensive effort, composed of four major elements:#Ecclesiastical or...

, and concurrently with the Dutch Revolt
Dutch Revolt
The Dutch Revolt or the Revolt of the Netherlands This article adopts 1568 as the starting date of the war, as this was the year of the first battles between armies. However, since there is a long period of Protestant vs...

 and the French Wars of Religion
French Wars of Religion
The French Wars of Religion is the name given to a period of civil infighting and military operations, primarily fought between French Catholics and Protestants . The conflict involved the factional disputes between the aristocratic houses of France, such as the House of Bourbon and House of Guise...

.

Also called the Seneschal's War or the Seneschal Upheaval, and occasionally the Sewer War, the conflict tested the principle of ecclesiastical reservation
Reservatum ecclesiasticum
The reservatum ecclesiasticum was a measure inserted into the Peace of Augsburg of 1555 to balance the principal proviso of cuius regio, eius religio in ecclesiastical lands...

, which had been included in the religious Peace of Augsburg
Peace of Augsburg
The Peace of Augsburg, also called the Augsburg Settlement, was a treaty between Charles V and the forces of the Schmalkaldic League, an alliance of Lutheran princes, on September 25, 1555, at the imperial city of Augsburg, now in present-day Bavaria, Germany.It officially ended the religious...

 (1555). This principle excluded, or "reserved", the ecclesiastical territories of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 from the application of cuius regio, eius religio
Cuius regio, eius religio
Cuius regio, eius religio is a phrase in Latin translated as "Whose realm, his religion", meaning the religion of the ruler dictated the religion of the ruled...

, or "who rules, his religion", as the primary means to determine the religion of a territory. It stipulated instead that if an ecclesiastical prince converted to Protestantism, he would resign from his position, not force the conversion of his subjects.

In December 1582, Gebhard, Truchsess von Waldburg
Gebhard Truchsess von Waldburg
Gebhard Truchsess von Waldburg was Archbishop-Elector of Cologne. After pursuing an ecclesiastical career, he won a close election in the Cathedral chapter of Cologne over Ernst of Bavaria. After his election, he fell in love with and later married Agnes von Mansfeld-Eisleben, a Protestant...

, the Prince-elector
Prince-elector
The Prince-electors of the Holy Roman Empire were the members of the electoral college of the Holy Roman Empire, having the function of electing the Roman king or, from the middle of the 16th century onwards, directly the Holy Roman Emperor.The heir-apparent to a prince-elector was known as an...

 of Cologne, converted to Protestantism
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

. The principle of ecclesiastical reservation required his resignation. Instead, he declared religious parity for his subjects and, in 1583, married Agnes von Mansfeld-Eisleben
Agnes von Mansfeld-Eisleben
Agnes von Mansfeld-Eisleben was Countess of Mansfeld and the daughter of Johann Georg I, of Mansfeld Eisleben. She converted Gebhard, Seneschal of Waldburg, the Prince-Elector of Electorate of Cologne and archbishop of the Diocese of Cologne to the Protestant faith, leading to the Cologne War...

, intending to convert the ecclesiastical principality into a secular, dynastic duchy. A faction in the Cathedral Chapter elected another archbishop, Ernst of Bavaria
Ernest of Bavaria
Ernest of Bavaria was Prince-elector-archbishop of the Archbishopric of Cologne from 1583 to 1612 as successor of the expelled Gebhard Truchsess von Waldburg. He was also bishop of Münster, Hildesheim, Freising and Liège....

.

Initially, troops of the competing archbishops of Cologne fought over control of sections of the territory. Several of the barons and counts holding territory with feudal obligations to the Elector also held territory in nearby Dutch provinces, Westphalia, Liege, and the Southern, or Spanish Netherlands
Southern Netherlands
Southern Netherlands were a part of the Low Countries controlled by Spain , Austria and annexed by France...

. Complexities of enfeoffment
Enfeoffment
Under the European feudal system, enfeoffment was the deed by which a person was given land in exchange for a pledge of service. This mechanism was later used to avoid restrictions on the passage of title in land by a system in which a landowner would give land to one person for the use of another...

 and dynastic appanage
Appanage
An apanage or appanage or is the grant of an estate, titles, offices, or other things of value to the younger male children of a sovereign, who would otherwise have no inheritance under the system of primogeniture...

expanded a localized feud to include supporters from the Electoral Palatinate and Dutch, Scots and English mercenaries on the Protestant side, and Bavarian
Duchy of Bavaria
The Duchy of Bavaria was the only one of the stem duchies from the earliest days of East Francia and the Kingdom of Germany to preserve both its name and most of its territorial extent....

 and papal mercenaries on the Catholic side. In 1586, it expanded further, with direct involvement of Spanish troops and Italian mercenaries for the Catholic side, and financial and diplomatic support from Henry III of France
Henry III of France
Henry III was King of France from 1574 to 1589. As Henry of Valois, he was the first elected monarch of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth with the dual titles of King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1573 to 1575.-Childhood:Henry was born at the Royal Château de Fontainebleau,...

 and Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

 on the Protestant side.

The conflict coincided with the Dutch Revolt
Dutch Revolt
The Dutch Revolt or the Revolt of the Netherlands This article adopts 1568 as the starting date of the war, as this was the year of the first battles between armies. However, since there is a long period of Protestant vs...

, 1568–1648, encouraging participation of the rebellious Dutch provinces and the Spanish. The Cologne War resulted in the consolidation of Wittelsbach
Wittelsbach
The Wittelsbach family is a European royal family and a German dynasty from Bavaria.Members of the family served as Dukes, Electors and Kings of Bavaria , Counts Palatine of the Rhine , Margraves of Brandenburg , Counts of Holland, Hainaut and Zeeland , Elector-Archbishops of Cologne , Dukes of...

 authority in northwestern German territories and in a Catholic revival on the lower Rhine. Importantly, it also set a precedent for outside intervention in German religious and dynastic conflicts.

Religious divisions in the Holy Roman Empire


Prior to the 16th century, the Catholic Church had been the sole official Christian faith in the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

. Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

's agenda called for the reform of the Church, but was not necessarily a rejection of the faith per se. Initially dismissed by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V as an inconsequential argument between monks, the idea of reformation of the Church accentuated controversy and competition in many of the territories of the Holy Roman Empire and quickly devolved into armed factions that accentuated existing social, political and territorial grievances. These tensions were embodied in such alliances as the Schmalkaldic League
Schmalkaldic League
The Schmalkaldic League was a defensive alliance of Lutheran princes within the Holy Roman Empire during the mid-16th century. Although originally started for religious motives soon after the start of the Protestant Reformation, its members eventually intended for the League to replace the Holy...

, through which many of the princes agreed to protect each other from encroachment on their territories and local authority. By the mid-1530s, the German-speaking states of the Holy Roman Empire had devolved into armed factions determined by family ties, geographic needs, and dynastic aspirations. The religious issue both accentuated and masked these secular conflicts.

Princes and clergy alike understood that institutional abuses hindered the practices of the faithful, but they disagreed on the solution to the problem. Pope Paul III
Pope Paul III
Pope Paul III , born Alessandro Farnese, was Pope of the Roman Catholic Church from 1534 to his death in 1549. He came to the papal throne in an era following the sack of Rome in 1527 and rife with uncertainties in the Catholic Church following the Protestant Reformation...

 convened a council to examine the problem in 1537 and instituted several internal, institutional reforms intended to obviate some of the most flagrant prebendary
Prebendary
A prebendary is a post connected to an Anglican or Catholic cathedral or collegiate church and is a type of canon. Prebendaries have a role in the administration of the cathedral...

 abuses, simony
Simony
Simony is the act of paying for sacraments and consequently for holy offices or for positions in the hierarchy of a church, named after Simon Magus , who appears in the Acts of the Apostles 8:9-24...

, and nepotism
Nepotism
Nepotism is favoritism granted to relatives regardless of merit. The word nepotism is from the Latin word nepos, nepotis , from which modern Romanian nepot and Italian nipote, "nephew" or "grandchild" are also descended....

; despite efforts by both the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and the pontiff, unification of the two strands of belief foundered on different concepts of "Church" and the principle of justification
Justification (theology)
Rising out of the Protestant Reformation, Justification is the chief article of faith describing God's act of declaring or making a sinner righteous through Christ's atoning sacrifice....

. The Schmalkaldic League called its own ecumenical
Ecumenism
Ecumenism or oecumenism mainly refers to initiatives aimed at greater Christian unity or cooperation. It is used predominantly by and with reference to Christian denominations and Christian Churches separated by doctrine, history, and practice...

 council in 1537, and set forward several precepts of faith. When the delegates met in Regensburg
Regensburg
Regensburg is a city in Bavaria, Germany, located at the confluence of the Danube and Regen rivers, at the northernmost bend in the Danube. To the east lies the Bavarian Forest. Regensburg is the capital of the Bavarian administrative region Upper Palatinate...

 in 1540–41, representatives agreed on the doctrine of faith and justification, but could not agree on sacraments, confession, absolution, and the definition of the church. Catholic and Lutheran adherents seemed further apart than ever; in only a few towns and cities were Lutherans and Catholics able to live together in even a semblance of harmony. By 1548, political disagreements overlapped with religious issues, making any kind of agreement seem remote.

In 1548 Charles declared an interreligio imperialis (also known as the Augsburg Interim
Augsburg Interim
The Augsburg Interim is the general term given to an imperial decree ordered on May 15, 1548, at the 1548 Diet of Augsburg, after Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, had defeated the forces of the Schmalkaldic League in the Schmalkaldic War of 1546/47...

) through which he sought to find some common ground for religious peace. This effort alienated both Protestant and Catholic princes and the papacy; even Charles, whose decree it was, was unhappy with the political and diplomatic dimensions of what amounted to half of a religious settlement. The 1551–52 sessions convened by Pope Julius III
Pope Julius III
Pope Julius III , born Giovanni Maria Ciocchi del Monte, was Pope from 7 February 1550 to 1555....

 at the supposedly ecumenical Council of Trent
Council of Trent
The Council of Trent was the 16th-century Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church. It is considered to be one of the Church's most important councils. It convened in Trent between December 13, 1545, and December 4, 1563 in twenty-five sessions for three periods...

 solved none of the larger religious issues but simply restated Catholic teaching and condemned Protestant teaching as heresies.

Overcoming religious division



Clearly, Charles' interim solution could not continue. He ordered a general Diet in Augsburg
Diet of Augsburg
The Diet of Augsburg were the meetings of the Imperial Diet of the Holy Roman Empire in the German city of Augsburg. There were many such sessions, but the three meetings during the Reformation and the ensuing religious wars between the Roman Catholic emperor Charles V and the Protestant...

 at which the various states would discuss the religious problem and its solution. He himself did not attend, and delegated authority to his brother, Ferdinand
Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor
Ferdinand I was Holy Roman Emperor from 1558 and king of Bohemia and Hungary from 1526 until his death. Before his accession, he ruled the Austrian hereditary lands of the Habsburgs in the name of his elder brother, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.The key events during his reign were the contest...

, to "act and settle" disputes of territory, religion and local power. At the conference, Ferdinand cajoled, persuaded and threatened the various representatives into agreement on three important principles. The principle of cuius regio, eius religio
Cuius regio, eius religio
Cuius regio, eius religio is a phrase in Latin translated as "Whose realm, his religion", meaning the religion of the ruler dictated the religion of the ruled...

provided for internal religious unity within a state: The religion of the prince became the religion of the state and all its inhabitants. Those inhabitants who could not conform to the prince's religion were allowed to leave, an innovative idea in the sixteenth century; this principle was discussed at length by the various delegates, who finally reached agreement on the specifics of its wording after examining the problem and the proposed solution from every possible angle. The second principle covered the special status of the ecclesiastical states, called the ecclesiastical reservation
Reservatum ecclesiasticum
The reservatum ecclesiasticum was a measure inserted into the Peace of Augsburg of 1555 to balance the principal proviso of cuius regio, eius religio in ecclesiastical lands...

, or reservatum ecclesiasticum. If the prelate of an ecclesiastic state changed his religion, the men and women living in that state did not have to do so. Instead, the prelate was expected to resign from his post, although this was not spelled out in the agreement. The third principle, known as Ferdinand's Declaration
Declaratio Ferdinandei
The Declaratio Ferdinandei was a clause in the Peace of Augsburg, signed in 1555 to end conflicts between Catholics and Protestants within the Holy Roman Empire. The Peace created the principle of Cuius regio, eius religio , which meant that the religion of the ruler decided the religion of the...

, exempted knights and some of the cities from the requirement of religious uniformity, if the reformed religion had been practiced there since the mid-1520s, allowing for a few mixed cities and towns where Catholics and Lutherans had lived together. It also protected the authority of the princely families, the knights and some of the cities to determine what religious uniformity meant in their territories. Ferdinand inserted this at the last minute, on his own authority.

Remaining problems


After 1555, the Peace of Augsburg became the legitimating legal document governing the co-existence of the Lutheran and Catholic faiths in the German lands of the Holy Roman Empire, and it served to ameliorate many of the tensions between followers of the so-called Old Faith and the followers of Luther, but it had two fundamental flaws. First, Ferdinand had rushed the article on ecclesiastical reservation through the debate; it had not undergone the scrutiny and discussion that attended the wide-spread acceptance and support of cuius regio, eius religio. Consequently, its wording did not cover all, or even most, potential legal scenarios. The Declaratio Ferdinandei was not debated in plenary session at all; using his authority to "act and settle," Ferdinand had added it at the last minute, responding to lobbying by princely families and knights.

While these specific failings came back to haunt the Empire in subsequent decades, perhaps the greatest weakness of the Peace of Augsburg was its failure to take into account the growing diversity of religious expression emerging in the so-called evangelical and reformed traditions. Other confessions had acquired popular, if not legal, legitimacy in the intervening decades and by 1555, the reforms proposed by Luther were no longer the only possibilities of religious expression: Anabaptists, such as the Frisian Menno Simons
Menno Simons
Menno Simons was an Anabaptist religious leader from the Friesland region of the Low Countries. Simons was a contemporary of the Protestant Reformers and his followers became known as Mennonites...

 (1492–1559) and his followers; the followers of John Calvin
John Calvin
John Calvin was an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation. He was a principal figure in the development of the system of Christian theology later called Calvinism. Originally trained as a humanist lawyer, he broke from the Roman Catholic Church around 1530...

, who were particularly strong in the southwest and the northwest; and the followers of Huldrych Zwingli
Huldrych Zwingli
Ulrich Zwingli was a leader of the Reformation in Switzerland. Born during a time of emerging Swiss patriotism and increasing criticism of the Swiss mercenary system, he attended the University of Vienna and the University of Basel, a scholarly centre of humanism...

 were excluded from considerations and protections under the Peace of Augsburg. According to the Augsburg agreement, their religious beliefs remained heretical.

Charles V's abdication


In 1556, amid great pomp, and leaning on the shoulder of one of his favorites (the 24-year-old William, Count of Nassau and Orange
William the Silent
William I, Prince of Orange , also widely known as William the Silent , or simply William of Orange , was the main leader of the Dutch revolt against the Spanish that set off the Eighty Years' War and resulted in the formal independence of the United Provinces in 1648. He was born in the House of...

), Charles gave away his lands and his offices. The Spanish empire
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

, which included Spain, the Netherlands, Naples
Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

, Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

 and Spain's possessions in the Americas
Spanish colonization of the Americas
Colonial expansion under the Spanish Empire was initiated by the Spanish conquistadores and developed by the Monarchy of Spain through its administrators and missionaries. The motivations for colonial expansion were trade and the spread of the Christian faith through indigenous conversions...

, went to his son, Philip
Philip II of Spain
Philip II was King of Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sicily, and, while married to Mary I, King of England and Ireland. He was lord of the Seventeen Provinces from 1556 until 1581, holding various titles for the individual territories such as duke or count....

. His brother, Ferdinand, who had negotiated the treaty in the previous year, was already in possession of the Austrian lands and was also the obvious candidate to succeed Charles as Holy Roman Emperor.

Charles' choices were appropriate. Philip was culturally Spanish: he was born in Valladolid
Valladolid
Valladolid is a historic city and municipality in north-central Spain, situated at the confluence of the Pisuerga and Esgueva rivers, and located within three wine-making regions: Ribera del Duero, Rueda and Cigales...

 and raised in the Spanish court, his native tongue was Spanish, and he preferred to live in Spain. Ferdinand was familiar with, and to, the other princes of the Holy Roman Empire. Although he too had been born in Spain, he had administered his brother's affairs in the Empire since 1531. Some historians maintain Ferdinand had also been touched by the reformed philosophies, and was probably the closest the Holy Roman Empire ever came to a Protestant emperor; he remained at least nominally a Catholic throughout his life, although reportedly he refused last rites on his deathbed. Other historians maintain that while Ferdinand was a practising Catholic, unlike his brother he considered religion to be outside the political sphere.

Charles' abdication had far-reaching consequences in imperial diplomatic relations with France and the Netherlands, particularly in his allotment of the Spanish kingdom to Philip. In France, the kings and their ministers grew increasingly uneasy about Habsburg encirclement and sought allies against Habsburg hegemony from among the border German territories; they were even prepared to ally with some of the Protestant kings. In the Netherlands, Philip's ascension in Spain raised particular problems; for the sake of harmony, order, and prosperity, Charles had not blocked the Reformation there, and even had tolerated a high level of local autonomy. An ardent Catholic and rigidly autocratic prince, Philip pursued an aggressive political, economic and religious policy toward the Dutch, resulting in their rebellion
Dutch Revolt
The Dutch Revolt or the Revolt of the Netherlands This article adopts 1568 as the starting date of the war, as this was the year of the first battles between armies. However, since there is a long period of Protestant vs...

 shortly after he became king. Philip's militant response meant the occupation of much of the upper provinces by troops of, or hired by, Habsburg Spain
Habsburg Spain
Habsburg Spain refers to the history of Spain over the 16th and 17th centuries , when Spain was ruled by the major branch of the Habsburg dynasty...

 and the constant ebb and flow of Spanish men and provisions over the so-called Spanish road
Spanish Road
The "Spanish Road" was a military supply/trade route used from 1567–1620, which stretched from Northern Italy to the Low Countries. It crossed through relatively neutral territory, and was therefore Europe's most preferred military route...

 from northern Italy, through the Burgundian
Duchy of Burgundy
The Duchy of Burgundy , was heir to an ancient and prestigious reputation and a large division of the lands of the Second Kingdom of Burgundy and in its own right was one of the geographically larger ducal territories in the emergence of Early Modern Europe from Medieval Europe.Even in that...

 lands, to and from Flanders.

Cause of the war



As an ecclesiastical principality of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

, the Electorate of Cologne ( or ) included the temporal possessions of the Archbishop of Cologne
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cologne
The Archdiocese of Cologne is an archdiocese of the Catholic Church in western North Rhine-Westphalia and northern Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany.-History:...

 : the so-called Oberstift (the southern part of the Electorate), the northern section, called the Niederstift, the fiefdom of Vest Recklinghausen
Vest Recklinghausen
Vest Recklinghausen was an ecclesiastical territory in the Holy Roman Empire, located in the center of today's North Rhine-Westphalia. The rivers Emscher and Lippe formed the border with the County of Mark and Essen Abbey in the south , and to the Bishopric of Münster in the north...

 and the Duchy of Westphalia
Duchy of Westphalia
The Duchy of Westphalia was a historic territory in the greater region of Westphalia, located in the east of modern North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Originally, Westphalia formed with Angria and Eastphalia one of the three main regions of Saxony...

, plus several small uncontiguous territories separated from the Electorate by the neighboring Duchies of Cleves, Berg, Julich and Mark. Encircled by the electoral territory, Cologne
Cologne
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

 was part of the archdiocese but not among the Elector's temporal possessions. The Electorate was ruled by an archbishop prince-elector
Prince-elector
The Prince-electors of the Holy Roman Empire were the members of the electoral college of the Holy Roman Empire, having the function of electing the Roman king or, from the middle of the 16th century onwards, directly the Holy Roman Emperor.The heir-apparent to a prince-elector was known as an...

 of the empire. As an archbishop, he was responsible for the spiritual leadership of one the richest sees
Episcopal See
An episcopal see is, in the original sense, the official seat of a bishop. This seat, which is also referred to as the bishop's cathedra, is placed in the bishop's principal church, which is therefore called the bishop's cathedral...

 in the Empire, and entitled to draw on its wealth. As a prince-prelate, he stood in the highest social category of the Empire, with specific and expansive legal, economic, and juridical rights. As an Elector, he was one of the men who elected the Holy Roman Emperor from among a group of imperial candidates.

The Electorate obtained its name from the city, and Cologne
Cologne
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

 had served as the capital of the archbishopric until 1288. After that, the archbishop and Prince-elector used the smaller cities of Bonn
Bonn
Bonn is the 19th largest city in Germany. Located in the Cologne/Bonn Region, about 25 kilometres south of Cologne on the river Rhine in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, it was the capital of West Germany from 1949 to 1990 and the official seat of government of united Germany from 1990 to 1999....

, 30 kilometres (18.6 mi) south of Cologne, and Brühl
Brühl, North Rhine-Westphalia
Brühl is a town in the Rhineland of Germany. It is located in Rhein-Erft-Kreis, 20 km south of Cologne city center and at the edge of Naturpark Kottenforst-Ville Nature Reserve.-History:...

, 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) south of Cologne, on the Rhine River, as his capital and residence; by 1580, both his residence and the capital were located in Bonn. Although the city of Cologne obtained its status as an free imperial city
Free Imperial City
In the Holy Roman Empire, a free imperial city was a city formally ruled by the emperor only — as opposed to the majority of cities in the Empire, which were governed by one of the many princes of the Empire, such as dukes or prince-bishops...

 in 1478, the Archbishop of Cologne retained judicial rights in the city; he acted as a Vogt
Vogt
A Vogt ; plural Vögte; Dutch voogd; Danish foged; ; ultimately from Latin [ad]vocatus) in the Holy Roman Empire was the German title of a reeve or advocate, an overlord exerting guardianship or military protection as well as secular justice...

, or reeve
High-reeve
High-reeve was a title taken by some English magnates during the 10th and 11th-centuries, and is particularly associated with the rulers of Bamburgh. It was not however only used by rulers of Bamburgh...

, and reserved the right of blood justice
Blutgericht
Blood Court or high justice in the Holy Roman Empire referred to the right of a Vogt to hold a criminal court inflicting bodily punishment, including the death penalty.Not every Vogt held the blood court...

, or Blutgericht; only he could impose the so-called blood punishments, which included capital punishments, but also physical punishments that drew blood. Regardless of his position as judge, he could not enter the city of Cologne except under special circumstances, and between the city council
Cologne City Hall
The City Hall is a historical building in Cologne, western Germany, located off Hohe Straße in the district of Innenstadt, set between the two squares of Rathausplatz and Alter Markt. It houses part of the city government, including the city council and offices of the Lord Mayor. It is...

 and the elector-archbishop, a politically and diplomatically precarious and usually adversarial relationship developed over the centuries. (See also History of Cologne
History of Cologne
The History of Cologne, Germany's oldest major city, can be broken into several periods.- Roman period :In 39 BC, the tribe of the Ubii entered into an agreement with the Roman forces and settled on the left bank of the Rhine. Their headquarters was Oppidum Ubiorum — the settlement of the Ubii, and...

 for more details.)

The position of archbishop was usually held by a scion
Kinship
Kinship is a relationship between any entities that share a genealogical origin, through either biological, cultural, or historical descent. And descent groups, lineages, etc. are treated in their own subsections....

 of nobility, and not necessarily a priest; this widespread practice allowed younger sons of noble houses to find prestigious and financially secure positions without the requirements of priesthood. The archbishop and prince-elector was chosen by the cathedral chapter
Cathedral chapter
In accordance with canon law, a cathedral chapter is a college of clerics formed to advise a bishop and, in the case of a vacancy of the episcopal see in some countries, to govern the diocese in his stead. These councils are made up of canons and dignitaries; in the Roman Catholic church their...

, the members of which also served as his advisers. As members of a cathedral chapter, they participated in the Mass
Mass
Mass can be defined as a quantitive measure of the resistance an object has to change in its velocity.In physics, mass commonly refers to any of the following three properties of matter, which have been shown experimentally to be equivalent:...

, or sang the Mass; in addition, they performed other duties as needed. They were not required to be priests but they could, if they wished, take Holy Orders
Holy Orders
The term Holy Orders is used by many Christian churches to refer to ordination or to those individuals ordained for a special role or ministry....

. As prebendaries
Prebendary
A prebendary is a post connected to an Anglican or Catholic cathedral or collegiate church and is a type of canon. Prebendaries have a role in the administration of the cathedral...

, they received stipends from cathedral income; depending on the location and wealth of the cathedral, this could amount to substantial annual income. In the Electorate, the Chapter included 24 canons of various social ranks; they each had a place in the choir, based on their rank, which in turn was usually derived from the social standing of their families.

Election of 1577


When his nephew, Arnold, died without issue, Salentin von Isenburg-Grenzau (1532–1610) resigned from the office of Elector (September 1577) and, in December, married Antonia Wilhelmine d'Arenburg, sister of Charles d'Ligne, Prince of Arenberg. Salentin's resignation required the election of a new archbishop and prince-elector from among the Cathedral Chapter. Two candidates emerged. Gebhard (1547–1601) was the second son of William, Truchsess of Waldburg, known as William the younger, and Johanna von Fürstenberg
Fürstenberg (princely family)
Fürstenberg is the name of a noble house in Germany, based primarily in southern Baden-Württemberg. The family derives its name from the fortified town of the line's founder, Count Heinrich von Fürstenberg, today part of Hüfingen...

. He was descended from the Jacobin line of the House of Waldburg
House of Waldburg
The House of Waldburg is a princely family of Upper Swabia, founded some time previous to the 12th century; the cadet lineages are comital families....

; his uncle was a cardinal, and his family had significant imperial contacts. The second candidate, Ernst of Bavaria
Ernest of Bavaria
Ernest of Bavaria was Prince-elector-archbishop of the Archbishopric of Cologne from 1583 to 1612 as successor of the expelled Gebhard Truchsess von Waldburg. He was also bishop of Münster, Hildesheim, Freising and Liège....

 (1554–1612), was the third son of Albert V, Duke of Bavaria
Albert V, Duke of Bavaria
Albert V was Duke of Bavaria from 1550 until his death. He was born in Munich to William IV and Marie Jacobaea of Baden.-Early life:Albert was educated at Ingolstadt under good Catholic teachers...

. As a member of the powerful House of Wittelsbach, Ernst could marshal support from his extensive family connections throughout the Catholic houses of the empire; he also had contacts in important canonic establishments at Salzburg, Trier, Würzburg, and Münster that could exert collateral pressure.

Ernst had been a canon at Cologne since 1570. He had the support of the neighboring duke of Jülich
Jülich
Jülich is a town in the district of Düren, in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Jülich is well known as location of a world-famous research centre, the Forschungszentrum Jülich and as shortwave transmission site of Deutsche Welle...

 and several allies within the Cathedral Chapter. Although supported by both the papacy and his influential father, a 1571 effort to secure for him the office of coadjutor
Coadjutor bishop
A coadjutor bishop is a bishop in the Roman Catholic or Anglican churches who is designated to assist the diocesan bishop in the administration of the diocese, almost as co-bishop of the diocese...

 of the electorate of Cologne had failed once Salentin had agreed to abide by the Trentine proceedings
Council of Trent
The Council of Trent was the 16th-century Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church. It is considered to be one of the Church's most important councils. It convened in Trent between December 13, 1545, and December 4, 1563 in twenty-five sessions for three periods...

; as the coadjutor bishop, Ernst would have been well-positioned to present himself as Salentin's logical successor. Since then, however, he had advanced in other sees, becoming bishop of Liège, Freising
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Munich and Freising
The Archdiocese of Munich and Freising is an ecclesiastical territory or diocese of the Roman Catholic Church in Bavaria, Germany. It is led by the prelature of the Archbishop of Munich, who administers the see from the mother church in Munich, the Frauenkirche, also known as Munich Cathedral...

 and Hildesheim, important strongholds of Counter-Reformation Catholicism. He was a career cleric, not necessarily qualified to be an archbishop on the basis of his theological erudition, but by his family connections. His membership in several chapters extended the family influence, and his status as a prebendary gave him a portion of revenues from several cathedrals. He had been educated by Jesuits and the papacy considered collaboration with his family as a means to limit the spread of Lutheran and Calvinist doctrines—or, from some perspectives, heresies—in the northern provinces.

Also a younger son, Gebhard had prepared for an ecclesiastical career with a broad, Humanist
Renaissance humanism
Renaissance humanism was an activity of cultural and educational reform engaged by scholars, writers, and civic leaders who are today known as Renaissance humanists. It developed during the fourteenth and the beginning of the fifteenth centuries, and was a response to the challenge of Mediæval...

 education; apart from his native German, he had learned several languages (including Latin, Italian, French), and studied history and theology. After studying at the universities of Dillingen
Dillingen, Bavaria
Dillingen, or Dillingen an der Donau is a town in Bavaria, Germany. It is the administrative center of the district of Dillingen....

, Ingolstadt
Ingolstadt
Ingolstadt is a city in the Free State of Bavaria, in the Federal Republic of Germany. It is located along the banks of the Danube River, in the center of Bavaria. As at 31 March 2011, Ingolstadt had 125.407 residents...

, Perugia
Perugia
Perugia is the capital city of the region of Umbria in central Italy, near the River Tiber, and the capital of the province of Perugia. The city is located about north of Rome. It covers a high hilltop and part of the valleys around the area....

, Louvain
Leuven
Leuven is the capital of the province of Flemish Brabant in the Flemish Region, Belgium...

 and elsewhere, he began his ecclesiastical career in 1560 at Augsburg
Augsburg
Augsburg is a city in the south-west of Bavaria, Germany. It is a university town and home of the Regierungsbezirk Schwaben and the Bezirk Schwaben. Augsburg is an urban district and home to the institutions of the Landkreis Augsburg. It is, as of 2008, the third-largest city in Bavaria with a...

. His conduct at Augsburg caused some scandal; the bishop, his uncle, petitioned the Duke of Bavaria to remonstrate with him about it, which apparently led to some improvement in his behavior. In 1561, he became a deacon at Cologne Cathedral (1561–77), a canon of St. Gereon, the basilica in Cologne (1562–67), a canon in Strassburg (1567–1601), in Ellwangen
Ellwangen
Ellwangen an der Jagst, officially Ellwangen , in common use simply Ellwangen is a town in the district of Ostalbkreis in the east of Baden-Württemberg in Germany...

 (1567–83), and in Würzburg
Würzburg
Würzburg is a city in the region of Franconia which lies in the northern tip of Bavaria, Germany. Located at the Main River, it is the capital of the Regierungsbezirk Lower Franconia. The regional dialect is Franconian....

 (1569–70). In 1571, he became deacon of Strassburg Cathedral, a position he held until his death. In 1576, by papal nomination, he also became provost of the Cathedral in Augsburg. Similar to his opponent, these positions brought him influence and wealth; they had little to do with his priestly character.

If the election had been left to the papacy, Ernst would have been the choice, but the Pope was not a member of the Cathedral Chapter and Gebhard had the support of several of the Catholic canons, and all the Protestant canons in the Chapter. In December 1577, he was chosen Elector and Archbishop of Cologne after a spirited contest with the papacy's candidate, Ernst, winning the election by two votes. Although it was not required of him, Gebhard agreed to undergo priestly ordination; he was duly consecrated in March 1578, and swore to uphold the Council of Trent's decrees.

Gebhard's conversion



Agnes von Mansfeld-Eisleben
Agnes von Mansfeld-Eisleben
Agnes von Mansfeld-Eisleben was Countess of Mansfeld and the daughter of Johann Georg I, of Mansfeld Eisleben. She converted Gebhard, Seneschal of Waldburg, the Prince-Elector of Electorate of Cologne and archbishop of the Diocese of Cologne to the Protestant faith, leading to the Cologne War...

 (1551–1637) was a Protestant canoness at the cloister in Gerresheim
Düsseldorf-Gerresheim
Gerresheim is one of the City of Düsseldorf, Germany's forty-nine boroughs. It is located in the eastern part of the municipality. Gerresheim is much older than Düsseldorf itself, having been an independent city with a rich history for over 1,000 years...

, today a district of Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf is the capital city of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and centre of the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region.Düsseldorf is an important international business and financial centre and renowned for its fashion and trade fairs. Located centrally within the European Megalopolis, the...

. Her family was a cadet line of the old House of Mansfeld
House of Mansfeld
The House of Mansfeld was a princely German house, which took its name from the town of Mansfeld in the present-day state of Saxony-Anhalt. Mansfelds were archbishops, generals, supporters as well as opponents of Martin Luther, and Habsburg administrators....

 which, by the mid-sixteenth century, had lost much of its affluence. The Mansfeld-Eisleben line retained significant authority in their district; several of her cousins and uncles signed the Book of Concord
Book of Concord
The Book of Concord or Concordia is the historic doctrinal standard of the Lutheran Church, consisting of ten credal documents recognized as authoritative in Lutheranism since the 16th century...

, and the family exercised considerable influence in Reformation affairs. She had been raised in Eisleben
Eisleben
Eisleben is a town in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is famous as the hometown of Martin Luther, hence its official name is Lutherstadt Eisleben. As of 2005, Eisleben had a population of 24,552...

, the town in which Martin Luther had been born. The family's estates were located in Saxony, but her sister lived in the city of Cologne, married to the Freiherr (or Baron
Baron
Baron is a title of nobility. The word baron comes from Old French baron, itself from Old High German and Latin baro meaning " man, warrior"; it merged with cognate Old English beorn meaning "nobleman"...

), Peter von Kriechingen. Although a member of the cloister, Agnes was free during her days to go where she wished. Reports differ on how she came to Gebhard's notice. Some say he saw her on one of her visits to her sister in Cologne. Others claim he noticed her during a religious procession. Regardless, in late 1579 or early 1580, she attracted Gebhard's notice. He sought her out, and they started a liaison. Two of her brothers, Ernst and Hoyer Christoph, soon visited Gebhard at the archbishop's residence and convinced him to marry her. "Gebhard's Catholic belief, which was by no means based on his innermost conviction, started to waver when he had to decide whether to renounce the bishop's mitre and stay faithful to the woman he loved, or to renounce his love and remain a member of the church hierarchy." While he considered this, rumors of his possible conversion flew throughout the Electorate.

The mere possibility of Gebhard's conversion caused consternation in the Electorate, in the Empire, and in such European states as England and France. Gebhard considered his options, and listened to his advisers, chief among them his brother Karl, Truchsess von Waldburg
Karl, Truchsess von Waldburg
Karl, Truchsess von Waldburg , Baron and Steward of Waldburg in Trauchburg , Imperial minister. Karl was born in the Fürstenburg fortress of Heiligenberg, the third son of William, known as the younger, , Freiherr and Seneschal of Waldburg and an Imperial Councilor, and his wife, Johanna v...

 (1548–1593), and Adolf, Count von Neuenahr
Adolf van Nieuwenaar
Adolf van Nieuwenaar, Count of Limburg and Meurs was a statesman and soldier, who was stadtholder of Gelderland and Utrecht for the States-General of the Netherlands during the initial stages of the Eighty Years' War.-Early life:Nieuwenaar was the son of Count Gumprecht II von...

 (1545–1589). His opponents in the Cathedral Chapter enlisted external support from the Wittelsbachs in Bavaria and from the pope. Diplomats shuttled from court to court through the Rhineland, bearing pleas to Gebhard to consider the outcome of a conversion, and how it would destroy the Electorate; assuring him of support for his cause should he convert and hold the Electorate; threats to deter him, promises to encourage him, and offers and threats to assist or destroy him. The magistrates of Cologne vehemently opposed any possible conversion and the extension of parity to Protestants in the archdiocese. His Protestant supporters told Gebhard that he could marry the woman and keep the Electorate, converting it into a dynastic duchy. Throughout the Electorate, and on its borders, his supporters and opponents gathered their troops, armed their garrisons, stockpiled foodstuffs, and prepared for war. On 19 December 1582, Gebhard announced his conversion, from, as he phrased it, the "darkness of the papacy to the Light" of the Word of God.

Implications of his conversion


The conversion of the Archbishop of Cologne to Protestantism triggered religious and political repercussions throughout the Holy Roman Empire. His conversion had widespread implications for the future of the Holy Roman Empire's electoral process established by the Golden Bull of 1356
Golden Bull of 1356
The Golden Bull of 1356 was a decree issued by the Reichstag assembly in Nuremberg headed by the Luxembourg Emperor Charles IV that fixed, for a period of more than four hundred years, important aspects of the constitutional structure of the Holy Roman Empire...

. In this process, seven Imperial Electors
Prince-elector
The Prince-electors of the Holy Roman Empire were the members of the electoral college of the Holy Roman Empire, having the function of electing the Roman king or, from the middle of the 16th century onwards, directly the Holy Roman Emperor.The heir-apparent to a prince-elector was known as an...

—the four secular electors of Bohemia, Brandenburg, the Palatinate, and Saxony; and the three ecclesiastical electors of Mainz
Archbishopric of Mainz
The Archbishopric of Mainz or Electorate of Mainz was an influential ecclesiastic and secular prince-bishopric in the Holy Roman Empire between 780–82 and 1802. In the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy, the Archbishop of Mainz was the primas Germaniae, the substitute of the Pope north of the Alps...

, Trier
Archbishopric of Trier
The Archbishopric of Trier was a Roman Catholic diocese in Germany, that existed from Carolingian times until the end of the Holy Roman Empire. Its suffragans were the dioceses of Metz, Toul and Verdun. Since the 9th century the Archbishops of Trier were simultaneously princes and since the 11th...

, and Cologne
Archbishopric of Cologne
The Electorate of Cologne was an ecclesiastical principality of the Holy Roman Empire and existed from the 10th to the early 19th century. It consisted of the temporal possessions of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cologne . It was ruled by the Archbishop in his function as prince-elector of...

—selected an emperor. The presence of at least three inherently Catholic electors, who collectively governed some of the most prosperous ecclesiastical territories in the Empire, guaranteed the delicate balance of Catholics and Protestants in the voting; only one other elector needed to vote for a Catholic candidate, ensuring that future emperors would remain in the so-called Old Faith. The possibility of one of those electors shifting to the Protestant side, and of that elector producing an heir to perpetuate this shift, would change the balance in the electoral college in favor of the Protestants.


The conversion of the ecclesiastic see to a dynastic realm ruled by a Protestant prince challenged the principle of ecclesiastical reservation
Reservatum ecclesiasticum
The reservatum ecclesiasticum was a measure inserted into the Peace of Augsburg of 1555 to balance the principal proviso of cuius regio, eius religio in ecclesiastical lands...

, which was intended to preserve the ecclesiastical electorates from this very possibility. The difficulties of such a conversion had been faced before: Hermann von Wied, a previous prince-elector and archbishop in Cologne, had also converted to Protestantism, but had resigned from his office. Similarly, Gebhard's predecessor, Salentin von Isenburg-Grenzau had indeed married in 1577, but had resigned from the office prior to his marriage. Furthermore, the reason for his marriage—to perpetuate his house—differed considerably from Gebhard's. The House of Waldburg was in no apparent danger of extinction; Gebhard was one of six brothers, and only one other had chosen an ecclesiastical career. Unlike his abdicating predecessors, when Gebhard converted, he proclaimed the Reformation in the city of Cologne itself, angering Cologne's Catholic leadership and alienating the Catholic faction in the Cathedral Chapter. Furthermore, Gebhard adhered not to the teachings of Martin Luther, but to those of John Calvin
John Calvin
John Calvin was an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation. He was a principal figure in the development of the system of Christian theology later called Calvinism. Originally trained as a humanist lawyer, he broke from the Roman Catholic Church around 1530...

, a form of religious observation not approved by the Augsburg conventions of 1555. Finally, he made no move to resign from his position as Prince-elector.

Affairs became further complicated when, on 2 February 1583, also known as Candlemas, Gebhard married Agnes von Mansfeld-Eisleben in a private house in Rosenthal, outside of Bonn. After the ceremony, the couple processed to the Elector's palace in Bonn, and held a great feast. Unbeknownst to them, while they celebrated their marriage, Frederick, Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg
Frederick, Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg
Frederick of Saxe-Lauenburg , was a cathedral canon at Strasbourg Minster, chorbishop at Cologne Cathedral and cathedral provost , a function including the presidency of the chapter, at Bremen Cathedral.-Life:...

 (1554–1586), who was also a member of the Cathedral Chapter, and his soldiers approached the fortified Kaiserswerth, across the river, and took the castle after a brief fight. When the citizens of Cologne heard the news, there was a great public celebration.

Two days after his marriage, Gebhard invested his brother Karl with the duties of Statthalter (governor) and charged him with the rule of Bonn. He and Agnes then traveled to Zweibrücken
Zweibrücken
Zweibrücken is a city in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, on the Schwarzbach river.- Name :Zweibrücken appears in Latin texts as Geminus Pons and Bipontum, in French texts as Deux-Ponts. The name derives from Middle High German Zweinbrücken...

 and from there, to the territory of Dillingen, near Solms-Braunfels
Solms-Braunfels
Solms-Braunfels was a County in what is today the federal Land of Hesse in Germany.Solms-Braunfels was a partition of Solms, and was raised to a Principality in 1742. Solms-Braunfels was partitioned between: itself and Solms-Ottenstein in 1325; itself and Solms-Lich in 1409; and itself,...

, where the Count, a staunch supporter, would help him to raise funds and troops to hold the territory; Adolf, Count von Neuenahr returned to the Electorate to prepare for its defense.

Gebhard clearly intended to transform an important ecclesiastical territory into a secular, dynastic duchy. This problematic conversion would then bring the principle of cuius regio, eius religio
Cuius regio, eius religio
Cuius regio, eius religio is a phrase in Latin translated as "Whose realm, his religion", meaning the religion of the ruler dictated the religion of the ruled...

into play in the Electorate. Under this principle, all of Gebhard's subjects would be required to convert to his faith: his rule, his religion. Furthermore, as a relatively young man, heirs would be expected. Gebhard and his young wife presented the very real possibility of successfully converting a rich, diplomatically important and strategically placed ecclesiastical territory of a prince-prelate into a dynastic territory that carried with it one of the coveted offices of imperial elector.

Pope Gregory XIII
Pope Gregory XIII
Pope Gregory XIII , born Ugo Boncompagni, was Pope from 1572 to 1585. He is best known for commissioning and being the namesake for the Gregorian calendar, which remains the internationally-accepted civil calendar to this date.-Youth:He was born the son of Cristoforo Boncompagni and wife Angela...

 excommunicated him in March 1583, and the Chapter deposed him, by electing in his place the 29-year-old canon
Canon (priest)
A canon is a priest or minister who is a member of certain bodies of the Christian clergy subject to an ecclesiastical rule ....

, Ernst of Bavaria, brother of the pious William V, Duke of Bavaria
William V, Duke of Bavaria
William V, Duke of Bavaria , called the Pious, was Duke of Bavaria from 1579 to 1597.- Education and early life :...

. Ernst's election ensured the involvement of the powerful House of Wittelsbach in the coming contest.

Course of the war


The war had three phases. Initially it was a localized feud between supporters of Gebhard and those of the Catholic core of the Cathedral Chapter. With the election of Ernst of Bavaria as a competing archbishop, what had been a local conflict expanded in scale: Ernst's election guaranteed the military, diplomatic, and financial interest of the Wittelsbach family in Electoral Cologne's local affairs. After the deaths of Louis VI, Elector Palatine
Louis VI, Elector Palatine
In the history of the Holy Roman Empire, Louis VI, Elector Palatine was an Elector from the Palatinate-Simmern branch of the house of Wittelsbach. He was the first-born son of Frederick III, Elector Palatine and Marie of Brandenburg-Kulmbach...

 in 1583 and William the Silent
William the Silent
William I, Prince of Orange , also widely known as William the Silent , or simply William of Orange , was the main leader of the Dutch revolt against the Spanish that set off the Eighty Years' War and resulted in the formal independence of the United Provinces in 1648. He was born in the House of...

 in 1584, the conflict shifted gears again, as the two evenly matched combatants sought outside assistance to break the stalemate. Finally, the intervention of Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma
Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma
Alexander Farnese was Duke of Parma and Piacenza from 1586 to 1592, and Governor of the Spanish Netherlands from 1578 to 1592.-Biography:...

, who had at his command the Spanish Army of Flanders
Army of Flanders
The Army of Flanders was a Spanish Habsburg army based in the Netherlands during the 16th to 18th centuries. It was notable for being the longest standing army of the period, being in continuous service from 1567 until its disestablishment in 1706...

, threw the balance of power in favor of the Catholic side. By 1588, Spanish forces had pushed Gebhard from the Electorate. In 1588 he took refuge in Strassburg, and the remaining Protestant strongholds of the Electorate fell to Parma's forces in 1589.

Cathedral feud


Although Gebhard had gathered some troops around him, he hoped to recruit support from the Lutheran princes. Unfortunately for him, he had converted to another branch of the Reformed faith; such cautious Lutheran princes as Augustus I, Elector of Saxony, balked at extending their military support to Calvinists and the Elector Palatine was unable to persuade them to join the cause. Gebhard had three primary supporters. His brother, Karl, had married Eleonore, Countess of Hohenzollern (1551–after 1598), and Gebhard could hope that this family alliance with the power-hungry Hohenzollerns would help his cause. Gebhard's long-time ally and supporter Adolf, Count von Neuenahr was a successful and cunning military commander whose army secured the northern part of the territory. Finally, John Casimir
Johann Casimir of Simmern
John Casimir of the Palatinate-Simmern was a German prince and a younger son of Elector Frederick III, Count Palatine of the Rhine. A firm Calvinist, he was a leader of mercenary troops in the religious wars of the time, including the Dutch Revolt...

 (1543–1592), the brother of the Elector Palatine, had expressed his support, and made a great show of force in the southern part of the Electorate.

In the first months after Gebhard's conversion, two competing armies rampaged throughout the southern portion of the Electoral territory in the destruction of the so-called Oberstift. Villages, abbeys and convents and several towns, were plundered and burned, by both sides; Linz am Rhein and Ahrweiler avoided destruction by swearing loyalty to Salentin. In the summer of 1583, Gebhard and Agnes took refuge, first at Vest
Vest
A vest is a garment covering the upper body. The term has different meanings around the world:Waistcoat :. This is called a waistcoat in the UK and many Commonwealth countries, or a vest in the US and Canada. It is often worn as part of formal attire, or as the third piece of a lounge...

 in Vest Recklinghausen
Vest Recklinghausen
Vest Recklinghausen was an ecclesiastical territory in the Holy Roman Empire, located in the center of today's North Rhine-Westphalia. The rivers Emscher and Lippe formed the border with the County of Mark and Essen Abbey in the south , and to the Bishopric of Münster in the north...

, a fief of the Electorate, and then in the Duchy of Westphalia
Duchy of Westphalia
The Duchy of Westphalia was a historic territory in the greater region of Westphalia, located in the east of modern North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Originally, Westphalia formed with Angria and Eastphalia one of the three main regions of Saxony...

, at Arensberg castle. In both territories, Gebhard set in motion as much of the Reformation as he could, although his soldiers indulged in a bout of iconoclasm and plundering.
Initially, despite a few setbacks, military action seemed to go in Gebhard's favor, until October, 1583, when the Elector Palatine died, and Casimir disbanded his army and returned to his brother's court as guardian for the 10-year-old duke. In November, 1583, from his castle Arensberg in Westphalia, he wrote to Francis Walsingham
Francis Walsingham
Sir Francis Walsingham was Principal Secretary to Elizabeth I of England from 1573 until 1590, and is popularly remembered as her "spymaster". Walsingham is frequently cited as one of the earliest practitioners of modern intelligence methods both for espionage and for domestic security...

, adviser and spymaster to Queen Elizabeth
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

: "Our needs are pressing, and you [Walsingham] and the Queen's other virtuous counsellors we believe can aid us; moreover, since God has called us to a knowledge of Himself, we have heard from our counsellors that you love and further the service of God."

On the same day, Gebhard wrote also to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London, presenting his case: "Verily, the Roman Antichrist moves every stone to oppress us and our churches...." Two days later, he wrote a more lengthy letter to the Queen: "We therefore humbly pray your Majesty to lend us 10,000 angelots
Angel (coin)
The Angel is a gold coin introduced into England by Edward IV in 1465 as a new issue of the Noble, thus is was first called the "angel-noble". It is based off the French coin known as the Angelot or Ange, which had been issued since 1340. It varied in value between that period and the time of...

, and to send it speedily, that we may preserve our churches this winter from the invasion of the enemy; for if we lost Bonn, they would be in the greatest danger, while if God permits us to keep it, we hope, by his grace, that Antichrist and his agents will be foiled in their damnable attempts against those who call upon the true God."

Godesburg, a fortress a few kilometers from the Elector's capital city of Bonn, was taken by storm in late 1583 after a brutal month-long siege; when Bavarian cannonades failed to break the bastions, sappers tunneled under the thick walls and blew up the fortifications from below. The Catholic Archbishop's forces still could not break through the remains of the fortifications, so they crawled through the garderobe
Garderobe
The term garderobe describes a place where clothes and other items are stored, and also a medieval toilet. In European public places, a garderobe denotes the cloakroom, wardrobe, alcove or an armoire. In Danish, Dutch, German and Spanish garderobe can mean a cloakroom. In Latvian it means checkroom...

 sluices (hence the name, Sewer War). Upon taking the fortress, they killed every defender except three, a Captain of the Guard who could prove he was a citizen of Cologne, and the son of an important Cologne politician, the commander and his wife. The five miles of road between Godesberg and Bonn was filled with so many troops, that it looked like a military camp. At the same time, in one of the few set battles of the war, Gebhard's supporters won at Aalst
Aalst, Belgium
Aalst is a city and municipality on the Dender River, 19 miles northwest from Brussels. It is located in the Flemish province of East Flanders in the Denderstreek. The municipality comprises the city of Aalst itself and the villages of Baardegem, Erembodegem, Gijzegem, Herdersem, Hofstade,...

  over the Catholic forces of the Frederick of Saxe-Lauenburg, who had raised his own army and had entered the fray of his own accord a few months earlier.

The Catholics offered Gebhard a great sum of money, which he refused, demanding instead, the restoration of his state. When further negotiations among the Electors and the Emperor at Frankfurt am Main, then at Muhlhausen
Mühlhausen
Mühlhausen is a city in the federal state of Thuringia, Germany. It is the capital of the Unstrut-Hainich district, and lies along the river Unstrut. Mühlhausen had c. 37,000 inhabitants in 2006.-History:...

 in Westphalia, failed to reach an agreement settling the dispute, the Pope arranged for the support of several thousand Spanish troops in early 1584.

Engagement of outside military forces



The election of Ernst of Bavaria expanded the local feud into a more German-wide phenomenon. The pope committed 55,000 crowns to pay soldiers to fight for Ernst, and another 40,000 directly into the coffers of the new Archbishop. Under the command of his brother, Ernst's forces pushed their way into Westphalia, threatening Gebhard and Agnes at their stronghold at Arensburg. Gebhard and Agnes escaped to the rebellious provinces of the Netherlands with almost 1000 cavalry, where Prince William gave them a haven in Delft
Delft
Delft is a city and municipality in the province of South Holland , the Netherlands. It is located between Rotterdam and The Hague....

. There, Gebhard solicited the impecunious William for troops and money. After William's assassination in July 1584, Gebhard wrote to Queen Elizabeth requesting assistance. Elizabeth responded toward the end of 1585, directing him to contact Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester
Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester
Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, KG was an English nobleman and the favourite and close friend of Elizabeth I from her first year on the throne until his death...

, her deputy with the rebellious Dutch, and recently commissioned as the commander-in-chief of her army in the Netherlands. Elizabeth had her own problems with adherents of her cousin Mary, Queen of Scots, and the Spanish
Anglo-Spanish War (1585)
The Anglo–Spanish War was an intermittent conflict between the kingdoms of Spain and England that was never formally declared. The war was punctuated by widely separated battles, and began with England's military expedition in 1585 to the Netherlands under the command of the Earl of Leicester in...

.

Stalemate


By late 1585, although Ernst's brother had made significant inroads into Electoral Cologne, both sides had reached an impasse. Sizable portions of the population subscribed to the Calvinist doctrine; to support them, Calvinist Switzerland and Strassburg furnished a steady stream of theologians, jurists, books and ideas. The Calvinist barons and counts understood the danger of Spanish intervention: it meant the aggressive introduction of the Counter-Reformation in their territories. France, in the person of Henry III
Henry III of France
Henry III was King of France from 1574 to 1589. As Henry of Valois, he was the first elected monarch of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth with the dual titles of King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1573 to 1575.-Childhood:Henry was born at the Royal Château de Fontainebleau,...

, was equally interested, since the encirclement of France by Habsburgs was cause for concern. Another sizable portion of the electorate's populace adhered to the old faith, supported by Wittelsbach-funded Jesuits. The supporters of both sides committed atrocities of their own: in the city of Cologne, the mere rumor of Gebhard's approaching army caused rioters to murder several people suspected of sympathizing with the Protestant cause.

Ernst depended on his brother and the Catholic barons in the Cathedral Chapter to hold the territory he acquired. In 1585, Munster
Munster
Munster is one of the Provinces of Ireland situated in the south of Ireland. In Ancient Ireland, it was one of the fifths ruled by a "king of over-kings" . Following the Norman invasion of Ireland, the ancient kingdoms were shired into a number of counties for administrative and judicial purposes...

, Paderborn
Paderborn
Paderborn is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, capital of the Paderborn district. The name of the city derives from the river Pader, which originates in more than 200 springs near Paderborn Cathedral, where St. Liborius is buried.-History:...

, and Osnabrück
Osnabrück
Osnabrück is a city in Lower Saxony, Germany, some 80 km NNE of Dortmund, 45 km NE of Münster, and some 100 km due west of Hanover. It lies in a valley penned between the Wiehen Hills and the northern tip of the Teutoburg Forest...

 succumbed to Ferdinand's energetic pursuit in the eastern regions of the electorate, and a short time later, Minden
Minden
Minden is a town of about 83,000 inhabitants in the north-east of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The town extends along both sides of the river Weser. It is the capital of the Kreis of Minden-Lübbecke, which is part of the region of Detmold. Minden is the historic political centre of the...

. With their help, Ernst could hold Bonn. Support from the city of Cologne itself was also secure. To oust Gebhard, though, Ernst ultimately had to appeal for aid to Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma, who commanded Spanish forces in the Netherlands.

Parma was more than willing to help. The Electorate, strategically important to Spain, offered another land route by which to approach the rebellious northern Provinces of the Netherlands. Although the Spanish road from Spain's holdings on the Mediterranean shores led to its territories in what is today Belgium, it was a long, arduous march, complicated by the provisioning of troops and the potentially hostile populations of the territories through which it passed. An alternative route on the Rhine promised better access to the Habsburg Netherlands. Furthermore, the presence of a Calvinist electorate almost on the Dutch border could delay their efforts to bring the rebellious Dutch back to the Spanish rule and the Catholic confession. Philip II
Philip II of Spain
Philip II was King of Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sicily, and, while married to Mary I, King of England and Ireland. He was lord of the Seventeen Provinces from 1556 until 1581, holding various titles for the individual territories such as duke or count....

 and his generals could be convinced to support Ernst's cause for such considerations. Indeed, the process of intervention had started earlier. In 1581, Philip's forces, paid for by papal gold, had taken Aachen
Aachen
Aachen has historically been a spa town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Aachen was a favoured residence of Charlemagne, and the place of coronation of the Kings of Germany. Geographically, Aachen is the westernmost town of Germany, located along its borders with Belgium and the Netherlands, ...

, which Protestants had seized; by the mid–1580s, the Duke of Parma's forces, encouraged by the Wittelsbachs and the Catholics in Cologne, had secured garrisons throughout the northern territories of the Electorate. By 1590, these garrisons gave Spain access to the northern provinces and Philip felt comfortable enough with his military access to the provinces, and with their isolation from possible support by German Protestants, to direct more of his attention to France, and less to his problems with the Dutch.

On the other side of the feud, to hold the territory, Gebhard needed the full support of his military brother and the very able Neuenahr. To push Ernst out, he needed additional support, which he had requested from Delft and from England. It was clearly in the interests of England and the Dutch to offer assistance; if the Dutch could not tie up the Spanish army in Flanders, and if that army needed a navy to supply it, Philip could not focus his attention on the English and the French. His own diplomats had sought to present his case as one of pressing concern to all Protestant princes: in November, 1583, one of his advisers, Dr. Wenceslaus Zuleger, wrote to Francis Walsingham: "I assure you if the Elector of Cologne is not assisted, you will see that the war in the Low Countries will shortly spread over the whole of Germany." The support Gebhard received, in the form of troops from the Earl of Leicester, and from the Dutch, in the form of the mercenary Martin Schenck, had mixed results. Leicester's troops, professional and well-led, performed well but their usefulness was limited: Elizabeth's instructions to help Gebhard had not come with financial support and Leicester had sold his own plate and had exhausted his own personal credit while trying to field an army. Martin Schenck had seen considerable service in Spain's Army of Flanders, for the French king and for Parma himself. He was a skilled and charismatic soldier, and his men would do anything for him; reportedly, he could sleep in his saddle, and seemed indomitable in the field. Unfortunately, Schenck was little more than a land-pirate, a free-booter, and rascal, and ultimately he did Gebhard more harm than good, as his behavior in Westphalia and at the Battle of Werl demonstrated.

Sack of Westphalia


In late February 1586, Friedrich Cloedt, whom Gebhard had placed in command of Neuss, and Martin Schenck went to Westphalia at the head of 500 foot and 500 horse. After plundering Vest Recklinghausen
Vest Recklinghausen
Vest Recklinghausen was an ecclesiastical territory in the Holy Roman Empire, located in the center of today's North Rhine-Westphalia. The rivers Emscher and Lippe formed the border with the County of Mark and Essen Abbey in the south , and to the Bishopric of Münster in the north...

, on 1 March they captured Werl
Werl
Werl is a town located in the district of Soest in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.-Geography:Werl is easily accessible because it is located between the Sauerland, Münsterland, and the Ruhr Area...

 through trickery. They loaded a train of wagons with soldiers and covered them with salt. When the wagons of salt were seen outside the city gates, they were immediately admitted, salt being a valued commodity. The "salted soldiers" then over-powered the guard and captured the town. Some of the defenders escaped to the citadel, and could not be dislodged. Claude de Berlaymont
Claude de Berlaymont
Claude de Berlaymont , lord of Haultpenne was a Flemish military commander in Spain's Army of Flanders during the Eighty Years' War.-Family:...

, also known as Haultpenne
Haultpenne
The Castle Haultepenne, also spelled Haultpenne, located in Gleixhe in the town of Flémalle, is a part medieval, part renaissance structure. It is known for its red brick and uniquely shaped tower. For several centuries, the castle was in the possession of a Flemish noble family, Berlaymont...

 after the name of his castle, collected his own force of 4000 and besieged Schenck and Cloedt in Werl. Attacked from the outside by Haultpenne, and from the inside by the soldiers in the citadel, Schenck and Cloedt broke out of the city with their soldiers on 3 March. Unable to break through the lines, they retreated into the city once more, but several of their soldiers did not make it into the city, and plundered the neighboring villages; 250 local residents were killed. On 8 March, Schenck and Cloedt loaded their wagons once again, this time with booty, took 30 magistrates as hostages, and attacked Haultpenne's force, killing about 500 of them, and losing 200 of their own. Included in the hostages were the Bürgermeister Johann von Pappen and several other high-ranking officials; although von Pappen died during the retreat, the remaining hostages were released after the payment of a high ransom. Schenck retreated to Venlo
Venlo
Venlo is a municipality and a city in the southeastern Netherlands, next to the German border. It is situated in the province of Limburg.In 2001, the municipalities of Belfeld and Tegelen were merged into the municipality of Venlo. Tegelen was originally part of the Duchy of Jülich centuries ago,...

 and Cloedt returned to the city of Neuss.

Spanish intervention


To some extent, the difficulties both Gebhard and Ernst faced in winning the war were the same the Spanish had in subduing the Dutch Revolt. The protraction of the Spanish and Dutch war—80 years of bitter fighting interrupted by periodic truces while both sides gathered resources—lay in the kind of war it was: Enemies lived in fortified towns defended by Italian-style bastions, which meant the towns had to be taken and then fortified and maintained. For both Gebhard and Ernst, as for the Spanish commanders in the nearby Lowlands, winning the war meant not only mobilizing enough men to encircle a seemingly endless cycle of enemy artillery fortresses, but also maintaining the army one had and defending all one's own possessions as they were acquired. The Cologne War, similar to the Dutch Revolt in that respect, was also a war of sieges, not of assembled armies facing one another on the field of battle, nor of maneuver, feint, and parry that characterized wars two centuries earlier and later. These wars required men who could operate the machinery of war, which meant extensive economic resources for soldiers to build and operate the siege works, and a political and military will to keep the machinery of war operating. The Spanish faced another problem, distance, which gave them a distinct interest in intervening in the Cologne affair.

Razing of Neuss


Gebhard's supporter, Adolf von Neuenahr, surrounded Neuss in March 1586, and persuaded Ernst's small garrison to capitulate. He refortified and restocked the city and placed young Friedrich Cloedt in command of a garrison of 1600 men, mostly Germans and Dutch soldiers. The town's fortifications were substantial; 100 years earlier it had resisted a lengthy siege
Siege of Neuss
The Siege of Neuss, from 1474–75, was part of the Burgundian Wars. The siege, led by Charles the Bold against the Holy Roman Empire city of Neuss, was unsuccessful...

 by Charles the Bold (1433–1477) of Burgundy, and between the fortifications, the natural defenses of rivers, and the garrison, it could withstand all but the most determined assaults. In July 1586, the Duke of Parma approached and surrounded the city; by some irony, Agnes' cousin, Karl von Mansfeld
Karl von Mansfeld
Karl von Mansfeld was a German general during the Cologne War and the Ottoman-Habsburg wars.Von Mansfeld was the son of Count Peter Ernst I von Mansfeld-Vorderort, born in present day Luxembourg, and was educated in France. He entered the military of Philip II of Spain, and was appointed a general...

  and his troops were a part of the Spanish force assembled against Neuss. Parma had an impressive force at his command; in addition to Mansfeld's 2000 troops, he had another 6000 or so foot and Tercio
Tercio
The tercio was a Renaissance era military formation made up of a mixed infantry formation of about 3,000 pikemen, swordsmen and arquebusiers or musketeers in a mutually supportive formation. It was also sometimes referred to as the Spanish Square...

s, 2000 well-mounted, experienced Italian, Spanish and German soldiers, and some 45 cannons, which he distributed on the redoubt across the river and on the heights a short distance from the city walls. According to the protocols of war generally accepted in 1586, Parma requested the capitulation of the city prior to the cannonade. Cloedt declined to capitulate, politely. The next day, being the feast of St. James, and the patron day for the Spanish, the bombardment was not initiated, although mendacious reports circulated in the Spanish camp that the Protestants had roasted two Spanish soldiers alive on the Catholic Holy day, a desecration which fanned their enthusiasm for the impending battle.

The following day, Parma's artillery pounded at the walls for 30 hours with iron cannonballs weighing 30–50 pounds; in total, his artillery fired more than 2700 rounds. The Spanish made several attempts to storm the city, each repelled by Cloedt's 1600 soldiers. The ninth assault breached the outer wall. The Spanish and Italian forces entered the town from opposite ends and met in the middle. Cloedt, gravely injured (his leg was reportedly almost ripped off and he had five other serious wounds), had been carried into the town. Parma's troops discovered Cloedt, being nursed by his wife and his sister. Although Parma was inclined to honor the garrison commander with a soldier's death by sword, Ernst demanded his immediate execution. The dying man was hanged from the window, with several other officers in his force.

Parma made no effort to restrain his soldiers. On their rampage through the city, Italian and Spanish soldiers slaughtered the rest of the garrison, even the men who tried to surrender. Once their blood-lust was satiated, they began to plunder. Civilians who had taken refuge in the churches were initially ignored, but when the fire started, they were forced into the streets and trapped by the rampaging soldiers. Contemporary accounts refer to children, women, and old men, their clothes smoldering, or in flames, trying to escape the conflagration, only to be trapped by the enraged Spanish; if they escaped the flames and the Spanish, they were cornered by the enraged Italians. Parma wrote to King Philip that over 4000 lay dead in the ditches (moats). English observers confirmed this report, and elaborated that only eight buildings remained standing.

Siege warfare runs its course


Parma had gone to Neuss prepared for a major assault, and the resources of Spain's Army of the Netherlands quickly changed the balance in favor of Ernst. In 1586, Ernst's allies had secured Vest Recklinghausen, even though they had failed to catch the elusive Schenck, and they had reduced Neuss to a pile of rubble, proving their overwhelming fire-power. In 1587, they encircled and took the fortified towns in the Oberstift, recapturing Bonn, Godesberg, and Linz am Rhein, and dozens of smaller fortified towns, villages and farmsteads throughout the countryside. Throughout, soldiers from both parties marauded and plundered throughout the countryside, searching either for important officials, booty, or other valuables. On 12 November 1587, one of Walsingham's informants wrote, the "soldiers of Vartendonc (Martin Schenck) go out daily on excursions, doing very great harm in all places, for they have free passage every where. The other evening they went with 180 horse to above Bonn, between Orchel and Linz (am Rhein), to make prisoner Count Salatin d'Issemburg (Salentin von Isenburg), but their design did not succeed, as he withdrew into a castle. In early 1588, Gebhardt's supporters once more acquired Bonn; one of Walsingham's observers in the Palatinate, in Heidelberg, reported that the Prince of Taxis had been slain outside of Bonn, with 300 Spanish soldiers.

By Spring 1588, Gebhard had run out of options. In 1583, he had refused the settlement offered to him after the conferences at Frankfurt and in Westphalia, counting on the support of the other Protestant electors. When their support did not materialize, he pursued diplomatic options with the French, the Dutch, and the English; these also were of limited help. After the destruction of Neuss in 1586, and the loss of the most of southern part of the Electorate in 1587, Rheinberg and its environs were the only territories of the Electorate he could claim, and much of this slipped from his grasp in 1588. He had exhausted his diplomatic, financial and military possibilities. His health problems (referred to as Gelenkenschmerz, or joint pain) prohibited him from riding, which limited his ability to travel. In the spring of 1588, he relinquished his claim on the Electorate to the protection of Neuenahr and Martin Schenck, and retired to Strassburg. Neuenahr and Schenck continued to fight for him, but the former died in an artillery explosion in 1589, and the latter was killed at Nijmegen
Assault on Nijmegen (1589)
The Assault on Nijmegen occurred on the night of 10 August 1589, involving troops of the mercenary Martin Schenck von Nydeggen against the small garrison and some citizens at the city of Nijmegen....

 that summer. Without them to defend his claim on the Electorate, Rheinberg, Gebhard's last outpost in the northern Electorate, fell to Parma's force in 1589.

Aftermath



After Gebhard's expulsion, Ernst assumed full charge of the Electorate of Cologne. In his later years, a nuncio at Cologne
Apostolic Nuncio to Cologne
The Apostolic Nunciature to Cologne was an ecclesiastical office of the Roman Catholic Church established in 1584. The nuncios were accredited to the Achbishop-Electorates of Cologne, Mainz and Trier...

 took responsibilities for the financial administration of the archdiocese, and Ernst's nephew, Ferdinand of Bavaria
Ferdinand of Bavaria
-Biography:Ferdinand was born in Munich, one of the sons of William V, Duke of Bavaria.His parents decided early that he would have church life, and they sent him to the Jesuit school at Ingolstadt for education in early 1587. He quickly became a canon in: Mainz, Cologne, Würzburg, Trier, Salzburg,...

, was elected to the Cathedral Chapter, the Wittelsbach heir-apparent. When Ernst died in 1612, the Cathedral Chapter duly elected his nephew to the position and Wittelsbachs held the Electorate until 1761. Ernst's victory, both in winning the election in 1583, and in convincing the assembly of other electors to accept him in 1585, confirmed him as the new archbishop of Cologne and gave the Wittelsbach
Wittelsbach
The Wittelsbach family is a European royal family and a German dynasty from Bavaria.Members of the family served as Dukes, Electors and Kings of Bavaria , Counts Palatine of the Rhine , Margraves of Brandenburg , Counts of Holland, Hainaut and Zeeland , Elector-Archbishops of Cologne , Dukes of...

 family a foothold on the northern Rhine.

Ernst's rule, and that of his four Wittelsbach successors, strengthened the position of his family in Imperial politics. The victory of the Catholic party further consolidated the Counter-Reformation in the northwest territories of the Holy Roman Empire, especially in the bishoprics of Münster
Münster
Münster is an independent city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located in the northern part of the state and is considered to be the cultural centre of the Westphalia region. It is also capital of the local government region Münsterland...

, Paderborn
Paderborn
Paderborn is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, capital of the Paderborn district. The name of the city derives from the river Pader, which originates in more than 200 springs near Paderborn Cathedral, where St. Liborius is buried.-History:...

, Osnabrück
Osnabrück
Osnabrück is a city in Lower Saxony, Germany, some 80 km NNE of Dortmund, 45 km NE of Münster, and some 100 km due west of Hanover. It lies in a valley penned between the Wiehen Hills and the northern tip of the Teutoburg Forest...

 and Minden
Minden
Minden is a town of about 83,000 inhabitants in the north-east of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The town extends along both sides of the river Weser. It is the capital of the Kreis of Minden-Lübbecke, which is part of the region of Detmold. Minden is the historic political centre of the...

, which were bordered by Protestant territories. Once Ernst's brother or such allies as the Duke of Parma regained control, Jesuits efficiently identified any recalcitrant Protestants and converted them to Catholicism. The Counter-Reformation was thoroughly applied in the lower Rhineland, with the goal that every Protestant, whether Lutheran or Calvinist, would be brought to the Catholic fold. For their efforts, the Spanish acquired important bridgeheads on the Rhine River, securing a land route to the rebellious northern provinces, which helped to extend an already long war of secession well into the next century.

The German tradition of local and regional autonomy differed structurally and culturally from the increasingly centralized authority of such other European states as France, England, and Spain. This difference made them vulnerable to the unabashed intervention of Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, English and Scots mercenaries and the influence of papal gold and changed the dynamic of internal German confessional and dynastic disputes. The great "players" of the Early Modern European political stage realized that they could enhance their own positions vis-a-vis one another by assisting, promoting, or undermining local and regional competition among the German princes, as they did in the localized feud between Gebhard and Ernst. Conversely, German princes, dukes, and counts realized that they could gain an edge over their competitors by promoting the interests of powerful neighbors. The scale of the engagement of such external mercenary armies as Spain's Army of Flanders set a precedent to internationalize contests of local autonomy and religious issues in the German states, a problem not settled until the Peace of Westphalia
Peace of Westphalia
The Peace of Westphalia was a series of peace treaties signed between May and October of 1648 in Osnabrück and Münster. These treaties ended the Thirty Years' War in the Holy Roman Empire, and the Eighty Years' War between Spain and the Dutch Republic, with Spain formally recognizing the...

in 1648. Even after that settlement, German states remained vulnerable to both external intervention and the religious division exemplified in the Cologne war.

External links (sources)

(editors), "Grafen von Mansfeld" in Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie. Herausgegeben von der Historischen Kommission bei der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Band 20 (1884), ab Seite 212, Digitale Volltext-Ausgabe in Wikisource. (Version vom 17. November 2009, 17:46 Uhr UTC).