Christian of Brunswick, administrator of Halberstadt (1598-1626)

Christian of Brunswick, administrator of Halberstadt (1598-1626)

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Christian of Brunswick, administrator of Halberstadt (1598-1626)

Younger brother of the duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel, and one of the main protestant generals in the first part of the Thirty Years War. He was a lover of cavalry warfare, who gained a reputation for cruelty and violence, particularly towards the church, which is probably undeserved and was probably started by pro-Imperial pamphlets at the time. At the end of 1621 he was one of the few men to rally to the cause of Frederick, elector Palatine, king of Bohemia, the leader of the Protestant side, and his wife Elizabeth, the daughter of James I, for whom Christian declared a chivalric love, giving his actions a tint of romanticism. By the end of 1621 he had managed to raise 10,000 troops, with whom he wintered in Westphalia, gathering a great treasure from the dioceses of Munster and Paderborn, which by spring 1622 attracted most of the other combatants towards him. Both Frederick and Ernst von Mansfeld were hoping to joint with his army, while the Imperial army under Tilly and Cordoba moved to intercept him. They caught up with him at Hochst, 20 June 1622, and although Christian was defeated, he was able to escape with much of his army and most of his treasure. The newly united Protestant army moved into Alsace, where their ravages were so extreme that Frederick abandoned what was in theory his own army, leaving them without a cause. Christian and Mansfled moved north in Lorraine, before hearing of the siege of Bergen op Zoom. They decided to march to the relief of the city, fighting the battle of Fleurus (29 August 1622) on the way, where Christian won the day through repeated charges, but lost his arm. Their united army reached the city in time to save it from the Imperial army. Christian spent the winter of 1622-3 in Lower Saxony. Maximiliam of Bavaria sent Tilly to dislodge him, and Christian was decisively defeated at Stadtlohn (August 1623), only ten miles from the Dutch border, and Christian was forced to flee to The Hague. The war was revived at the end of 1625 by a Dutch inspired alliance with England, Denmark with Mansfeld and Christian. The new alliance was well organised and funded, and had a clear plan for 1626. Christian's part was to move into the Rhineland, but Tilly moved his troops into Hesse, blocking Christian's path south. Christian was forced to withdraw, and already ill at the start of the campaign died at Wolfenbuttel on 16 June 1626, aged only 28.

Thirty Years War Index - Thirty Years War Books

1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Christian of Brunswick

CHRISTIAN OF BRUNSWICK (1590–1626), bishop of Halberstadt and a general during the earlier part of the Thirty Years’ War, a younger son of Henry Julius, duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, was born at Gröningen on the 20th of September 1599. Having succeeded his father as “bishop” of Halberstadt in 1616, he obtained some experience of warfare under Maurice, prince of Orange, in the Netherlands. Raising an army he entered the service of Frederick V., elector palatine of the Rhine, just after that prince had been driven from Bohemia glorying in his chivalrous devotion to Frederick’s wife Elizabeth, he attacked the lands of the elector of Mainz and the bishoprics of Westphalia. After some successes he was defeated by Tilly at Höchst in June 1622 then, dismissed from Frederick’s service, he entered that of the United Provinces, losing an arm at the battle of Fleurus, a victory he did much to win. In 1623 he gathered an army and broke into lower Saxony, but was beaten by Tilly at Stadtlohn and driven back to the Netherlands. When in 1625 Christian IV., king of Denmark, entered the arena of the war, he took the field again in the Protestant interest, but after some successes he died at Wolfenbüttel on the 16th of June 1626. Christian, who loved to figure as “the friend of God, the enemy of the priests,” is sometimes called “the mad bishop,” and was a merciless, coarse, and blasphemous man.

Before the Thirty Years' War hostilities reached the Lower Saxon Circle, the chiefs of state of its members were alarmed and prepared for the worst. So in 1625 they elected from their midst the Lutheran Duke Christian IV of Holstein, simultaneously King of Denmark, the new Lower Saxon Circle Colonel, i.e. the commander in chief of the joint circular forces. In this function Christian IV allied with Ernst von Mansfeld in a military campaign and planned to start in Thuringia in Middle Germany, and then take to its south. His intention was to bring relief to German Protestants, who had been severely defeated a few weeks earlier in the Battle of Dessau Bridge.

With the participation of Christian IV, the Thirty Years' War, which had hitherto been confined to opposing factions of the Holy Roman Empire, now extended to other European powers, though Christian, as Duke of Holstein, was not a complete foreigner.

Halberstadt 1622 thaler Dav-6320

This specimen was lot 23862 in Heritage sale 3020 (Long Beach, September 2012), where it sold for $1,057.50. The catalog description [1] noted, "Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel. Christian of Halberstadt Taler 1622, XF details, reverse scratched NGC, actually just minimal, unobtrusive marks. Known in Germany as a "Pfaffenfeind Taler". Christian was a Protestant leader in the Thirty Years War and a staunch supporter of his cause. This coin bears tribute to his devoutness. This Taler is well struck and with a fascinating, unique design. Wrongly listed as 'Halberstadt' by NGC on the holder. A great opportunity for the Taler collector. From The J.G. Collection." We dispute Heritage's listing under Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel this is a Halberstadt issue. The bishop, Christian, was from Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel but never ruled as duke there. Numerous other thalers are recorded for 1622, including Dav-6230A, Dav-6322 and Dav-6323. We also note a double ducat with this design (Fr-635).

The second specimen was lot 476 in Künker sale 293 (Osnabruck, Germany, July 2017), where it sold for €2,000 (about US$2,696 including buyer's fees). The catalog description [2] noted,

Recorded mintage: unknown.

Specification: silver.

Catalog reference: Dav-6320, Dethlefs 2/I Welter 1381, KM 26 (listed under Halberstadt).

PODs of the Thirty Years War XXIX

While the Northern front of the later Thirty Years War was largely conducted independently from the other fronts of the conflict, as the last few articles have made clear at times both Sweden and the Emperor found themselves involved militarily- and more frequently diplomatically- in the situation in neighbouring Lower Saxony. Much as with the previously discussed situation in Hesse, was more of a long-standing dynastic struggle than anything particularly involved with the religious or political clashes of the wider Empire, yet at times coming to the forefront of the conflict. This was the turbulent world of the Guelph[1] Princes.

The Principalities of Brunswick

As the 17th Century dawned, the Guelph’s sat in a centuries-long relative low compared to both their illustrious past and the future heights that would be attained after the ascension of George I to the British throne a century later. While the connections to the 9th-11th Century monarchs of Upper Burgundy are somewhat uncertain, what is known is that in around 1035 Kunigunde, sister to Welf III, Duke of Carinthia and last scion of what has come to be termed the Elder House of Welf[2], married Albert Azzo II, the Margrave of Milan of the ancient Italian house of Este. Their son- also called Welf- inherited his maternal uncle’s territories in Carinthia, then was appointed Duke of Bavaria in 1070 after his father-in-law, the then Duke, rebelled against Emperor Heinrich IV.

His son, Heinrich IX of Bavaria, married one of the two daughters of the last Billung Duke of Saxony, and then his son Heinrich X attempted to force his investiture with Saxony by withholding the Imperial Regalia for the incoming Emperor Conrad III. Heinrich IX was stripped of his lands and titles as a consequence. Heinrich X’s son- usually referred to as Henry the Young Lion- spent much of his life attempting to rebuild the family fortunes, and while initially successful in regaining Saxony and Bavaria, by the end of his life had been reduced to an area of land around the town of Brunswick in Lower Saxony, which eventually passed to his grandson Otto, usually termed the first Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg in 1235.

Over the next few centuries, Brunswick-Lüneburg underwent the typical pattern of dynastic fragmentation, but escaped a long-term confessional division- as was seen with Hesse, Saxony and the Palatinate- with all the various branches adopting Lutheranism by the late 16th Century. Paired with a period of territorial consolidation the situation in 1618 had, for the moment at least, stabilised with only two reigning branches- the Lüneburg line, often referred to as Brunswick-Celle, and the Dannenberg branch of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, who also ruled the traditionally separate principalities of Calenberg and Göttingen. Lüneburg had, thanks to a judicial ruling by the Reichskammergericht the previous year, just been granted the lands of Brunswick-Grubenhagen which had been disputed between the two branches since the death of the last Grubenhagen Prince in 1596. The town of Lüneburg meanwhile was run as a joint territory, while Brunswick itself had established a de facto state of independence which was heavily disputed by the various Guelph princes. However, despite their mutual desire to enforce dynastic control over the settlement, Brunswick’s independence endured due to Brunswick-Lüneburg blocking Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel’s attempts to take the city by force lest the other branch of the family gain yet more power relative to them.

The Imperial Occupation

The situation with Brunswick was to prove a presage of the early years of the Thirty Years War. In Lüneburg, the reigning Prince Christian the Elder had inherited the title after the death of his elder brother in 1611, but had also been serving as administrator of the Prince-Bishopric of Minden since 1599. Eager to keep the Bishopric safe from conflict, he initially joined the Imperial forces, serving as Colonel of the Imperial forces recruited from the Lower Saxon Circle. Meanwhile Prince Frederick-Ulrich of Wolfenbüttel was in the midst of a de facto regency spearheaded by his mother and resulting from his severe alcoholism. While the duchy itself initially remained neutral, Frederick-Ulrich’s younger brother Christian the Younger, Administrator of the Prince-Bishopric of Halberstadt, first fought in the army of Maurice of Orange, before joining the Palatinate cause and serving as a commander in Frederick V’s army in the dying days of the Palatinate Campaign.

This was to prove to be a disaster both for Christian himself and the dynasty at large. While certainly more able than his elder brother, Christian proved himself to be a decidedly inferior commander, managing at best to contribute to a strategic victory in relieving Bergen-op-Zoom in the Spanish Netherlands despite heavy losses in the Battle of Fleurus, while both the battles of Höchst and Stadtholn against Count Tilly were disastrous defeats. These actions alarmed the other members of the dynasty who were not only uninterested in the Palatinate cause, but feared it could lead to reprisals falling upon them when they were otherwise covered by Emperor Ferdinand II’s guarantee at Mülhausen in 1620 not to use the situation as an excuse to recover any bishoprics currently administered by Lutheran princes. Just prior to the Battle of Stadtholn, his uncle, Christian IV of Denmark, sent troops to ensure that he was kept out of the Bishopric of Bremen, and Elector Johann Georg of Saxony mobilised troops to prevent him from moving east. Only the assistance of Friedrich Ulrich was able to prevent Christian from being completely isolated and allowed him the time to build a new army.

While already ordering Tilly to advance into Lower Saxony, Ferdinand was initially inclined to be merciful- going so far as to guarantee Christian’s position as Administrator of Halberstadt so long as he submitted to Imperial authority- but Christian proved obstinate and refused these terms, going on to a humiliating defeat at Stadtholn who’s only results were to lead him to resign his position in Halberstadt and to feed the Emperor’s suspicion of the motives of the Lutheran princes of Lower Saxony.

The Danish Campaign has been covered elsewhere, but saw Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel occupied first by the Danish forces, and then by Count Tilly who turned the fortress of Wolfenbüttel into a major Imperial base for the region. While Wallenstein’s suggestion to grant Calenberg to Tilly and Wolfenbüttel to Pappenheim was born from a desire to justify his own personal aggrandisement rather than any particular goal on the part of the Emperor, Count Tilly did start the process of reclaiming the various Bishoprics of Lower Saxony- placing a Catholic Bishop in Halberstadt and a co-adjucator in Minden who gradually sidelined Christian the Elder. The Edict of Restitution in 1629 was to prove the final straw for the latter who finally defected to the protestant cause from the loss of Minden, and which was also of particular concern to Frederick-Ulrich as it opened up the prospect of a reverse of the 1523 Treaty of Quedlinburg when the Prince-Bishopric of Hildesheim had been forced to cede most of her territory to Brunswick-Lüneburg.

For the rest of the war the efforts of the Guelphs would come to be dominated by their attempts to secure the restitution of as much of their pre-war territory as possible, without bringing the full fury of the conflict to their lands.

[1] A brief note here, I’ll be using the more traditional British academic terms in this article as we’ve now reached an area of Germany where there is often a greater familiarity in English language works. Hence the House of Guelph, as opposed to the House of Welf (or indeed the more archaic Guelf), Brunswick instead of Braunschweig and so forth.

[2] No, nobody uses the term ‘Elder House of Guelph’ as far as I can tell.

Christian Wilhelm was a son of Elector Joachim Friedrich von Brandenburg (1546–1608) from his first marriage to Katharina (1549–1602), daughter of Margrave Johann von Brandenburg-Küstrin (1513–1571).

He was elected administrator of the Archbishopric of Magdeburg in 1598 at the age of 10 (with the stipulation that he should only take over the business of government on his 21st birthday, see electoral capitulation of Elector Joachim Friedrich on March 24, 1598) and took 1614, because of his marriage , the title of Lutheran administrator . From 1598 to 1608 the affairs of government were conducted by the Magdeburg Cathedral Chapter . In the year it was renamed, he also became coadjutor and, in 1624, administrator of Halberstadt . The city of Magdeburg , however, did not recognize Christian Wilhelm for its area, as it claimed imperial immediacy for itself she made use of the fact that Christian Wilhelm lacked confirmation from the Catholic emperor.

The 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation falls during Christian Wilhelm's term of office. On this occasion, memorial services were held everywhere in the Archbishopric. The city of Magdeburg even minted coins of ½ thaler, one thaler and a few double thalers.

During the Thirty Years' War he entered into an alliance with Denmark, took command of the Lower Saxon army in 1626, fought in the battle at the Dessau Bridge , was then defeated and chased away by Wallenstein and deposed by the cathedral chapter in 1631.

Christian Wilhelm fled abroad, most recently to Sweden in 1629 to see Gustav Adolf , with whom he re-entered German soil in 1630. He was accepted into the city of Magdeburg through the promise of Swedish assistance But his attempts to recapture the archbishopric failed and he was dangerously wounded in the conquest of Magdeburg in 1631, taken to the Pappenheim camp and transferred to the Catholic Church in captivity in 1632, a step that the Speculum veritatis published in his name was intended to justify. He was then set free and in the Peace of Prague in 1635 awarded him an annual sum of 12,000 thalers from the income of the Archbishopric of Magdeburg. In the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 he was given the offices of Loburg and Zinna instead . In 1651 he bought the Neuschloß estate in Bohemia.


As the third son of the Lutheran Duke Heinrich Julius of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel and his second wife Elisabeth of Denmark , he was born in Halberstadt Monastery of Gröningen and was appointed secular administrator of the Halberstadt diocese at the age of 17 , but was not recognized by the emperor or by the Roman Catholic Church.

His equestrian and military inclination led him to serve as Rittmeister under Prince Moritz of Orange (Dutch: Prins Maurits) in 1620 . In 1621, Duke Christian set up a mercenary army of around 10,000 men on behalf of the Elector Palatine Count Friedrich V of the Palatinate , the expelled and ostracized "Winter King" of Bohemia, whose maintenance was not guaranteed. He took Count Ernst von Mansfeld as a model , who had been doing the same in the Upper Palatinate for several months and thus also violated current imperial law. Duke Christian and his troops plundered the Liesborn , Paderborn and Münster monasteries , setting up his headquarters in fortified Lippstadt . From the cities that he did not visit, he demanded contributions , i.e. contributions to the maintenance of his army (in money or goods), e.g. B. the Pfaffenfeindtaler . He informed the authorities, towns and villages that were on his route by threatening letters of his imminent arrival these letters were singed on all four corners, with threats like "blood, blood!" Such methods were initially used for intimidation to ensure the maintenance of his mercenary army. Some - like the cities of Soest and Werl - therefore preferred compulsory contributions to looting. Geseke was the only city that he could not conquer, which is why the so-called praise procession still takes place there every year. In Paderborn he stole the shrine of St. Liborius with the relics and had the Christiansthaler minted from the gold of these church treasures , a coin with his portrait and the inscription “God's friend - the priest's enemy”. A first attempt to move to the Main and further into the Rhine Palatinate was repulsed by Bavarian league troops under Count Anholt (autumn 1621).

In the battle for the Rhine Palatinate , Duke Christian had to fight the crossing over the Main on June 20, 1622 in the battle of Höchst against the far superior forces of Tilly and Córdoba, which he succeeded with high losses. Shortly afterwards he was able to unite the rest of his mercenary army with the army of the experienced mercenary general Ernst von Mansfeld . After leaving the Palatinate Electoral Palatinate (July), Mansfeld and Christian von Braunschweig undertook a joint campaign to end the siege of the Dutch mountains op Zoom by the Spanish General Spinola . On the way from the Meuse through the southern (Habsburg) Netherlands on August 29, they encountered a Spanish army under Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba near Fleurus , who, however, could not prevent them from moving north. The two mercenary leaders managed to fight their way through to Prince Moritz of Orange with the remnants of their troops (September) and finally to help him liberate the besieged Bergen-op-Zoom (October).

In the Battle of Fleurus (1622) Duke Christian suffered a gunshot wound to his left arm, so that his left forearm had to be amputated a few days later in Breda . The operation was carried out in the army camp with a drum roll, while he is said to have announced to the other side that he still had the other hand to fight ( altera restat ). Later he allegedly had a prosthesis made in Holland . It was speculated that such a prosthesis in the form of an iron hand was the Braunschweig hand kept in the Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum . However, the duke may also or only use a wooden arm or forearm prosthesis.

In the winter of 1622/23 the duke resumed his war activities in the empire. In the war year 1623, Duke Christian, after renouncing his Halberstadt bishopric, wanted to break through from the Lower Saxon imperial circle to Dutch territory, but on August 6, 1623 at Stadtlohn he was put to a fight by the Ligist General Tilly . In this battle at Stadtlohn , the Guelph's army was almost completely destroyed all campaign plans became obsolete. Duke Christian himself was able to save himself to the Netherlands with a few soldiers.

As a relative of the English royal family Stuart - and regardless of the severity of his defeat by Stadtwages - Duke Christian was accepted into the Order of the Garter in London (December 31, 1624). During the following months he prepared for a new campaign, which was to take place in English pay and under the command of Mansfeld, and collected cavalry near Calais , from where he shipped his troops to the Netherlands (island of Walcheren) in ships with no small losses. Shortly before the city of Breda , besieged by the Spaniards , whose relief had failed (May 1625), had to capitulate (June 1625), the States General relocated the Mansfeld-Braunschweig mercenary army to the Lower Rhine, where it lost considerable strength due to a lack of supplies. In autumn 1625 Duke Christian separated from Mansfeld, with whom he had never had a good relationship.

At the beginning of 1626, after the imperial forces in northern Germany had strengthened again, his brother Friedrich Ulrich handed him control of the Principality of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel , and Christian immediately raised new troops to support the Danish King Christian IV , his uncle. But before the Duke of Guelph could play a bigger role in the campaign under Danish command, he fell seriously ill and died two weeks later with a high fever on June 16, 1626 in Wolfenbüttel Castle . The exact cause of his death has not been clarified, but a late consequence of his severe injury in 1622, from which he had never fully recovered, is considered likely.

Christian of Brunswick, administrator of Halberstadt (1598-1626) - History

Friedrich Ulrich (Frederick Ulrich) (1591-1634)

Duke of Brunswick - Wolfenbüttel

Friedrich Ulrich, the eldest son of Duke Heinrich Julius (1564-1613), took over the reign in Wolfenbüttel five years before the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War. He had the benefit of an extensive education in Helmstedt and Tübingen, thereby became a patron of learning. In 1618 he gave his entire palace library to the university in Helmstedt and improved the pay for professors, while transferring to the university the three monasteries of Weende, Hilwartshausen, and Mariegarten. The Thirty Years' War ruined improvements in the principality. Monasteries, churches, and construction projects had to be closed. In the chaos of the war, the realm lost up to thirty per cent of the population. Christian (1599-1626), administrator of the Catholic bishopric of Halberstadt, a brother of the ruling duke Friedrich Ulrich, sought in vain to break the Catholic power of the Habsburgs in north Germany through his military bravado.

In general duke Friedrich Ulrich was burdened with an unfortunate ruling style with many political failures. Under his control the principality of Wolfenbüttel suffered its greatest loss of territory in history. Between 1616 and 1622 ruling authority was taken away from him by his widowed mother and her brother, king Christian IV. (1577-1648) of Denmark.

Friedrich Ulrich was married to Anna Sophie, a daughter of the Elector of Brandenburg. This unhappy marriage remained without descendents. In 1623 his wife even hatched a murder plot against him. With the death of duke Friedrich Ulrich in 1634, the Middle House of Brunswick was extinguished. The successor became duke August the Younger (1579-1666) of the Dannenberg line. With the beginning of his rule in Wolfenbüttel, Duke August became the founder of the New House of Brunswick.


In the different historical struggles for expansion of territory or privileges and the concerned and disfavoured entity’s defence against such annexation or usurpation, plenty of documents have been completely forged or counterfeited or backdated, in order to corroborate one’s arguments. "These forgeries have drawn a veil before the early history of the [archbishopric of] Hamburg-Bremen." [ 1 ]

The Archdiocese before statehood

The foundation of the diocese belongs to the period of the missionary activity of Willehad on the lower Weser. It was erected 15 July, 787, at Worms, on Charlemagne's initiative, his jurisdiction being assigned to cover the Saxon territory on both sides of the Weser from the mouth of the Aller, northwards to the Elbe and westwards to the Hunte, and the Frisian territory for a certain distance from the mouth of the Weser.

Willehad fixed his headquarters at Bremen, though the formal constitution of the diocese took place only after the subjugation of the Saxons in 804 or 805, when Willehad's disciple, Willerich, was consecrated bishop of Bremen, with the same territory. The diocese was conceivably at that time a suffragan of the archbishops of Cologne , this is at least how they later corroborated their claim to supremacy over the Bremian see. When, after the death of Bishop Leuderich (838–45), the see was given to Ansgar, it lost its independence, and from that time on was permanently united with the Archdiocese of Hamburg.

The new combined see was regarded as the headquarters for missionary work in the Nordic countries, and new sees to be erected were to be its suffragans, meaning subject to its jurisdiction. Ansgar's successor, Rimbert, the "second apostle of the north," was troubled by onslaughts first by Normans and then by Wends, and by Cologne's renewed claims to supremacy. [ 2 ]

At Archbishop Adalgar's (888–909) instigation Pope Sergius III confirmed the amalgamation of the Diocese of Bremen with the Archdiocese of Hamburg to form the Archdiocese of Hamburg and Bremen, colloquially called Hamburg-Bremen, and by so doing he denied Cologne's claim as metropolia over Bremen. Sergius prohibited the chapter at Hamburg's Concathedral to found suffragan dioceses of its own.

After the Obodrite destruction of Hamburg in 983 the Hamburg chapter was dispersed. So Archbishop Unwan appointed a new chapter with twelve canons, with three each taken from Bremen Cathedral chapter, and the three colleges of Bücken, Harsefeld and Ramelsloh. [ 3 ] In 1139 Archbishop Adalbero had fled the invasion of Rudolph II, Count of Stade and Frederick II, Count Palatine of Saxony , who destroyed Bremen, and established in Hamburg also appointing new capitular canons there by 1140. [ 4 ]

Bremen's Diocesan Territory and its Suffragans

Hamburg-Bremen's diocesan territory covered about today’s following territories: The Bremian cities of Bremen and Bremerhaven, the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg (north of Elbe), the Lower Saxon counties of Aurich (northerly), Cuxhaven, Diepholz (northerly), Frisia, Nienburg (westerly), Oldenburg in Oldenburg (easterly), Osterholz, Rotenburg upon Wümme (northerly), Stade (except of an eastern tract of land), Wesermarsch, Wittmund, the Lower Saxon urban counties Delmenhorst and Wilhelmshaven, the Schleswig-Holsteinian counties of Ditmarsh, Pinneberg, Rendsburg-Eckernförde (southerly), Segeberg (easterly), Steinburg, Stormarn (easterly) as well as the Schleswig-Holsteinian urban counties of Kiel and Neumünster.

Under the latter in 1104 Bremen's suffragan Diocese of Lund (S) was elevated to an archdiocese supervising all of Bremen's other Nordic former suffragan sees, to wit Århus (DK), Dalby (DK) , Faroe Islands (FO), Gardar (Greenland) , Linköping (S), Odense (DK), Orkney (UK), Oslo (N), Ribe (DK), Roskilde (DK), Schleswig (D) , Selje (N), Skálholt (IS), Skara (S), Strängnäs (S), Trondheim (N), Uppsala (S), Viborg (DK), Vestervig (DK), Västerås (S) and Växjö (S).

Bremen's remaining suffragan sees at that time were only existing by name, since insurgent Wends had destroyed the so-called Wendish dioceses of Oldenburg-Lübeck, Ratzeburg and Schwerin and they were only to be reestablished later. At the stripping of the Duchy of Saxony (7th century - 1180) in 1180 all of these suffragan bishops achieved for parts of their diocesan territories the status of imperially immediate prince-bishoprics. The Bishopric of Livonia (first at Uexküll then Riga) was a suffragan of Bremen in the years 1186-1255.

The Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen after 1180 as a territory of imperial immediacy

Gaining Grounds for a Prince-Archbishopric of Imperial Immediacy

Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa and his allies, many of them vassals and former supporters of his paternal cousin Duke Henry III, the Lion, had defeated the Duke of Saxony and Bavaria. In 1180 Frederick I Barbarossa stripped Henry the Lion of his duchies. In 1182 he and his wife Matilda Plantagenêt, the daughter of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine and sister of Richard Lionheart left from Stade to go into exile from the Holy Roman Empire in order to stay with Henry II of England.

Frederick I Barbarossa partioned Saxony in some dozens of territories of Imperial Immediate status allotting each territory to that one of his allies who had conquered them before from Henry the Lion and his remaining supporters. In 1168 the Saxon clan of the Ascanians, allies of Frederick I Barbarossa, had failed to install their family member Siegfried, Count of Anhalt, on the see of Bremen.

But in 1180 the Ascanians prevailed twofoldly. The chief of the House of Ascania, Otto I, Margrave of Brandenburg, son of Albert the Bear, a maternal cousin of Henry the Lion, provided his sixth brother Bernhard, Count of Anhalt, from then on Bernhard III, Duke of Saxony, with the later on so-called younger Duchy of Saxony (1180 - 1296) , a radically belittled territory consisting of three unconnected territories along the river Elbe, from north west to south east, (1) Hadeln around Otterndorf, (2) around Lauenburg upon Elbe and (3) around Wittenberg upon Elbe. Except of the title, Duke of Saxony, Angria and Westphalia, which this younger Duchy of Saxony granted its rulers, even after its dynastic partition in 1296, this territory, consisting only of territorial fringes of the old Duchy of Saxony, had little in common with the latter. In 1260, with effect from 1296 on, its rulers split the younger Duchy into the Duchies of Saxe-Wittenberg (German: Herzogtum Sachsen-Wittenberg ) and Saxe-Lauenburg (German: Herzogtum Sachsen-Lauenburg ), the latter holding the unconnected two northern territories, belonging both to the archdiocese of Bremen.

Otto and Bernhard helped their second brother Siegfried, who since 1168 had called himself the Bishop Elect of Bremen, to gain the see of Bremen, with part of the diocesan territory being upgraded to form the Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen (German: Erzstift Bremen ). Thus the Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen became one of the successor states of the old Duchy of Saxony, holding only a small part of its former territory.

In 1186 Frederick I Barbarossa recognised the city of Bremen as a political body by the Gelnhausen Privilege . With the consent of Prince-Archbishop Hartwig II, of Uthlede the emperor declared the city to be governed by its burghers and the emperor, with the Prince-Archbishop waiving his say. The city of Bremen regarded and still regards this privilege to be constitutive for its status as a Free imperial city of imperial immediacy.

Through the history the respective rulers of the Prince-Archbishopric and its successor state Bremen-Verden often denied the city's status. And also the city could and did not always cling to its claim of imperial immediacy, which made the city's status somewhat ambiguous. Through most of the history the city participated in the Prince-Archbisopric's Diets as part of the Estates (see below) and paid its share in the taxes, at least when it had consented to the levying before. Since the city was the major taxpayer, its consent was mostly searched for. Like this the city wielded fiscal and political power within the Prince-Archbishopric, while the city would rather not allow the Prince-Archbishop or his representatives to rule in the city against its consent.

After the Bremen Cathedral chapter, overlooking the three enfranchised Hamburg capitulars, had elected Valdemar of Denmark, the deposed Bishop of Schleswig, archbishop in 1207, Bremen's cathedral dean Burchard of Stumpenhusen , who had opposed this election, fled to Hamburg, then under Danish influence. [ 5 ] King Valdemar II of Denmark, in enmity with his father's cousin Archbishop Valdemar, gained the Hamburg chapter to elect Burchard as anti-archbishop in early 1208. Lacking papal support King Valdemar II himself invested him as Archbishop Burchard I, however, only accepted in North Elbia. [ 5 ]

In 1219 the Bremen Chapter again ignored the Hamburg capitulars, fearing their Danish partisanship and elected Gebhard of Lippe archbishop. [ 6 ] In 1223 Archbishop Gebhard reconciled the Hamburg chapter and confirmed that three of its capitulars were enfranchised to elect with the Bremen chapter, to wit the provost, presiding the chapter, the dean (Domdechant) and the scholaster , in charge of the education at the cathedral school. [ 7 ] Pope Honorius III confirmed this settlement in 1224, also affirming the continued existence of both chapters. [ 7 ]

The fortified city of Bremen held its own guards, not allowing prince-archiepiscopal soldiers to enter it. The city reserved an extra very narrow gate, the so-called Bishop's Needle (Latin: Acus episcopi, first mentioned in 1274), for all clergy including the Prince-Archbishop. The narrowness of the gate made it technically impossible to come accompanied by knights. Therefore the Prince-Archbishops rather preferred to reside outside of the city, first in Bücken and later in the castle of Vörde, which became the principal fortress of Prince-Archbishop Gerhard II, Edelherr zur Lippe in 1219.

The Chapters of Bremen Cathedral (see below) and part of the administration were located within the city boundary in a district of immunity and extraterritorial status (German: Domfreiheit , literally: Cathedral liberty) around the Cathedral of St. Peter, where the city council would refrain to interfere. The Hamburg Concathedral with chapterhouse and capitular residential courts formed a Cathedral Immunity District of the Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen too.

The territory of the Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen consisted of a number of sub-entities. The only thing they all had in common was, that the prior archbishops or capitulars or the Chapter as a collective obtained some secular power in them by way of purchase, application of force, usurpation, commendation, pledge, donation etc. The prior archiepiscopal authorities didn't have succeeded in almost any of the sub-entities to gain all the power, be it judicial, patrimonial, parochial, fiscal, feudal or else what. Almost everywhere the rule was to be shared with one or more competing bearers of authority, e.g. aristocrats, outside ecclesiastical dignitaries, autonomous corporations of free peasants (German: Landsgemeinden ) or chartered towns and the like. Therefore the archiepiscopal authority used to refer to each sub-entity by different terms like county, parish, shire, bailiwick or patrimonial district, each according to the particular power, which the archiepiscopal authority had achieved in them.

The Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen's former territory consists about of today's following Lower Saxon counties (German: Landkreis, or Kreis ) of Cuxhaven (southerly), Osterholz, Rotenburg upon Wümme and Stade as well as of the Bremian exclave of the city of Bremerhaven and from 1145-1526 today's Schleswig-Holsteinian county of Ditmarsh. The city of Bremen was legally a part of the bishopric until 1646, but de facto ruled by its burghers and didn't tolerate the prince-archbishop's residence within its walls any more since 1313. Therefore the prince-archbishop moved to Vörde (German pronunciation: [ˈføːɐdə] ). Verden's former prince-bishopric's territory is represented about by the eastern part of the modern County of Verden and the southern part of today's County of Rotenburg, both in Lower Saxony.

Constitution and Politics within the Prince-Archbishopric

In relation to the interior the archiepiscopal authority, consisting of Prince-Archbishop and cathedral chapter, had to find ways to interact with the other bearers of authority. These were gradually transforming into the Bishopric's Estates (German: Stiftsstände ), a prevailingly advisory body, but decision-taking in fiscal and tax matters. The bishopric's Estates again were by no means homogenous and therefore often quarreled for they consisted of the hereditary aristocracy, the service gentry, non-capitular clergy, free peasants and burghers of chartered towns. The modus vivendi of interplay of the Estates and the archiepiscopal authority, being in itself divided into the Prince-Archbishop and the Chapter, became the quasi constitution of the Prince-Archbishopric. However, the interplay was not determined by fixed standards of behaviour. While the consecutive Archbishops worked on discarding the bishopric's Estates from the political landscape, the latter fought for the enforcement of the modus vivendi to become a real constitution. The Chapter often swung between increasing its influence by fighting the Estates jointly with the Prince-Archbishop and repelling his absolutist intentions by making common cause with the Estates. All parties made use of means like bluffing, threat, obstructionism, corruption, horse-trading and even violence.

In 1542/1547 - 1549 Chapter and Estates managed to dismiss the autocratic and prodigal Prince-Archbishop Christopher the Spendthrift, Duke of Brunswick and Lunenburg-Wolfenbüttel . Especially the Chapter used its power to elect very old candidates, to minimise the time a ruler can be harmful, or to elect minors, which it hoped to dress and tame in time. Once in a while the Chapter took up time and protracted elections for years, being itself the ruler for the time of sede vacante. During the dismissal of Prince-Archbishop Christopher the Spendthrift the chapter ruled together with the Estates which had gained at that time substantial power.

In relation to the outside the Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen had the status of an imperial estate (German: Reichsstand, plural: Reichsstände ) with a vote in the Diet (German: Reichstag ) of the Holy Roman Empire. A prerequisite for being an imperial estate was imperial immediacy (German: Reichsunmittelbarkeit, or Reichsfreiheit ) of the rulers or ruling bodies, meaning that they had no other authority above them except of the Holy Roman Emperor himself. Furthermore, such rulers or ruling bodies (such as Chapters or city councils) possessed several important rights and privileges, including a degree of autonomy in the rule of their territories.

In their pastoral and religious apacity as Roman Catholic cleric the archbishops lead their archdiocese as the hierarchical superior of all Roman Catholic clergy, including the suffragan bishops of Oldenburg-Lübeck, Ratzeburg and Schwerin.

Decline of the Prince-Archbishopric's Independence

The Prince-Archbishopric often suffered from military supremacy of neighbouring powers. Having no dynasty, but prince-archbishops of different descent, the Prince-Archbishopric became a pawn in the hands of the powerful. The establishment of a constitution, which would bind the conflicting Estates, failed.

Schisms in Church and State marked the next two centuries, and in spite of the labours of the Windesheim and Bursfelde congregations, the way was prepared for the Reformation, which made rapid headway, partly because the last Roman Catholic prince-archbishop, Christopher the Spendthrift, was in permanent conflict with the Chapter and the Estates. Being simultaneously the Prince-Bishop of Verden, he preferred to reside in the city of Verden.

By the time he died (1558), in the Prince-Archbishopric nothing was left of the old denomination apart from a few monasteries – such as Harsefeld, Himmelpforten, Lilienthal, Neuenwalde, Osterholz as well as Zeven under the jurisdiction of the Bremian archdiocese and Altkloster as well as Neukloster under the jurisdiction of Verden's See – and the districts served by them. While between 1523 and 1551 the cities of Bremen and Stade had dissolved all the urban monasteries, except of St Mary's in Stade, which transformed until 1568 into a Lutheran convent, and conveyed their buildings to uses by schools, hospitals, alms houses and senior homes.

The Era of the Lutheran Administrators of the Prince-Archbishopric

The constitution of the Holy Roman Empire provided, that the Emperor may only enfeoff a prince-bishop elect with the regalia, if the Pope would have confirmed his election to the respective See. In default thereof the Emperor could grant a liege indult (German: Lehnsindult ), often restricted to some years only, and then notwithstanding enfeoff the prince-bishop elect with the regalia of restricted legitimacy to the effect that the elect could rule with princely power within the prince-bishopric, bearing only title of Administrator, but would be banned from participating in the Diets . Lacking papal confirmation and imperial liege indult could bring a prince-bishop elect into the precarious situation to be dismissed by the Emperor or by any of his vassals powerful enough and keen to do so. [ 8 ]

Once the inhabitants of the Prince-Archbishopric had adopted Lutheranism and partially Calvinism, as did the city of Bremen and the territories under its influence downstream the Weser and in the district of Bederkesa, also most capitulars, recruited from burghers of the city of Bremen and rural noble families, turned out to be Calvinists and Lutherans. Thus the capitulars preferred to elect Protestant candidates. The Bremian prince-archbishop elects could only occasionally gain the imperial liege indult.

Many princely houses, such as the House of Guelf (Brunswick and Lunenburg-Wolfenbüttel), the House of Nikloting (Mecklenburg-Schwerin), the House of Wettin (Electorate of Saxony), and the House of Ascania (Saxe-Lauenburg) applied for the See. Before electing a new prince-archbishop the Chapter took its time, ruling the Prince-Archbishopric in accordance with the Estates (1566–1568), and considered the opportunities.

In 1524 the Prince-Archbishopric had subjected the autonomous farmers' republic of the Land of Wursten, but the Wursteners still hoped for a liberation and support from the neighbouring Saxe-Lauenburgian exclave of the Land of Hadeln. Thus on 17 February 1567 the Chapter elected Henry III, Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg (*1550-1585*, ruled from 1568 on) prince-archbishop. In return his father Francis I waived any Saxe-Lauenburgian claim to the Land of Wursten as well as to the district of Bederkesa and abandoned the lawsuit, which he had brought to the Imperial Chamber Court to this end.

In his election capitulations Henry III covenanted to accept the privileges of the Estates and the existing laws. Due to his minority he agreed, that Chapter and Estates would rule the Prince-Archbishopric. In this time he should work towards a papal confirmation. De facto he ascended the See in 1568, gained an imperial liege indult in 1570, while de jure still represented by the Chapter until 1580, in order not to complicate a papal confirmation, which never materialised.

While Maximilian II regarded Henry III a true Catholic, Pope Sixtus V remained a skeptic. Henry III was raised Lutheran, but educated Catholic and served before his election as Catholic canon of the cathedral in Cologne. The schism wasn't so definite, as it looks in the retrospect. The Holy See still hoped the Reformation would be a merely temporary phenomenon, while its protagonists still expected all the Roman church to reform, so that there would be no schism.

So Sixtus V tested Henry III once in a while, demanding the succession of Catholic candidates for vacancies in the Bremian Chapter - which it sometimes accepted, sometimes denied -, while Henry succeeded to be also elected by the Chapters of the prince-bishoprics of Osnabrück (1574–1585) and Paderborn (1577–1585), without ever gaining papal confirmation. In 1575 Henry III and Anna von Broich (Borch) married in Hagen im Bremischen.

As to the interior Henry III still had to repay debts from his pre-predecessor Christopher the Spendthrift. In 1580 Henry introduced a Lutheran church constitution for the Prince-Archbishopric. Thus Henry III would not exercise the pastoral functions of a Roman Catholic bishop any more. In 1584 the Holy See founded the Roman Catholic Nordic Missions, an endeavour for pastoral care and mission in the area of the de facto ceased archdioceses of Bremen and of Lund. In 1622 the Nordic Missions were subordinated to the Congregatio de Propaganda Fide in Rome. The Holy See conveyed to the Nuncio to Cologne , Pietro Francesco Montoro , the task to look after the Nordic Missions in - among others - the Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen and the Prince-Bishopric of Verden. In 1667 the Holy See further institutionalised the Nordic Missions by establishing the Vicariate Apostolic of the Nordic Missions .

On 22 April 1585 Henry III died in his residence in Beverstedtermühlen after a riding accident. After Henry's early death Adolf, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorp wielded influence at the Bremian Chapter to elect his son John Adolphus of Schleswig-Holstein at Gottorp (*1575-1616*) to the See. To this end, Adolf paid 20,000 rixdollars and promised to work towards the restitution of Ditmarsh to the Prince-Archbishopric. [ 9 ]

In 1585 John Adolf covenanted at his election in the obligatory election capitulations, that he would accept the privileges of the Chapter as well as the existing laws and that he would work - at his own expense - towards gaining either papal confirmation or - in default thereof - an imperial liege indult. From 1585 to 1589 Chapter and Estates ruled the Prince-Archbishopsric in custodianship for the minor John Adolf.

The Prince-Archbishopric during the Thirty-Years War (1618-1648)

At the beginning of the Thirty Years' War the Prince-Archbishopric maintained neutrality, as did most of the territories in the Lower Saxon Circle. After 1613 King Christian IV of Denmark and Norway, being in personal union Duke of Holstein within the Holy Roman Empire, turned his attention to gain grounds by acquiring the prince-bishoprics of Bremen, Verden , Minden and Halberstadt.

He skillfully took advantage of the alarm of the German Protestants after the Battle of White Mountain in 1620, to stipulate with Bremen's Chapter and Administrator John Frederick, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorp, his cousin of second degree, to grant coadjutorship of the See of Bremen for his son Frederick, later Crown Prince of Denmark (September 1621). Coadjutorship usually included the succession of a See. A similar arrangement was reached in November for the Prince-Bishopric of Verden with its Chapter and Administrator Philip Sigismund . In 1623 Christian's son succeeded the late Philip Sigismund as Frederick II, Administrator of the Prince-Bishopric of Verden, only to flee the troops of the Catholic League under Johan 't Serclaes, Count of Tilly in 1626.

In November 1619 Christian IV of Denmark, Duke of Holstein stationed Danish troops in the Bremian city of Stade, officially on behalf of his son the provided to be Administrator successor, suppressing an unrest of its burghers.

In 1620 Christian, the Younger, titular Duke of Brunswick and Lunenburg-Wolfenbüttel, the Lutheran Administrator of the Prince-Bishopric Halberstadt requested that the Lutheran Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen would join the war coalition of the Protestant Union. The Administrator and the Estates of the Prince-Archbishopric met in a Diet and declared for their territory their loyalty to Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor, and their neutrality in the conflict.

With Danish troops within his territory and Christian the Younger's request Administrator John Frederick tried desperately to keep his Prince-Archbishopric out of the war, being in complete agreement with the Estates and the city of Bremen. When in 1623 the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands, fighting in the Eighty Years' War for its independence against Habsburg's Spanish and imperial forces, requested its Calvinist co-religionist of the city of Bremen to join, the city refused, but started to enforce its fortifications.

In 1623 the territories comprising the Lower Saxon Circle decided to recruit an army in order to maintain an armed neutrality, with troops of the Catholic League already operating in the neighboured Lower Rhenish-Westphalian Circle and dangerously approaching their region. The concomitant effects of the war, debasements and dearness, had already caused an inflation also in the region. The population suffered from billeting and alimenting Baden-Durlachian , Danish, Halberstadtian, Leaguist, and Palatine troops, whose marching through the Prince-Archbishopric had to tolerate in order to prevent entering into armed conflict.

In 1623 the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands, diplomatically supported by James I, King of England and of Ireland and as James IV King of Scotland , the brother-in-law of Christian IV of Denmark, started a new anti-Habsburg campaign. Thus the troops of the Catholic League were bound and the Prince-Archbishopric seemed relieved. But soon after the imperial troops under Albrecht von Wallenstein headed for the North in an attempt to destroy the fading Hanseatic League, in order to subject the Hanseatic cities of Bremen, Hamburg and Lübeck and to establish a Baltic trade monopoly, to be run by some imperial favourites including Spaniards and Poles. The idea was to win Sweden's and Denmark's support, both of which since long were after the destruction of the Hanseatic League.

In May 1625 Christian IV of Denmark, Duke of Holstein was elected – in the latter of his functions – by the Lower Saxon Circle's member territories commander-in-chief of the Lower Saxon troops. More troops were recruited and to be billeted and alimented in the Lower Saxon territories, including the Prince-Archbishopric. In the same year Christian IV joined the Anglo-Dutch war coalition. In 1625 Tilly warned the Prince-Archbishop John Frederick to further accept the stationing of Danish troops and Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor, demanded the immediate end of his and Verden's alliance with Denmark, with Verden being already ruled by Christian's son Frederick, being as well the provided successor of John Frederick. He declared again his loyalty to the Emperor and neutrality in the conflict. But all in vain.

Now Christian IV ordered his troops to capture all the important traffic hubs in the Prince-Archbishopric and entered into the Battle of Lutter am Barenberge, on 27 August 1626, where he was defeated by the Leaguist troops under Tilly. Christian IV and his surviving troops fled to the Prince-Archbishopric and took their headquarters in Stade. Administrator John Frederick, in personal union also Administrator of the Prince-Bishopric of Lübeck, fled to the latter and left the rule in the Prince-Archbishopric to the Chapter and the Estates.

In 1626 Tilly and his troops occupied the Prince-Bishopric of Verden, which caused a flight of Lutheran clergy from that territory. He demanded the Bremian Chapter to allow him to enter the Prince-Archbishopric. The Chapter, now holding the baby, declared again its loyalty to the Emperor and delayed an answer to the request, arguing that it had to consult with the Estates in a Diet first, which would be a lengthy procedure.

Meanwhile Christian IV ordered Dutch, English and French troops for his support to land in the Prince-Archbishopric, while extorting from the latter high war contributions to finance his war. The Chapter's pleas for a reduction of the constibutions Christian IV commented by arguing once the Leaguists would take over, his extortions will seem little.

By 1627 Christian IV had de facto dismissed his cousin John Frederick from the Bremian See. In the same year Christian IV withdrew from the Prince-Archbishopric, in order to fight Wallenstein's invasion of his Duchy of Holstein. Tilly then invaded the Prince-Archbishopric and captured its southern parts. The city of Bremen shut its city gates and entrenched behind its improved fortifications. In 1628 Tilly beleaguered Stade with its remaining garrison of 3,500 Danish and English soldiers. On May 5, 1628 Tilly granted them safe-conduct to England and Denmark and the whole Prince-Archbishopric was in his hands. Now Tilly turned to the city of Bremen, which paid him a ransom of 10,000 rixdollars in order to spare its siege. The city remained unoccupied.

Wallenstein had meanwhile conquered all the Jutish Peninsula, which made Christian IV to sign the Treaty of Lübeck, on May 22, 1629, in order to regain possession of all his feoffs on the peninsula, he in return agreed to formally end Denmark's participation in the Thirty Years' War and waived for his son Frederick II, Administrator of the Prince-Bishopric of Verden, the administration of that prince-bishopric as well as the provided succession as Administrator of the Prince-Bishopric of Halberstadt.

Administrator John Frederick, exiled in the Imperial Free City of Lübeck, was in a markedly weak position. So in 1628 he consented that the Lutheran convent in the former Roman Catholic St. Mary’s monastery in Stade – under Leaguist occupation – was restituted to Catholic rite and manned with foreign monks, if the Chapter would also agree. Again passing the buck on to the Chapter.

The Leaguist takeover enabled Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor, to implement the Edict of Restitution, decreed March 6, 1629, within the Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen and the Prince-Bishopric of Verden. The Bremian monasteries still maintaining Roman Catholic rite – Altkloster, Harsefeld, Neukloster, and Zeven – became the local strongholds for a reCatholicisation within the scope of Counter-Reformation.

Under the threat of the Edict of Restitution John Frederick consented to Canonical Visitations of the remaining monasteries, those clinging to Roman Catholic rite and those converted to voluntary Lutheran convents alike. Nunneries had traditionally been institutions to provide unmarried daughters of the better off, who couldn't be provided a husband befitting their social status or who didn't want to marry, with a decent livelihood. So when an unmarried woman of that status joined a nunnery she would bestow earning assets (real estate) or – restricted to her lifetime – regular revenues paid by her male relatives, on the monastery, making up in the former case part of the nunnery’s estates (not to be confused with the political body of the Estates).

In many territories, where the majority of the population adopted Lutheranism, the nunneries' function to provide sustenance for unmarried women wasn't to be given up. So it happened that the Prince-Archbishopric's former Roman Catholic nunneries of Himmelpforten, Lilienthal, Neuenwalde, [ 10 ] and Osterholz with all their estates had turned into such Lutheran women's convents (German: das Stift, more particular: Damenstift , literally ladies' foundation), while the nunnery of Zeven was in the process of becoming one, with – among a majority of Catholic nuns – a number of nuns of Lutheran denomination, usually called conventuals. Other expressions like abbess, for the chairwoman, and prioress for conventuals of certain hierarchic function, were – and are partly – continued to be used in such Lutheran Stifte.

Within the scope of the visitations by the end of the year 1629 the Roman Catholic visitators issued an ultimatum to the Lutheran conventuals had been thrown out from the monasteries, with the estates of Himmelpforten and Neuenwalde then being bestowed to the Jesuites, in order to finance them and their missioning in the course of the Counter-Reformation in the Prince-Archbishopric. The expelled conventuals were denied to get the real estate restituted, which they bestowed on the monastery, when they entered it.

Ferdinand II suspended the capitulars from penalty, if they would dismiss the Lutheran coadjutor Frederick, later Crown Prince of Denmark from office. The Chapter refused, still backing Frederick, whom it had elected with full legal validity in 1621. So Ferdinand II himself dismissed him by way of using the Edict of Restitution, in favour of his youngest son, the Roman Catholic Leopold Wilhelm, Archduke of Austria, already administrator of the prince-bishoprics of Halberstadt (1628–1648), Passau (1625–1662) and Strasbourg (1626–1662).

Ferdinand II left John Frederick in office, against Leaguist resistance, for he had always kept loyalty to him. The Catholic League wished the Roman Catholic Francis William, Count of Wartenberg, Prince-Bishopric of Osnabrück (1625–1634 and again 1648–1661), onto the See. After all, the See included at those years an annual revenue of 60,000 rixdollars at the free disposal of its holder, making up half the Prince-Archbishopric’s budget.

Francis of Wartenberg, appointed by Ferdinand II as chairman of the imperial restitution commission, carrying out the provisions of the Edict of Restitution in the Lower Saxon Circle, dismissed John Frederick in 1629, who acquiesced.

In September 1629 the Chapter was ordered to render an account of all the capitular and prince-archiepiscopal estates (not to be confused with the Estates), which it refused, arguing first that the order was not authenticised and later that due to disputes with the city council of Bremen, they couldn't freely travel to render an account let alone do the necessary research on the estates. The anti-Catholic attitudes of the burghers and the council of Bremen would make it completely impossible to prepare the restitution of estates from the Lutheran Chapter to the Roman Catholic Church. Even Lutheran capitulars were uneasy in Calvinistic Bremen. In October 1629 the capitular secretary finally rendered the ordered account in Verden and was informed that by the Edict of Restitution the Chapter is regarded to be illegitimate. Lutheran capitulars were interrogated, but the Chapter was left in office, with its decisions subjected to the consent of the restitution commission. Pope Urban VIII appointed additional Roman Catholic capitulars in 1630, including a new provost.

The estates within the boundaries of the unoccupied city of Bremen weren't restituted by order of the city council. The council argued, that the city had long been Protestant, but the restitution commission argued that the city was de jure a part of the Prince-Archbishopric, so Protestantism had illegitimately alienated estates from the Roman Catholic Church. The city council answered under these circumstances it would rather separate from the Holy Roman Empire and join the quasi-independent Republic of the Seven Netherlands (Its independence was finally confirmed by the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648). The city was neither to be conquered nor to be successfully beleaguered due to its new fortifications and its access to the North Sea via the Weser river.

Within the occupied Prince-Archbishopric the Leaguist occupants carried out the restitution. In Stade, Tilly's headquarters, all churches, except of St. Nicholas, were handed over to foreign Catholic clerics. But the burghers didn't attend Catholic services. So in March 1630 Tilly expelled all Lutheran clergy, except the one of St. Nicholas. Tilly levied high war contributions from Stade's burghers (e.g. 22,533 rixdollars in 1628 alone) and offered in 1630 to relieve every burgher, who would attend Catholic services, without success. In July 1630 Tilly left to head for the Duchy of Pomerania, where King Gustavus II Adolphus of Sweden had landed with his troops, opening a new front in the Thirty Years' War. He had been won by French diplomacy to join a new anti-imperial coalition, soon joined by the Netherlands.

In February 1631 John Frederick conferred with Gustavus II Adolphus and a number of Lower Saxon princes in Leipzig, all of them troubled by Habsburg's growing influence wielded by virtue of the Edict of Restitution in a number of Northern German Lutheran prince-bishoprics. John Frederick speculated to regain the Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen and therefore in June/July 1631 officially allied himself with Sweden. For the war being John Frederick accepted the supreme command of Gustavus II Adolphus, who promised to restitute the Prince-Archbishopric to its former Administrator. In October an Army, newly recruited by John Frederick, started to reconquer the Prince-Archbishopric and – supported by Swedish troops – to capture the neighboured Prince-Bishopric of Verden, de facto dismissing Verden's Catholic Prince-Bishop Count Francis of Wartenberg (ruled 1630-1631), and causing the flight of the Catholic clergy wherever they arrived. The Prince-Bishopric of Verden became subject of a Swedish military administration, while John Frederick ascended its See in 1631.

The reconquest of the Prince-Archbishopric – helped by forces from Sweden and from the city of Bremen – was interrupted by Leaguist forces under Gottfried Heinrich Graf zu Pappenheim, coming as a relief to Stade, where they joined the Catholic imperial and Leaguist forces still holding out. On May 10, 1632 they were granted safe-conduct and left a desperately impoverished city of Stade after its siege by John Frederick's forces. John Frederick was back in his office, only to realise the supremacy of Sweden, insisting on its supreme command until the war's end. The Prince-Archbishopric continuously suffered from billeting and alimenting soldiers. The relation between the Estates, who had to maintain administration under Catholic occupation, and the returned Administrator were difficult. The Estates preferred to directly negotiate with the occupants, this time the Swedes. John Frederick wanted to secularise the monasteries in favour of his budget, but the opposing Estates prevented that.

After John Frederick's death in 1634 Chapter and Estates regarded Frederick's (later Danish Crown Prince) dismissal as coadjutor by Ferdinand II by virtue of the Edict of Restitution illegitimate. But the Swedish occupants had to be persuaded first, to accept Frederick's succession. So Chapter and Estates ruled the Prince-Archbishopric until the conclusion of the negotiations with Sweden. In 1635 he succeeded as Lutheran Administrator Frederick II in the Sees of Bremen and of Verden. But he had to render homage to the minor Queen Christina of Sweden.

In the same year Pope Urban VIII provided the Catholic coadjutor Leopold Wilhelm, Archduke of Austria, imposed in 1629 by his father Ferdinand II, with the Archdiocese of Bremen, but due to its persisting occupation by the Swedes he never gained de facto pastoral influence let alone the power as administrator of the prince-archbishopric.

In 1635/1636 the Estates and Frederick II agreed with Sweden upon the prince-archbishopric's neutrality. But this didn't last long, because in the Danish-Swedish Torstenson War (1643–45) the Swedes seized de facto rule in both prince-bishoprics. Christian IV of Denmark had to sign the Second Peace of Brömsebro on August 13, 1645, a number of Danish territories, including the two prince-bishoprics, were ceded into Swedish hands. So Frederick II had to resign as Administrator in both prince-bishoprics. He succeeded his late father on the Danish throne as Frederick III of Denmark in 1648.

With Bremen sede vacante again, the new Pope Innocent X appointed Count Francis of Wartenberg, the expelled short-period Prince-Bishop of Verden (1630–1631) and officiating Prince-Bishop of Osnabrück (1625–1661), as Vicar Apostolic in 1645, i.e. provisional head of the See. Wartenberg never gained pastoral influence, let alone power as prince-bishop due to the persisting Swedish occupation of the Prince-Archbishopric until the end of the Thirty Years' War.

With the impending enfeoffment of the Prince-Archbisporic of Bremen to the political Great Power of Sweden, as under negotiation for the Treaty of Westphalia, the city of Bremen searched for an imperial confirmation of its status of imperial immedeacy from 1186 (Gelnhausen Privilege), which Ferdinand III, Holy Roman Emperor, granted to the city in 1646 ( Diploma of Linz ).

The further History of the Prince-Archbishopric after 1648

For the further history see the article about the collectively ruled Duchy of Bremen and Principality of Verden (1648–1823). Then see Stade Region (1823–1978), which emerged by the establishment of the High-Bailiwick of Stade in 1823, comprising the territories of the former Duchies of Bremen and Verden and the Land Hadeln.

Reorganisation of Roman Catholic Church in the former Territory of the Archdiocese and Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen

In 1824 Bremen's former diocesan territory was distributed among the still-existing neighbouring dioceses of Osnabrück, Münster and Hildesheim, the latter of which covers today the former territory of the Prince-Archbishopric proper. Except for the prevailingly Calvinist Free Hanseatic City of Bremen and its territory, which continued to be supervised by the Roman Catholic Vicariate Apostolic of the Nordic Missions . The Free Hanseatic City of Bremen became part of the Diocese of Osnabrück only in 1929, with the Vicariate Apostolic being dismantled in the same year.

Denmark&rsquos War against the Emperor 1625&ndash9

Mansfeld&rsquos evacuation of East Frisia in January 1624 essentially ended the war in the Empire. Danish intervention in June 1625 began what the Danes called the Kejserkrig, or war against the emperor. Fighting was largely concentrated in Lower Saxony, a region that had escaped conflict until now. Though a distinct phase in the conflict, most people regarded it as the continuation of the earlier trouble. The Palatine question represented one element of continuity, particularly for the British, who hoped Denmark would succeed where Mansfeld had failed. Far more significant, however, were the hopes and fears stirred by the shift of power in the Empire since 1618 surrounding the restitution of church land taken by Protestants since 1552.

At stake were seven Lower Saxon and five Westphalian bishoprics, each group constituting over a quarter of their respective regions (see Table 2). 1 Catholic influence in the region was restricted to south-western Westphalia, where it depended entirely on Elector Ferdinand of Cologne. The Protestant presence was magnified by the fact that virtually all the secular land was also in their hands, but their influence was lessened by rivalry among local dynasties and between them and the Danish king. Divisions led to the loss of Osnabrück, where Cardinal Hohenzollern was elected as the first Catholic bishop for 49 years in 1623. Though Emperor Ferdinand still respected the Mühlhausen guarantee, he was clearly exasperated at the Lower Saxons&rsquo failure to prevent Duke Christian raising armies in 1621 and 1622&ndash3. For their part, the Lower Saxons suspected the emperor&rsquos repeated calls for money to repel Bethlen and the Turks were a ruse to amass resources for a strike against them. Tilly&rsquos continued presence across the Weser in Westphalia added to their anxiety.

Table 2: Possession of the North German bishoprics c.1590&ndash1650

Size (km 2 )

Johann Friedrich of Holstein-Gottorp

Christian Wilhelm of Brandenburg

Archduke Leopold Wilhelm (Habsburg)

August of Sachsen-Weissenfels

Christian of Brunswick-Lüneburg

Leopold Wilhelm (see Magdeburg)

Adolf Friedrich of Mecklenburg

Johann Friedrich (see Bremen)

Johann X of Holstein-Gottorp

August of Brunswick-Lüneburg

Gustav Adolf of Mecklenburg

Philipp Sigismund of Brunswick-Lüneburg

Eitel Friedrich Count of Hohenzollern

Franz Wilhelm von Wartenberg

Philipp Sigismund (see Osnabrück)

Frederick III of Denmark (see Bremen)

Franz Wilhelm (see Osnabrück)

Johann Friedrich (see Bremen)

Frederick III of Denmark (see Bremen)

Christian of Brunswick-Lüneburg

Franz Wilhelm (see Osnabrück)

Note: Bremen and Magdeburg were archbishoprics, the rest bishoprics

Christian IV of Denmark watched these developments with concern. He saw the church lands as convenient sinecures for his younger sons and a means to extend Danish influence across the great trading rivers of the Elbe and Weser. But Danish intrusion had proved unwelcome to the Guelphs and the Hanseatic cities, as well as to the Holstein-Gottorps who were Christian&rsquos vassals and rivals, especially for the control of Bremen. Christian sought better relations and greater influence in Lower Saxony, an area that had long been a Guelph preserve. A combination of factors encouraged him to consider military intervention from early 1624. Religious solidarity had little to do with this, since the time to aid the Bohemian and German Protestants had passed. However, concern that Sweden might send an army encouraged Christian to think about deploying first, and once Gustavus Adolphus became bogged down in his own war with Poland, it was safer for Christian to contemplate full-scale intervention in Germany.

This was unpopular with the Danish nobility, who feared the costs of a war waged for Christian&rsquos dynastic interests. Christian&rsquos large cash reserve meant he could ignore domestic opposition and start without additional taxes. Realizing a long conflict would require more support, he welcomed a renewed appeal on Frederick&rsquos behalf from his brother-in-law, James I. Denmark joined the negotiations in The Hague in January 1625 for an evangelical alliance. Sir Robert Anstruther, a fluent Danish speaker, arrived with the first instalment of a large British subsidy in June. By then, Christian had assembled over 20,000 men in Holstein and mobilized a fleet of thirty ships.

It has been claimed that he intended to break past Tilly and rally potential allies like Hessen-Kassel, or the restless Upper Austrian peasants. 2 This is unlikely at this point. Christian&rsquos activities remained restricted to Lower Saxony where his representatives lobbied for his election to the vacant post of Kreis colonel at the assembly in March 1625, to give him command of any troops mobilized to protect the bishoprics. He sought a legitimate framework to consolidate Danish influence and present his dynastic objectives as upholding the imperial constitution. The Lower Saxons saw through this and chose Duke Friedrich Ulrich of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel instead. Christian forced the assembly to reconvene in May, when the earlier decision was annulled and he was duly elected. The delegates also agreed to mobilize 12,900 men and accepted Danish pay and disciplinary codes. 3 Around 7,000 soldiers actually collected at Verden near the junction of the Aller and Weser rivers. Christian&rsquos troops crossed the Elbe just west of Hamburg and moved to Nienburg on the Weser at the beginning of June. The show of force was to improve his hand in negotiations with Tilly and Ferdinand with whom he maintained contact by courier after operations began. No firm agreement had been reached at The Hague and he did not embrace the wider anti-Habsburg alliance until he had become isolated by the end of 1625. Already his actions caused consternation in Lower Saxony. The Lüneburg Guelphs condemned Friedrich Ulrich&rsquos decision to relinquish Kreis command. Duke Georg, the future grandfather of Britain&rsquos George I, resigned his Danish commission and joined the imperial army as part of a deal to save his elder brother&rsquos duchy of Celle from imperial sequestration.

The Problem of Neutrality

The crisis makes much clearer one of the war&rsquos main causes: the dispute over authority in the Empire. The Bohemian Revolt already posed the dilemma whether imperial Estates could remain neutral during conflict in the Empire. The emperor had tolerated Lower Saxon neutrality despite its breach by Duke Christian, but Danish intervention made this impossible. Ferdinand ordered the imperial Estates not to assist the Danes and issued a mandate on 7 May authorizing the Liga to counter the enemies of the Empire. A refusal to obey these instructions threatened to render the Empire ineffective through what later generations would call the &lsquofree-rider problem&rsquo. Imperial Estates were happy to enjoy the Empire&rsquos protection, but were often reluctant to contribute to the cost of that protection, especially when problems occurred far from their own lands. Confessional tension merely added a further reason not to participate. The Protestant refusal to contribute since 1618 stopped well-short of secession, and the Lower Saxons presented their armed neutrality as upholding the public peace and thus in conformity with the emperor&rsquos wishes. But for Ferdinand, the liberty of the Empire took precedence over that of individual territories, which were not free to decide when they wanted to help.

This constitutional issue had an international dimension, since it remained unclear whether the emperor or princes were free to help allies elsewhere. Maximilian of Bavaria was particularly concerned lest Ferdinand use his current advantages to divert German resources to help Spain. For Maximilian, the Empire was a collective and any decision to involve it in external conflicts required consultation, at least with the electors whose ranks he had just joined. 4

The modern concept of neutrality had no place either in the seventeenth-century imperial constitution or in international law that remained governed by Christian morality. This was reflected in Hugo Grotius&rsquo seminal work, De jura belli ac pacis, which appeared in 1625. War was about restoring justice, implying one side was right, and the other wrong. Absolute neutrality was morally indefensible, because it entailed indifference to both sides. A neutral should still favour the just cause by, for example, allowing transit for its troops, or providing war materials and even auxiliaries. These guidelines reflected the actual expectations of belligerents towards would-be neutrals. Naturally, each party considered its cause as just, demanding cooperation in return for respecting territorial integrity and refraining from forcing full participation. The situation was especially difficult for the imperial Estates as they owed allegiance to the emperor who was clearly a belligerent in the present conflict. As Tilly told the Hessians, &lsquoIt&rsquos called obedience, not neutrality. Your lord is an imperial prince whose overlord is the emperor.&rsquo 5

Benevolent neutrality was possible for those who sympathized with one side and were sufficiently distant from the other to be safe from reprisals. Salzburg presented its refusal to join the Liga as proof of its neutrality in its dealings with Protestants during the war yet supplied soldiers and cash to Bavaria and the emperor. 6 Strasbourg favoured the other side, selling supplies and occasionally providing access across its strategic bridge. The three Hanseatic cities of Hamburg, Bremen and Lübeck enjoyed a more even neutrality, thanks partly to modern fortifications strengthened during the 1620s, but also to their ambivalence towards major Protestant powers like Denmark who seemed more threatening than the emperor to whom they made token payments to discharge their obligations. Their Catholic counterpart was the imperial city of Cologne that also enjoyed wide trading connections regardless of confession, and became a convenient venue for negotiations and financial transactions. Like Salzburg, Cologne refused to join the Liga, but paid imperial taxes and loaned money to the emperor. Ferdinand tolerated its selling supplies to the Dutch, but censured the council when transactions involved his direct enemies in the Empire. 7

Ferdinand had no intention of allowing the Lower Saxons to remain neutral, but equally he did not want a new war against a powerful opponent. The imperial army was in no condition to take on the Danes, especially since Spain had withdrawn its auxiliaries at the end of 1623. The situation in Hungary remained uncertain due to continued speculation surrounding Bethlen&rsquos intentions. Ferdinand combined a show of force with conciliatory gestures, confirming the Mühlhausen guarantee on 27 July. Two days later, Tilly seized the Weser crossings of Höxter and Holzminden, baring Christian&rsquos route southwards. Maximilian cooperated because Christian&rsquos activities in Lower Saxony suggested he was organizing a new Protestant union.

Tilly had only 18,000 men, having left the rest with Anholt on the Lower Rhine in case Mansfeld attacked from the Dutch Republic. He remained west of the Weser in Westphalia, while King Christian concentrated his forces on the opposite bank at Hameln to the north. He rode round Hameln on 30 July, inspecting its defences. Allegedly drunk, he fell from his horse into a seven-metre ditch and was knocked unconscious. Though he recovered, he lapsed into a two-month depression. Exactly how serious this was remains unclear, since his injury provided the excuse to continue negotiations with both the emperor and his potential allies in The Hague. Most of the Lower Saxons took the opportunity to withdraw their contingents during these discussions, while the Danes retreated to Verden in August. Johann Georg of Saxony received Ferdinand&rsquos approval to host a peace conference in Brunswick where he tabled his now standard solution: foreign troops should withdraw in return for Ferdinand&rsquos confirmation of the 1555 Peace and the Mühlhausen guarantee. Philip IV and Isabella urged Ferdinand to settle with Christian to prevent a resumption of war in the Empire. Ferdinand was prepared to accept, provided Christian withdrew first. This seemingly petty demand was essential to maintain his authority otherwise it would appear he was open to extortion.

Christian talked peace in Brunswick while preparing for war in The Hague. He demonstrated his Protestant credentials by insisting not only that Tilly withdraw, but that the Liga dissolve itself. Britain promised £30,000 a month, to which the Dutch added £5,000 in a convention agreed on 9 December. Meanwhile, Mansfeld moved his 4,000 survivors into Cleves once Breda fell to the Spanish. He was joined by another 2,000 Britons and 4,000 German, French and Dutch recruits, while Duke Christian recruited three cavalry regiments. Together, they marched across northern Westphalia to join the Danes in October. Tilly was too weak to stop them, or to take Nienburg on the Weser. His army lost 8,000 to plague and lack of supplies, and only captured one position east of the river, at Calenberg on 3 November. The prospect of Anglo-Dutch subsidies enabled Christian IV to commission former paladins, like Margrave Georg Friedrich and the Weimar brothers, to raise more Germans, while another 8,000 Britons arrived during 1626, including Donald MacKay&rsquos Scottish regiment made famous by Robert Monro&rsquos memoirs. 8

The long-awaited evangelical alliance was at last taking shape, raising militants&rsquo hopes for a double blow against the Habsburgs, to be launched by Christian&rsquos reinforced army in north-west Germany while Bethlen struck from the south east. Such dreams were wholly unrealistic. Bethlen&rsquos representative in The Hague failed to convince anyone that his master would actually appear: Maurice of Nassau had even joked that he doubted whether Bethlen was a real person. 9 Anglo-Dutch aid was compromised by their separate decision to attack Cadiz that September, ensuring that the promised subsidies were soon in arrears. Christian delayed ratifying The Hague convention until March 1626, only doing so because the arrival of a new imperial army under Wallenstein forced his hand.


There was little about Wallenstein&rsquos early life to suggest he would become the most controversial figure of the war. From a junior branch of the extended Waldstein family and orphaned at the age of twelve, he was raised by an uncle, eventually assuming control of his father&rsquos estate on the Elbe. With just 92 dependent households, this placed him in the ranks of the minor Bohemian nobility. &lsquoTall of stature, slender, lean and almost perpetually melancholic&rsquo, he accentuated his sombre appearance by austere, black clothing and by keeping his dark hair short and combed back. All contemporaries testified to his penetrating gaze and frosty, unsmiling expression. He could be charming and &lsquowas very liberal and when he gave presents he very much rejoiced and indeed was a man who gave the most to him who least expected it, but his gifts were golden snares which indissolubly obliged&rsquo. 10 He seems to have been a hard man to like, alternating between icy self-control and violent outbursts that became more frequent as his health waned. He never fully recovered from malaria in 1605 and, despite drinking moderately and eating (by contemporary standards) healthily, he already suffered from gout by 1620. A decade later he was suffering heart trouble and panic attacks, nervous disorders, constipation, colic and depression, all of which no doubt encouraged his interest in astrology.

His upbringing was conventional and included a brief spell at the Calvinist Altdorf University, from which he was expelled for brawling. He entered Habsburg service during the Turkish War, converting to Catholicism to further his career. His real opportunity came when he married a rich widow in 1609 whose early death from plague left him property worth nearly 400,000 fl. He became a colonel in the Moravian Estates army in 1615, defecting four years later to the emperor for whom he had already raised two regiments. He owed his later influence not to military glory but clever integration into the post-revolt order. Rather than following the war as it moved to the Rhine after 1620, he remained in Bohemia as Liechtenstein&rsquos subordinate, assisting in confiscating rebel property and participating in the notorious mint consortium of 1622&ndash3 that contributed to the hyperinflation of that time. He emerged as a major beneficiary of the land transfers, increasing his share by some astute sales and purchases to amass nearly 1,200km 2 in north-east Bohemia, including 9 towns and 57 villages and castles. The profits were invested in advancing his influence by loaning the emperor 1.6 million fl. between 1619 and 1623. With an empty treasury, Ferdinand repaid his creditors with honours, raisingWallenstein&rsquos estates to the duchy of Friedland in March 1624. His ties to the Habsburg elite were strengthened by his second marriage, to Isabella Katharina, younger daughter of Count Harrach, an imperial privy councillor and a member of the &lsquoSpanish&rsquo faction around Ferdinand&rsquos trusted adviser, Eggenberg. 11

This rapid rise to wealth and influence had already made Wallenstein controversial by 1625. Historical interest was shaped subsequently by Schiller&rsquos drama that established the trope of a man of destiny reaching beyond accepted norms and being punished for it. Later writers have variously presented him as a military dictator, or a Czech or German national hero, thanks largely to speculation that he was ready to betray the Habsburgs to bring either Bohemian independence or peace for Germany. More recently, he has appeared as a man out of time, the last of the great mercenary captains soon made irrelevant by the growth of the modern state. 12

Despite the publication of virtually every surviving document with any connection to him, the &lsquoWallenstein Problem&rsquo persists because his motives remain unclear. He was clearly driven by a thirst for status that remained unsatisfied in 1625, but rumours that he wanted to be a king or even emperor were just wild speculation. It is often forgotten that Wallenstein lacked a key element driving dynastic ambitions. His daughter was safely married to Count Rudolf Kaunitz, while his only son died in January 1628 aged barely three months. Six months later Wallenstein named his cousin Max as heir. Wallenstein&rsquos focus seems to have shifted from personal advancement to consolidating what he had achieved before his health failed: his doctors gave him only two years to live by the end of 1633. He grew defensive and frustrated at the accusation that he had risen above his station and was not worthy to mix with princes and crowned heads. The mounting criticism simply fuelled his ingrained arrogance, especially as it became obvious by the end of 1631 that Ferdinand considered him indispensable. Convinced he alone could win the war, he resented any attempt at supervision, but his self-confidence was undermined by the growing realization that he was no longer trusted by the imperial government.

The Creation of a New Army, 1625&ndash6

Wallenstein had been promoted to major-general in June 1623 for his service against Bethlen. Although it was the most junior general&rsquos rank, his vast wealth enabled him to punch above his station, allowing him to offer that year to raise an entire army as a way of catapulting himself into the forefront of the political and military elite. He already had the backing of powerful friends in Vienna, as well as the new Spanish ambassador, the marquis de Aytona, who was likewise convinced by Wallenstein&rsquos apparent Midas touch. The fresh crisis in Lower Saxony added urgency by revealing the extent of Ferdinand&rsquos dependency on the Liga. The original balance had been reversed so that the remaining imperial units were attached as auxiliaries to Tilly&rsquos army. By forming his own field force, Ferdinand could trump Maximilian, who had begun to criticize him for not pulling his weight against the Danish threat. 13

Negotiations were opened with Wallenstein in April 1625, which led to a contract in June authorizing the raising of 6,000 cavalry and 18,000 infantry. 14 It is often forgotten that this was not the emperor&rsquos only force. Ferdinand also sent 2,000 men from the Tirol into Italy and allowed Spain to recruit 10,000 more to reinforce the Army of Lombardy to repel the Franco-Savoyard attack, as we have seen in the previous chapter. He retained 16,000 men in Hungary and the Habsburg hereditary lands, and assigned his new general another 12,500 withdrawn from Hungary earlier that year, leaving Wallenstein to find only 11,500 new recruits to meet the contract. The official strength of the new force matched what contemporaries considered an exercitus formatus, or formidable field army capable of fighting a major battle. The size was deliberately chosen to match Tilly&rsquos force and place Ferdinand militarily on par with the Liga. Wallenstein informed Tilly that he sought &lsquoconjunction&rsquo, meaning cooperation on an autonomous footing. His refusal to be Tilly&rsquos subordinate undoubtedly suited his own desire for independence, but also served Ferdinand&rsquos intention of assuming the leading role in the war.

This depended on raising sufficient troops. Though Wallenstein boasted 50,000 men at the start of 1626, he mustered less than 16,000 at Aschersleben, the town south-east of Halberstadt that became his new base. Moreover, many were raw, ill-disciplined recruits. They failed to impress Aytona who regarded Ferdinand as still dependent on Maximilian. 15 The subsequent military expansion more than redressed the imbalance during 1626: Tilly mustered 35,000, of whom 20,000 were with his main army and the rest in garrisons. The imperial army meanwhile reached around 70,000 combatants, an immense escalation over the earlier phase of the war, though those under Wallenstein&rsquos immediate command rarely exceeded Tilly&rsquos own field force. The expansion was driven partly by strategic necessity, since Mansfeld&rsquos invasion of Silesia in October 1626 was to oblige Wallenstein to deploy a second force there. Growth was also part of a deliberate policy to amass an overwhelming force to compel King Christian to make peace. Wallenstein presented this plan to a meeting with his father-in-law Harrach and Eggenberg at Bruck an der Leitha on 25&ndash26 November. Though his demand for 100,000 troops was temporarily reduced to 70,000, he secured authorization for the higher establishment through a personal visit to Vienna in May 1627. 16 Further units were authorized after 1628, partly in response to Ferdinand&rsquos expanding commitments, but it is unlikely that the total effective strength ever exceeded 110,000, including those units that remained outside Wallenstein&rsquos control (see Table 3).

Table 3: Strength of the imperial army

Paper Strength

Probable Effective Total

Paper strength calculated from the Kriegslisten printed in Documenta Bohemica Bellum Tricennale Illustrantia, Vol. IV, pp.414&ndash46.

Wallenstein&rsquos Powers and Subordinates

Wallenstein&rsquos position was not as exceptional as is sometimes suggested and he was far from all-powerful. The existing generals resented his rapid promotion and autonomy. His acerbic personality undoubtedly created tension, but there was an underlying structural problem beyond his control. All early modern armies lacked clear, unified command structures and even monarchs who led their troops in person, like Gustavus Adolphus, found it hard to assert authority over some of their subordinates. Talent and proven experience were only two of several factors determining appointment. Senior aristocrats often demanded command by right of their elevated birth, or because they raised regiments at their own expense, as in Spain and France. Even officers from more humble backgrounds could acquire sufficient influence to insist on their own commands. The result was to assign virtually independent commands to important officers who acted autonomously in their own areas. Fortresses were entrusted to governors who were also not required to report to the nearest field commander. What contemporaries called a &lsquogeneral staff&rsquo was little more than a collective label for all officers of that rank.

The imperial army followed this pattern. Ferdinand retained exclusive control over the appointment and promotion of generals, though Wallenstein was allowed to nominate candidates from April 1628. 17 The emperor was assisted by the Court War Council, but this functioned as an administrative clearing house with limited capacity for strategic planning. The dispersal of Ferdinand&rsquos enemies encouraged fragmentation, with senior officers assigned separate commands in Hungary, Alsace, the hereditary lands and the contingents sent to Italy and the Empire. Each general reported directly to the emperor with the question of their relative seniority left deliberately vague. Wallenstein&rsquos appointment only partially centralized this by giving him control of all the forces in the Empire, including the two regiments in Alsace previously under Archduke Leopold, and the six intended to help Spain in the Netherlands. The other units in the hereditary lands and Hungary remained outside his jurisdiction, as did those sent to Milan.

Twenty years his senior, the veteran Marradas was mollified by his retention of command in the Habsburg lands and promotion to field marshal in March 1626. Caraffa had been enticed at great expense from the Spanish army to command in Hungary and was not so easily satisfied, rejoining his former comrades in 1628. Liechtenstein, Wallenstein&rsquos former superior, retired, as did Tieffenbach, though Collalto remained head of the War Council. Wallenstein was far from officially free to choose his own subordinates either. He could negotiate contracts to raise new regiments, but Ferdinand retained the final say in appointing their colonels. Recruiting patents continued to be issued by the War Council with Ferdinand&rsquos signature. Despite his denials, however, Wallenstein was clearly issuing these on his own authority by 1627 and he met little opposition to his own choice of colonels, especially after the Bruck conference where he secured the right to nominate Protestants. One of the first was Arnim, a Brandenburg Lutheran noble appointed in January 1627 having served Sweden, Poland and Mansfeld. A man of considerable ability, Arnim was already a field marshal by April 1628 and Wallenstein&rsquos second-in-command. Many Scottish, English and Irish officers also entered imperial service at this point. 18 Wallenstein also appointed French-speaking Walloons, notably Count Merode who became his principal recruiter, raising at least 74 companies by 1629 when he enlisted another 2,500 men.

The appointment of another Walloon, Gil de Haas, a barely literate stonemason from Ypres who eventually became a Bavarian general, indicates that Wallenstein did not share his contemporaries&rsquo snobbery. Nonetheless, many older officers felt the newcomers lacked experience, poking fun at colonels allegedly too young to grow beards. The rapid expansion of the imperial army after 1626 undoubtedly led to a decline in overall quality. Of the 15 regiments in imperial service at the beginning of 1625, 14 still existed after Wallenstein&rsquos dismissal in November 1630, whereas only 66 of the 103 regiments raised during his first generalship remained. Of those disbanded prior to 1631, 30 were in existence for less than two years (see Table 4). Early disbandment rarely resulted from battle casualties instead it usually reflected a colonel&rsquos inability to find sufficient recruits to meet his contract. Impermanence inhibited good discipline and it is not surprising that Merode&rsquos name is said to provide the origins of the word &lsquomarauder&rsquo.

The notoriety of some of Wallenstein&rsquos new appointments obscures the presence of a core of senior officers he inherited from the existing

Table 4: Regiments of the imperial army 1618&ndash30

Date of Raising

Total Regiments Raised that Year

Those Surviving in Mid-1625

15 plus 3 disbanded in 1625

Surviving in Dec. 1630

Lasting Less than 2 Years

Sources: G. Tessin, Die Regimenter der europäischen Staaten im Ancien Régime (Osnabrück, 1986) A. Wrede, Geschichte der K.u.K. Wehrmacht (5 vols., Vienna, 1898&ndash1905).

army with whom he was obliged to work thanks to their social status or connections. They included four imperial princes: Duke Adolf of Holstein-Gottorp and three of the four Sachsen-Lauenburg dukes who were converts to Catholicism and had already raised regiments against the Bohemian rebels. Both Franz Albrecht of Lauenburg and Duke Adolf were poor commanders and lax disciplinarians, but they had to be tolerated. The rest were solid professionals, like the Breuner cousins from Lower Austria, or Moravians and Silesians who had already changed sides like Heinrich Schlick and Baron Schaffgotsch. The latter served Wallenstein loyally, but Schlick and most Bohemians remained lukewarm towards their new commander. The same was true of the many Italians who were already in imperial service, like the Colloredo brothers, had transferred from Spain, like Octavio Piccolomini and Ernesto Montecuccoli, or who had joined from the Liga army, like Matteo Gallas. Their connections to Spain and the Italian states provided alternative potential patrons, notably in the case of Piccolomini who came from a prominent Florentine family that had already provided two popes. 19 Others had impeccable aristocratic pedigrees, such as Torquato Conti, Wallenstein&rsquos erstwhile collaborator in raising his cavalry regiments in 1619, who was marquis of Quadagnola, while Collalto was a distant relative of the emperor&rsquos second wife, Eleonore of Gonzaga.

Wallenstein&rsquos inability to satisfy his subordinates&rsquo ambitions encouraged disloyalty. Francesco Grana found his career blocked by Wallenstein&rsquos distaste for his rapacious plundering. Piccolomini and Gallas suspected Wallenstein of favouring Bohemians and Germans, something that was patently untrue. Some were simply the victims of his violent outbursts. A serious rift developed with Johann Aldringen whom Wallenstein had appointed colonel and de facto chief of staff in 1625. During an argument two years later Wallenstein called him a &lsquopen-pusher&rsquo, a remark that Aldringen, acutely conscious of his humble origins as a scribe, felt unable to forgive. Though promoted general in 1629, Aldringen found his career overtaken by more recent appointees and so cultivated alternative patrons, including Gallas who became his brother-in-law when they both married daughters of Count Arco in 1630.

Finally, the persistence of separate commands outside Wallenstein&rsquos jurisdiction left the emperor with alternative fields for patronage. The best example is one of Ernst Mansfeld&rsquos distant relations, Count Wolfgang Mansfeld, who commanded the Saxons in 1619&ndash21 before converting to Catholicism and joining the emperor in 1622. One of the most important, if now forgotten, commanders of the middle stage of the war, he served in Italy until 1628 and so remained outside Wallenstein&rsquos influence.

Wallenstein&rsquos grip on the army&rsquos financing was also less secure than generally believed. He is widely regarded as the perfecter, if not the inventor, of a system of military funding known as &lsquocontributions&rsquo. Aptly dubbed a &lsquotax of violence&rsquo by John Lynn, this decentralized war finance, removed it from the Estates and handed it to officers who forced communities to maintain their units. The method offered the possibility for a near-bankrupt monarch to make war at his enemies&rsquo expense. However, it was not Wallenstein&rsquos intention to wage war by &lsquooffensive logistics&rsquo as some have claimed, deliberately raising more men than necessary to deny territory to his opponent. 20 The main evidence for this assertion comes from Khevenhüller&rsquos near-contemporary account of Ferdinand&rsquos reign where he claims Wallenstein demanded over twice the authorized establishment. In fact, he only received permission to levy contributions in enemy territory, none of which had been captured in 1625. Actual military funding relied on more varied methods, of which what have been termed contributions were but one element.

The real core was credit, not extortion, heightening the importance of Wallenstein&rsquos personal relationship with the emperor. Like Spinola, Wallenstein was able to raise an entire army because he was already a wealthy man. Officers volunteered to raise new units because they knew Wallenstein could not only advance them start-up capital but, thanks to the emperor&rsquos trust, could guarantee repayment of their expenses. The muster system provided most of the money. Acting under imperial authority, Wallenstein assigned towns to accommodate soldiers while their unit assembled. Colonels were authorized to demand food and wages for full establishment numbers from the first day, even though it might take weeks to gather all the recruits. Wallenstein increased his colonels&rsquo personal allowances to 500 fl. a week (although they were reduced to 300 fl. in 1629), in contrast to their colleagues in the Liga who were permitted 402 fl. a month. Soldiers&rsquo pay remained unremarkable, at 7.5 fl. for an infantryman each month, plus bread worth another 2.5 fl. 21 Whereas other rulers still tried to pay their officers&rsquo costs directly, Wallenstein freed Ferdinand from this obligation by allowing his colonels to recoup the expense of equipping, clothing and feeding their men from the local population.

Wallenstein also relieved the indebted imperial treasury of the obligation to pay soldiers once they marched to the front. Both the Liga and imperial armies had struggled to maintain direct monthly payments to their men after 1618 and resorted to expedients already tried during the Turkish War, such as reducing pay rates and persuading men to accept rations or uniforms in lieu. Accumulating pay arrears became a major feature of the war and would partly dictate its course in the 1640s. Governments could hope to write off some of the money if men died on campaign, but the balance owed to the others exceeded any realistic hope of settlement. It became impossible to demobilize armies, because regiments refused to disband until they were paid. The usual practice was to off-load responsibility by raising loans guaranteed by the Estates who won concessions in return for amortizing additional debts. Ferdinand had already obliged the Bohemian Estates to assume 8.2 million fl. of debt in 1623.

Christian IV&rsquos problems illustrate the limits to direct state maintenance. The war cost Denmark 8.2 million riksdalers between 1625 and 1627. Ordinary revenue covered little more than a quarter of this sum, while foreign subsidies brought in around 3 million, or about half of what was promised. The Lower Saxons contributed a mere 120,000 rd., obliging Christian to borrow over 2.5 million, chiefly from his mother. This exhausted his reserves, precipitating a crisis after 1627 as the subsidies dried up, while the resumption of Swedish-Polish hostilities caused toll revenues to crash to a third of their pre-war levels. 22

Wallenstein broke convention by insisting on full payment of both wages and rations by the local population, in contravention of imperial law. The Reichstag had ruled in 1570 that soldiers could expect accommodation on the march, but should pay for everything else at pre-arranged prices, or provide receipts. Some effort was made initially to adhere to the rules. Wallenstein&rsquos officers sent the required notification letters (Requisitoriales) to territories on their line of march from Bohemia in 1625 so the local authorities could make arrangements to feed and accommodate them. 23 However, this swiftly became impossible, due to the size of the new army, the rapidity of its advance and, above all, its complete inability to pay its way.

Lack of money widened the gap between the strategic necessity for speed and flexibility, and the limited capacity of the largely agrarian economy to support the army. Military regulations envisaged a daily ration of around 1kg of bread, 0.5&ndash1kg of meat, and about 1.5 litres of wine or twice that quantity of beer. In addition, each soldier was entitled to servis of candles, firewood, salt and, if mounted, fodder at 3.5 litres of oats or their equivalent for his horse. This diet would be supplemented (technically at the soldier&rsquos own expense) with peas, beans and semolina eaten with the meat, plus cabbage or sauerkraut and dried fruit depending on the season, as well as butter and eggs when available. Accepting that much of the meat ration was delivered as inedible bone and gristle, the allowance was still higher in protein than an average peasant&rsquos diet and provided 3,000 calories daily. 24

Most soldiers were obliged to share their food with their dependants. The number and composition of these &lsquocamp followers&rsquo are two of the least studied aspects of the war. Many later commentators have seized on remarks from critics such as Wallhausen or Gronsfeld to suggest there were three to four non-combatants for every soldier. Surviving musters suggest a more common ratio of one to one, but sometimes as low as four soldiers to one non-combatant. 25 Around half of the followers were women, often legally married to the soldiers, or widows, as well as captives and prostitutes. The latter had received official protection a century before, but were now the target of punitive regulations, influenced by the new moral vigour following the Reformation and the practical efforts to restrict the size of the &lsquobaggage&rsquo which, as Bernhard of Weimar argued, was &lsquothe root of the disorder and cause of confusion in the army&rsquo. 26 Other women led a more independent existence as sutlers, fencing stolen goods and selling alcohol and other supplies like Mother Courage, one of Grimmelshausen&rsquos characters now better known through the later dramatization by Berthold Brecht. Eyewitnesses report women carrying children in bundles on their heads to leave their arms free for more bags. 27 Women also helped to forage and clean clothes, and provided the mainstay of the rudimentary medical service. The other followers were &lsquoboys&rsquo, generally teenagers who carried weapons and looked after the horses. Many later became soldiers, like Grimmelshausen&rsquos semi-autobiographical character Simplicissimus who became a servant and then a musketeer after his home was plundered.

Though excluded from official allowances, the numerous camp followers undoubtedly increased the actual demand on resources. A peasant family could consider itself fortunate if it had sufficient surplus after tax and rent to feed itself between each harvest. At best, a large farm might have stored the equivalent of 3,000 rations &ndash the daily requirement of a full-strength imperial infantry regiment. Even a modest town was unlikely to contain enough food for more than a few days for a larger force. Matters worsened if the local population hid their supplies, or took them with them as they fled to the woods, marshes or nearest fortified city. Already in 1625, Mainz officials reported that villagers faced &lsquototal ruin&rsquo as Wallenstein&rsquos regiments marched through. 28 Fear bleeds through the pages of contemporary correspondence as the authorities grasped at every rumour of troop movements in desperate attempts to take precautions.

Wallenstein began recruiting in June 1625, but did not issue his pay and ration regulations until he occupied Halberstadt that November. The &lsquocontributions&rsquo he demanded prior to then were close to what contemporaries termed &lsquofire taxes&rsquo (Brandschatzung) due to the consequences of non-payment. These were levied on areas threatened but not actually occupied by troops. The Dutch and Spanish had already threatened raids to extort money from German communities after 1575. Wallenstein used the muster system to force such payments from the wealthy south German trading cities that agreed to pay lump sums in return for his rescinding authorization to colonels to muster new units within their territories. He used this method throughout his first generalship, extracting at least 440,000 fl. from Nuremberg alone. The cities agreed because these payments were still less than the cost and destruction that invariably followed actual occupation.

What contemporaries came to call &lsquocontributions&rsquo were a more regular form of this initial extortion. The army would conclude a formal agreement with the authorities of a particular territory that would pay regular monthly instalments to troops who were not necessarily in occupation. In return, commanders would issue protection warrants (Salva guardias), exempting the population from further burdens and promising good behaviour of any soldiers left behind to safeguard payment. Wallenstein employed this method as operations extended into the minor Upper Saxon territories after March 1626 and into Brandenburg that autumn. The ducal parts of Holstein were included after September 1627, despite an explicit imperial guarantee to the contrary, while around 12,000 men occupied Württemberg earlier in July, extending the system to south-west Germany. It was imposed on Pomerania in the Franzburg convention with its duke in November 1627 and on Mecklenburg after its occupation the following month. In this form, contributions were a device to expropriate existing territorial taxes. Brandenburg simply diverted payment from the elector to the occupying imperial forces after November 1627. Pomerania secured a notable exception to provide contributions in kind, introducing new taxes to buy grain that was collected in local magazines before distribution to the soldiers. The same method was used in the Habsburg hereditary lands, notably in Silesia where the Estates authorized the customary direct levy in June 1627 but renamed it &lsquoSoldier Tax&rsquo and collected it weekly, rather than in the usual larger, but less frequent instalments. 29

&lsquoContributions&rsquo as understood in later historical literature were actually a form of billeting. Colonels were allowed to collect food at rates specified in the Halberstadt ordinance direct from the communities lodging their men. There was a considerable overlap between this and the negotiated contributions, particularly since the latter involved quotas calculated according to the regulation food and wage bill. The distinction was that negotiated contributions were intended to continue once the main force had left, whereas billeting often assumed a more improvised character, as units switched quarters. It frequently proved difficult to extract contributions once the army had left, so the soldiers took hostages to ensure compliance. Failure to pay had little to do with religious or political motivation, but followed the sheer impossibility of paying sums exceeding local resources. For example, the Franzburg convention with Pomerania specified monthly instalments of 40,000 talers intended to maintain 22,000 men, whereas the usual annual tax bill was only 90,000. By 1630, it was claimed the duchy was occupied by 7,540 cavalry and 31,500 infantry and that these had cost the eastern half alone over 6.6 million talers since their arrival. 30

Lack of accountability made matters worse. Staff work was not as rudimentary as sometimes claimed and efforts were made to keep accounts and liaise with civil authorities. Nonetheless, colonels were allowed considerable leeway and often arrived unannounced, or with far more soldiers than expected. They routinely extorted further sums in return for maintaining discipline, even when their men subsequently ignored the regulations. Frequently, official demands were deliberately inflated by the officer sent to negotiate, who would then pocket a present from a grateful community in return for agreeing a more reasonable sum. Additional demands were imposed, especially for clothing and transport, while even the wealthiest dukes and princes were not above helping themselves to extra luxuries. 31

Profiteering was rife, though few made large fortunes. Fritz Redlich&rsquos now classic study of the &lsquocompany economy&rsquo overemphasizes the mercantile character of mercenary recruitment. 32 Officers frequently paid for weapons and clothing, but it is clear these were also provided from state magazines and through centralized procurement. Profits, such as they were, came incrementally by accumulating bribes, plunder and other chicanery like drawing rations for non-existent soldiers. Such money was just as easily lost, either through personal folly, usually gambling, or misfortune, especially following a defeat. Captured officers generally had to pay their own ransoms until the 1640s, when prisoner exchanges became more common. Governments frequently failed to pay salaries or reimburse legitimate expenses. As we shall see, the main sources of mutinies in the last two decades of the war were unpaid officers who stirred discontent among the soldiers. Capital accumulation was rarely a personal goal and few officers had a merchant&rsquos head for business. 33 Money provided the means to further a career intended to enhance status. Real wealth still came from land, though, as possession grew more precarious after 1631, prudent profiteers like Aldringen invested cash with bankers in safer locations.

The hierarchical, corporate character of society ensured burdens were distributed unequally. Agreements like the Franzburg convention exempted nobles, princely residences, privileged towns, the clergy, university staff and other professional groups. Magistrates and urban officials were usually exempt from billeting, inclining them to be more accommodating to officers&rsquo demands, conscious of the soldiers&rsquo ability to devastate vineyards and other assets belonging to richer burghers beyond the walls. This helps explain the social tension generated by sieges where the poor were often the most determined to resist, knowing they lacked the means to buy protection if the soldiers captured their town. Resistance entailed considerable risks. Piccolomini fined the Pomeranian town of Stargard 10,000 talers after an ensign was killed trying to enter. However, such violence was relatively rare (see Chapter 22). Towns offering armed resistance were generally assisted by regular garrisons, though their inhabitants were exposed like the soldiers to plunder and massacre if they failed to surrender before the besiegers broke in.

The decentralized character of Wallenstein&rsquos system is widely interpreted as &lsquoprivatizing&rsquo war, enabling still underdeveloped states like the Habsburg monarchy to raise large armies without concomitant expansion of their administrative and fiscal structures. Contributions and military contracting thus become temporary expedients along a linear path of modernization, employed until the state was sufficiently developed to &lsquorenationalize&rsquo warfare. 34 This is misleading, since it distracts attention from the continued significance of regular taxation, as well as the client-patron relationship between the emperor and his officers. Even where existing fiscal structures collapsed under the strain, the army still relied on civil officials to find money and billets. Plunder could not make war pay and restricted the size of armies. It was wasteful and inefficient in the short term, as soldiers either gorged themselves, throwing away what they could not immediately consume, or failed to find the food and valuables civilians had carefully hidden. In the longer term, plunder was self-destructive as normal economic activity ceased and resources disappeared. Local chronicles are littered with accounts of garrisons crammed into a few remaining houses after the soldiers had broken the others up for firewood. Above all, soldiers were largely outsiders, without local knowledge of hiding places or an area&rsquos real wealth. Contribution and billeting demands were presented as lump sums, leaving it to local officials to work out who provided what in their community. Officials were caught between the officers&rsquo incessant demands and the inhabitants&rsquo pleas to be spared. Territorial administration undoubtedly broke down in many areas during the 1630s and it became hard to fill vacancies left by officials who had been killed or simply given up. Officials also falsified accounts and sometimes collaborated with officers in dividing up the spoils. The overall impression, however, is of a group of underpaid, poorly supported men struggling to do their best in fearful times. One Hohenlohe steward diligently kept his accounts despite his office being ransacked eight times by rival forces. 35

The mounting burdens nevertheless corroded established relationships after 1625. If some people secured exemption, or shirked their share, the burden fell harder on the rest of the community. Good neighbourliness broke down as families denounced those suspected of falsifying tax returns. The overriding desire to minimize violence compelled authorities to abandon previous patterns of benevolence. Rulers and landlords had generally accepted reduced returns during subsistence and other crises in the sixteenth century, allowing their subjects time to recover. Such tolerance was now impossible, as military demands brooked no delay. Even comparatively small territories like the county of Hohenlohe were compelled to place their rudimentary fiscal systems on a firmer footing, and pursued collection ruthlessly to forestall the greater evil of military reprisals. 36

Wallenstein boasted he would maintain the army without drawing on the already overstretched Habsburg treasury, but in practice he relied heavily on the monarchy&rsquos existing taxes. The treasury had already admitted the impossibility of sustaining the enlarged army in November 1626. 37 Regular Habsburg taxation nonetheless continued to provide 1.2 million fl. annually to maintain the Military Frontier, as well as supplying 4 million fl. from 1625 to 1630 to Wallenstein, who received Spanish subsidies worth 3 million in the same period. 38 The cash flowed into Wallenstein&rsquos war chest, which was also full of money extorted from cities and territories in return for exempting them from mustering and billets.

The cash was used to finance operations and bulk purchases of artillery and munitions, as well as underpin vital credit arrangements. Credit was present already in the money advanced by Wallenstein to his colonels, the Habsburg treasury and even the emperor, paying, for example, for Ferdinand&rsquos attendance at the Regensburg congress which terminated Wallenstein&rsquos first generalship in 1630. These advances totalled 6.95 million fl. by 1628, financed by Wallenstein&rsquos private fortune and loans raised by his banker, Jan de Witte, a Calvinist refugee from Antwerp who had settled in Prague and made large profits providing credit to Rudolf II. Witte offered the antidote to the cash-flow impasse threatening to choke Wallenstein&rsquos system. Taxes and contributions usually fell short and arrived late. Aschersleben was supposed to pay 106,400 fl. at the end of 1625, but delivered only 40,000 after 28 weeks, while payments from Brandenburg dried up after the first four months in 1627. Witte provided bridging loans, initially secured on specific sources of future revenue, but soon tied only to Wallenstein&rsquos personal guarantee. The intricate credit network extended to 67 cities, from London to Constantinople, operating through middlemen so that many lenders had no idea where their money was really heading. In return for a 2.5 per cent cut, Witte paid regular monthly instalments only partially recouped from remittances from Wallenstein&rsquos war chest. 39

The system was inherently unsound. Unlike Dutch borrowing that was sustained by an expanding economy, the emperor had no means of repaying the total liability. In addition to the money claimed by Wallenstein, Ferdinand owed 912,000 fl. to Merode, Arnim and Adolf of Holstein by 1628. Meanwhile the army reached a total of over 100,000 men, the largest force yet seen in Central Europe. The growing crisis exposed the system&rsquos true foundation &ndash the personal relationship between the emperor, his general and the officers. Though Ferdinand lacked money, he remained feudal overlord with the final say over possession of rights and properties. Confiscation of rebel property in the Habsburgs&rsquo hereditary lands had already sustained the imperial war effort before 1625. Land was sold to raise money for current expenses or distributed in lieu of pay and arrears. Ferdinand and his successor, Ferdinand III, skilfully manipulated every aspect of their prerogatives to maximize the value of such transactions. While some particularly urgent or deserving cases received land immediately, others were put on waiting lists attached to particular properties that meanwhile provided revenue to the treasury. Places on such lists became exchangeable commodities that could be traded or inherited, always subject to imperial approval. Fees were deducted each time, allowing the emperor to reduce his existing liabilities, or offset new ones. Even when an individual received sole entitlement, more money could be deducted for formal enfeoffment, or special privileges such as elevating the property&rsquos status, as with Wallenstein&rsquos duchy of Friedland. 40

Property confiscation had already been extended to the Rhineland in the wake of Tilly&rsquos victories over the paladins, while the spread of the war to north Germany opened fresh possibilities to redistribute power to Ferdinand&rsquos supporters. Protests at the material damage accumulated as soon as Wallenstein marched from Bohemia in September 1625. The duke of Coburg complained that imperial officers behaved in his territory &lsquoas if in a self-service inn&rsquo. 41 Such complaints were sincerely meant and have attracted most of the historical interest, but it was the political repercussions that proved really controversial because the redistribution of land and resources fundamentally shifted power in the Empire.

Following the earlier pattern, Ferdinand placed Christian IV under the imperial ban in December 1625, ordering all inhabitants of the Empire to refrain from assisting him or face similar consequences. 42 As the military situation improved, commissioners were appointed by the Reichshofrat from February 1628 to seize estates in Westphalia and Lower Saxony from officers serving in Christian&rsquos army. Land worth at least 740,000 fl. had been sequestrated by June 1630, while other property was confiscated in the royal Danish parts of Holstein and the Jutland peninsula. More seriously, the commissioners were empowered to proceed against those princes who failed to submit to Ferdinand&rsquos mandate. Finance, politics and religion intersected in the fates of Magdeburg and Halberstadt. Lying either side of the Elbe between neutral Brandenburg and the Danish army occupying the Guelph duchies, these two ecclesiastical territories secured Christian&rsquos eastern flank. Wallenstein&rsquos approach in October 1625 prompted their Lutheran administrator, Christian Wilhelm of Brandenburg, to join Christian IV, immediately providing Ferdinand with the excuse to sequestrate his territories.

These provided Wallenstein with welcome billets as winter approached, as well as a forward base linked by the Elbe to Bohemia where he organized a form of command economy in his enormous personal territory of Friedland. Certain sectors there, like iron production, supplied the army directly, but generally Wallenstein conserved Friedland&rsquos resources. Troops were also instructed to avoid this Terra Felix, while he spent lavishly on a new palace at its capital, Gitschin, as well as on another in Prague. 43

Meanwhile, he secured Tilly&rsquos agreement to remain west of the Leine that winter, reserving Magdeburg and Halberstadt for imperial troops, and allowing Ferdinand to trump the Wittelsbachs in the scramble for the bishoprics. The emperor had already deferred to the Bavarians that October when he recognized Ferdinand of Cologne&rsquos cousin, Franz von Wartenberg, as the new bishop of Osnabrück. 44 The emperor had his own family to consider, and wanted Magdeburg and Halberstadt for his younger son, Leopold Wilhelm. Though not ordained until 1638, Wartenberg was already an experienced administrator and 21 years older than his Habsburg rival. Local Catholics and the pope recognized his genuine religious zeal, leading to prolonged wrangling over who should be elected. Wallenstein had little enthusiasm for the emperor&rsquos plans as these would curtail his exploitation of the bishoprics&rsquo resources. The Halberstadt cathedral chapter eventually elected Leopold Wilhelm in December 1627, but the Protestant canons in Magdeburg chose August of Sachsen-Weissenfels, Johann Georg of Saxony&rsquos second son. Magdeburg itself defied all parties, refusing to admit an imperial garrison in a stand-off lasting until May 1631.

DENMARK&rsquoS DEFEAT 1626&ndash9

The Battle of Dessau Bridge

Christian IV&rsquos ratification of The Hague alliance in March 1626 committed Denmark irrevocably to war. His dwindling funds increased his dependency on his unreliable allies and made it harder to impose his authority on the generals who joined him. Contributions did not free armies from supply lines, despite claims to the contrary. 45 Armies got larger, but the field force remained the same as the additional troops were deployed to secure bases supplying money and food. There was also a tendency, already present in 1626, to remain in billets as long as possible to recuperate at the locals&rsquo expense. It proved difficult to amass supplies during winter to support operations beyond the zones of contribution, especially as uncertainty surrounding the enemy&rsquos intentions left it unclear where to place stockpiles. The lull in the fighting provided a chance for negotiations that were a constant feature of the entire war. The aborted Brunswick talks already reopened in May 1626 and resumed in September after that summer&rsquos campaign, continuing intermittently throughout 1627. Operations were essentially intended to secure local military advantage to lend weight to these negotiations and compel the other side to be more reasonable.

Christian was obliged to concentrate his main army of 20,000 men at Wolfenbüttel early in 1626 to intimidate the Guelphs and keep Wallenstein and Tilly divided. Wallenstein was at Halberstadt to the south-east with roughly the same number of troops, while Tilly with slightly less stood on the Weser to the west with the Harz mountains between them. Christian sent Johann Ernst of Weimar with a small detachment across the Weser to distract Tilly and try to capture Osnabrück. Duke Christian mustered at Göttingen ready to push south into Hessen where Count Philipp Reinhard of Solms had collected 4,000 peasants. Aware that Landgrave Moritz would join them if they got through, Tilly wanted to take Münden, Northeim and Göttingen to secure the frontier and protect Hessen, which continued to pay a large part of his army.

Tilly&rsquos refusal to cross the Harz mountains to join Wallenstein disheartened the imperial commander, who tendered his resignation no less than six times between February and March 1626 in protest at the imperial treasury&rsquos abject failure to provide funds. Wallenstein was also concerned at a new threat to his forward base from Mansfeld, who now had 12,000 men at Lauenburg on the Elbe ready to invade Brandenburg and turn his flank. Ferdinand had no desire to spread the war into Upper Saxony and ordered Wallenstein to remain west of the Elbe where he began operations around Goslar against Duke Christian. He was forced to turn back in mid-February when Mansfeld advanced along the right bank of the Elbe through western Brandenburg, while a small Danish corps under Fuchs followed west of the Elbe. Mansfeld announced he was coming to liberate the archbishopric of Magdeburg and began occupying Anhalt territory east of the river. Wallenstein soon chased away Fuchs, but learned that Mansfeld was threatening his outpost under Aldringen at Rosslau near Dessau, which guarded the only permanent bridge between Magdeburg and Dresden. If this fell, Mansfeld could disrupt supplies from Bohemia to the imperial army.

Mansfeld increased the pressure on Aldringen&rsquos entrenchments on the right bank from 12 April. Wallenstein fed in reinforcements, arriving himself with the main army on 24 April, bringing the defenders up to at least 14,000. Mansfeld had bitten off too much, having quarrelled with Fuchs who was still too far north to help. With only 7,000 men and 25 guns, he was too weak to take the entrenchments. He gambled everything on a final assault at 6 a.m. on 25 April, not realizing that Wallenstein had concealed troops in a wood to the east. These counter-attacked just as Mansfeld&rsquos assault was flagging. Mansfeld&rsquos cavalry fled downstream to Havelberg, abandoning the infantry who surrendered. 46

The failure to exploit the victory is usually blamed on rivalry between Tilly and Wallenstein and their continued logistical problems. Tilly had been obliged to detach Anholt to clear Osnabrück, while he dealt with Duke Christian in Wallenstein&rsquos absence. The duke&rsquos death on 16 June 1626 temporarily halted Danish operations in the area. Wallenstein eventually met Tilly at Duderstadt near Göttingen on 30 June and secured his agreement to invade Lower Saxony. The attack was delayed by a rebellion in Upper Austria that represented the most substantial popular outburst of unrest to date.

The Upper Austrian Rebellion 1626

In contrast to the situation in 1620, many Protestants in Upper Austria were now prepared to condone rebellion, especially when it defended their faith. Religious grievances certainly helped spark the unrest. 47 Ferdinand expected the Bavarian governor of Upper Austria, Herberstorff, himself a convert from Lutheranism, to enforce the re-Catholicization measures. Pastors and teachers were expelled in October 1624, a fine of 1 million fl. was imposed in 1625 on those accused of supporting the revolt in 1618, and all Protestants were told to convert or leave. The measures stirred opposition, especially among the province&rsquos Estates that had run a campaign to discredit Herberstorff in order to deflect local criticism of their failure in 1620. Duke Maximilian had no desire to disturb Upper Austria since he depended on its taxpayers to clear the huge war indemnity agreed in 1623 with Ferdinand. The fine was moderated to 600,000 fl. and the Bavarian garrison reduced to 5,000 men.

It is difficult to gauge exactly what the peasants wanted since their demands were written down by a former judge and a lawyer who may or may not have been reflecting their feelings. The document attacked the new &lsquoReformation mandate&rsquo Ferdinand obliged Herberstorff to issue on 10 October 1625 extending the deadline for conversion until Easter 1626. The principal criticism was that the authorities were placing re-Catholicization before good government and failing to address real grievances &ndash peasant indebtedness and business failures had soared after the hyperinflation of 1622. The re-Catholicization measures also hit communal autonomy by taking schools and village funds from local hands, while many wanted to replace clerical with peasant representation on the Estates. Contemporary broadsheets drew parallels with the Peasants War, displaying images of the 1525 leaders but with the weapons and demands of 1626. 48

The rising was planned like that in 1595. Stefan Fadinger, a wealthy farmer, conspired with his brother-in-law, the innkeeper Christoph Zeller, but the outbreak began prematurely after a brawl with Bavarian soldiers in Lembach on 17 May 1626. The rebels drew on the experience of the 1611 Passau emergency and the 1619&ndash20 revolt, using the provincial militia system to mobilize 40,000 men from a population of only 300,000. They lacked artillery and cavalry until some burghers declared their support. Three nobles also joined, including Achaz Wiellinger who took command once Fadinger was killed, but the local Protestant elite otherwise abstained, believing the rising would fail and only harm their interests. The movement remained decentralized, with individual bands led by men who were increasingly embittered. Some were militants, like the trainee pastor simply known as &lsquoStudent&rsquo whom the authorities thought was deranged. However, popular Lutheranism expressed demands for wider liberties, as it had in 1525.

The rising began in the north-west corner of Upper Austria either side of the Danube near the Bavarian border. Herberstorff marched out of Linz to suppress it, but was ambushed by Zeller at Peuerbach where most of his men were massacred on 21 May. Herberstorff escaped to Linz but his hold on the town was undermined by widespread sympathy among its inhabitants for the rebels outside. Like so many early modern rebels, Fadinger and Zeller squandered their initial advantage by roaming the countryside gathering further support. Herberstorff opened talks on 25 May to buy time, and the peasants were prepared to pay the 1623 mortgage to redeem the province for Ferdinand, provided the emperor granted religious toleration. The truce was broken by frequent skirmishes in which Fadinger and Zeller were killed. The peasant army on the heights above Linz was further demoralized by minor reverses inflicted by small imperial and Liga columns operating from Bohemia and Bavaria.

Maximilian assembled 8,000 men, half of them recruits, in Bavaria south of the Danube. Their advance on 18 September ended the truce, but they were routed within days by the peasants in the mountains along the frontier. Maximilian summoned General Pappenheim who advanced with 4,750 men from Passau to relieve Linz on 4 November. Reinforced by the Linz garrison and a small imperial detachment, Pappenheim subdued the area south of the Danube in four hard-fought battles, killing 12,000 rebels. Resistance collapsed, enabling Herberstorff to arrest 100 alleged leaders. It proved impossible to find evidence against Upper Austrian nobles other than Wiellinger who was executed along with over twenty others. Fadinger&rsquos corpse was even exhumed so it could be hanged. Ferdinand refused to impose renewed fines and delayed the re-Catholicization measures until 1631.

In the meantime, Christian IV had remained inactive at Wolfenbüttel, accepting the resumption of Saxon mediation in May. He faced the same difficulty that would confront Gustavus Adolphus in 1630: how to win the wider German support necessary to defeat the emperor. Christian needed Hessen&rsquos support to go south and Brandenburg&rsquos agreement to move east. Hessen refused to declare its hand without a Danish victory, while Elector Georg Wilhelm took a dim view of Mansfeld&rsquos incursions.

Calvinists held the majority on the Brandenburg privy council, led by Chancellor Pruckmann who declared &lsquothis is a religious war&rsquo. They were blocked by the Lutheran old guard around the elector&rsquos mother and Count Adam Schwarzenberg, the only Catholic councillor. (Gustavus Adolphus told the Calvinists they &lsquoshould defenestrate the count and treat him in the Bohemian manner&rsquo.) 49 The Lutherans shared the elector&rsquos doubts about the war&rsquos alleged religious dimension, while Schwarzenberg believed the emperor would reward Brandenburg if it supported him. Wallenstein&rsquos victory at Dessau Bridge increased the pressure on Brandenburg and was quietly welcomed in Dresden, where Johann Georg gave the Imperialists permission to cross Saxony if Mansfeld moved east.

Having rebuilt his army to 10,000, and backed by 7,000 Danes under Johann Ernst of Weimar, Mansfeld unexpectedly left Havelberg on 11 July, skirting Berlin to the north to reach the Oder, where he turned south to enter Silesia nine days later having covered 250km. The Silesian militia crumbled, allowing him to overrun the province and head for Upper Hungary. This bold stroke opened a new front and renewed the possibility of Transylvanian intervention. Bethlen had just been admitted to The Hague alliance, having improved his standing by marrying Georg Wilhelm of Brandenburg&rsquos sister, Katharina, in March. Wallenstein had not expected Mansfeld to recover so quickly. Aware of the power struggle in Berlin, he hesitated to weaken the pro-imperial faction by infringing Brandenburg neutrality. After three weeks it became obvious where Mansfeld was headed, and Wallenstein set off in pursuit with 20,000 men, leaving 16,000 to protect his base and cooperate with Tilly.

The latter had methodically reduced the three strongholds of Münden, Northeim and Goöttingen held by the Protestant forces between Lower Saxony and Hessen-Kassel. Münden was stormed in early July, losing between two- and four-fifths of its 2,500 inhabitants who were massacred as Liga troops plundered the town. 50 Tilly then brought in Harz miners to dig under the defensive ditch at Göttingen to drain the water from it. A relief force under the Rheingraf (Raugrave) Salm-Kyrburg was ambushed and scattered at Rössing on 27 July. Göttingen capitulated on 11 August 1626, having resisted for seven weeks. Christian IV hastened south to save his last garrison at Northeim, but failed to stop Aldringen joining Tilly with 4,300 Imperialists. The king retired north through Seesen on 25 August, intending to escape to Wolfenbüttel. His decision depressed Danish morale and revived Tilly&rsquos flagging spirits. The Liga army harried the Danish retreat, cutting off parties left to delay its pursuit. King Christian faced the same dilemma as his namesake had at Höchst and Stadtlohn of whether to jettison his valuable baggage. He chose not to, and the wagons soon jammed the Wolfenbüttel road where it crossed thick woods north-east of Lutter-am-Barenberge. Christian was forced to deploy early on Thursday 27 August, hoping a more substantial rearguard action would dislodge the pursuit. Tilly had no intention of giving up and sought a decisive battle.

Both armies numbered about 20,000, though the Danes had a few more cannon. Their position lay in a cleared valley surrounded by forest. The recent hot weather had dried the Neile stream on the Danish right, though the Hummecke stream to their front and left appears still to have been wet. 51 Tilly brought up his heavy guns, protected by musketeers, to bombard the Danes while the rest of his army came up around noon. His men ate lunch while the Danes waited uneasily in the rain. Anholt opened the main action early in the afternoon by crossing the Hummecke and attacking the Danish left. Christian had gone ahead to disentangle

the baggage train, without making it clear who commanded in his absence. Landgrave Moritz&rsquos younger son, Philipp, made an unauthorized counter-attack in an attempt to silence the bombardment. Meanwhile, detachments sent earlier by Tilly worked their way through the woods to turn both Danish flanks. The Danes wavered around 4 p.m., enabling Tilly&rsquos centre to cross the stream and capture their artillery. The Danish royal escort successfully charged to cover the retreat of the second and third lines, but the first was unable to disengage and had to surrender. Christian lost up to 3,000 dead, including Philipp of Hessen-Kassel, General Fuchs and other senior officers. Another 2,000 deserted, while 2,500 were captured along with all the artillery and much of the baggage, including two wagons loaded with gold. Tilly lost around 700 killed and wounded.

Christian blamed Duke Friedrich Ulrich who had withdrawn the Wolfenbüttel contingent four days earlier. The Danes burned 24 villages around Wolfenbüttel and plundered their way across Lüneburg as they retreated to Verden. The Guelphs negotiated the bloodless evacuation of Hanover and other towns, and assisted the imperial blockade of the Danes still holding Wolfenbüttel itself. The victory boosted Tilly&rsquos prestige and enabled his beloved nephew Werner to marry the daughter of the wealthy Karl Liechtenstein. The Liga army swiftly overran the archbishopric of Bremen and sent a detachment into Brandenburg to encourage Georg Wilhelm to recognize Maximilian as an elector. However, Tilly&rsquos troops were entering an area already eaten out by the Danes. Christian offered 6 talers to every deserter who rejoined his army and most of the 2,100 prisoners pressed into the Liga ranks promptly left. Weak and exhausted, Tilly&rsquos troops could not deliver the knock-out blow. Conditions deteriorated over the winter, and the Bavarian Schönburg cavalry regiment took to highway robbery to sustain itself. 52

Lutter prevented Christian sending aid to Mansfeld who was now cut off in Upper Hungary. It is likely that Wallenstein deliberately delayed his pursuit until Mansfeld had gone too far to turn back. His gamble paid off, as Mansfeld was stuck in the Tatra mountains waiting for Bethlen, who was typically late. Despite the numerous exiles with his army, the Bohemian and Moravian peasants refused to follow the Upper Austrian example and remained loyal to the emperor. Those of Upper Hungary hid their harvest before Mansfeld and Johann Ernst of Weimar arrived. Mansfeld lost faith that Bethlen would appear and decided to cut his losses and dash across Bohemia to Upper Austria where the rising was still under way. Johann Ernst, though, still trusted Bethlen and thought Mansfeld&rsquos plan too risky.

Wallenstein crossed Silesia in the second half of August and marched past his opponents to the Military Frontier where the Turks were harassing the forts. This show of force was sufficient to deter the pasha of Buda from helping Bethlen, who agreed a truce with the emperor on 11 November. Hardship, disease and desertion had reduced Mansfeld&rsquos and Johann Ernst&rsquos forces to 5,400. Having quarrelled with the duke, Mansfeld set out with a small escort intending to cross the mountains and escape to Venice. Though only 46, he was crippled by asthma, heart trouble, typhus and the advanced stages of tuberculosis. Insisting on standing up, he allegedly met his end fully armed when death caught him in a village near Sarajevo on 14 December. Johann Ernst died of plague just two weeks later. 53

Bethlen had waited until the harvest was in before advancing to meet Mansfeld with 12,000 cavalry and a similar number of Turkish auxiliaries. The latter had already left by the time Mansfeld reached Upper Hungary and Bethlen&rsquos operations ran parallel with his talks with Ferdinand&rsquos representatives. The truce was confirmed as the Peace of Pressburg on 20 December that accepted revisions to the Treaty of Nikolsburg in Ferdinand&rsquos favour. The pasha of Buda had already suspended operations, and renewed the 1606 truce at Zsön in September 1627.

Bethlen remained untrustworthy he offered his light cavalry to Gustavus Adolphus for his war against Poland, but died on 15 November 1629 before agreement could be reached. His erstwhile lieutenant, György Rákóczi, staged a coup in September 1630, displacing Bethlen&rsquos widow Katharina who was negotiating to accept Habsburg overlordship. Transylvania was plunged into internal strife from which Rákóczi emerged triumphant in 1636 thanks to his closer ties to the sultan and the local Calvinist clergy. 54

Many felt that Wallenstein should have defeated Bethlen rather than negotiate with him. Wallenstein defended himself against his critics at the Bruck conference in November 1626 and his extended visit to Vienna the following April, securing a free hand for the coming campaign. His success prompted Georg Wilhelm of Brandenburg to declare for the emperor. The elector had gone east to Prussia, taking only Schwarzenberg with him. Free from his Calvinist councillors in Berlin, he signed an alliance in May 1627. Winterfeld, the Brandenburg envoy who had worked indefatigably from 1624 to 1626 to forge a Protestant alliance, was arrested three months later on trumped-up charges of treason. The alliance allowed an imperial corps under Arnim across Brandenburg to Frankfurt on the Oder to trap the remnants of Mansfeld&rsquos army holding out in the Silesian fortresses.

These had come under the command of Joachim von Mitzlaff, a Pomeranian in Danish service, who managed to rebuild the army to 13,400 and organize an effective base in the Upper Silesian mountains around Troppau and Jägerndorf. 55 Wallenstein concentrated 40,000 men at Neisse in June 1627. As his fortresses surrendered one by one, Mitzlaff headed north with 4,000 cavalry hoping to dodge past Arnim. Wallenstein sent Merode and Colonel Pechmann after him, who caught and destroyed his detachment on 3 August. Mitzlaff escaped, but numerous Bohemian exiles were captured, including Wallenstein&rsquos cousin Christoph whom he imprisoned. Wallenstein then marched north-west across Brandenburg towards Lauenburg, despatching Arnim northwards into Mecklenburg.

The mounting reverses encouraged Christian IV to resume negotiations. Ferdinand was known to be planning a conference to confirm the decisions of the Regensburg princes&rsquo congress of 1623 as the basis for a general peace. He knew that the Palatinate and its Stuart backers would have to be included and accordingly welcomed an initiative from Württemberg and Lorraine to host talks at Colmar in Alsace in July 1627. Christian urged Frederick V to accept the emperor&rsquos terms, since this would enable him to make peace without losing face. Frederick at last gave real ground, offering to renounce Bohemia, accept Maximilian as an elector, provided the title reverted to the Palatinate on his death, and to submit to imperial authority by proxy to avoid personal humiliation. Agreement was close since Ferdinand would probably have dropped his demand for reparations if Frederick had swallowed his pride and submitted in person. This was too much to ask, however, and the talks collapsed on 18 July. 56

Christian was obliged to fight on, receiving some reinforcements from Britain and France. The 5,000 British and Dutch auxiliaries were posted on the lower Weser with outposts at Nienburg and Wolfenbüttel, while the main army of 15,000 held the Elbe at Lauenburg. Margrave Georg Friedrich arrived to assume command of the remaining 10,000 troops at Havelberg, covering the east. The fortresses of Glückstadt, Krempe and Pinneburg north of the Elbe defended the western approach to Holstein, while Rendsburg to the north secured the entrance to the Jutland peninsula. The weak spot lay to the south-east between neutral Hamburg and the Baltic, which was protected only by Trittau castle and the Holstein militia.

Operations started late, with Tilly not advancing from the Aller towards the Elbe until 15 July, leaving Pappenheim to besiege Wolfenbüttel and sending Anholt to take Nienburg and the other positions along the Weser, while Duke Georg of Lüneburg attacked Havelberg. Georg Friedrich abandoned Havelberg once he learned of Mitzlaff&rsquos defeat, and retreated north across Mecklenburg to Poel island off Wismar, where he waited five weeks for transport ships to evacuate him to Holstein. Wallenstein arrived with his army from Silesia, sending Schlick to pursue the margrave, while he pressed on through the now open Danish eastern flank. Meanwhile, Tilly outwitted Christian, feinting towards Lauenburg and then crossing the Elbe upstream at Bleckede. Monro records a heroic defence of Boitzenburg where 800 Scots allegedly repulsed Tilly, inflicting 2,000 casualties. Though this is accepted by some modern historians, the Danish army was demoralized and in fact offered little resistance. 57 Christian repeated his mistake at Lutter, leaving the incompetent Bohemian Count Thurn in charge of defence while he went into Holstein to organize reinforcements. Thurn quickly abandoned the Elbe and retreated north-west into Glückstadt. Belated orders were sent to General Morgan to evacuate the British troops defending the Weser before they were cut off. Morgan&rsquos men were unpaid and mutinous. He agreed with the British ambassador to ignore orders and retreat to Stade instead, from where he had a chance of escaping by sea to England.

Wallenstein joined Tilly just north of Lauenburg on 5 September and they overran Holstein in just two weeks. Thurn and the surviving 8,000 Danes fled north, leaving the remaining garrisons to their fate. Pinneburg fell on 28 September, but Wolfenbüttel and Nienburg both resisted until December, while Morgan held Stade until 5 May 1628. The besiegers were unable to enter for three days after he sailed to England, because of the rotting corpses. The Danes could resupply the Glückstadt garrison by sea, while the Elbe flooded on 17 November 1628 and destroyed the imperial siege works there. Tilly was wounded by a musket ball at Pinneburg and spent the rest of the campaign convalescing &ndash it was possibly an excuse not to play second fiddle to Wallenstein who now assumed overall command. 58

Confusion and mismanagement hindered further defence. Insufficient transport meant Georg Friedrich had to leave 2,000 men on Poel island. He landed with the remaining 6,000 at Heiligenhafen at the tip of a narrow peninsula on the east Holstein coast intending to join Thurn, but the latter&rsquos precipitous retreat enabled Schlick to trap the margrave. The Danes dissolved in panic as the Imperialists bombarded their camp on 26 September 1627. Only 1,000 managed to escape on their ships. Like the fortress garrisons, most of the men who surrendered had not been paid and promptly enlisted in the imperial army. 59 The fall of Rendsburg on 16 October opened the Danish peninsula to Ferdinand. The local nobles either failed to answer Christian&rsquos summons, or fled as the Imperialists approached, while the peasant militias opposed the Danish authorities. Another 3,000 cavalry got left behind as the main army was evacuated from Ålborg to the Danish islands.

Wallenstein becomes Duke of Mecklenburg

The Danish retreat left Lower Saxony at the mercy of Ferdinand and his allies. The emperor regarded Friedrich Ulrich&rsquos defection just before Lutter as opportunistic and fined him 400,000 talers, lodging a garrison in his capital at Wolfenbüttel to guarantee payment. Other lands were distributed to cope with the army&rsquos mounting pay arrears. Parts of Magdeburg and Halberstadt were assigned to Schlick and Merode, while Wallenstein had already received the Silesian duchy of Sagan in May 1627 in lieu of 150,850 fl. owed him by the emperor. Detachments under Arnim overran Mecklenburg that September after its two dukes supplied troops to Christian and refused to submit to imperial authority. 60

Rumours of Mecklenburg&rsquos transfer spread after Wallenstein paid a rare visit to the imperial court, and were confirmed when the emperor assigned both it and the neighbouring bishopric of Schwerin to him in February 1628. 61 The arrangement mirrored those over the Upper Palatinate and Lusatia, enabling the Habsburg treasury to write off 4.75 million fl. it owed to Wallenstein, who was not enfeoffed as duke of Mecklenburg until 16 June 1629, a week after its previous rulers were placed under the imperial ban. Wallenstein&rsquos elevation as full imperial prince was unprecedented and immediately controversial. Its full impact can only be appreciated in the context of the sweeping changes in the Empire since 1621. Frederick V, the senior secular elector, had been deposed and his possessions handed to the emperor&rsquos supporters. Though the ban on his most prominent collaborators, Anhalt and Hohenlohe, had been rescinded, the Mecklenburg dukes had joined Georg Friedrich of Baden-Durlach as fugitives. Landgrave Moritz of Hessen-Kassel had been forced to abdicate and Friedrich Ulrich of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel humiliated. The presence of Wallenstein&rsquos troops in Pomerania, Holstein and Württemberg, parts of Brandenburg, Anhalt and other territories suggested further venerable ruling houses would soon lose their possessions. Wallenstein deliberately fostered these fears, partly to deflect criticism from his own elevation, suggesting that Tilly should become duke of Calenberg, while Pappenheim could have Wolfenbüttel. 62 Coinciding as they did with the growing clamour from the ecclesiastical princes and religious orders to recover church property these developments profoundly alarmed Lutherans, as well as the surviving Calvinists.

The Mühlhausen Electoral Congress

Despite an initial enthusiasm for the restitution of church land (see Chapter 13), the Liga&rsquos leadership shared these concerns. Duke Maximilian especially opposed the expansion of Wallenstein&rsquos army, fearing it would give Ferdinand the means to embroil the Empire in the Dutch War. The integrity of the Liga army was also threatened as its officers defected to imperial service. The military balance prevailing before 1625 had been reversed, as Wallenstein now had three times as many soldiers as Tilly to whom Ferdinand sent orders without consulting Maximilian.

Complaints about the growing military burden after October 1625 frequently failed to distinguish between Liga and imperial units. By 1627 the protests were almost exclusively directed against Wallenstein &ndash not that Tilly&rsquos men behaved any better, but because the issue had become politicized. The three spiritual electors lodged a joint protest at Wallenstein&rsquos conduct of the war on 2 February 1627 and agreed to press the concerns of the other imperial Estates at their forthcoming congress following a petition from Nuremberg. 63

The congress had been planned to settle not just the Palatine question and the Danish war, but also the balance between the victorious Catholics. It opened on 18 October and lasted until 12 November 1627, attended in person by the Mainz and Saxon electors, while the others sent representatives. The presence of numerous princely and civic delegations gave it the appearance of a Reichstag and, as the first substantial meeting for four years, it offered an opportunity to debate and criticize Habsburg policy. 64

Maximilian had already lent his voice to the criticism of Wallenstein in April, but was fatally compromised as the chief beneficiary of the Catholic victories. While concerned at the fate of venerable princely dynasties, he was not above ordering his archivists to investigate possible Bavarian claims to Brandenburg. 65 Moreover, he could not rock the boat until his own status was secure. Saxony had recognized the transfer of the Palatine title in 1624. Brandenburg accepted it in its treaty with the emperor in May 1627, clearing the way for the next stage to convert it from a purely personal into an hereditary title. For this, Maximilian needed Ferdinand&rsquos consent, as well as that of his fellow electors, obliging him to mute his criticism of the emperor&rsquos general. 66

Maximilian struck just the right balance, condemning the worst abuses of Wallenstein&rsquos subordinates, while backing the emperor&rsquos political agenda. He was rewarded with recognition as hereditary elector on 12 November, despite Saxon and Brandenburg objections. Bavaria also rid itself of the costly occupation of Upper Austria by relinquishing it to Ferdinand in return for Maximilian&rsquos enfeoffment with the whole Upper and eastern half of the Lower Palatinate on 22 February 1628. The arrangement included the added promise that Ferdinand would repay Bavaria&rsquos war expenses, now set at 13 million fl., if Maximilian subsequently lost these lands. This transfer ran parallel to Wallenstein&rsquos enfeoffment with Mecklenburg, confirming the other princes&rsquo worst fears about Ferdinand&rsquos apparent disregard for their traditional liberties.

Christian IV had lost his mainland possessions, but still held out on the Danish islands. The relatively mild winter of 1627&ndash8 enabled his navy to raid imperial positions along the coast, and to retake Fehmarn island, capturing eighty boats Wallenstein had collected to ferry his army across to Copenhagen. The army was rebuilt by extending conscription to Norway and eventually reached 20,000 men, excluding the Glückstadt and Norwegian garrisons. The Danish raids encouraged peasant risings in Ditmarschen, Holstein, parts of Jutland and Nordstrand, one of the Frisian islands off western Schleswig where a third of the 9,000 inhabitants took up arms. Danish troops also intervened in Arnim&rsquos siege of Stralsund, while their warships disrupted Wallenstein&rsquos fledgling imperial navy (see pp.426&ndash8).

Christian attempted to recover a foothold on the mainland by landing with 6,000 men at Wolgast on the Pomeranian coast east of Greifswald. Having abandoned the siege of Stralsund, Wallenstein attacked with 8,000 men on 24 August, trapping the Danes as Schlick had done the year before at Heiligenhafen. Christian&rsquos troops put up stout resistance behind a marsh, enabling their king to escape to his fleet, leaving 1,000 dead and 1,100 captured. He returned in the spring of 1629, landing with 10,000 men on the east coast of Jutland and marching south with the intention of joining Morgan, who had sortied with 4,750 British and Dutch on ships from Glückstadt to land on Nordstrand. Despite detaching troops to assist in a new war in Mantua, Wallenstein was easily able to respond and by 6 June was ready to repeat the entrapment of Wolgast against the new Danish bridgehead.

Fortunately, Christian made peace just in time, accepting the emperor&rsquos revised terms at Lübeck the day before. Pressured by his nobles, the king had reopened talks on 22 January 1629. Wallenstein was eager for peace and had advised Ferdinand to return the conquered Danish provinces without demanding compensation to win Christian as an ally against potential Swedish intervention. In view of the Mantuan crisis, Ferdinand agreed, provided Christian abandoned the Lower Saxons. Christian&rsquos agreement shattered the already battered Hague alliance. Richelieu condemned him as a coward, but to the Danes the peace appeared a gift from heaven and they readily forgot the ideal of Protestant solidarity that, anyway, had not been very prominent in their attitudes to the war. 67

Watch the video: Historic District Commission