Matthäus Merian the Elder: The Defenestration of Prague, copperplate engraving

The Age of Confessional Division


Religious schisms convulse Western Christianity and change European society profoundly. Confessional affiliation becomes a political issue, determining the relationship between countries as well as between princes and the Estates. Confessional division also underlies the Thirty Years' War (1618-48); the Peace of Westphalia marks the end of hostilities and establishes a new international order.