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Charles Zika

In the early seventeenth century, the German princely territory of the Palatinate burst on to the centre of the European political stage. In August 1619 the Elector Palatine Frederick V – ruler of one of the most prosperous and culturally vibrant territories of the Holy Roman Empire, and a leader of Protestants throughout Europe – was elected king of Bohemia. This put him in opposition to the newly elected Holy Roman Emperor, Ferdinand II, an Austrian Hapsburg and leader of the Catholic forces, who had been deposed a year earlier by the same rebellious Bohemian estates which then elected Frederick. These events quickly fuelled what has come to be known as the Thirty Years War (1618–48), one of the most ferocious in Europe’s bloody history.

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