The Peace of Augsburg Ended the Conflict Between

1555 peace treaty between the Holy Roman Emperor and the Schmalkaldic League

Peace of Augsburg

The front folio of the document. Mainz, 1555.

Engagement 1555
Location Augsburg
Participants Charles V; Schmalkaldic League
Outcome (1) Established the principle
Cuius regio, eius religio.
(ii) Established the principle of reservatum ecclesiasticum.

(3) Laid the legal groundwork for ii co-existing religious confessions (Catholicism and Lutheranism) in the German-speaking states of the Holy Roman Empire.

Peace of Augsburg, as well called the
Augsburg Settlement,[1]
was a treaty betwixt Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, and the Schmalkaldic League, signed in September 1555 at the majestic city of Augsburg. It officially concluded the religious struggle between the two groups and made the legal division of Christianity permanent within the Holy Roman Empire, assuasive rulers to cull either Lutheranism or Roman Catholicism every bit the official confession of their state. However, the Peace of Augsburg organisation is too credited with catastrophe much Christian unity effectually Europe. Calvinism was not allowed until the Peace of Westphalia.

The Peace of Augsburg has been described every bit “the outset footstep on the route toward a European arrangement of sovereign states.”[2]
The system, created on the basis of the Augsburg Peace, collapsed at the beginning of the 17th century, which was one of the reasons for the Thirty Years’ State of war.



The Peace ran over the principle
Cuius regio, eius religio
(“whose realm, his organized religion”), which allowed the princes of states within the Holy Roman Empire to adopt either Lutheranism or Catholicism within the domains they controlled, ultimately reaffirming their sovereignty over those domains. Subjects, citizens, or residents who did not wish to adjust to the prince’s option were given a grace period in which they were free to emigrate to different regions in which their desired religion had been accepted.

Commodity 24 stated: “In instance our subjects, whether belonging to the one-time organized religion or the Augsburg Confession, should intend leaving their homes with their wives and children to settle in some other, they shall be hindered neither in the auction of their estates after due payment of the local taxes nor injured in their accolade.”

Charles V had made an interim ruling, the Augsburg Interim of 1548, on the legitimacy of two religious creeds in the empire, and this was codification in law on 30 June 1548 upon the insistence of Charles V, who wanted to work out religious differences nether the auspices of a general quango of the Catholic Church. The Interim largely reflected principles of religious behavior in its 26 articles, although information technology immune for wedlock of the clergy, and the giving of both staff of life and wine to the laity. This led to resistance by the Protestant territories, who proclaimed their own Acting at Leipzig the following year.[three]

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The Interim was overthrown in 1552 by the revolt of the Protestant elector Maurice of Saxony and his allies. In the negotiations at Passau in the summertime of 1552, even the Catholic princes had called for a lasting peace, fearing the religious controversy would never exist settled. The emperor, still, was unwilling to recognize the religious division in Western Christendom equally permanent. This document was foreshadowed by the Peace of Passau, which in 1552 gave Lutherans religious freedom after a victory by Protestant armies. Under the Passau document, Charles granted a peace just until the next imperial Diet, whose meeting was called in early 1555.

The treaty, negotiated on Charles’ behalf past his brother, Ferdinand, effectively gave Lutheranism official status within the domains of the Holy Roman Empire, co-ordinate to the policy of
cuius regio, eius religio. Knights and towns who had skilful Lutheranism for some time were exempted nether the
Declaratio Ferdinandei, but the
Ecclesiastical reservation
supposedly prevented the principle of
cuius regio, eius religio
from being practical if an ecclesiastical ruler converted to Lutheranism.

Main principles


The Peace of Augsburg contained three main principles:[4]

  1. The principle of

    cuius regio, eius religio

    (“Whose realm, his religion”) provided for internal religious unity within a state: the religion of the prince became the religion of the land and all its inhabitants. Those inhabitants who could not accommodate to the prince’s faith were allowed to get out: an innovative thought in the 16th century. This principle was discussed at length by the various delegates, who finally reached agreement on the specifics of its wording afterward examining the problem and the proposed solution from every possible angle.[five]
  2. The 2d principle, called the

    reservatum ecclesiasticum

    (ecclesiastical reservation), covered the special status of the ecclesiastical land. If the prelate of an ecclesiastic land changed his faith, the inhabitants of that land did not have to practice then. Instead, the prelate was expected to resign from his post, although this was non spelled out in the agreement.[vi]
  3. The third principle, known as

    Declaratio Ferdinandei

    (Ferdinand’southward Proclamation), exempted knights and some of the cities from the requirement of religious uniformity, if the reformed religion had been practiced there since the mid-1520s. This allowed for a few mixed cities and towns where Catholics and Lutherans had lived together. It also protected the dominance of the princely families, the knights and some of the cities to determine what religious uniformity meant in their territories. Ferdinand inserted this at the last infinitesimal, on his ain authority.[7]
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The third principle exempted knights and some of the cities nether the jurisdiction of an ecclesiastical prince if they had practiced Lutheranism for some time (Lutheranism was the only branch of Protestantism recognized under the Peace). The provision was not publicized as part of the treaty, and was kept clandestine for almost two decades.[8]



The document itself had disquisitional problems. While information technology gave legal basis for the practise of the Lutheran confession, it did non accept whatever of the Reformed traditions, such as Calvinism, nor did it recognize Anabaptism. Although the Peace of Augsburg was moderately successful in relieving tension in the empire and increasing tolerance, it left of import things undone. Neither the Anabaptists nor the Calvinists were protected under the peace, so many Protestant groups living under the dominion of a Lutheran prince nonetheless found themselves in danger of the charge of heresy. (Commodity 17: “However, all such every bit do not belong to the 2 above named religions shall not be included in the present peace but be totally excluded from it.”) These minorities did not achieve any legal recognition until the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. The intolerance towards Calvinists caused them to take desperate measures that led to the Thirty Years’ War. I of the more than notable measures was the 3rd Defenestration of Prague (1618) in which two representatives of the fiercely Cosmic King of Bohemia Archduke Ferdinand (Matthias was Emperor until 20 March 1619) were thrown out of a castle window in Prague.[
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The principle of ecclesiastical reservation was tested in the Cologne War (1583–1588), which grew out of the scenario envisioned by Ferdinand when he wrote the proviso: the reigning prince-archbishop, Hermann of Wied, converted to Protestantism; although he did not insist that the population converted, he placed
on a parity with Catholicism throughout the Electorate of Cologne. This in itself came forth as a two-fold legal problem: first, Calvinism was considered a heresy; second, the elector did non resign his see, which fabricated him eligible, at least in theory, to bandage a election for emperor. Finally, his matrimony posed a very real potential to catechumen the electorate into a dynastic principality, shifting the remainder of religious power in the empire.

A side upshot of the religious turmoil was Charles’ determination to abdicate and dissever Habsburg territory into ii sections. His brother Ferdinand ruled the Austrian lands, and Charles’ fervently Cosmic son, Philip II, became ambassador of Spain, the Spanish Netherlands, parts of Italia, and other overseas holdings.



  1. ^

    Hughes, Michael (1992).
    Early on Modern Federal republic of germany, 1477–1804, MacMillan Printing and University of Pennsylvania Printing, Philadelphia, p. 59. ISBN 0-8122-1427-seven.

  2. ^

    Reus-Smit, Christian (2011). “Struggles for Individual Rights and the Expansion of the International Organization”.
    International Organization.
    (2): 207–242. doi:10.1017/S0020818311000038. ISSN 1531-5088. S2CID 145668420.

  3. ^


  4. ^

    For a general discussion of the impact of the Reformation on the Holy Roman Empire, encounter Holborn, chapters vi–9 (pp. 123–248).

  5. ^

    Steven Ozment,
    The Age of Reform 1250–1550
    (1980) p.259n13.

  6. ^

    Parker, Geoffrey.
    The Xxx Years’ State of war, p. 17. ISBN 0-415-12883-viii

  7. ^

    Holborn, pp. 244–245.

  8. ^

    Parker, Geoffrey.
    The Thirty Years’ War, 2nd Edition. p. 17. ISBN 0-415-12883-8



  • Holborn, Hajo.
    A History of Mod Germany, The Reformation. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1959 [1982], ISBN 9780691007953.

Farther reading


  • May, Gerhard (1999), “Augsburg, Peace of”, in Fahlbusch, Erwin (ed.),
    Encyclopedia of Christianity, vol. i, M Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, pp. 159, ISBN0802824137

External links


  • Fractional text of the “Peace of Augsburg” at the Wayback Car (archived thirteen May 2008)
  • Total text of the “Peace of Augsburg”
    (in High german)
  • Brittanica’due south words on the “Peace of Augsburg”

The Peace of Augsburg Ended the Conflict Between