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Protestant Union,in German history, an alliance of German Protestant leaders of cities and states, founded in 1608 for the avowed purpose of defending the lands, person, and rights of each individual member. Also known as the Evangelical League, it came into being after the Holy Roman emperor attempted (1607) to reestablish Roman Catholicism in DonauwörthDonauwörth
, town (1994 pop. 17,690), Bavaria, SW Germany, a port at the confluence of the Donau (Danube) and Wörnitz rivers. Its manufactures include machinery, airplanes, lace, and dolls. Historically a Swabian town, Donauwörth became (mid-13th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. and after a majority of the Reichstag, meeting in Augsburg, declared that renewal of the religious peace of 1555 (see Augsburg, Peace ofAugsburg, Peace of,
1555, temporary settlement within the Holy Roman Empire of the religious conflict arising from the Reformation. Each prince was to determine whether Lutheranism or Roman Catholicism was to prevail in his lands (cuius regio, eius religio).
..... Click the link for more information. ) should be conditional on the restoration of all church lands appropriated by the Protestant princes after 1552. A Catholic League, headed by Duke Maximilian IMaximilian I,
1573–1651, elector (1623–51) and duke (1597–1651) of Bavaria, one of the outstanding figures of the Thirty Years War and an ardent supporter of the Counter Reformation.
..... Click the link for more information. of Bavaria, was formed shortly afterward. The Protestant Union was weakened from the start by the absence of such powerful Protestant princes as the elector of Saxony, and it never operated very effectively. In 1621, three years after the outbreak of the Thirty Years WarThirty Years War,
1618–48, general European war fought mainly in Germany. General Character of the War
There were many territorial, dynastic, and religious issues that figured in the outbreak and conduct of the war.
..... Click the link for more information. , the union went out of existence. In French history, the alliance (1573–74) of Huguenot cities, districts, and nobles in the Wars of Religion is also known as the Protestant Union.