Schmalkaldic League

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Schmalkaldic League

(shmälkäl`dĭk), alliance formed in 1531 at Schmalkalden by Protestant princes and delegates of free cities. It was created in response to the threat (1530) by Holy Roman Emperor Charles VCharles V,
1500–1558, Holy Roman emperor (1519–58) and, as Charles I, king of Spain (1516–56); son of Philip I and Joanna of Castile, grandson of Ferdinand II of Aragón, Isabella of Castile, Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, and Mary of Burgundy.
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 to stamp out Lutheranism. Led by Philip of HessePhilip of Hesse
, 1504–67, German nobleman, landgrave of Hesse (1509–67), champion of the Reformation. He is also called Philip the Magnanimous. Declared of age in 1518, he helped suppress the Peasants' War.
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 and John Frederick IJohn Frederick I,
1503–54, elector (1532–47) and duke (1547–54) of Saxony; last elector of the Ernestine branch of the house of Wettin. Like his father, John the Steadfast, whom he succeeded, John Frederick was a devout Lutheran.
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 of Saxony, the league grew rapidly. Under its protection the Reformation spread through most of Germany. In an effort to crush the independence of the states of the empire and to restore unity to the Roman Catholic Church, Charles initiated the so-called Schmalkaldic War against the league. At the battle of Mühlberg (1547), the league was defeated.

Schmalkaldic League

 

a political alliance of German Protestants formed in response to Emperor Charles V’s refusal to acknowledge the Augsburg Confession. The league was established on Feb. 27, 1531, in the Thuringian city of Schmalkalden. Its members included such Lutheran princes as elector John Frederick of Saxony, Landgrave Philip of Hesse, and, later, Ulrich of Württemberg and Duke Maurice of Saxony, as well as such cities as Magdeburg, Bremen, Strasbourg, and Ulm. In the Schmalkaldic War (1546–48) the league was defeated by Charles V and disbanded.