The Peace of Prague (1635)

The Peace of Prague of 30 May 1635 was a treaty between the Holy Roman Emperor, Ferdinand II, and most of the Protestant states of the Empire.

It effectively brought to an end the civil war aspect of the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648); however, the war still carried on due to the continued intervention on German soil of Spain, Sweden, and, from mid-1635, France.

Negotiations towards the agreement had been instigated by the Elector of Saxony, John George I, who whilst being a Lutheran prince had nonetheless been an ally of the Emperor until the Swedish intervention in 1630. Years of fighting, an inability to reimpose Roman Catholicism by force, and the need to put an end to the intervention of foreign powers in German affairs all combined to bring Ferdinand to the table with a degree of willingness to make concessions towards the Lutheran princes.

The main terms of the treaty were:

* The Edict of Restitution of 1629 was effectively revoked, with the terms of the Peace of Augsburg of 1555 being re-established as at 12 November 1627.
* Formal alliances between states of the Empire were prohibited.
* The armies of the various states were to be unified with those of the Emperor as an army for the Empire as a whole.
* Amnesty was granted to the enemies of the Emperor (with the exception of the former Elector Palatine, Frederick V).

As well as bringing to an end the fighting between the various states, the treaty also brought to an end religion as a source of national conflict; the principle of cuius regio, eius religio was established for good within the Empire. In return for making concessions in this area, Ferdinand gained the alliance of the Lutheran princes both in the struggle against the Swedish intervention, and against the expected intervention of France.

Ferdinand was also forced to make individual concessions to some of the major states to get them to sign the treaty: Saxony was granted the Margraviates of Lower and Upper Lusatia by Ferdinand in his capacity as King of Bohemia, Brandenburg had its claim to Pomerania confirmed, and even Bavaria, which had supported the Emperor throughout the war, extracted some minor concessions.

Johann-Georg of Saxony had never been a willing opponent of the Emperor. At the instance of his brother-in-law, Georg of Hesse-Darmstadt, he had opened negotiations with the Emperor at Leitmaritz. He had continued to negotiate even while his armies had invaded Bohemia in the summer of 1634. The invasion had required the negotiations be moved to Pirna when the Swedes took Leitmaritz, but still the talks went on.

These negotiations finally bore fruit in a tentative agreement, the “Preliminaries of Pirna,” agreed on 24 November, 1634. An armistice between the Saxon and Imperial forces was reached at Laun the same day.