Protestant Union


May 19, 2022

The Protestant (Evangelical, Evangelical) Union is a union of eight Protestant princes and 17 Protestant cities of the Holy Roman Empire. The reason for the unification was the conquest of the free imperial city of Donauvert by Maximilian of Bavaria after a Protestant attack on the Catholic procession. Founded in 1608, the union was led by Calvinist Elector Frederick IV. In response, the Catholic League was formed in 1609. During the Thirty Years' War, the union was defeated by the League several times and in 1621 ceased to exist. Background. Lutheran and Calvinist alliances Attempts to form a Protestant supranational union were made in the late sixteenth century, but their success was hampered by quarrels between Lutherans and Calvinists. At the beginning of the XVII century, the success of the Catholic reaction in Germany forced the Protestant princes to hurry to form an alliance. German Protestants shared common interests in the inheritance of the duchies of Jülich and Kleve. In addition, supporters of the Protestant Union found outside support from King Henry IV of France due to a common desire to weaken the influence of Spain and the German Habsburgs. Christian Anhaltski became the most energetic organizer of the union. Initially, there was a desire to form two separate unions: Lutheran and Calvinist. The main members of the first alliance, which was formed in May 1605, were Württemberg, Neuburg-Palatinate and Baden. In the same year, the second alliance was formed by the Electors of the Palatinate, Anhalt-Dessau, Ansbach, the Principality of Kulmbach and the Land of Hesse. A powerful impetus for the unification of the two unions was the conquest in 1607 by the Catholics of Donauvert. In the same year, a separate alliance was formed between the electorates of the Palatinate and Württemberg, which served as a link between the two Protestant unions.


The growing danger from Catholics prompted Christian of Anhalt at the Regensburg Sejm in 1608 to negotiate the formation of a joint Protestant union, which would include members of both existing unions. On May 14, 1608, the Evangelical Union was formed in Auhausen (Ansbach), which included the Electors of the Palatinate, Württemberg, Baden, Kulmbach, Ansbach, and Neuburg-Palatinate. The purpose of her pr�