Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Battle of White Mountain

The Battle of White Mountain, Bitva na Bílé hoře, took place on 8 November 1620 in what is now district 6 in Prague.  While it was more of a 'fight' than a 'battle' which lasted less than two hours and it took place on more of a 'hill' than a 'mountain', it is still an important part of Czech history and every school child learns about it in school.

In 1617, Ferdinand II became Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia.  He was a devout Roman Catholic which worried many Bohemian Protestant nobles who feared the loss of their religious freedom and semi-autonomy within the empire.  The Emperor orders the Protestant nobles to either covert to Catholicism or leave their lands.

Battle Reenactment ©Prague Post
On one side were 30,000 Bohemians and on the other side 27,000 troops from the Holy Roman Empire, Spain and the Catholic League.  Neither side wanted to give weapons to peasants so most of the fighting was done by mercenaries.  About 4,000 Protestants were killed or captured while the other side only lost about 700 people.

The battle is reenacted every year in Prague.

Following the battle marked the start of the the counter-reformation and Catholicism was reintroduced to the Czech lands.  Hapsburg control of the Czech lands was solidified for the next 300 years as Czech culture suffered as German culture become more prevalent.  The Czech language was only used by peasants at least until the National Revival.

The Battle of White Mountain took place at the beginning of the Thirty Years' War and here's a quick 3-minute video I found on YouTube that explains it all.

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