The Thirty Years’ War Quiz


By: Kale Havervold

6 Min Quiz

Image: Wiki Commons by Sebastiaen Vrancx

About This Quiz

Unfortunately, war has been happening around the world for thousands of years. There are many different reasons why wars begin such as religion, political disagreements, land, resources and so much more. While there are different reasons for wars starting, there is one characteristic that all of them share, and that is that all wars going to do some damage. 

This includes damage to the landscape, damage to the population and potentially even damage to the reputation of a particular nation. One of the most destructive wars in history was the Thirty Years' War, in which millions of lives were lost. The war originally took place between Catholic and Protestant groups within the Holy Roman Empire, but eventually, most of the other European powers joined the fracas.

So you know who was on both sides of the war, but how much more do you know about one of the most violent and devastating conflicts in history? Do you know when the war began? How about how many lives were lost? If you know your stuff or want to learn more about this war, this quiz is for you.

Without any further ado, put on your helmet and grab your weapon. Get ready to charge into the trenches against out challenging quiz on the Thirty Years' War.

Why was the conflict called the "Thirty Years' War"?

As you might have guessed, the war is called the Thirty Years' War because it lasted 30 years. While some wars have gone longer, most are done within a couple of years, especially in developed areas like Europe.


When did the Thirty Years' War Begin?

The war officially began on May 23, 1618, and ended up taking place all across central Europe by a number of different participants. It was a very "modern" war for the time and is one of the longest European wars of all time.


What was the catalyst for the beginning of the Thirty Years' War?

Once he ascended to power, the leader of the Holy Roman Empire wanted to make it a rule that everyone must be Catholic. Of course, Protestants weren't a fan of this and thus begun the war.


Who was the leader of the Holy Roman Empire who helped start the entire war?

The man who tried to impose the rule that everyone had to practice Catholicism and no other religion was Ferdinand II. He served as the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire from 1619 until he died in 1637.


How did the war eventually come to an end?

The Thirty Years' War eventually came to an end in 1648, after almost 30 years of fighting. It ended due to a peace agreement that was signed, which was called Peace of Westphalia. It was made up of several different treaties.


While the war was originally about religion, what did it ultimately become about?

This war is often lumped in with a number of different religious wars, but that isn't really what it was about, especially later on. The war eventually turned into a battle for power among the largest and most powerful nations in Europe.


How many lives were lost throughout the war?

Throughout the war, it is estimated that around 8 million people lost their lives due to this conflict. Of course, it is difficult to know exactly how many passed away as record keeping wasn't so great back then.


What percentage of casualties were imperial subjects of the Holy Roman Empire?

Because the battle took place between different states in the Holy Roman Empire, nearly 95% of all deaths were to soldiers and civilians within the Empire. As you could imagine, this had huge effects on the population, population growth, marriage rates and more.


In the Holy Roman Empire, which states suffered the most devastation?

While many different nations and areas suffered in this war, none more than the Germans. Most battles took place on German land and a huge percentage of German soldiers and civilians lost their lives.


What was the first act of revolt by the Protestants that set off the conflict?

That's right, the act that really started off this conflict was when Catholic representatives were thrown out of a window by Bohemian nobility, who were against their religious uniformity rule.


Where did most of the individual battles of the war take place?

Unfortunately, most of the battles during this multi-decade long war took place in towns and villages. This left them devastated not only by fighting but also all of the plundering that took place.


Who was Gustavus Adolphus?

Gustavus Adolphus was the King of Sweden from 1611 to 1632. He was only a teenager when he became king and went on to be one of the best military commanders of all time.


What did infantry soldiers primarily carry during the battles?

While there were a number of different weapons used during the war, the most common for infantry soldiers was the pike. If you're not familiar with a pike, it is a very long spear that is used as a thrusting weapon.


Which present-day country was made independent of Spain after the war ended?

The Netherlands is now one of the best places to live in terms of income, happiness and quality of life. However, back during the early 1600s, it was controlled by Spain. They finally became independent after the war.


Several nations and states took place in this war. But which nation came out of the war looking the most powerful?

The French were already quite strong before this war but got even stronger after because two of their biggest rivals (Austria and Spain) both lost a lot of their power throughout the war.


This Nordic Country became a world power during the war.

Today, Sweden is a great place to live but is not exactly a world power. However, back in the mid-1600s that was a different story. Sweden had success throughout the war and established themselves as one of the strongest military groups in the world.


What percentage of individuals in the German state passed away as a result of the war?

While records from back then aren't great, it is believed that around 20% of all German individuals within the Holy Roman Empire died during the war. While some were soldiers, many more were simply civilians.


Which common military tactic saw it's demise begin in the Thirty Years' War?

At the time of the beginning of the war, caracole was a common turning maneuver for cavalry. However, the King of Sweden believed it was useless and instead used a charging tactic. Many historians believe this was the beginning of the end for the caracole.


Where did many Germans emigrate after the Thirty Years' War?

While areas were granted religious freedom after the war ended, the German people and states had been through one of their worst periods in history. Many were fearful of the violence continuing, so they decided to move elsewhere, with many choosing the American colonies.


What was the first phase of the war known as?

The first part of the war was often known as the Bohemian Revolt. Protestant people and states of Bohemia fought against the rule of Ferdinand II that everyone would have to become Catholic.


When did Frederick V's reign as the King of Bohemia end?

Despite becoming king in late 1619, Frederick V was ousted as the King of Bohemia after the Battle of White Mountain in Late 1920. His reign lasted barely a year after his coronation.


In which year did Denmark first intervene in the war?

The war officially began in 1618, but it wasn't until 7 years later (in 1625) that Denmark first joined the fight. They stuck around and supported the Protestant side of the war for a couple of years.


What was the reason for Denmark's involvement in the war?

While Denmark did originally help the Protestants, that wasn't their main reason for joining into the war. The war was a good opportunity for them to gain territory in the German states after a recent loss of land to Sweden.


Which group of people played arguably the largest role in the conflict?

Believe it or not, many of the armies were full of mercenaries, as national pride back then simply wasn't the same as it is now. So, countries paid mercenaries to fight for them.


Other than violence, what other issue led to the massive death numbers during the war?

While thousands of soldiers died, a much higher number of civilians lost their lives during the war. Many things contributed to this, including famine, disease, pillaging and more. It was not an easy life for civilians during the war.


Which side did France support during the Thirty Years' War?

France joined the side of the Protestants in this war. Despite the majority of France being Catholic, they were rivals of the Holy Roman Empire and Spain, so they joined the battle against them.


This large country lost a lot of its power and dominance after the war concluded.

Before this war, Spain was a world power, but this multi-decade long war really hurt that country. They were fighting many strong enemies and showed weakness in particular during the last portion of the war.


What is the Battle of Lutzen best known for?

The Battle of Lutzen was among the most important battles in the entire war. While the Protestants had experienced a victory in the battle, the King of Sweden was killed.


The Protestant states had a name for their alliance, what was it called?

In the Holy Roman Empire, there were several protestant states. These states banded together to create the Evangelical Union and were supported by the likes of Sweden, England and the United Provinces.


Which large country did Poland attack during the war?

Although Poland wasn't in the Thirty Year's War at the beginning, they decided to join in once nearly every other European nation had. They pushed their own agenda when they attacked Russia and established a dictatorship in the capital.


What country switched sides late in the war?

When a nation usually joins a war, they remain on the same side for the duration of the war. However, Denmark did the exact opposite during the Thirty Years' War. They began siding with the Protestants and then switched to the Catholics.


Which disease is believed to have killed more than 10% of the total German population during the war?

While the violence of war killed many soldiers and civilians, so did illness and disease. One of the worst diseases at the time was typhus, which quickly spread during the war and killed at least hundreds of thousands of people.


Who was the Holy Roman Emperor before Ferdinand II?

The name of the Holy Roman emperor before Ferdinand II was Matthias, who ruled from 1612 until he died in 1619. Unlike his successor, Matthias wanted to help Catholics and Protestants to compromise in order to strengthen the Holy Roman Empire.


On what day of the year did the war officially end?

The date that the war officially came to an end was May 15, 1648, nearly 30 years to the date from when the war began. However, the effects of the war would be felt for many years in the future.


Who succeeded Gustavus Adolphus as the leader of Sweden?

After Gustavus Adolphus was slain in battle, it was his daughter who was next in line for the throne and the leadership of Sweden. However, she was only a child at the time, so the government ran the country in her name until she turned 18.


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