Fact of the day: 24th October

On this day in 1648 The Peace of Westphalia was signed, marking the end of the Thirty Years’ War.

The Peace of Westphalia was a series of peace treaties signed between May and October 1648 in Osnabrück and Münster. These treaties ended the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648) in the Holy Roman Empire, and the Eighty Years’ War (1568–1648) between Spain and the Dutch Republic, with Spain formally recognizing the independence of the Dutch Republic.

The Peace of Westphalia treaties involved the Holy Roman Emperor, Ferdinand III, of the House of Habsburg; the Kingdom of Spain; the Kingdom of France; the Swedish Empire; the Dutch Republic; the Princes of the Holy Roman Empire; and sovereigns of the free imperial cities. It can be denoted by two major events.

The signing of the Peace of Münster between the Dutch Republic and the Kingdom of Spain on 30 January 1648, officially ratified in Münster on 15 May 1648.

The signing of two complementary treaties on 24 October 1648, namely:

The Treaty of Münster (Instrumentum Pacis Monasteriensis, IPM), concerning the Holy Roman Emperor and France and their respective allies.

The Treaty of Osnabrück (Instrumentum Pacis Osnabrugensis, IPO), concerning the Holy Roman Empire, the Kingdom of France, Sweden and their respective allies.

The treaties did not restore peace throughout Europe, but they did create a basis for national self-determination.

The treaties resulted from the big diplomatic congress, thereby initiating a new system of political order in central Europe, later called Westphalian sovereignty, based upon the concept of co-existing sovereign states. Inter-state aggression was to be held in check by a balance of power.

A prejudice was established against interference in another nation’s domestic affairs. As European influence spread across the globe, these Westaphalian principles, especially the concept of sovereign states, became central to international law and to the prevailing world order.

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