On this day:
1608 – The Protestant Union is founded in Auhausen.
The Protestant Union or Evangelical Union (German: Protestantische Union) was a coalition of Protestant German states that was formed in 1608 by Frederick IV, Elector Palatine in order to defend the rights, lands and person of each member. It dissolved in 1621.
The union was formed after two events. First of all, the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II and Maximilian I, Duke of Bavaria reestablished Roman Catholicism in Donauwörth in 1607. Secondly, in 1608, a majority of the Imperial Diet had decided that the renewal of the Peace of Augsburg of 1555 should be conditional upon the restoration of all church land appropriated since 1552. The Protestant princes met in Auhausen, near Nördlingen and on May 14, 1608, formed a military league of the Protestant states under the leadership of Frederick IV of the Palatinate. In response, the Catholic League was formed in the following year, headed by Duke Maximilian of Bavaria.
Members of the Protestant Union included the Palatinate, Neuburg, Württemberg, Baden-Durlach, Ansbach, Bayreuth, Anhalt, Zweibrücken, Oettingen, Hesse-Kassel, Brandenburg, and the free cities of Ulm, Strasbourg, Nuremberg, Rothenburg, Windhseim, Schweinfurt, Weissenburg, Nördlingen, Schwäbisch Hall, Heilbronn, Memmingen, Kempten, Landau, Worms, Speyer, Aalen and Giengen.
However, the Protestant Union was weakened from the start by the non-participation of several powerful German Protestant rulers, such as the Elector of Saxony. The Union was also beset by internal strife between its Lutheran and Calvinist members.
In 1619, Frederick V of the Palatinate (successor to Frederick IV) accepted the crown of Bohemia in opposition to the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II, and in 1620 the Protestant Union signed the Treaty of Ulm, declining to support him. In January 1621, Ferdinand II imposed an Imperial ban upon Frederick V and moved his right to elect an Emperor to Maximilian. Electoral Palatinate also lost the Upper Palatinate to Bavaria. The Protestant Union met in Heilbronn in February and formally protested the actions of Ferdinand. Ferdinand ignored this complaint and ordered the Protestant Union to disband its army. In May, under the Mainz Accord, the members of the Union complied with Ferdinand’s demand and, on May 14, 1621, it was formally dissolved.
Born on this day:
1553 – Margaret of Valois (d. 1615)
Margaret of Valois (French: Marguerite, 14 May 1553 – 27 March 1615) was a French princess of the Valois dynasty who became queen consort of Navarre and later also of France.
A daughter of King Henry II of France and Catherine de’ Medici, Margaret was the sister of kings Francis II, Charles IX and Henry III, and of Elisabeth of Valois Queen of Spainas well as Claude of France. Charles IX arranged for her to marry a distant cousin, King Henry III of Navarre, and she thus became Queen of Navarre in 1572. In 1589, after all her brothers had died leaving no sons, Margaret’s husband, the senior-most agnatic heir to France (the “Prince du sang”), succeeded to the French throne as Henry IV, the first Bourbon King of France.
A queen of two kingdoms, Margaret was subjected to many political manipulations, including being held prisoner (albeit at a comfortable castle) by her own brother, Henry III of France, for many years. However, her life was anything but passive. She was famous for her beauty and sense of style, notorious for a licentious lifestyle, and also proved a competent memoirist. She was indeed one of the most fashionable women of her time, and influenced many of Europe’s royal courts with her clothing. Margaret took many lovers both during her marriage and after its annulment, of whom the best-known are Joseph Boniface de La Môle, Jacques de Harlay, Seigneur de Champvallon and Louis de Bussy d’Amboise. While imprisoned, she took advantage of the time to write her memoirs, which included a succession of stories relating to the disputes of her brothers Charles IX and Henry III with her husband. The memoirs were published posthumously in 1628.
Her life has inspired a variety of stories over the centuries, beginning with William Shakespeare’s early comedy Love’s Labour’s Lost, which was in fact written within her lifetime, to Alexandre Dumas, père’s 1845 novel La Reine Margot; to a 1994 movie La Reine Margot.