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Protestant Reformation

By Levi Clancy for Student Reader on

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In the 16th century, the Protestant Reformation transformed religion in Europe.

The Catholic Church, long Europe's strongest force, was challenged by Martin Luther. Next came John Calvin, who advocated casting off the Catholic Church entirely and set forth a unique dogma. Followers of his creed included the Huguenots in France and the Puritans in England.

1509Praise of Folly Published
1517Luther's 95 Theses
1521Diet of Worms
1524-5German Peasants' Revolt
1533Henry VIII Marries Anne Boleyn
1540Society of Jesus (Jesuits) approved by Pope Paul III (founded 1534).
1541Theocracy established in Geneva under Calvin.
1545-63Council of Trent
1553-8Restoration of Catholicism in England under Mary.
1555Peace of Augsburg
1588Defeat of the Spanish Armada.
1618Beginning of Thirty Years' War
1648Peace of Westphalia

English Reformation

In 1529, amid the Protestant Reformation's upheavals, English king Henry VIII broke from the Catholic Church.

English king Henry VIII bristled against the Pope's refusal to grant him a divorce. This culminated in 1529, when he formed the Church of England, led by the himself the king, and replaced the Catholic institution in England with this new Anglican Church.

Henry VIII's successor was his Catholic daughter Mary, who sought to resurrect Catholicism's supremacy over England. But when her Anglican half-sister Elizabeth I assumed the throne, the severance from the Catholic Church was final.