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The Battle of Bila Hora
Prague
Re-enactment of the Battle of White Mountain in 1620

The Battle of White Mountain, November 8, 1620 (Bílá hora is the name of White Mountain in Czech) was an early battle in the Thirty Years' War in which an army of 20,000 Bohemians and mercenaries under Christian of Anhalt were routed by 25,000 men of the combined armies of Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor under Karel Bonaventura Buquoy and of the Catholic League under Johan Tzerclaes, Count of Tilly at Czech Bílá Hora, near Prague (now part of it). The battle marked the end of the Bohemian period of the Thirty Years' War.

Prelude

Initially the revolt of the Protestants in Bohemia went well, and they broke out of their isolated political position by electing Frederick V, Elector Palatine as their king. But things changed when Maximilian I, Duke of Bavaria regrouped the forces of the Catholic League. He sent Tilly straight to Prague.

Battle

The Bohemian commander, Christian Anhalt, assembled his troops, and deployed them on the slopes of a hill (Bílá Hora in Czech, Weißer Berg in German, both meaning White Mountain) blocking the road to Prague. His troops occupied a solid position, with his right flank covered by a hunting castle, his left covered by a brook, and a small brook with some moors in front of them.

According to some reports, a monk brought along a picture of St. Mary, which had been defaced by the Protestants, which incited furor among the Catholic troops.

Tilly observed the enemy position and sent his well-trained men over a small bridge crossing the brook. In just two hours of heavy fighting, they smashed through the center of the enemy line. This decided the battle.

Aftermath

With the Bohemian army destroyed, Tilly entered Prague and the revolt broke down. King Frederick with his wife Elizabeth fled the country (hence his nickname the Winter King). Twenty-seven noble leaders of the insurrection were executed at Prague's Old Town Square, along with an untold number of common people.

Gradually freedom of religion in Bohemian lands came to an end and Protestants fled or were expelled from the country. Spanish troops, seeking to encircle their rebellious Dutch provinces, seized the Palatinate. With Protestantism threatening to be overrun in Germany, Denmark entered the struggle.

From the Wikipedia Article.

Copyright: Jeffrey martin
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Uploaded: 04/09/2008
Updated: 02/06/2014
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