Political and social tension that existed in Europe in the early 20th the fifteenth century was evident. After the murder at the stake of Juan Hus, who was a member of the Catholic Church , a series of conflicts broke out that ignited the flames of war. Hus was a preacher of the ideas of reform and had fearlessly criticized the corruption that plagued the Church, which led him from a privileged position to die in the flames. What were the Hussite wars?
His death so moved his followers in Czech territory that they were willing to go against the Roman Empire and the church. For this reason, a varied number of movements of all kinds were started: religious, educational, social and political in defense of the ideals that Hus had sown. These movements became known as the Hussite Wars , let’s see more details about these conflicts.
Causes of the Hussite Wars
The Roman Empire had colonized Bohemia, so the members of the upper class were only the Romans, while the Czechs were those of the lower class. As the years passed, the number of settlers decreased and the educational and cultural knowledge of the Czechs increased, as many literary works began to be translated into their language. As a result, there was rivalry between these two factions, as the Czechs began to aspire to positions that previously belonged to the settlers , and apart from that, they received the support of the king who approved a municipal council in which the majority were Czech citizens . What were the Hussite wars?
Reform ideas that went against the church were an influential aspect of the Hussite Wars. The church was plunged into vices and corruption , which reduced it adherents, so that the ideas of Juan Wycliffe were accepted by students and religious members . One of these followers was Juan Hus, who explored and extended the teachings of the English philosopher to the point of establishing his own current, Husism.
The betrayal of which Hus was the victim, who had moved to Constance in November 1414 due to a planned consensus between the church and the reform, ended in jail and death for him. As a result, in mid-1415 there was a response from the reformers, who rejected Hus’s death . However, the reaction of the church was a threat, declaring that all those who were followers of the ideas of Hus and Wycliffe would be killed, thus giving way to the confrontation and fury of the Hussites.
When and where did the Hussite Wars take place?
These wars were divided into 5 phases or crusades :
- First Crusade: It began on March 17, 1420, when the Hussites were attacked by more than 2000 warriors on horseback in a surprising way . Hussite leader Zizka together with a group of 400 men managed to resist the attack and advance towards the Prachatice, Strakonice and Pisek regions. As a result, in September of that same year a Hussite regime was imposed in Prague.
- Second and third crusades: This period spanned the years 1421 and 1422 in which the Emperor Sigismund continued to send troops to reverse the advance of the Hussites. However, they continued in their crusade against the church and all those buildings in their name. By 1422 the wars of Havlickuv Brod and Kutná Hora were fought, in which the Hussites were the victors . What were the Hussite wars?
- After the third crusade there was a pause in which the massacres and invasions continued. However, the excessive bloodshed brought divisions among the Hussites and they lost adherents . The regions of Moravia, Silesia and other Austrian populations such as Pulkau and Retzy were conquered. In 1424 Zizka died and in his place was Procopio the Bald.
- Fourth crusade: During the year 1427 the Battle of Tachov took place. In it they faced a great army sent by Pope Martin V against the Hussites . The Catholics were defeated and could not prevent their enemies from destroying all the Catholic cities in their path until they reached the Slovak region in 1431.
- Fifth Crusade: It spanned the year 1431 in which the Hussites seized the cities of Pilsen, part of Poland and northern Slovakia .
Winner of the Hussite Wars
The winning side after 5 crusades and more than a decade of fighting was the Hussite . During this long period of bloody fighting the Hussites faced the Kingdom of Hungary, the Holy Roman Empire and the Papacy. Their victories are attributed to two decisive aspects: the strategies and the firearms such as muskets, cannons and hand weapons that they had at their disposal. What were the Hussite wars?
- Due to his virtues as a political diplomat, Sigismund received recognition from the papacy. For this reason he received the title of Roman emperor .
- The council called Compactata of Prague, which was signed in 1433, brought as a consequence that the Utraquists, who had been part of the Hussites, returned to support the church.
- Armed with part of what was their offensive, the Catholics faced the Hussites on May 30, 1434, bringing the defeat of the army commanded by Procopio the Bald . Because of this confrontation, the slaughter was so atrocious that practically all the warriors of the Hussite side disappeared.
- The Hussites who were left alive after the defeat at Lipany fled, while another group joined the ranks of foreign assassins .
- The remaining Hussites colluded with the Polish army and in September 1434 they again faced Sigismund’s military forces in Brux . As a result, they were defeated.
- The Bohemian people were required to recognize Sigismund as king of the region through the Basel accord . For this reason, in August 1436 he arrived in the region as its new leader.
- The indigenous community of Bohemia regressed in social status . After the wars and massacres, they once again depended on foreign governments, which lowered their class and, therefore, opportunities for progress. What were the Hussite wars?