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Protestantism, Catholicism and Toleration in Early Modern Europe, 1517-1650

By Marcus Wells - History Student @ St Peter's College, Oxford


After the emergence of Protestantism in the early sixteenth century, Catholic European states (France, Poland, and the southern Holy Roman Empire) faced the question of toleration of Protestants. The Protestant states also faced the reciprocal question (England, the Dutch Republic, the northern HRE and the Scandinavian states) as they emerged from Catholic Europe. True toleration was rarely granted to the other’s faith by 1650. However, some coexistence or de facto toleration was often possible in practice. Throughout the period, such arrangements were almost always in place due to the economic benefit