The Reformation was a Christian movement of the 1500s. Its followers criticized the Catholic Church for corruption and called for radical reform. These protesters became known as Protestants.
Table 45. RELIGIOUS CONFLICT, EUROPE 1517–1568
|1517||German monk Martin Luther demands reform|
|1518||Swiss preacher Ulrich Zwingli calls for change|
|1541||John Calvin founds a Protestant Church, Geneva|
|1545||Catholics launch a Counter-Reformation|
|1560||John Knox founds Protestant Church of Scotland|
|1562||Wars between Catholics and Protestants in France|
|1568||Dutch Protestants begin revolt against Catholic Spain|
The Reformation began in 1517 when a German monk, Martin Luther, nailed a list of complaints to the church door in Wittenberg. Other preachers spread the Protestant message across northern Europe. They called for simpler forms of worship and personal faith.
The success of the Protestants aroused fear and anger among Catholics in Rome. A period of religious strife began that tore Europe apart for hundreds of years. Each side murdered its opponents. Churches and monasteries were destroyed. Civil and national wars caused devastation and streams of refugees.