Friend or Foe? The Rural Population During the Danish Invasion of 1626 to 1627
Abstract: Between 1626 and 1627 an extensive diversionary movement saw troops of Jan Ernst of Saxony-Weimar and Peter Ernst of Mansfeld, both in the service of the Danish King Christian IV, entering the territory of Moravia and Silesia. These troops met with contrasting reactions from local elites and from the simple rural population of the territory of northern Moravia and Upper Silesia. The author is interested primarily in the role of the rural population in such an armed conflict, and in an analysis of the form of its active participation (or otherwise) in events. Attention is directed to such phenomena as guiding, espionage, occasional work in military logistics, the participation of local people in plundering of their own area and their presence in newly formed hostile military units.
These observed phenomena are common places when studying various military conflicts across historical periods. Events of the years 1626 and 1627 show that the influence of the rural population as a “military factor” was quite significant during the Danish invasion. One part of the rural population of northern Moravia and Upper Silesia remained passive, but the other part participated substantially in the war effort on both sides of the conflict. Although the ideological or religious reasons for collaboration or maintaining loyalty are often cited in this conflict, other actions such as the guiding of troops, odd work in logistics and participation in looting indicate the presence of other motives involving monetary or other material profit. This study mostly employs as reference interrogation protocols preserved from the work of the Liechtenstein Inquisition committee in the region of Opava and Krnov from the time shortly after this invasion. Additional reference is made to sources such as a series of concise financial warledgers kept by Jan Ernst of Saxony-Weimar.
Key words: Thirty Years War, the Danish invasion, rural population, the military factor, cooperation with the troops
PhDr. Vít Mišaga je doktorandem Ústavu českých dějin Filozofické fakulty Univerzity Karlovy v Praze. Zaměřuje se zvláště na dánský vpád do českých zemí za třicetileté války (firstname.lastname@example.org)