The Army – the Key Issue in Municipal Administration in Bohemia During the Thirty Years’ War?
Abstract: The article examines the impact of the common place presence of military troops in towns of Bohemia on their governance during the Thirty Years War. Troops appeared sporadically in towns of Bohemia even before 1618, usually as a factor of the Turkish wars. After that point, encounters with them became ubiquitous and many towns in the south-western part of the country already had experience of military conflict at that time. The failed estates-uprising reduced the authority of town councils, and the harshness of penalties imposed in the form of confiscation and loss of estate privileges was disproportionate to the actual involvement of most urban communities in the rebellion. Re-catholicisation during the following years caused significant changes in the composition of local political elites. It was the army which was the catalyst of change, and which certainly affected the relationship between citizenry and soldiery.
Yet even in this period, i.e. until the early thirties, town administration remained basically functional in most towns. Massive disruptions occurred only when hostilities moved into territory of Bohemia, during the Saxon, and especially Swedish invasions in the forties. General war fatigue played an important role in the unprecedentedly harsh practices of the Swedish army against the civilian population. Representatives of municipal authorities were usually able to put strategies in place to minimize the damage, at least for future years (an example being the protection of vital documents).
Key words: Thirty Years War, Bohemian towns, municipal administration, relations between citizens and soldiers, history of administration
PhDr. Marek Ďurčanský, Ph.D., působí v Ústavu dějin Univerzity Karlovy a archivu Univerzity Karlovy jako vedoucí archivu. Zabývá se raně novověkou urbánní problematikou (Marek.Durcansky@ruk.cuni.cz)